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Cardoso handed four-year ban for EPO, 17 months after positive test

Joe Robinson
15 Nov 2018

Former Trek-Segafredo ride finally handed ban having initially tested positive before the 2017 Tour de France

Former Trek-Segafredo rider André Cardoso has been handed a four-year suspension for EPO, 17 months after the initial positive test was released before the 2017 Tour de France.

A short statement from the UCI confirmed that the UCI Anti-Doping tribunal had reached a decision regarding Cardoso and that the 34-year-old would be handed a four-year ban.

'The Anti-Doping Tribunal found the rider guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (use of Erythropoietin *) and imposed 4-year period of ineligibility on the rider,' the statement reads.

The Portuguese mountain domestique initially returned an adverse analytical finding (AAP) for EPO in an out-of-competition test on 18th June 2017. The rider was immediately suspended by the UCI and his Trek-Segafredo team, which saw him miss out on selection for the 2017 Tour. 

At the time, Cardoso denied using EPO and requested testing of his 'B' sample, which then failed to match the positive 'A' sample finding.

Usually, this would automatically override the initial test and lead to the case being dropped, but in this case the Laboratoire Suisse d'Analyse du Dopage (the Swiss laboratory in charge of Cardoso's results) listed the negative 'B' sample as an 'Atypical Finding'. 

This gave the UCI the power to hand a sanction to Cardoso directly, with the World Anti-Doping Agency allowing governing bodies to grant sanctions in cases where doping tests do not align. 

Nearly a year and a half later, the result of this process is a ban that is all but certain to end the 34-year-old Portuguese rider's career.

The cost and complexity of the case has seen the UCI facing increasing criticism, particularly on social media.

Critics have also questioned the apparent lack of urgency compared to the Chris Froome salbutamol case, which was settled four months ago despite Froome's AAF having been returned two months after Cardoso's.

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