UCI investigating banned doping doctor’s presence in Volta a Catalunya

Dr Pedro Celaya
Dr Pedro Celaya in the white mask and with white hair (Image credit: Cyclingnews)

The UCI and the International Testing Agency's (ITA) Cycling Unit are looking into reports that Dr. Pedro Celaya attended the Volta a Catalunya this week. Celaya was banned for life as part of the USADA’s Reasoned Decision that looked into doping by the US Postal Service team and Lance Armstrong in 2012. As part of his ban, Celaya is not allowed to attend sporting events in an official capacity or work within the sport.

However, two independent witnesses have come forward and told Cyclingnews that Celaya was at the Volta a Catalunya on stage 2 and that he spoke to riders, team staff, and even UCI anti-doping officials. One of the witnesses also provided photos of the doctor at the race. Celaya’s ban doesn’t stop him from attending sporting events as a fan or bystander, but reports that he was in the team paddock and bus area ahead of the stage 2 time trial in Banyoles has sparked concern within the UCI.

Cyclingnews reached out to the UCI for comment, with the sport’s governing body stating that: “The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is aware of the reported presence of Mr. Pedro Celaya, who is subject to a life suspension for anti-doping rule violations, at the Vuelta a Catalunya. All information in our possession has been provided to the ITA Cycling Unit, who will look further into the matter on behalf of the UCI," the governing body told Cyclingnews.

Celaya’s ban was made official in 2014. His initial 8-year ban was extended to a life ban after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed that decision to the CAS in June of that year, calling for longer bans for US Postal coach Jose Martí, team manager Johan Bruyneel and Celaya.

In their ruling, CAS stated: "The CAS Panel found that the totality of the evidence presented before it painted a very clear picture: from 1997 to 2007, Messrs Bruyneel, Martí and Celaya participated in an elaborate and highly successful doping scheme with Mr Bruyneel at the apex of a multitude of doping violations and Mr Martí and Dr Celaya as the indispensable participants in this widespread and systematic doping program," the CAS said in its press release.

"The CAS Panel unanimously concluded that in the circumstances, lifetime ineligibility was an appropriate sanction for Messrs Bruyneel and Celaya, and that a period of ineligibility of 15 years was appropriate for Mr Martí."

Dr Pedro Celaya

Dr Pedro Celaya (right) during his US Postal days (Image credit: Getty Images)

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