Friday 23 February 2018

Tour de France: Schleck out after positive drugs test

Frank Schleck
Frank Schleck

THE Tour de France is set to resume - without Frank Schleck after the Luxembourg rider failed a drugs test.

The 32-year-old, who finished third in the 2011 Tour, tested positive for banned diuretic Xipamide on July 14, cycling's world governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale announced.

Schleck was immediately withdrawn from the remainder of the Tour, beginning with the 197-kilometre 16th stage from Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon, but his team RadioShack-Nissan-Trek remained in the race. Schleck was 12th overall, nine minutes and 45 seconds behind leader Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), following the 15th stage.

RadioShack-Nissan-Trek spokesman Philippe Maertens confirmed Schleck had voluntarily gone to the French police on receipt of the news for questioning. He has the right to attend the analysis of his B sample within four days.

Maertens said Schleck had gone to the police station because he knew the authorities would be seeking to speak to him. There were uniformed and plain clothes officers at the team hotel, but Maertens insisted rooms had not been searched.

Maertens said: "He tested positive for Xipamide. It's not a performance-enhancing product, but it's forbidden. The team doesn't know where that product comes from.

"RadioShack will stay in the Tour. He's not suspended. Even the UCI cannot say to him 'you have to go'."

Asked Schleck's reaction to the news, Maertens said: "It was like he got a hammer on his head. He doesn't know anything about where the product comes from.

"It's a shock for everybody. We're having a good Tour de France. We're leading the team classification, it's a big goal for us. Without Frank Schleck it's going to be harder. All our riders are working for one goal. When something happens like this you can imagine they are not happy."

The Luxembourg rider is the elder brother of Andy, who won the 2010 Tour after original champion Alberto Contador was stripped of his title for a doping offence. Andy Schleck missed this year's Tour due to injury

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