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Houston-based amateur accepts doping suspension

By Charles Pelkey

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced Tuesday that Houston-based Category 1 racer Mitch Comardo (Bike Barn) has been suspended for two years after testing positive for several prohibited substances.

A urine sample collected out-of-competition from the 22-year-old Comardo by USADA on August 24 contained Tamoxifen and its metabolite 4-hydroxytamoxifen, Anastrozole, Letrozole and Clomiphene, each of which is in the class of “hormone antagonists and modulators.” The sample also tested positive for human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG), which is in the class of “hormones and related substances” and is classified as an anabolic agent.

While the tests revealed the presence of several prohibited substances, Comardo told VeloNews that their only possible source was a commercially available supplement he would only describe as “a natural testosterone enhancer.”

Comardo said that in August of this year he made “an uneducated mistake” in taking a substance “based on how my body was feeling at the time. I should have known what was in it, but I didn’t.”

“That’s not an excuse,” he said. “I made a decision to use something and I have to deal with the consequences. It’s my duty as a cyclist to know what it is I’m taking. I didn’t do that.”

Each of the substances is prohibited under the USADA Protocol for Olympic Movement Testing and the rules of the UCI, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (“Code”) and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

According to USADA, Comardo admitted the rule violation and accepted a two-year suspension after learning of the results. By not contesting the case, Comardo avoided a longer suspension for aggravating circumstances based on the presence of multiple substances in his urine sample.

Comardo said, however, that his willingness to accept the penalty and not challenge test results had nothing to do with the possibility of a longer suspension.

“I pled the way I did because I accept that I made a mistake,” he said. “I know it doesn’t look like I’ve been honest, but honesty is what drove me to accept the suspension. I did something wrong and I have to accept the consequences of that.”

Comardo’s two-year period of ineligibility began on September 24, 2009, the date he accepted a provisional suspension. As a result of the doping violation, Comardo has been disqualified from all competitive results achieved on and subsequent to August 24, 2009, the date the sample was collected, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.

Comardo said that he will continue to ride for the next two years and focus on staying fit. He will be 24 years old when his suspension expires in 2011.

“Racing is a passion and racing is what I do,” he said. “It’s going to be tough two years … but I’m not looking for sympathy when I say that. It’s my mistake. I have to be willing to accept the consequences of my actions, both for myself and for cycling. We all have that responsibility.”

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