Doping in Costa Rica

Doping is a problem in cycling, but not only in Europe. Several cases of doping have surfaced in Costa Rica, according the country's largest newspaper, Nacion. And while cycling is the most controlled sport even in Central America, the complaint is that the focus is biased to the Vuelta a Costa Rica in December, with the rest of the year being handled not as stringent. And some are only found because they tested outside the country, like Juan Carlos Rojas. He got suspended for two years, following a positive test in El Salvador.

In addition to the 12 positive test cases found during the last decade, there are also riders and team managers speaking out about the illegal performance enhancing substances. Héctor Campos, former president of the national cycling federation (Fecoci), emphasized that "Hearing some of the things that are said within the peloton is alarming."

A rider of the first division in Costa Rica, who wished to stay anonymous assured that many riders take illegal substances. He said that there is a network reaching into the national health organization and its doctors.

Benjamín Mejía, the coordinator of the anti-doping program at Fecoci, clarified that "it seems like a world of magic and people think that one can become a champion overnight. In reality, what those that do start doping are doing is they damage their organs." The toxicologist studied in Spain and he maintained that there, we used to have a saying. "What nature hasn't given you, doping won't lend you."

In Costa Rica, a program has started to monitor the riders throughout the year. Representatives of the major teams admitted that the many exams do not give a guarantee of a clean peloton.

Several managers of teams commented on the current situation. Albin Brenes (BCR-Pizza Hut) said that "it seems to be mostly the veterans. In my team we emphasize education. If the riders receive good values they are less likely to get tempted by doping."

Andrés Brenes (IBP Pensiones) said that "cycling is the most rigorously tested sport, yet there are people who are trying to use illegal substances. But yes, it is possible to be clean and be successful, simply when a rider has enough strengths."

Mauricio Quirós (Dos Pinos-Coopenae) similarly mentioned that "Cycling has more exams than any other sport." But he emphasized that "even though, we need to do even more controls, especially in race throughout the year, not just in the Vuelta [a Costa Rica]. We need to address the problem, but we can't do a general prosecution."

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