Sergio Henao to make comeback at Tour de Suisse following altitude research programme
Last Updated: 11/06/14 5:00pm
Team Sky rider Sergio Henao will return to racing at next week’s Tour de Suisse after an investigation into anomalous doping test results found no wrongdoing.
Staff from the British squad expressed concern about readings the 26-year-old gave in out-of-competition controls over the winter and he was subsequently removed from racing in order to take part in a “high-altitude research programme” in his native Colombia.
The investigation, which was carried out by independent experts, sought to establish whether the Henao had cheated or gave abnormal blood values as a result of living and training at high altitude in the off-season.
A Team Sky statement said: “The ten-week programme has given the highest level of confidence in Sergio’s previous data and profiles, and offers valuable new insights into the physiology of ‘altitude natives’ such as Colombian climbers.”
Henao began the programme in Europe in late March, before travelling to Colombia for a further six weeks of examination in April and May. The research concluded with final tests at sea level in Nice.
Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “By taking this structured, scientific approach, we have gained a better understanding of his readings and specific physiology and valuable insights into the effects of altitude.
"We are very pleased to welcome Sergio back to racing and are looking forward to having him at the Tour de Suisse.
I knew I would be all right in the end, but still, to get the all clear is a huge weight off my mind and I can focus on the future again now.
“Our approach has been fair to both the rider and the team, and whilst it was our decision to take him out of racing, it is also ours that he returns with our full backing. He has done everything that has been asked of him, kept his focus and fully deserves to be racing.”
Wada-accredited out-of-competition tests were conducted for the first time this winter and Team Sky’s staff picked up on anomalies in Henao’s data during a monthly review of their riders.
Henao said: “This was an unprecedented step for a sports team and I understand and respect them for doing it. Although it has been a stressful process, it has ultimately been good for me.
“I knew I would be all right in the end, but still, to get the all clear is a huge weight off my mind and I can focus on the future again now.
“I have looked after myself throughout this whole process, trained well, and done everything I would have done except race. I have stayed focused and I’m fit and ready.”