The UCI announced today that Katusha rider Giampaolo Caruso has tested positive for EPO. The sample in question was taken in March 2012, in an out-of-competition test between Paris-Nice and the Tour of the Basque Country. Caruso participated in both races.
The UCI statement says the sample was recently reanalyzed using new scientific methods and that Caruso has the right to request a test on his “B” sample.
Caruso, who raced this year’s Tour de France, was in Katusha’s preliminary lineup for the Vuelta, which starts this weekend. As he has been provisionally suspended, he won’t be at the start.
A bigger question is whether the entire Katusha team will have to sit out the race. Following Luca Paolin’s positive for cocaine during this year’s Tour de France, this could count as the team’s second positive in 12 months. According to new UCI rules, that calls for the entire team to be suspended for 15 to 45 days. Italian team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec is currently serving a 30-day suspension for just such a violation, which is the first application of the new rule.
Additionally, Katusha is a member of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), which requires its members to self-suspend if two or more of its riders fail anti-doping tests in a 12-month period. It’s unclear if that voluntary organization’s rule will be applied in this case.
In a press statement, the team said, “Team Katusha would like to underline that this news comes as a complete shock.”