The UCI has confirmed that the winner of this year’s Vuelta a San Juan, Gonzalo Najar, failed a doping test at the January race, along with his teammate and fellow Argentinian, Gaston Emiliano Javier.
The news was reported by the Argentinian website Ciclismo Internacional on Sunday, with the UCI issuing a statement on Monday morning, explaining that the doping controls were “intelligence-led”.
Najar tested positive for CERA, a ‘third-generation’ form of EPO, on January 21 – the day of the opening stage of the 2018 Vuelta a San Juan. He went on to win the mountain stage to Alto de Colorado by nearly two minutes, and then sealed the overall title ahead of the likes of Oscar Sevilla, Rafal Majka, and Tiesj Benoot.
Najar has not raced on the road at international level since the Vuelta a San Juan, and was training with the Argentinian team head of the Pan-American Games this week until he was notified of his positive test.
Javier, a teammate of Najar’s at the Sindicato de Empleados Publicos de San Juan team, tested positive for Anabolic Androgenic Steroids on January 23, the day of the stage 3 individual time trial.
Both riders have been provisionally suspended but may now request analysis of their B sample before a final verdict is reached. Should Najar be sanctioned, he would be stripped of his 2018 Vuelta a San Juan title, which would pass to Sevilla.
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