What Mosquera didn’t say

Mosquera Vuelta
Cloudy and murky

Ezequiel Mosquera was supposed to be Vacansoleil’s second star signing but the only reason for the Dutch team to be happy is that he hasn’t brought as much bad publicity as Riccardo Riccò. He was suspended after tests showed both he and then team mate David Garcia Da Peña had tested positive for hydroxyethyl starch (HES) in the Vuelta a España. Garcia also tested positive for EPO and was subsequently banned.

Mosquera on the other hand remained suspended. HES is only a banned substance when injected intravenously as it can be used as a masking agent, specifically because it inhibits the excretion of banned substances, or put simply it keeps EPO out of your urine. Outside of doping it is more commonly used “blood volume expander”, often for patients suffering big blood loss, and its use could also fall under the “prohibited method” of blood doping. But the authorities are faced with having to prove either the intravenous use or the manipulation of blood.

Hmm. Voluven is a commercialised version of HES

Suspended for a while, the UCI later clarified that he actually wasn’t suspended any more. Yet Mosquera hasn’t pushed hard to return and his new team have asked him not to race, presumably to avoid any more bad headlines after Riccò.

In an attempt to force things a bit and get control of the agenda Mosquera yesterday, he put out a press release (in Spanish) that made several points. You can catch an English summary at Velonation.

To summarise he says he’s been tested many times and only HES appeared, that the WADA-accredited eagle-eyed lab in Cologne that caused Contador sleepless nights didn’t pick-up any EPO. He says “scientific studies show that Hydroxyethyl starch doesn’t allow to improve the sportive performance” and that “Hydroxyethyl starch isn’t forbidden in case of intramuscularly or oral intake“. He also contests the WADA assertion that HES is a masking agent.

More questions than answers
A tiny point is that for all his points, he makes no denial when it comes to EPO use, simply the claim that it wasn’t present in his samples – but some claim that’s the whole point of using HES, to block the EPO from reaching the urine. Perhaps he feels he doesn’t need to deny EPO use but that would have been nice to read.

But the biggest gap is any explanation of how the HES appeared. For all the talk about this subject – he even touches on its chemistry – Mosquera implicitly admits the HES was there. He then says that it didn’t aid performance and that intramuscular or oral use is ok. So was he injecting it or drinking it? And why? Thirsty, did he just reach for for a cold pouch of Hespan at the back of the fridge?

Serve chilled

His team collapsed amidst allegations of doping. Mosquera’s own team mate gets caught for a cocktail HES and EPO. You’d think there’s plenty to account for. But since the type of HES use can’t be proven, it looks like Mosquera is going to rejoin the bunch.

But until he explains just how the HES got there – and perhaps who suggested using it, who administered it and more – then people are going keep asking him whether he’s simply slipped through the anti-doping net.

7 thoughts on “What Mosquera didn’t say”

  1. I may have got this wrong, but isn’t he also exploiting a loop hole in the UCI/WADA anti-doping regulations?

    My understanding is that he can only be convicted of HES usage if it’s also in his ‘B’ sample but in his press release he clearly states that he didn’t request analysis of the ‘B’ sample, claiming he waived this right to accelerate the process. Surely he’s being disengenious there, by not testing the ‘B’ sample he can’t be charged so the UCI are left in a situation where they can’t ban him?

  2. Andy, under the results management process an athlete can hold their hands up and say “yes” after the A-sample and waive the B-sample test and then get banned on the basis of this. Mosquera is saying no to the B-test and admitting the presence of HES. I can’t help wonder if the B-sample was tested whether it might show anything else?

    Hypothetically speaking, if a rider was dabbling in EPO, perhaps via microdoses and intravenous use (it’s tragic I’ve had to learn this) and it didn’t show in the A-test then there’s every incentive to keep the B-sample sealed shut for ever.

  3. Another string to this is whether Vacansoleil want him to ride at all. They’ve got their ProTour licence now and are getting some pretty decent results with their current squad of riders. Would they be better off without the financial, moral and marketing burden of Mosquera (and Ricco) and hiring a more suitable ‘big name’ for 2012?

  4. So he has a strange substance show up in the test, team riders are banned using it as a mask for EPO and he wants to ride? It sure does look bad and it seems he does not want to explain more.

  5. “but some claim that’s the whole point of using HES, to block the EPO from reaching the urine” That’s worng. Ok, HES blocks the EPO to go to the urine… but Mosquera has his blood tested and no EPO was found.

    And the rider doesn’t have to provide answers… the accusers have. And you don’t have any of them.

    “I can’t help wonder if the B-sample was tested whether it might show anything else?” That’s worng again. If you test the B sample, you test it for the same substance taht were found in the A sample. Anyway, if they found something in the B sample…what would be the point? The A sample was clean, so you don’t have a case anyway.

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