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"I consider the presence of the substance in my body sufficiently declared and have now received treatment for the knee with regards to the new season. The use of betamethasone was prescripted. I had no intent to deceive," Marque...

Photo: Volta a Portugal

ALEJANDRO MARQUE

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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VOLTA A PORTUGAL

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14.12.2013 @ 15:34 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After yesterday's announcement that Alejandro Marque has tested positive for the banned substance betamethasone during his winning ride at the Volta a Portugal, the Spaniard has issued a statement, denying any wrongdoing on his part. He claims to have received treatment for a knee injury and that the UCI knew all about his use of the substance.

 

After several years riding for smaller teams in Portugal, Alejandro Marque experienced his big breakthrough when he won the Volta a Portugal in August. A dominant win in the penultimate stage time trial allowed him to take the yellow jersey and crown his professional career with an overall victory in his season highlight.

 

The result allowed him to realize a lifelong dream when he signed a contract with Movistar. The Spaniard was expected to use his time trial skills and solid climbing to support riders like Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde but those dreams have now been crushed by a positive test.

 

Marque tested positive for betamethasone in the Portuguese tour. Under WADA rules, the substance is banned when taken orally, intramuscularly, intravenously or rectally. The UCI has sent the file to the Spanish federation who will determine whether he has committed an anti-doping rule violation. He risks a two-year sanction and the loss of his win which will be given to his OFM teammate Gustavo Cesar Veloso.

 

Yesterday the Spaniard issued a statement and confirmed that he had indeed tested positive for the substance. However, he claims that both the UCI and his team were fully aware that he had used it to treat an injured knee.

 

"Betamethasone is a product which is allowed but not during races," he wrote. "Just before the Tour of Portugal, the most important race on the calendar in Portugal, my participation was in serious danger because of problems with my right knee. I received oral treatment with betamethasone and physiotherapy but to no avail. I had the product injected in my knee twice. My team and the UCI knew about this.

 

"When I was tested I also told the doping inspector of the product. There was no concealment from my part but I didn't go public with it because I didn't want to alert my rivals in the race. I consider the presence of the substance in my body sufficiently declared and have now received treatment for the knee with regards to the new season. The use of betamethasone was prescripted. I had no intent to deceive."

 

Movistar confirms that the contract is invalid

Marque's claims that he is innocent has had no impact on Movistar's stance. Yesterday a team representative told that there was a clause in the contract stating that Marque had to arrive to the team without problems. Later the team issued a statement to confirm that the contract has indeed been declared invalid.

 

" In the light of the news published by the media today, and following convenient vertification of the facts, Abarca Sports informs that the rider Mr. Alejandro Marque, who was set to join Movistar Team's roster for the upcoming season, will not make part of the squad. The contract signed between both parties will not come into effect on January 1st, 2014," the team wrote.

 

Support from current team

Marque won the Volta a Portugal while riding in the colours of the local continental team OFM-Quinta da Lixa. The team's sports director Jose Barros supports his rider's claim that the UCI knew all about his use of the substance.

 

"Alejandro sent all the documentation to the International Cycling Union (UCI) when just before the Volta a Portugal he realized that he had a knee injury and was treated with the substance," he told RTP, adding that it was "a substance Marque had to take and could do so according to the rules."

 

"The UCI does not see this case as a positive control and have asked for documents to prove that he had a knee injury and how he did the injection," he said. "Every time he was controlled, he had documentation to prove his use of the substance which is allowed within certain dates."

 

Yesterday El Pais reported that the file had been sent from the UCI to the Spanish federation which will determine whether Marque has committed an anti-doping rule violation.

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