• Cycling

Team Sky withdraw rider over test result 'questions'

ESPN staff
March 19, 2014
Team Sky have sent Henao to his homeland of Colombia for an altitude research programme © Getty Images

Team Sky rider Sergio Henao has been taken off their race schedule following "questions" over his out-of-competition doping test results.

Having reviewed what they describe as a "comprehensive internal process which looks at each rider's physiological profile", Team Sky have sent Henao to his homeland of Colombia for an altitude research programme.

A statement from Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford on their official website said: "We have strong monitoring and compliance processes in this team, with the full cooperation of riders and coaches.

"In our latest monthly review, our experts had questions about Sergio's out-of-competition control tests at altitude - tests introduced this winter by the anti-doping authorities. We need to understand these readings better.

"We contacted the relevant authorities - the UCI [cycling's governing body] and CADF [Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation] - pointed to these readings and asked whether they could give us any insights. We've also taken Sergio out of our race programme while we get a better understanding of these profiles and his physiology.

"We want to do the right thing and we want to be fair. It's important not to jump to conclusions."

Henao, who joined Team Sky in 2012, underwent out-of-competition tests accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency in his home region of Rionegro last October.

"Sergio was raised in the mountains, goes back in winter and lives and trains at different levels," said Brailsford. "We've looked as far as we can at the effects of this, but our own understanding is limited by a lack of scientific research into 'altitude natives' such as Sergio.

"We are commissioning independent scientific research to better understand the effects of prolonged periods at altitude after returning from sea level, specifically on altitude natives.

"The independent experts are looking to use WADA-accredited laboratories and Team Sky will make the data and findings available to WADA, the UCI and CADF."

Brailsford also confirmed he expected Henao to be off the race schedule for eight weeks.

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