Teams are going to be stretched to the limit when the WorldTour gets back underway on August 1, and now EF Pro Cycling is going to be a hand short as new Mexican rider Luis Villalobos had a Adverse Analytical Finding of growth-hormone releasing peptide GHRP-6 in a sample taken last year when he was racing with former team Aevolo. EF Pro Cycling was informed of the result on Monday and has suspended Villalobos indefinitely.
Villalobos joined EF Pro Cycing on August 1 last season after two-and-a-half years with American Continental side Aevolo, signing through 2021. The out-of-competition sample was taken on April 29, 2019 in Mexico.
EF Pro Cycling team principal Jonathan Vaughters was miffed about the year-long delay from sample to AAF and notification. In a press release he said, “The team is profoundly disappointed to learn of the potential violation more than a year after the sample was taken and is exploring its legal rights with regard to the extremely delayed notification. Only World Anti-Doping Agency accredited labs are able to test for GHRP-6. If we’d have known, we would not have signed Luis. The burden of this is on the UCI because there is no internal testing program that has access to the level of equipment needed to screen for GHRP-6.”
The 21-year-old rider has the right to request the testing of a B sample.
The two-time Mexican time trial champion raced 21 days for EF Pro Cycling since signing, including WorldTour races the Tour of Poland, EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg and Bretagne Classic-Ouest-France.