Frank Schleck’s B sample may determine Olympic Games place and rumoured Astana contract
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Frank Schleck’s B sample may determine Olympic Games place and rumoured Astana contract

by VeloNation Press at 9:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Andy Schleck defends his elder brother

Frank SchleckMuch is riding on Frank Schleck’s ability to battle his positive A test for the diuretic Xipamide, with a place on the Olympic Games plus a rumoured contract with the Astana team both threatened if he is suspended.

The Luxembourg cycling federation has said that he won’t be ruled out of the team until such time as his B sample is examined; if it confirms the result of the first test, then he will be out of the squad. His brother Andy Schleck is already set to miss the Games due to his fractured pelvis.

Meanwhile Schleck may have another consideration depending on the result; according to l’Essentiel, both brothers could be aiming to move to the Astana team next season. Its current leader Alexandre Vinokourov is due to retire at the end of the year, and they are seen as potential replacements.

Current Tour de France third-placed rider Vincenzo Nibali has already been linked to the team, but that has not been confirmed.

The Schleck brothers currently have a contract until the end of 2014 with the RadioShack Nissan team, but that has been under pressure due to the non-payment of salaries. The company which owns the team, Leopard SA, has said that the delay is because they are concerned about the possible laundering if money; it’s a big accusation to make, and it remains to be seen how the UCI will view it.

The governing body has already received complaints from the Schlecks as well as Fabian Cancellara, who has also experienced payment issues.

Meanwhile Andy Schleck has backed his brother in relation to the positive test, saying that he is certain that he didn’t take the substance concerned.

“ I'm 100, no, 110% behind Frank. It’s a huge blow to the head because we have never taken illegal. I can swear on my mother's head! For our part, we are sure of ourselves,” he told Le Quotidien. “You know, we train together all the time, we are preparing together all the time, we race together all the time, even if it's a little less true this season. And I can tell you and you repeat that we have never taken anything.”

Frank Schleck was found to have paid Eufemiano Fuentes €7,000 several years ago; the doctor was implicated in the Operacion Puerto scandal, and several others such as Alejandro Valverde were suspended for doping in connection to the case.

Schleck maintained that he had paid the money for coaching advice only and while man questioned that, the Luxembourg federation cleared him.

Andy Schleck insists that neither of them have broken rules during their careers. “Personally, I'm more angry than disappointed. What has happened is very sad. If we dope and we're caught, you can be disappointed but when you do not take anything, that is really disappointing,” he said. “Misunderstanding prevails. Our close friends know that we do not dope, we have never done and we never will. Today I can tell you we are disgusted with the bike. I love this sport more than anything but now it's really hard for me and for the whole family.”

His older brother has requested the analysis of the B sample and said that if it comes back positive, that he will file a complaint against persons unknown for ‘poisoning’. It’s not completely clear if he means sabotage or the careless contamination of something he consumed.

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