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By VeloNews Interactive
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has announced that its anti-doping review board determined last month that sufficient evidence of doping exists to proceed further in the case of former 7UP-Nutra Fig rider Juan Pineda.
Pineda tested positive for the prohibited substances 19-norandrostestosterone and 19-noretiocholanolone at the First Union invitational on June 4.
While Pineda is challenging the positive test result, he is no longer a member of the 7UP squad, team director Jeff Corbett told VeloNews, Monday.
“He found out the Monday after Fitchburg (July 1),” Corbett said. “He called me right away… and we pretty much let him go by the end of that week. Our policy is that any positive test will result in immediate dismissal. I don’t care what the reason was; whether it’s from a supplement or from Peruvian throat lozenges… we don’t even wait for the ‘B’ sample.”
That ‘B’ sample also came back positive, automatically moving the case on to an outside panel charged with reviewing the evidence against Pineda. Following rule changes in late 2001, publication of positive test results are now announced 30 days after that panel determines whether a case has merit or not. The rule change went into effect after the June 2001 positive test of Navigators’ Kirk O’Bee, who waited nearly a year before informing his team of the test result.
While under USA Cycling and UCI rules an accused rider has the right to compete until the case is resolved, Corbett said 7UP team policy requires that rider’s immediate dismissal.
“No way would we keep him on,” Corbett said. “Juan called right away. He told me what happened. In that sense this no O’Bee case. We had to let him go and he understood that. The break was amicable. We’re all still friends. It’s just that we can’t tolerate a positive. A positive is bad for the team, it’s bad for our sponsors and it’s bad for the guys out there racing for us. We want to send a message that this is a team that won’t put up with it. Period.”
Pineda has asked for a hearing in the matter and it is there that a final arbitration panel will either dismiss the case or recommend a sanction.