SAINT-AMAND-MONTROND, France (AFP) — The world of cycling was hit by another doping scandal on Tuesday when French rider Lloyd Mondory was revealed to have tested positive for EPO, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced.
Mondory, 32, of the Ag2r La Mondiale team, who has twice taken part in the Tour de France, returned a positive test for the performance-enhancing blood booster on February 17.
“I’m ashamed, I’m ashamed, I’m ashamed,” said Ag2r manager Vincent Lavenu. “I feel a sense of betrayal; he’s been with us for 12 years, and now the team’s reputation will be tarnished,” he added, after the second stage of the Paris-Nice race finished at Saint-Amand-Montrond.
Mondory turned professional in 2004 and has spent his entire career at Ag2r, winning the French Cup in 2006, and riding in the Tour de France in 2009 and 2010.
Two days before the positive test, Mondory finished seventh in the Clasica Almeria race and recently had his contract extended until 2016. He has since raced Trofeo Laigueglia, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, and Strade Bianche.
“I cannot handle this, there has been too much work and too much investment. My life is cycling and when the UCI contacted us, it is always shameful [to receive this kind of information],” continued Lavenu.
“He [Mondory] was in tears but his explanation doesn’t convince me. I hope he has the courage to tell the truth and not hide behind false excuses.” added Lavenu.
Mondory is the first top level French cyclist, since teammate Steve Houanard in 2012, to test positive for EPO. The team also faces suspension over the charges and is in danger of having its participation in this year’s Tour de France called into question.
Mondory has been provisionally suspended. He could face a four-year ban if the test results are confirmed. The new WADA code, enacted January 1, allows for the longer ban given the presence, use, attempted use, or possession of a prohibited substance or prohibited method by an athlete.