The UCI has appealed for Sylvain Georges’ six-month suspension for his positive test for heptaminol to be extended to two years. Georges was fired by his Ag2r-La Mondiale team and handed a six-month ban by the French Cycling Federation when he returned a positive test for the stimulant at this year’s Giro d’Italia.
Georges blamed his positive test on his use of the non-prescription medicine Ginkor Fort, which is used to treat varicose veins. The FFC ruled on his case in July, but the UCI has since appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, asking for Georges to be handed the maximum possible suspension.
“A six-month suspension was already hard, even though I’m conscious that the FFC took into the consideration the particular nature of the case made by my lawyer,” Georges said in a statement on Tuesday. “But the UCI appealing, that I do not understand. It’s over-zealous. Even though it’s their right to appeal, their motivation is beyond me.
“What is the UCI looking for? I’ve already paid very dearly for my negligence, which was already recognised as such. Now the UCI is asking for a two-year ban. That’s the maximum sentence, the same as a cheat who uses EPO, amphetamines or nandrolone. I’m outraged to be placed in the same bracket as a rider who tested positive for worse substances.”
Georges’ six-month suspension expires in mid-November, meaning that he would be eligible to return to racing from the very beginning of next season. Regardless of whether the UCI’s appeal against him is successful, he pointed out that it has damaged his chances of landing a contract for 2014 in a market already saturated following the demise or downscaling of a number of teams, including Sojasun, Vacansoleil-DCM and Euskaltel-Euskadi.
“Right in the middle of the recruiting period, and while still looking for a team, you can easily imagine what consequences the UCI’s appeal might have,” Georges said.