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Winner and 11 others fail doping controls at Vuelta a Costa Rica

Holiday cheer is in short supply at the Vuelta a Costa Rica.

The UCI confirmed Wednesday that the Central American 2.2-category race, held around Christmastime, saw 12 riders return adverse analytical findings in anti-doping tests. All 12 riders are Costa Rican.

Juan Carlos Rojas Villegas, Cesar Andres Rojas Villegas, Jewinson Leandro Varela Zuniga, Vladimir Fernandez Torres, Jose Alexis Rodriguez Villalobos, Jason Huertas Araya, Jose Irias, Gabriel Eduardo Marin Sanchez, Melvin Mora Garita, Kevin Murillo Solano, and Jordy Sandoval all were found to have CERA in their samples. Jeancarlo Padilla’s sample had EPO.

Juan Carlos Rojas Villalegas won the race overall by 8:35. He also won the stage 5 time trial and stage 10. His brother, Cesar Andres, was third overall and won stage 9. Fernandez won stage 4 and was fifth overall; Varela was ninth overall.

The samples were collected on December 22, the day Rojas won the individual time trial and took the overall lead. The 10-stage race ran December 18-27, 2017.

All 12 riders have been provisionally suspended and have the opportunity to request B sample tests.

This comes on the heels of another doping scandal in the UCI Americas Tour. In August, eight riders failed anti-doping tests at the Vuelta a Colombia.

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