Oscar “Baby Face” Sevilla gets a six month suspension for his Hydroxyethyl Starch (HES) positive from last year’s Vuelta a Colombia. That almost qualifies as a speedy verdict for the Spanish Cycling Protection Federation.
They have yet to render any judgement on Vuelta a Espana runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera’s HES positive. We all remember how long it took them before deciding that Spanish super-star Alberto Contador and his tainted clenbuterol steak were not worthy of sanction.
In Sevilla’s case, it’s a suspension but barely. It runs from September 14 and will end on March 14, 2012. Not much punishment in that unless Sevilla plans a heavy early season race schedule for February and early March. Not knowing his race calendar for next season, the suspension feels more like a two month break at best. Maybe that’s one reason Sevilla has no plans to appeal his punishment.
Sevilla’s Gobernacion De Antioquia-Indeportes Antiquia squad is also happy with the decision. In a statement, the team had this to say: “In the analysis of the case, the resolution acknowledges that [the positive test] was involuntary, due to emergency medical treatment, and the substance Hydroxyethyl Starch did not increase athletic performance by Oscar Sevilla. Once he completes the penalty, we will bring him back to the elite team’s roster for the 2012 cycling season.”
For those who haven’t done their homework on Hydroxyethyl Starch, it’s a blood volume expander and does not directly enhance performance. A number of anti-doping experts believe HES is used as a masking agent for the use of EPO or other blood manipulations.
Next up, Mr Mosquera. What’s the Spanish Cycling Protection Federation have planned for him? Probably, not mucho.