Andre Cardoso, the Portuguese professional road racing cyclist who rides for UCI ProTeam Trek–Segafredo, has been suspended by his team for a failed drugs test, just a few days ahead of start of the Tour de France.
Cardoso, one of nine men in the Trek-Segafredo team that includes 2009 Tour winner Alberto Contador, tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO). The forbidden substance has the ability to boost the production of red blood cells in the body that speeds up the delivery of oxygen to muscles.
The world governing body of cycling, the UCI announced the sample of Cardoso was taken at an out-of-competition test on 18 June. In a statement, the UCI said the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that Portuguese rider Andre Cardoso was notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of Erythropoietin in a sample collected in the scope of an out-of-competition control on 18 June 2017.
The statement also reads that the control was planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI, in charge of defining and implementing the anti-doping strategy in cycling. The UCI statement also said the rider has the right to request and attend the analysis of the B sample and added the rider has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair in accordance with UCI Anti-Doping Rules.
The place of Cardoso will now be taken by Spanish veteran rider Haimar Zubeldia.
A few days back, Cardoso tweeted it was a "dream come true" to be making his first appearance in the Tour de France and he was very proud to have been named in Trek-Segafredo's nine-man team. Cardoso has now issued a statement on Facebook where he vehemently denied knowingly taking the banned substance. The Portuguese cyclist added he believes in clean sport and had always conducted himself as a clean athlete, but he has now realized that this news puts a dark cloud on not just himself but also on our sport and his team, teammates, and staff.
In a statement, Trek-Segafredo said it is with deep disappointment that we have just learned that our rider, Andre Cardoso, has tested positive for a prohibited substance. The statement further reads that Cardoso has been suspended with immediate effect as per zero-tolerance policy of the team. The Trek-Segafredo statement also reads that the team hold its riders and staff to the highest ethical standards and will act and communicate accordingly as more details become available.
Cardoso joined Trek–Segafredo in 2017 as a mountain domestique for Alberto Contador and Bauke Mollema. Trek-Segafredo General Manager Luca Guercilena had expressed happiness at the joining of Cardoso. Guercilena had then remarked Cardoso has made it to the top 20-25 of every Grand Tour he participated in over the last years and his steady performances at this level make him an excellent helper for our main GC contenders, Contador and Mollema. Guercilena had also commented that he is confident that his support in the mountains will be very valuable for them and the team as a whole.
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