Cyclist Iban Mayo considers legal action against UCI after being cleared of doping allegations

Updated: October 23, 2007, 11:51 AM ET
Associated Press

PARIS -- Cycling's governing body denied Tuesday that Spanish rider Iban Mayo had been cleared of doping allegations related to the 2007 Tour de France, and called for a new test of his backup sample.

Anne Gripper, anti-doping chief for the International Cycling Union, took issue with the Spanish cycling federation's announcement Monday that Mayo's "B" sample had come back negative.

"It wasn't a negative 'B' sample -- it was an inconclusive 'B' sample," Gripper told The Associated Press at two-day Paris conference on doping in cycling "The case for us is still very open, we have not gotten a final resolution on the 'B' sample. It needs to be analyzed in the Paris laboratory."

In July, the UCI said Mayo tested positive for the blood-booster EPO during the Tour de France.

Gripper said the backup sample was transferred to a laboratory in Ghent, Belgium, for testing after the Tour when the French lab was closed for holiday.

"To ensure that the rider could have the 'B' done more quickly, we transferred the sample, but the Ghent laboratory just couldn't get the sample to confirm the Paris" result, Gripper said.

"Of course, they use a slightly different technique" than the French lab, she said.

"We will ask the Spanish federation for the full documentation about why they decided to close the case, and then we will make our decision" about whether to instruct the French lab to open the backup sample for testing, she said.

Mayo, who finished 16th in the Tour, was suspended without pay while his Saunier-Duval team awaited the results on his "B" sample.

In June, he was suspected of having failed a test for testosterone during the Tour of Italy, but was later cleared of wrongdoing by the UCI.

Mayo faces a minimum two-year suspension if found guilty of doping, and said he was considering possible legal action against the UCI.

"I'm still worked up about it all but it's a possibility," Mayo told reporters Monday. "I have to talk to my lawyer. It's been shown that the whole process was a disaster. Someone will have to pay for of this," he told El Correo newspaper.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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