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Spanish media outlets are reporting that Ezequiel Mosquera, a stage-winner and second overall at the 2010 Vuelta a España, has tested positive.
The Spanish daily MARCA is citing unnamed sources that Mosquera and David Garcia Da Pena, his teammate on the Xacobeo-Galicia team failed doping controls during the recent Spanish tour, which ended September 19 in Madrid with Mosquera on the second step of the podium.
According to the UCI, both riders failed a test for Hydroxyethyl Starch, also known as HES. The substance is used to increase the volume of blood plasma and make evidence of EPO use harder to detect.
Earlier in the day, Xacobeo-Galicia sport director Alvaro Pino had told the Spanish wire service EFE the team has not received advisories from any anti-doping officials. According to UCI sources, however, the riders were formally notified by anti-doping officials later on Thursday.
“Someone just told me and I surprised because we on the team are sure that this doping case is impossible,” Pino said. “I still have not spoken to Ezequiel, but I will try to in the next few hours.”
Mosquera, 34, had the best Vuelta of his career, winning the decisive summit finish at Bola del Mundo and finally finishing on the podium following three finishes in the top-5.
Mosquera recently signed a contract to join the Vacansoleil team in Holland in a two-year deal. Even before the latest doping reports, officials from the Spanish team Xacobeo-Galicia were speaking of ending its support of the squad going into next season.
If true, the report would have a devastating impact on the Vuelta and Spanish cycling. The reports come on the same day that three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador was suspended after he tested positive during the 2010 Tour.
Check back to VeloNews.com for more information on this developing story.