Two cyclists positive for EPO at GFNY World Championships

Gran fondo's have grown in popularity

Gran fondo's have grown in popularity (Image credit: Getty Images)

Organisers of the Campagnolo GFNY World Championships NYC announced Tuesday that two riders tested positive for recombinant EPO during out-of-competition controls conducted in concurrence with the event on May 19. Felipe Mendez (Colombia) and Gabriel Raff (Argentina) have each been disqualified and have received lifetime bans from competing in GFNY events.

Mendez and Raff were among several randomly selected athletes out of a testing pool of 60, which contained riders with a legitimate chance to place in the top 10 overall or win an age group.

Organisers said that Mendez tried to hide his identity ahead of the doping controls by attempting to claim the identity of his twin brother, who was also registered for the race but did not compete. In addition, on race morning, he showed up at the race start with a "broken" wristband, according to the press release.

Mendez finished 71st in 4:51:39, and Raff finished the race in 25th place in 4:31:10.

Organisers said that the positive tests were the the sixth and seventh in GFNY NYC's nine-year history. It established doping controls in 2012 and spends roughly $15,000 per year on maintaining anti-doping controls.

"It's simple: you can't catch cheaters if you don't perform doping controls,” says GFNY CEO Uli Fluhme. “These results show that testing is necessary and that it works. Unfortunately, most large mass participation races still don't test which sends a clear, yet terribly worrying sign: doping is allowed here.

"We don't allow course cutting at our races so why would we look the other way when it comes to doping?" Fluhme said. " GFNY riders train hard for races. They deserve a fair competition. We owe them doping controls, even if the costs are now well over $15,000 each year. Not testing the athletes is a selfish, cost saving decision from a race director. It forces everyone to take drugs to try to level the playing field."

In 2012, David Anthony (USA) and Gabriele Guarini (Italy) both tested positive for EPO at GFNY after winning their respective age groups. In 2015, first overall finisher, Oscar Tovar (Colombia), and Yamile Lugo (Colombia), who came third in the women's race, both tested positive for Testosterone. In 2017, Manuel Serrano Plowells (Mexico) tested positive for EPO during an OOC control at GFNY.


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