Euskatel-Euskadi support Astarloza following UCI sanction
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Euskatel-Euskadi support Astarloza following UCI sanction

by VeloNation Press at 9:56 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Basque team believes he is innocent

Spaniard Mikel Astarloza was suspended for two years by the International Cycling Union (UCI) last week following a positive test for the banned blood-booster EPO.  He has maintained his innocence in the case and his former Euskatel-Euskadi has come out in support of the rider.

"I want to publicly announce that I have received a letter from the RFEC [Spanish Cycling Federation] notifying me that I am officially suspended until 26 June 2011 for having broken International Cycling Union rules," Astarloza said on his website last week.

"I maintain that I have done nothing wrong...I will appeal this suspension to the relevant authorities," he continued.

Astarloza tested positive during an out-of-competition control taken last June and was provisionally suspended on the 31st of July last year.

The Spaniard won the 16th stage of last year's Tour de France, and finished the race in 11th overall while riding for the Basque team.  The team has taken a stance in support of the rider, and remain hopeful that he can clear his name.

"Following confirmation by the Spanish Cycling Federation of the positive control of the rider Mikel Astarloza, the team wants to specify that it will comply with UCI regulations that have been determined for these cases to incur the penalty," the team told Biciciclismo.

"This decision is not final, the rider has a long defense ahead of him, and we hope that his lawyer can prove his innocence," they continued.

Regardless of whether Astarloza can prove his innocence, the team said they will welcome him back with open arms:  "After the period of the sanction, which is to continue until June 26, 2011, we expect the comeback of the rider."

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