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Trek-Segafredo suspend Pantano after EPO positive

Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo)

Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Trek-Segafredo announced on Monday that they have suspended Colombian Jarlinson Pantano after the 30-year-old was informed of an adverse analytical finding for the blood boosting drug Erythropoietin (EPO) in an out-of-competition doping control carried out on February 26 by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation.

"It is with deep disappointment that we have just learned that our rider, Jarlinson Pantano, has been notified of an adverse analytical finding in a sample collected during an out of competition control carried out by the Cycling Antidoping Foundation. In accordance with our zero-tolerance policy, he has been suspended immediately," Trek-Segafredo announced in a statement sent to media.

"We hold our riders and staff to the highest ethical standards and will act and communicate accordingly as more details become available."

Pantano last raced for Trek-Segafredo on March 25 when he dropped out of the opening stage of the Volta a Catalunya.

EPO use peaked in the 1990s and early 2000s, with the Lance Armstrong case laying bare the rampant abuse of blood-boosting techniques in the pro peloton. But with the advent of the biological passport, its use is thought to have drastically decreased.

Nonetheless, there have been a number of EPO positives in the last several years. Colombian Wilmar Paredes was suspended from Manzana Postobon after a positive was announced last week. Vuelta a San Juan mountains classification winner Daniel Zamora was suspended March for an EPO positive from that race.

Last November, former Trek-Segafredo rider Andre Cardoso was handed a four-year ban from a 2017 EPO positive, while Rémy Di Gregorio was suspended last year after testing positive for Aranesp in Paris-Nice.

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Bahrain-Merida) was suspended last September after a July positive for EPO.

In all, there are 17 athletes who are currently serving suspensions for EPO on the UCI Anti-Doping Rule Violation list, and 22 suspended for a related drug CERA - most stemming from mass-suspensions in tests taken in South America at either the Vuelta a Costa Rica or Vuelta a Colombia in 2017.