Provisional suspension from test after Tour

Mikel Astarloza, the Euskaltel-Euskadi rider who won stage 16 of this year's Tour de France, has been suspended following a positive test for EPO, the UCI announced today. The positive result comes from a sample of urine given on 26 July, the day the Tour finished, so although it's classed as an 'out of competition' test the result clearly tarnishes somewhat the image of this year's Tour, which until now had managed to avoid any scandal.

The WADA laboratory in Madrid returned a "adverse analytical finding of recombinant EPO" in the A sample, and Astarloza was pulled from the Clásica San Sebastián, which begins on saturday, as a result. Under UCI rules, Astarloza is entitled to attend the test of his B sample, and could face a ban of two years and the nullification of his Tour results. 

Neither Astarloza nor his team have issued a statement as yet, we'll post more details when we have them. Not everyone's been so reticent though. "Astarloza, you're a wanker", tweeted Robbie McEwen earlier. "While I'm at it, Ricco - stay gone, we don't want you back amongst us. Go ride with Kohl."

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