The Tour of Turkey winner Mustafa Sayar has been provisionally suspended after returning a positive test for EPO during the Tour of Algeria in March, the UCI has confirmed.
The 24 year-old Turkish rider placed second in Algeria before winning the eight day Turkish stage race in April with an attack on the summit finish of stage six.
He will now face a hearing from the Turkish Cycling Federation to establish his guilt and has the right to request the testing of his B sample.
If found guilty he faces a two year suspension and the loss of all results since March 11 2013, the date of his positive test. If this is the case, his Tour of Turkey win would pass to Eritrean rider Natnael Berhane (Europcar). Natnael finished overall 2nd place in the General Classification (GC) of the Tour of Turkey behind “positive tested” Sayar Mustafa of Konya Torku Seker.
The incident is the second time in succession that a rider on the Turkish team has tested positive for EPO after winning the event. In 2012, Bulgarian rider Ivailo Gabrovski was stripped of his victory and banned for two years.
According to cyclingweekly Sayar’s performance at the time raised eyebrows amongst his fellow riders at the race. “I was not often in my life so angry about a result of someone else. And I see many people around me feeling the same. #Tour of Turkey,” tweeted Argos-Shimano sprinter Marcel Kittel at the time.
Natnael born in Eritrea is the first cyclist from sub-Saharan Africa to win a major Hors Categorie (HC) event on the UCI calendar in history and could be soon also the first one to win a whole race.