Colombian tests positive for EPO at Red Hook Crit

A Colombian cyclist tests positive for EPO in a Red Hook Crit, held in Milan at the start of October. He is banned for life from the series.

Colombian cyclist Mario Paz Duque was snared by an in-competition anti-doping test at the Milan round of the Red Hook Criterium on October 1. The Colombian racer tested positive for EPO, according to a release from race management.

Per the Red Hook Criterium’s rules, Duque is now banned for life from the fixed-gear criterium series.

The positive test is the first doping revelation for the Red Hook series, which is comprised of fixed-gear races in Brooklyn, London, Milan, and Barcelona. Red Hook was launched in 2008, and in 2013 became an international series.

“It’s unfortunate — we always wanted to believe that the Red Hook Crit represented a new way in cycling, but you can’t be naive,” said David Trimble, the series’s founder. “When we started to get crossover from road racing we knew it was a risk.”

In recent years, the fixed-gear race began attracting riders with professional road racing credentials. Paz Duque competes on Paraguay’s Vivo Team Grupo Oresy road team, which is registered as a UCI Continental team.

Trimble said he began testing at the Red Hook race in Milan starting in 2014. The race sends its samples to the WADA-accredited Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) in Salt Lake City, Utah. For 2016, Trimble extended testing to all four races. Officials perform doping controls on the top-3 men and women, and then also test random finishers.

Duque, who finished 38th at the Milan round of the fixed-gear criterium race series, was snared by a random test, Trimble said.

Trimble forbids athletes with any doping history from competing in any round of the Red Hook Criterium, and said that he often removes riders from the start line at this races. In previous years he has prevented former ProTour riders Riccardo Ricco and Carlos Barredo from participating. Both men previously received sanctions for doping.

“Obviously this news sucks but it shows that we’re taking it seriously,” Trimble said. “If someone is thinking of doping and coming to the Red Hook Criterium, they’re going to be worried now.”

The Red Hook series has popularized fixed-gear racing in the last decade, in part due to its grassroots appeal.

Read more about the growth of the Red Hook Crit series >>