Perez to be banned for two years

Ex-Phonak rider Santiago Perez, who finished second in the Vuelta a España, will likely receive a two year suspension from the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), after his violation of rights appeal to the Spanish High Court was rejected. Perez tested positive for a homologous blood transfusion in an out of competition test taken at the UCI headquarters in Lausanne in October last year. It's expected that the RFEC will hand down its verdict in two weeks.

Perez' appeal to the ordinary courts merely served to delay the outcome of the case for six weeks. In rejecting his appeal, the High Court stated that, "The allegations formulated [by Perez] do not fit well with any special process of protection of the fundamental rights of the person."

Assuming that he is sanctioned by the RFEC, Perez will lose his contract with Relax-Fuenlabrada, which he signed on the proviso that he would not be suspended.

The case of Perez is running parallel to that of his former teammate Tyler Hamilton, who tested positive for a homologous blood transfusion during the Vuelta a España, as well as failing an "A" test for the same banned method at the Athens Olympics. Hamilton's case is to be heard by the US Anti-Doping Agency's arbitration body.

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