Florencio cleared to return to racing by Cervélo Test Team
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Florencio cleared to return to racing by Cervélo Test Team

by Conal Andrews at 8:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping, Clásica de San Sebastián
Likely to resume competition at end of July

Xavier FlorencioSpanish rider Xavier Florencio has been cleared by his Cervélo Test Team after being removed from the Tour de France lineup, and will return to racing in the Clásica Ciclista de San Sebastián on July 31st. He won that race in 2006.

The 30 year old was sidelined from racing on the eve of the Tour de France when his team learned that he had been taking a medication which had not been approved for use by the team doctors. It contained a substance that could have led to a positive test, and the team sent him home and said that it would conduct a review.

At the time, Florencio said that he developed hemorrhoids when training in Andorra before the Tour. He went to a pharmacy and got a substance which led to the problems.

"They gave me Hemoal, which is what everyone uses in this case,” he stated. “I looked at the flyer and I did not see any indication for cyclists not to use it. In the afternoon [on the day before the Tour started] I told my medical team about the problem and how I treated it." However he was told right away that it contains ephedrine, thus leading to his removal from the squad. Cervélo consequently started the race with just eight riders.

The team announced today the results of the review it conducted. It listed three conclusions:

1. The rider did indeed have the ailments as stated. The product he used to self-medicate is the most commonly sold over-the-counter medication to treat this ailment in Spain.

2. The rider understands and accepts the steps taken by team management to protect him and the team. In fact, this case has demonstrated why a policy to clear any medication in advance with the medical staff is so important – regular doctors and pharmacists are often not aware of the limitations placed by WADA on professional athletes.

3. The team’s medical staff has changed the medication to conform with Cervélo TestTeam policy. As such, the rider will be allowed to return to racing as soon as he is declared fit by the Chief Medical Officer of the Cervélo TestTeam. We expect this to be on July 31, at the traditional Spanish race Clásica Ciclista de San Sebastián.

Florencio will be relieved about the outcome, as he could have faced a lengthy suspension. He expressed regret after his exclusion, saying that he was embarrassed by his mistake.

"I should have contacted the medical team before my self-treatment, but I never thought that this product, which is in such wide-spread use and that you can get without prescription, would have such contraindication,” he said.

"It was a regrettable error and I feel really bad, because I worked so hard to come to this race in the best condition."

In his absence, the Cervélo Test Team is trying to have the best Tour possible. Thor Hushovd has worn the Maillot Vert for best sprinter, although Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) took over leadership of that competition yesterday. Hushovd is two points behind the Italian and will fight on to Paris, hoping to repeat his win of twelve months ago.

Team leader Carlos Sastre is also hoping to do something in the days ahead, saying that he is feeling stronger as the race heads towards the Pyrenees. He is 15th overall, 7 minutes 34 seconds back.



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