Suspect samples destroyed in Guatemala

The Guatemala National Team in action.

The Guatemala National Team in action. (Image credit: Vuelta Internacional a Costa Rica)

Guatemalan police are investigating a report that test samples given by last year's Tour of Guatemala winner Nery Velásquez and another Guatemalan rider, Alfredo Ajpacajá, were destroyed during an attack on a parcel delivery van and its driver on December 21.

According to Guatemalan daily Siglo XXI, the driver of the DHL van, Julio Eduardo López, was attacked by unknown assailants who destroyed samples taken by the Guatemalan Olympic Committee (COG) and being sent for testing in Canada. The report made to police also alleges that prior to the attack the two riders had gone to the DHL office looking for the samples.

The destroyed samples had been taken on December 18 in the wake of previous tests made during October's Tour of Guatemala that indicated that Velásquez and Ajpacajá had used an anabolic steroid developed for veterinary use, Boldenone. Having already been banned for EPO use in 2004, Velásquez faces the end of his cycling career if a second doping offence is confirmed.

This second round of testing was undertaken after Guatemala's Anti-Doping Commission highlighted inconsistencies in testing procedures during the country's national tour. As well as submitting to a the test on December 18, the two riders underwent another test on December 28.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).