Nine positives in Vuelta a Guatemala

In what is certainly the biggest doping case in the race's history, nine riders have allegedly tested positive in the 46th Vuelta a Guatemala, including the winner and the first four places on the general classification. The positives were mainly for EPO and testosterone, with four Guatemalan and five foreign riders implicated: Lizandro Ajcú (1st GC), Nery Velásquez (9th GC), David Calanche (17th GC) and Abel Jocholá (all Gua), Noel Vásquez (Ven, 2nd GC) and Yeisson Delgado (Ven, 7th GC), Carlos López González (Mex, 3rd GC), Federico Muñoz (Col, 4th GC), José Reynaldo Murillo (ESA, 15th GC). The winner, Lizandro Ajcú, returned positive A samples for EPO on three separate occasions. He also recently and suddenly abandoned the Vuelta a Costa Rica.

None of the riders have admitted to taking banned substances. And as yet, no B sample analyses have been carried out, although it is not known how many of the riders will request them. If all are found guilty, the top part of the general classification will change radically, with Costa Rican Paulo Vargas (Pizza Hut) being elevated from fifth to first and the 18th placed rider, José Migdael Zeceña (Café Quetzal), jumping up to 10th.

According to Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre, the news wasn't initially reported by the Guatemalan cycling federation. Instead, it came to light after the UCI informed the various other national federations of the positives. The Venezuelan federation has already confirmed the cases of Noel Vásquez and Yeisson Delgado, and the Guatemalan federation, which claimed it was on holidays when the UCI communique was received, said that all the other riders had been contacted.

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