The impressive one-two finishes by Polish brothers Pawel and Kacper Szczepaniak in the U23 race at the cyclocross world championships in January may turn out to be less impressive than originally thought.
According to the UCI, the Szczepaniaks have both tested positive for EPO and have now been handed provisional suspensions as a result. According to a statement issued Thursday, the two riders returned positive EPO results from samples taken at the world championships in Tabor, in the Czech Republic, on January 30.
The UCI statement noted that both riders had been targeted because their blood profiles, taken as part of the Biological Passport Program, showed “suspicious values.” According to the UCI, the two would have been tested no matter what their results that day, but suspicions were undoubtedly amplified when the two dominated their event in Tabor.
The samples were tested at the WADA-accredited laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria.
The provisional suspensions remain in force until a hearing panel convened by the Polish Cycling Federation determines whether the Szczepaniaks have committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.
According to the World Anti-Doping Code, both riders have the right to request analyses of their B samples. Either they, or a designated representative, have the right to observe the testing of their second samples.
If found to have committed an anti-doping violation, both face a likely two-year suspension, although under recent revisions to the WADA Code, the hearing panel can add or subtract time depending on mitigating and aggravating circumstances.