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Luxembourg rider tests positive for diuretic that can be used to help conceal performance enhancing substances

Fränk Schleck has requested a test of his B sample after the UCI  announced on Tuesday evening that he had tested positive for a diuretic substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from a urine sample taken last Saturday 14 July, the day of Stage 13 of the Tour de France. The RadioShack-Nissan rider, whose team has withdrawn him from the race, says that should his B sample also test positive, he will file complaint against persons unknown for "poisoning." Should the B sample confirm the results of the A sample, Schleck will likely face immediate suspension, to be followed by disciplinary proceedings.

The Luxembourg TV station RTL published a link on its website to a statement in French from Schleck released on Tuesday evening in which he said: “A UCI doctor has just informed me this evening that a banned substance was detected in my urine during a routine anti-doping control.

“I formally contest having taken any banned substance whatsoever,” added Schleck, who said that he would ask for the B sample to be tested, as is his right. “If this analysis should confirm the first result,” he went on, “complaint will be filed against [persons] unknown for poisoning.”

The substance in question is the diuretic Xipamide, a prescription medicine that is not in itself performance enhancing but which may be employed to mask use of other banned substances, with the drug potentially used to help flush traces of those from the body, for example prior to a doping control. While Xipamide is not specifically mentioned in WADA's prohibited list, diuretics, with some exceptions (none of which apply in this case) are banned.

In a statement released on Tuesday evening, the UCI said: "Earlier today, the UCI advised the Luxembourger rider Frank Schleck of an adverse analytical finding (presence of the diuretic Xipamide...) in the urine sample collected from him at an in competition test at the Tour de France on 14 July 2012."

The statement, issued prior to confirmation by RadioShack-Nissan that Schleck, aged 32, would play no further part in the Tour, added:
"The UCI is confident that his team will take the necessary steps to enable the Tour de France to continue in serenity,”

The UCI's statement concluded by saying that by removing Schleck from the race, his team would help ensure "that their rider has the opportunity to properly prepare his defence in particular within the legal timeline, which allows four days for him to have his B sample analyzed.”

A statement issued by Schleck's RadioShack-Nissan team said: Our team attaches great value to transparency. Because of this, we can announce the following as a response to the adverse analytical finding of xipamide in Fränk Schleck's urine sample of July 14 during the Tour de France.

"After being informed by the UCI about the presence of xipamide in the urine sample of Fränk Schleck on July 14, the team has decided to immediately withdraw Fränk Schleck from the Tour de France.

"Even though an abnormal A sample does not require these measures, Mr. Schleck and the team believe this is the right thing to do, to ensure the Tour de France can go on in calm and that Fränk Schleck can prepare his defense in accordance with the legal timing to do so."

It added: "On the subject of xipamide the team can declare the following: it is not a product that is present in any of the medicine that the team uses and the reason for the presence of xipamide in the urine sample of Mr. Schleck is unclear to the team. Therefore, the team is not able to explain the adverse findings at this point.

"However, the team is fully determined to collaborate with the anti-doping agencies in order to resolve the matter," the team concluded.

Schleck, who finished third in last year's Tour de France, lay 12th on the general classification this morning, 9 minutes 45 seconds behind maillot jaune Bradley Wiggins.

Police are reportedly at the RadioShack-Nissan team hotel. Recently, its manager, Johan Bruyneel, who is not at the Tour de France, was charged by the US Anti-Doping Agency regarding allegations unconnected to his current team.

The company that holds the Luxembourg-registered team's licence, Leopard SA, has also been reported to be in financial difficulties in recent days.

As this eveing's news broke, parallels were immediately drawn with the case of Alberto Contador, who gave the urine sample that contained traces of clenbuterol which would lead to his current ban on the second rest day of the 2010 Tour de France, also in Pau.

However, Schleck's urine sample was taken not in Pau, but in Cap d'Agde on Saturday - he was one of six riders selected for testing after the stage, as well as stage winner André Greipel and overall leader Wiggins.

Contador of course was stripped of his 2010 Tour de France victory, with Schleck's younger brother Andy presented with the maillot jaune only last month.

There is also a big difference of course in not just the timing of this anouncement by the UCI compared to the Contador case, but also the way the news broke; the Spaniard himself revealed that he had tested positive for clenbuterol more than two months after the 2010 Tour had finished, after he learnt that the story was about to be broken by Spanish media. The UCI only issued its statement confirming the facts the followiing morning.

As last year, when Katusha's Alexander Kolobnev tested positive during the Tour de France for a different diuretic to the one found in Schleck's urine, the UCI has wasted no time in making the results public in Schleck's case, and as it did 12 months ago urged the rider's team to withdraw him from the race, even though a suspension cannot be imposed until the results of the test on the A sample have been confirmed by the test of the B sample, should the rider request it.

Kolobnev, it should be noted, was eventually found by the Court of Arbitration for Sport not to have doped intentionally - his doctor had recommended he take the drug in question, available as an over-the-counter medicine in the rider's native Russia - in a case brought by the UCI which was seeking a harsher sanction than the fine the Russian cycling federation had imposed on him.

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

42 comments

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zanf [835 posts] 4 years ago
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Frank says the tour is "boring", finds a way to liven it up.

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Brummmie [58 posts] 4 years ago
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Oh dear

The first big scalp !  2

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Owen Rogers [24 posts] 4 years ago
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Being caught must feel like a bit of a bereavement for Schleck. That hollow feeling that will grow over, but never be filled again. His team mates will probably feel more empty and shocked.
But, with every one of these bloody positives a little bit of me is bereaved. Now, at work, I'll have to justify my sport, instead of answering questions about Wiggins.

How dare they do that to my sport.

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russyparkin [570 posts] 4 years ago
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probably the end of radioshackleoparduspostalnissandiscoverylivestrongtrek as well at last!

never keen on Schleckward anyway so i can see andy will probably quit cycling without his pathetic brother.

go home frank, dont look back you cheating little bugger

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antonio [1124 posts] 4 years ago
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What was it Ligget said, 'looks like Frank is finding his climbing legs'!

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 4 years ago
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Not a great move if you're planning to set up a new team for yourself and your brother, is it?

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DonnyCampo [63 posts] 4 years ago
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"Luxembourg rider tests positive for diuretic that can be used to help conceal performance enhancing substances"
He's done pretty well to conceal any "performance enhancing" substances himself over the past two weeks, half of his domestiques are doing better than he is...

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hairyairey [298 posts] 4 years ago
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DonnyCampo - love your comment. I was wondering myself if he was still riding in the event, haven't heard a mention of him in ages.

What will the UCI do if the B test comes up negative? Contaminated samples have happened before, and statistically will happen again. It saddens me that so many cycle fans yell drugs when the first test fails, it just adds fuel to the perception that the sport is filled with drugs (in fact it could not possibly be worse than any other sport).

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JohnS [198 posts] 4 years ago
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antonio wrote:

What was it Ligget said, 'looks like Frank is finding his climbing legs'!

Fine comedian, Mr Liggett. Frank's performance has been cr@p this year, drugs or no drugs.

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JohnS [198 posts] 4 years ago
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zanf wrote:

Frank says the tour is "boring", finds a way to liven it up.

It would be very boring if they all rode as cr@ply as Frank this year.

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TheBigMong [212 posts] 4 years ago
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Sucks for anyone who had him in their Fantasy team... they'll lose all those points he earned... oh wait...

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italiafirenze [70 posts] 4 years ago
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Let's not hang the guy before we know the facts. But it does make you wonder about the other Schleck brother...

Would we really all be surprised if it turned out they were all at it? I think I've accepted they might be. You can never prove a negative so I suppose I just accept it so that I don't have my heart broken.

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Matt_S [254 posts] 4 years ago
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Whatever he was taking as a performance enhancer that he needed a masking agent for, he should ask for his money back.  19 19

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andrew streit1 [26 posts] 4 years ago
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"On the subject of xipamide the team can declare the following: it is not a product that is present in any of the medicine that the team uses and the reason for the presence of xipamide in the urine sample of Mr. Schleck is unclear to the team. "

I found this the most telling statement.

I wiki'd this drug.

"Like the structurally related thiazide diuretics, xipamide acts on the kidneys to reduce sodium reabsorption in the distal convoluted tubule. This increases the osmolarity in the lumen, causing less water to be reabsorbed by the collecting ducts. This leads to increased urinary output."

"After oral administration, 20 mg of xipamide are resorbed quickly and reach the peak plasma concentration of 3 mg/l within an hour."

So he was given something that enabled him to pee more very quickly.

From another source it deals with high blood pressure and fluid retention. So a professional cyclist has high blood pressure? Doesn't keep himself hydrated and needs help peeing? Mmmmmm....

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dino [60 posts] 4 years ago
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a refund is definitely in order!  4

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notfastenough [3681 posts] 4 years ago
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If Frank is on PEDs this season he should ask for a refund.

However, may I suggest we let the trashier forums junk him before the process is followed and the B sample analysed. Meanwhile, we on the friendlier site should wait it out first.

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bigant [43 posts] 4 years ago
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"Persons unknown for poisoning" ... So maybe the phantom tack scatterers are also firing poison darts containing xipamide?

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RhysW [81 posts] 4 years ago
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A bit harsh russyparkin

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antonio [1124 posts] 4 years ago
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Here we go here we go here we go, to music please.

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mingmong [258 posts] 4 years ago
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I'd wager Frank is left feeling more than a little nettled from the finding and subsequent media attention... a bit 'pissed off'  3

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SirruslyFast [10 posts] 4 years ago
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Is the B sample given at the same time as the A sample?

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step-hent [722 posts] 4 years ago
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SirruslyFast wrote:

Is the B sample given at the same time as the A sample?

Yes - two samples given. 'A' samples sent for testing, 'B' samples stored and then only tested if 'A' sample comes up positive. It has happened that an A sample is contaminated in the lab and the B sample comes up negative when subsequently tested.

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step-hent [722 posts] 4 years ago
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Loving the picture chosen for the story - has the look of someone who's just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

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pepita1 [175 posts] 4 years ago
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I think I'll give Frank the benefit of believing in his innocence until the full testing/investigation is complete.

"Innocent until proven guilty."

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crazy-legs [767 posts] 4 years ago
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pepita1 wrote:

I think I'll give Frank the benefit of believing in his innocence until the full testing/investigation is complete.

"Innocent until proven guilty."

You're new to this forum lark aren't you?  3 On forums, the principal is not innocent until proven guilty, it's a full on witch-hunt with pitchforks and everything!

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russyparkin [570 posts] 4 years ago
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poisoning? come on!

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hagenorden [44 posts] 4 years ago
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The question is not if they take drugs or not, the question is how long does it take before they get caught. The tour is a farce.

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 4 years ago
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My son is gutted. Frank is his favourite rider.

Can't say I am shocked. Just sad for a beautiful sport really.

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SounDaz_7 [48 posts] 4 years ago
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If his B sample comes back negative, I wonder how many news outlets will bother to report it?

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keith roberts [204 posts] 4 years ago
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road.cc will!

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