November 12, 2018
USADA announced today that Enrique Lopez, of Homestead, Fla., an athlete in the sport of cycling, has received a four-year sanction for an anti-doping rule violation.
Lopez, 36, was subject to testing due to his membership in USA Cycling, which maintains the RaceClean Program that works to fight doping in the sport of cycling. The goal of the RaceClean Program is to increase testing and education to provide greater doping deterrence and is executed through member funding, donations, and local association partnerships.
“Regardless of the level of competition, athletes deserve a fair and level playing field,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. “USA Cycling’s RaceClean initiative and others like it help build a culture of clean sport in which hard work and healthy performance are prioritized, while also holding accountable those who violate the rules by using powerful performance-enhancing substances.”
Lopez tested positive for recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) as the result of an in-competition urine sample he provided on July 29, 2018, at Vuelta a Miami. EPO is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors and Related Substances, and prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and the International Cycling Union Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the WADA Prohibited List.
EPO and similar blood doping drugs can be detected using sensitive direct testing methods in urine and blood which are routinely applied in high risk sports. Further, the athlete biological passport can be used to indirectly detect the effects of blood doping and is another way to detect and deter blood manipulation.
Lopez’s four-year period of ineligibility began on September 4, 2018, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. In addition, Lopez has been disqualified from competitive results obtained on and subsequent to July 29, 2018, the date his positive sample was collected, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.
In an effort to aid athletes, as well as support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements (www.Supplement411.org) as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, USADA manages a drug reference hotline, Global Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as an easy-reference wallet card with examples of prohibited and permitted substances, a supplement guide, an athlete handbook, and periodic alerts and advisories.
Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 1-877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253) or by mail.
USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.