Spanish newspapers El Mundo and Marca reported today that Spanish triathlete Virginia Berasategui tested positive during the Bilbao Triathlon held on May 18th 2013. Berasategui won that Half distance triathlon in 4:49:23, Aimar Agirresarobe won the men's race of this 3rd edition event.
According to El Mundo, Berasategui received notification Friday morning and decided to ask for a counter analysis. The article further states that 6 total tests were conducted and 1 of these came back positive.
Back in 2005 Berasategui (and fellow Spanish athlete Iban Rodriguez) tested positive for EPO following her win at Ironman Lanzarote, and her then coach Iñigo Mujika vehemently fought those charges (and helped out Rodriguez too) that came hot on the heels of the Rutger Beke case. The cases eventually were all dropped because of doubts regarding the validity of the urine test for EPO at that time, and all 3 athletes (Beke, Berasategui and Rodriguez) claimed "extreme high protein levels in their urine after strenuous exercise" to be the reason for false positives.
Berasategui finished 3rd at the Ironman World Championships in 2009 and also won the Wildflower Long Course Triathlon that year. She finished 4th at the Ironman Worlds in Kona, Hawaii in 2010 and hung on to 10th in 2011. In July of 2012 the Bilbao born athlete finished 4th at the ITU Long Distance World Championships in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.
Earlier this year the 38-year old Berasategui announced in a press conference with Iñaki Azkuna, the mayor of Bilbao that she would retire at the end of the 2013 season.
"The sport has been the foundation on which my life has been sustained," said Berasategui in that press conference, and added that (2013) "is an exciting season ahead in which I hope to be at my level, giving the maximum in each competition, as I have always done."
We tried to reach out to Virginia Berasategui for a comment, but her email we previously used is no longer valid. We also reached out to her 2005 coach Iñigo Mujika and he told us "I have not had anything to do with Virginia since 2005, so I have no idea what is going on."