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Ghent laboratory supports Costa brothers' claims

A laboratory in Gent, Belgium, has supported Mario and Rui Costa’s claims that their positive tests for methylhexaneamine were caused by the use of a food supplement. The Costa brothers returned positive tests for the substance at June’s Portuguese time trial championship.

Mario and Rui Costa claimed that they accidentally ingested methylhexaneamine as a result of taking a food supplement called Anadraulic Pump. According to Biciciclismo, the presence of methylhexaneamine was confirmed by an analysis of the product carried out at the Laboratory of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ghent on August 23. The substance had not been listed in the information provided to consumers.

"We have proven that we took a contaminated nutritional supplement and that the label does not contain anything illegal,” read a statement from the Costa brothers to Biciciclismo. “We never dope. We are athletes who are anti-doping, honest and loyal."

The stimulant methylhexaneamine was added to WADA prohibited substance list ahead of 2010. In December, Belgian masters rider Rudy Taelman received a one-year ban after testing positive for the substance, even though he was able to demonstrate that he ingested methylhexaneamine unwittingly as part of a food supplement.

Last week the Portuguese anti-doping agency (CNAD) rejected a Portuguese Cycling Federation appeal to reduce the brothers’ bans to four months and 15 days and it is understood that they will serve a minimum of one year.

Rui Costa rode for Caisse d’Epargne in 2010, winning a stage of the Tour de Suisse and finishing second overall at the Four Days of Dunkirk. He had also finished first at the Portuguese time trial championships before testing positive for methylhexaneamine. Mario Costa (Barbot Siper) finished third in the event.

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