Reactions: Schleck maintains innocence of Tour de France doping and hints at ‘poisoning’
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reactions: Schleck maintains innocence of Tour de France doping and hints at ‘poisoning’

by Shane Stokes at 6:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
Prudhomme, Becca, Gallopin and Schneider comment on positive test

Frank SchleckRadioShack Nissan rider Frank Schleck has said that he will consider making a complaint of poisoning by persons unknown if his B sample confirms his positive ‘A’ test for the diuretic Xipamide.

The Luxembourg competitor learned yesterday that he had failed a test taken on July 14th. It was a random control carried out soon after he rolled in 40th on stage 13 to Cap d’Agde, and was analysed at the lab of Chatenay-Malabry, near Paris.

He released a statement yesterday evening denying all knowledge of how the substance got into his system. “A doctor at the UCI has just informed me tonight that banned substance was detected in my urine during a routine doping test carried out on 14 July 2012,” he stated.

“I categorically deny having taken any banned substance. I therefore cannot explain the test result and I insist on a control [analysis] of the B sample, which is my right. If this analysis confirm the initial result, complaints will be filed against an unknown person for poisoning.”

It is uncertain if the claim of poisoning would relate to a deliberate act of sabotage, or the contamination of a supplement.

Schleck was sitting twelfth overall yesterday, nine minute and 45 seconds behind race leader Bradley Wiggins. He started the rest day with breakfast, then went for a two hour training ride alongside Maxime Monfort, with both riders being followed by RadioShack Nissan directeur sportif Alain Gallopin.

After that, there was a team press conference in the early afternoon. The 32 year old Schleck then spent some time relaxing with his wife Martine, his daughter Leea and his mother Gaby.

The mood was shattered with a phone call from the UCI around 7pm, telling him he had tested positive for the diuretic Xipamide. He made some calls, with Johan Bruyneel thought to have been one of those he spoke with, then he is understood to have eaten with his team.

He left the hotel at 7.45 and went to the nearest police station in Pau. His team said afterwards that he went voluntarily, as he knew the police would come looking for him otherwise. He voluntarily withdrew from the race, although the UCI made it clear it its statement announcing the news that it expected him to do so.

Reactions:

Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme told l’Equipe today that Schleck’s withdrawal was a “wise decision, the only possible one.”

“Under the rules of the UCI (International Cycling Union), Frank Schleck could have been at the start on Wednesday morning. But deciding with his team, the rider has retired,” he said.

As Prudhomme pointed out, Schleck might not be suspended as a result. “We learned yesterday that Fränk Schleck had had an abnormal result, according to the terminology of the UCI statement. This opens the door to many possible outcomes about the specified substance, ranging from warnings to suspension,” he said. “This is an extraordinarily broad range.”

Leopard Trek team owner Flavio Becca told Le Quotidien that he found the test result difficult to believe. “I am shocked by what I just learned. I do not believe it. I cannot imagine such a thing. I fell from the moon. No, I can not imagine that Frank Schleck would be positive.”

Schleck’s brother Andy echoed this. “On my life and my family, I am sure that he has taken nothing.”

According to directeur sportif Alain Gallopin, Schleck must get on with his course of action, while the team must continue with its Tour.

“We reported to the police [ourselves] because we wanted to avoid unpleasant pictures,” he told Wort.lu. “Fränk was not blocked [from continuing], he has decided to stop. Now he has to organize his defence. For me it is important to motivate the team now and we will do that.”

Luxembourg’s Sports Minister Romain Schneider appealed for caution, in terms of drawing conclusions about what had happened. “We have to wait for the next few days to know more,” he insisted. “An analysis [of the situation] should be made only if one knows all the details.”
 

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