The winner of the 2015 Gran Fondo New York men's race and the third-place finisher on the women's side returned positive drug tests at the May 17th event.
Oscar Tovar and Yamile Lugo were caught by US Anti Doping Agency (USADA) testing. The failures have only become public now due to both riders challenging the positive samples. This is the second time riders have been caught doping at GFNY, which starts on the George Washington Bridge and runs north up to Bear Mountain and back.
The newly declared winner of the 2015 Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York is Raul Montana from Colombia. The runner-up is Timo Krieger from Germany followed by NYC local Mike Margarite in third.
"However, it's without a doubt more important for us to do what we can to make our race fair, of which doping controls are an integral part. Simply looking away and not testing the athletes is the worst decision that a race director can make because it forces everyone to take drugs to try to level the playing field," said Fluhme, who is a very vocal opponent of doping in person and on social media. His Twitter feed ( @ulif ) has been particularly sceptical of the achievements of a certain very successful team. It's safe to say he is not a believer in the power of "marginal gains".
Rather than trying to hide the doping issue, Fluhme and GFNY issued a full press release announcing the failed tests and broadcast the news on Twitter and Facebook. Having talked the anti-doping talk GFNY can't be accused of not also walking that particular walk.
Gran Fondo New York is the championship event for the GFNY World series of satellite events. These now number eight with the addition of Germany, Indonesia and, most-recently, Mexico City to the schedule for 2016.
Read Granfondo.com's 2015 GFNY ride report.
Read Sportive.com's GFNY Mont Ventoux ride report.
Fluhme has previously expressed his desire to have a British event and praised the scale of the British cycling scene.
Tovar, who won the 2015 GFNY Colombia event, tested positive for synthetic testosterone. He has been banned from any competition under World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) rules for two years and by GFNY for lifetime at any GFNY World event.
Lugo's dope of choice could have been testosterone, like Tover, but it could have also been another anabolic agent such as DHEA.
"While we cannot turn back time to celebrate the true overall podium winners, we make sure that at least the right winners receive the prizes they were supposed to earn," said Fluhme. "And we continue our efforts to provide our athletes fair racing conditions through in- and out of competition doping controls, despite it being a substantial cost for GFNY. The ultimate goal is not to catch cheaters but to deter them from racing at all."
Both Tovar and Lugo are from Colombia and on Facebook Fluhme asked people not to tar all Colombians with the same brush.
"We'd like to ask you to hold back your judgements on Colombians in general just because of the acts of a few idiots. At GFNY Colombia, Lidia and I (Uli) were received with unparalleled hospitality by kind and wonderful people in a beautiful country. We were amazed by the enthusiasm and knowledge for road cycling, something you would find otherwise maybe in Italy. We encourage you to join us at next year's GFNY Colombia to see for yourself."
Read Granfondo.com's GFNY Colombia ride report by Uli Fluhme.
In addition to a lifetime ban for dopers at GFNY races, the race's rules also state that a rider who tests positive at GFNY will have to reimburse the cost of the doping test. Furthermore, such rider has to reimburse GFNY for any damages to its reputation that are a consequence of the positive doping control. If the rider is part of a team participating at GFNY, the team can be held liable for this damage.
A rider who is currently banned by WADA from competition may not participate in any GFNY event. After the ban, he/she is allowed to participate but has to start at the back of the field, will not be timed and will not be in the results. This allows for social reintegration despite a lifelong ban from competing.
The 6th annual Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York on May 15, 2016 will be the second annual GFNY Championship. The race features the world's most international peloton with riders from over 70 countries. Athletes take on a challenging 100-mile route from NYC to Bear Mountain and back to compete against each other, the clock and themselves in a personal endurance challenge.
The 50-mile GFNY BEAR on the same day is a non-competitive ride from NYC to Bear Mountain.
GFNY World calendar
November 22, 2015 - GFNY Cozumel-Mexico - gfnycozumel.com
December 6, 2015 - GFNY Argentina - gfnyargentina.com
April 10, 2016 - CRM GFNY Colombia - gfnycolombia.com
May 15, 2016 - GFNY Championship at Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York - gfny.com
June 5, 2016 - GFNY Mexico City
June 26, 2016 - GFNY Mont Ventoux - gfnymontventoux.com
August 28, 2016 - GFNY Deutschland - gfnydeutschland.com
September 18, 2016 - GFNY Italia - gfnyitalia.com
October 2, 2016 - GFNY Indonesia - gfnyindonesia.com