UCI hands four-year ban to former keirin world champion Fabian Puerta

Colombia's Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata celebrates his gold medal on the podium after the men's Keirin final
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The UCI announced on Wednesday that its Anti-Doping Tribunal has issued a four-year suspension to Colombian track sprinter Fabian Puerta Zapata, the 2018 keirin world champion.

"The Tribunal found the rider guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (presence of boldenone metabolite) and sanctioned him with a 4-year period of ineligibility," the UCI announced.

The case dates back to an out-of-competition anti-doping control carried out on June 11, 2018 where Puerta's urine contained traces of the anabolic steroid boldenone. The UCI informed Puerta of the adverse finding in August, 2018.

The substance is a naturally occurring steroid but is also made mainly for use in horses under the trade name Equipoise. It is not approved for use in humans but has been abused by athletes and bodybuilders for muscle growth. Laboratory tests can distinguish between the naturally occurring endogenous form and the modified (exogenous) form.

In a 2019 interview with Noticias Caracol, Puerta suggested the positive came from contaminated meat and said his defence was hampered by the language barrier, a lack of funds to fight the ban, and a slow response from the UCI.

He said the case had made him depressed and that only the birth of his son had given him the will to live.

"Even if you are not guilty, it is one of the worst things that you can be accused of in cycling, in your sports life," Puerta said in 2019. "And being in such a beautiful moment and then overnight everything disappears, it is not easy for one. I was a world champion, I wore the rainbow jersey, for which I had fought all my life."

Puerta is married to track cyclist Juliana Gaviria, the sister of UAE Team Emirates sprinter Fernando Gaviria.

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