Ag2r La Mondiale to voluntarily miss Critérium du Dauphiné after Georges’ positive confirmed
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ag2r La Mondiale to voluntarily miss Critérium du Dauphiné after Georges’ positive confirmed

by Shane Stokes at 7:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
French team will accept MPCC regulations relating to two positive tests within one year

Sylvain GeorgesAlthough the Critérium du Dauphiné is the home event for the Ag2r La Mondiale team, and is also an important pre-Tour de France event, the squad will miss this year’s race after Sylvain Georges’ positive test was confirmed by the UCI.

Six days after it announced that the Frenchman had tested positive for the stimulant Heptaminol during this year’s Giro d’Italia, the UCI said today [Tuesday] that the B sample analysis had confirmed that result.

“In accordance with the Anti-doping rules, the UCI will request the French Cycling Federation to open a disciplinary procedure against the rider,” it stated.

Georges’ test was carried out on the seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia. Heptaminol is a vasodilator which is sometimes used in the treatment of low blood pressure. It is deemed a ‘specified substance’ by WADA, which can lead to a less-severe sanction than other products.

The two previous positives in the sport, the 2006 positive by Cofidis rider Tristan Valentin and a 2008 incident involving Dmitry Fofonov, led to six and three month bans respectively.

However even if Georges’ punishment ends up being less than the standard two year punishment for many doping cases, the repercussions are serious for his Ag2r La Mondiale team.

It is a member of the MPCC anti-doping movement and has a rule that any team which has two positives in the space of a year must voluntarily miss the next WorldTour race.

Its manager Vincent Lavenu confirmed recently that it would follow that regulation. “When a team joins MPCC, it doesn't mean that there is no chance one of its riders returns a positive test at an anti-doping control,” he said in an interview on the MPCC website. “But a doping case can't sum up the philosophy of a team with a staff of about fifty members, including 29 riders.

“However, because it can happen, our commitment means that we are ready to pay a high price if it does. If the analysis of the B sample of Sylvain Georges is also positive, we will stand by our commitment to MPCC, even if it means we can't take part in the next World Tour event after the Giro, and have to momentarily suspend the team activity.”

The team previously had a positive test with Steve Houanard, who tested positive for EPO last September. The Frenchman was nearing the end of his contract with the squad and didn’t have team slot for 2013.

It remains to be seen how the Ag2r La Mondiale sponsor will react to the current situation. Another unknown factor is the UCI’s stance on the voluntary suspension of the squad; under its rules, all WorldTour teams must compete in each WorldTour race.

VeloNation sought clarification on this issue from the UCI on Tuesday, but has not yet received a response.

Georges, a 28 year old who moved to the team at the start of 2012 after a year with the BigMat Auber 93 squad, is perhaps best known for winning the Big Bear stage of last year’s Tour of California. This year he took second in Paris-Camembert and fourth in Les Boucles du Sud Ardèche.

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