16 Dec 2020
In August 2018 the International Cycling Union had reported an anti-doping rule violation against the Colombian Rider Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata after his A and B samples tested posititive for the prohibited substance Boldenone.
After notification a provisional suspension was ordered. The Athlete filed a statement in his defence with the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal (UCI-ADT). The Sole Arbitrator renders a decision based on the written submissions of the Parties.
The Athlete denied the intentional use of the substance and requested for a reduced sanction. He argued with medical opinions that his positive tests were the result of his consumption of Boldenone-contaminated meat on the evening before the doping control. He asserted with evidence that Boldenone is widely used in farming of beef cattle in Columbia.
When assessing the likelihood of the various scenarios the Athlete submited that the Panel should also take into account the jurisprudence in comparable cases. Further the Athlete disputed the validity of the test results because of the inconsistencies found in the Lab dossier and due to the partially suspended accreditation of the Salt Lake City Lab.
After consultation with external scientific experts the UCI rejected the Athlete's explanation due to the concentration Boldenone found in his samples was not consistent with the alleged consumption of contaminated meat. Moreover the found concentration was consistent with the intentional injection of Boldenone 1-2 days before the test.
The Sole Arbitrator finds that the presence of the prohibited substance Boldenone has been established in the Athlete's samples and accordingly that he committed an anti-doping rule violation.
The Sole Arbitrator deems that in the absence of convincing evidence the Athlete failed to demonstrate that there had been departures of the ISL. Also at the relevant time the Salt Lake City Lab was fully reinstated and it met all requirements and recommendations.
The Sole Arbitrator is not prepared, on the balance of probability, to accept the Athlete's hypothesis of meat contamination. Nor is there evidence on file, on a balance of probabilities, that there must have been an oral route of ingestion and that such oral ingestion must stem from an inadvertent meat contamination.
Finally the Sole Arbitrator concludes that:
- The Athlete has committed an anti-doping rule violation;
- he has not discharged his burden of proof how, on a balance of probabilities, the prohibited substance entered his system; and
- he failed to show, on a balance of probabilites, that the violation was not intentional.
Therefore the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal decides on 16 December 2020 to impose a 4 year period of ineligibility on the Athlete starting on the date of the provisional suspension, i.e. on 13 August 2018. The UCI's costs for the results management, the sample collection and the laboratory documentation package shall be borne by the Athlete.