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UCI suspend Burgos-BH

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Combined classification leader Ibai Salas Zorrozua (Burgos BH)

Combined classification leader Ibai Salas Zorrozua (Burgos BH)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Igor Merino Cortazar (Burgos BH), Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias) and Antonio Molina (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA ) in the breakaway during stage 2 at Volta a Catalunya

Igor Merino Cortazar (Burgos BH), Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias) and Antonio Molina (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA ) in the breakaway during stage 2 at Volta a Catalunya
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

The UCI announced Friday that the Disciplinary Commission has suspended the Professional Continental Team Burgos-BH for 21 days from January 16 to February 5, 2019, following a series of positive doping tests.

The suspension is in accordance with article 7.12.1 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) providing for a "Team Suspension". The UCI referred the team to the Disciplinary Commission because it had two anti-doping rule violations within a period of twelve months.

Three Burgos-BH’s riders return positive tests with David Belda the first to be sanctioned in December 2017. He was given a four-year ban after testing positive for EPO in two separate out-of-competition controls in March 2017.

In the past month, two further Burgos-BH riders were formally handed bans of equal length. Ibai Salas was banned for four years after anomalies were detected in his biological passport, while Igor Meriño received the same sanction after testing positive for human growth hormone this summer.

The UCI Disciplinary Commission's decision to suspension Burgos-BH is in line with the team’s decision to suspend themselves from competition. They announced last week that they have pulled out of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo and the Challenge Mallorca in January and February of next year.

Julio Andrés Izquierdo, team manager, said that Burgos-BH will instead hold a three-week camp in that period, during which it will work on an internal anti-doping policy.

"We have decided to voluntarily carry out a self-suspension from competition to dedicate ourselves exclusively to the prevention of doping," Izquierdo said. "This gathering will last for three weeks where training, seminars and meetings with anti-doping specialists will take place."

Inzquierdo also said that the team would roll out a new regimen of internal testing for the 2019 season.

"So far we have focused on the biological passport and the ADAMS, but in 2019 we want to go further," he said. "We will do internal controls to have an exact knowledge of each one of our riders. At Burgos-BH we have always taken the fight against doping very seriously."