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Luis Villalobos handed four-year suspension for growth hormone use

The Mexican rider, who raced with Aevolo and EF Pro Cycling, recorded a positive test for the banned substance in April 2019.

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Mexican rider Luis Villalobos has been handed a four-year suspension by the UCI for his use of growth hormones.

The positive case dates back to April 25, 2019, when Villalobos was racing with the U.S. Aevolo squad. However, it was not detected until over a year later when he had switched to the EF Pro Cycling team on a three-year contract.

Villalobos was suspended by the EF Pro Cycling team following the adverse analytical finding in May of last year. He has not raced since March 2020, when the season was halted at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“The Tribunal found the rider guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (presence of GHRP-6*) and imposed a four-year period of ineligibility on the rider,” a UCI statement said. “In accordance with the Procedural Rules of the Tribunal, the decision will shortly be published on the UCI website.”

Following the suspension, Villalobos will be prohibited from riding any UCI races until May 17, 2024.

Villalobos was one of Mexico’s most promising young talents at the time of the positive test. He joined the Aevolo squad in 2017 and gained the attention of the WorldTour with his top 10 finish at the Tour of Utah in 2018, where he also won the youth classification.

Also read: Villalobos heads to WorldTour with EF Education First

EF Education subsequently signed him on a two-year deal at the end of 2018, but he remained at Aevolo for the first half of the 2019 season before switching up to the WorldTour mid-year.

Following the news of his positive test, EF Pro Cycling team boss Jonathan Vaughters criticized what he described as “amateur doctors and trainers”.

“This team was set up to protect the health and the rights of riders across the sport, particularly the younger riders as they entered the professional level. It’s hugely upsetting for us when these young riders fall under the guidance of amateur doctors and trainers who ultimately ruin their careers,” Vaughters said.

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