September 27, 2018
USADA announced today that Raul Diaz, of Miami, Fla., an athlete in the sport of cycling, has received a four-year sanction for an anti-doping rule violation.
Diaz, 48, 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.
Diaz tested positive for dexamethasone and recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) as the result of an in-competition urine sample he provided on July 29, 2018, at Vuelta a Miami. Dexamethasone is a Specified Substance in the class of Glucocorticoids and EPO is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors and Related Substances. Dexamethasone is prohibited in-competition when administered by specific routes and EPO is 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.
When confronted with his positive test, Diaz admitted using dexamethasone via a non-permitted route and EPO. Both glucocorticoids and peptide Hormones, growth Factors and blood-boosting substances, such as EPO, have powerful performance-enhancing benefits and have been demonstrated to give athletes an unfair advantage over fellow competitors. Sensitive laboratory analyses are routinely performed to detect these substances in urine and blood samples.
“Athletes deserve a fair playing field at every level of competition so that hard work and talent alone determine success in competition,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. “Programs like USA Cycling’s RaceClean initiative help ensure that all athletes have the knowledge they need to compete clean and that those who violate the rules by using powerful performance-enhancing substances are no longer able to claim false victories.”
Diaz’s four-year period of ineligibility began on September 5, 2018, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. In addition, Diaz has been disqualified from competitive results obtained on and subsequent to July 15, 2018, the day he first admitted use of EPO, 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.