Andre Cardoso defends his innocence in an open letter: For the record, sample B was negative
Nov 21 2018 01:57 am CET

Andre Cardoso defends his innocence in an open letter: For the record, sample B was negative
Andre Cardoso defends his innocence in an open letter: For the record, sample B was negative
Photo of Andre Cardoso by Trek-Segafredo

Andre Cardoso has released a statement to defend his innocence after the UCI imposed on him a four-year ban for an anti-doping rule violation.

Since June of 2017, when the Portuguese rider was notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding of Erythropoietin (EPO), he has defended his innocence. Five days after the announcement of his four-year punishment, the rider has decided to speak his mind.

"On 27 June (of 2017), I received an e-mail during my massage session," writes the rider in an open letter. "I had been so thrilled that once the massage was over I completely ignored by cell phone. While driving back home 'one day before the trip to the Tour', I got a call from Switzerland, from a 'UCI lawyer'. I was so in shock that I almost stopped my car on the motorway - my pregnant wife and my older son were both travelling with me in the car.

"I asked if it was a joke, I asked again, and said that it was impossible, impossible! The lawyer insisted that I should read the e-mail and reply as soon as possible. In my innocence, I asked 'what substance it was?', and he replied that it was 'EPO', of course, pure and simple. I was speechless, and just managed to say, again, that it was impossible. That afternoon began that which ended on 15 November 2018, a fight against the odds, without any chance of my proving what everyone can see."

Soon after, Cardoso got in contact with the "most important" people on the his former team Trek-Segafredo and of his life, including a close friend that "handled everything as if it were his own case."

"One month later, I, my agent and my expert travelled to Switzerland to open sample B, on a date scheduled by the UCI," Cardoso continues. "I do not wish anyone to live through those 3 days like I did. The three of us were in a meeting room at the Lausanne laboratory and in came the laboratory's expert, who was very thrilled to the point that he almost jumped in excitement while he showed us the graphs to my expert, saying 'As you can see, sample B is positive.'

"You could feel my hope to prove my innocence in the air, in my heart, as if it were a case of life and death. My expert asked why the line was lower than the usual, to which the laboratory's specialist replied: 'This is a test to confirm a positive.' My expert looked at his face and didn't say anything else. We asked to speak to the head of the laboratory. We made one last request for us to prepare our statement, so as not to be caught by surprise once again by the UCI."

Despite this test made in front of the rider, one month later the UCI sent him an e-mail communicating that the B test was negative. "I was in disbelief and caught in a whirlpool of emotions," he explains. "I received the sample B package and, for the record, sample B was negative, with no substance.

"However, the experts reported it as inconclusive as there is a sample A containing a substance. According to the Lausanne experts and to 4 other laboratories, “there is a strong chance that sample B was deteriorated and, therefore, they cannot say it is a clear negative, but that it is rather doubtful/inconclusive”. The laboratory sets the dates for opening sample B. I rest my case."

The rider was given a four-year ban but he is not giving up for now. "After this cry from the heart, this great injustice, all I have to say is that I am still strong enough to try to prove my innocence by resorting to the TAS through 'Legal Aid'. However, I am aware that this could be an unattainable mirage. After fighting the UCI for 16 months, I am unable to rely on this recourse any further, only through legal support."
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ANDRé CARDOSO





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