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Seven Spaniards suspected of doping, says Soler

Vuelta runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera tested positive for an EPO masking agent.

Vuelta runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera tested positive for an EPO masking agent. (Image credit: AFP Photo)

Spain's general director of Sports, Albert Soler, announced today that two Spanish cyclists are about to receive a penalty and five others are under suspicion of doping after showing irregular blood values, according to Marca. Soler clarified that Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, whose positive doping control for Clenbuterol was announced last week, was not one of the seven.

Speaking at the Forum Ferrándiz at a conference on the Spanish anti-doping policy, Soler said, "Contador has nothing to do with this," refusing to name the seven riders. He added that the Spanish Federation is taking action in the blood profile cases.

The news comes after several high-profile doping positives by Spanish cyclists. Aside from Contador's case, Oscar Sevilla, Xacobeo Galicia's Ezequiel Mosquera and David Garcia Dapena were all declared positive for hydroxyethyl starch (HES), which is suspected as an EPO masking agent. Garcia went on to be declared positive for EPO.

Mountain biker Marga Fullana last week admitted to doping after being found positive for EPO.

Despite the recent news, Soler said that Spain is not above average in terms of doping positives. "The figures say that Spain is about average in positive doping cases in the world. According to the anti-doping laboratory in Madrid, in 2009 the percentage was 1.2 Spanish adverse findings, while WADA's worldwide average was 1.11, so we are just 0.09 are above this, " he said.

UCI president Pat McQuaid recently criticized the Spanish government for not doing enough to fight doping, but Soler defended his country's actions.

"During 2008, 2009 and 2010 in Spain, there were 11 sanctions by the UCI, and Italy in the same period there were 10. It is unpleasant to say, but we will not say that by being average we will be doing nothing, " he said.

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