Updated: Fränk Schleck requests B sample test; if positive, he will file complaint alleging poisoning

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

by Simon_MacMichael   July 18, 2012  

Frank Schleck at the 2011 Tour de France Presentation © Simon MacMichael

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 The RadioShack-Nissan rider, whose team has withdrawn him from the race, says that should his B sample also test positive, he will file complaint against persons unknown for "poisoning."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.


41 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

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.

posted by italiafirenze [68 posts]
17th July 2012 - 22:50


Whatever he was taking as a performance enhancer that he needed a masking agent for, he should ask for his money back. Devil Devil

posted by Matt_S [227 posts]
17th July 2012 - 22:51

1 Like

"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....

andrew streit

posted by andrew streit1 [26 posts]
17th July 2012 - 22:59


a refund is definitely in order! Big Grin

posted by dino [60 posts]
17th July 2012 - 23:03


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.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3723 posts]
17th July 2012 - 23:03


"Persons unknown for poisoning" ... So maybe the phantom tack scatterers are also firing poison darts containing xipamide?

posted by bigant [43 posts]
18th July 2012 - 4:04


A bit harsh russyparkin

RhysW's picture

posted by RhysW [83 posts]
18th July 2012 - 8:33


Here we go here we go here we go, to music please.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
18th July 2012 - 8:48


I'd wager Frank is left feeling more than a little nettled from the finding and subsequent media attention... a bit 'pissed off' Wink

mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [242 posts]
18th July 2012 - 9:17


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

posted by SirruslyFast [7 posts]
18th July 2012 - 9:22


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.

posted by step-hent [718 posts]
18th July 2012 - 9:40


Loving the picture chosen for the story - has the look of someone who's just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

posted by step-hent [718 posts]
18th July 2012 - 9:42


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

"Innocent until proven guilty."

Pepita rides again!

posted by pepita1 [193 posts]
18th July 2012 - 9:56


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? Wink On forums, the principal is not innocent until proven guilty, it's a full on witch-hunt with pitchforks and everything!

posted by crazy-legs [657 posts]
18th July 2012 - 10:46


poisoning? come on!

posted by russyparkin [578 posts]
18th July 2012 - 11:41


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.

posted by hagenorden [44 posts]
18th July 2012 - 11:55


My son is gutted. Frank is his favourite rider.

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

posted by Super Domestique [1695 posts]
18th July 2012 - 13:34


If his B sample comes back negative, I wonder how many news outlets will bother to report it?

SounDaz_7's picture

posted by SounDaz_7 [48 posts]
18th July 2012 - 20:50


road.cc will!

keith roberts's picture

posted by keith roberts [207 posts]
18th July 2012 - 21:05


Poisoning? Really? Pull the other one, it's got bells on. Bügger off Fränk you cheating twönk.

posted by handlebarcam [545 posts]
18th July 2012 - 21:49


quick question : who is the general manager of frank 'i'll have A P please Bob'
team ? and is he in news elsewhere ? is this then another
coincidence ?

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [132 posts]
19th July 2012 - 7:48


another cheating bar steward, oh i forgot, of course, he was poisoned ...

posted by Karbon Kev [683 posts]
19th July 2012 - 9:02


handlebarcam wrote:
Poisoning? Really? Pull the other one, it's got bells on. Bügger off Fränk you cheating twönk.

I dunno - I reckon the poisoning story has legs. Given the other goings on in the team (and with some former and current members of staff), would it be that surprising if someone decided to set him up in order to avoid paying his wages?

I know, it's not the most obvious cause for a positive test - but hey, it's not the least likely either. Remember the twin story?

posted by step-hent [718 posts]
19th July 2012 - 9:30


Frank Schleck doping? Let's wait and see what happens before we break out the pitchforks...

posted by Ian Turnedge [13 posts]
19th July 2012 - 9:33


Well said.

posted by beelzebomb [12 posts]
19th July 2012 - 9:45


Could not have put it better LOL


teamrocket13's picture

posted by teamrocket13 [80 posts]
19th July 2012 - 10:16


part of me does support the poisoning idea, he isn't doing well, so the dope isn't working. The team is a mess, doesn't sound like the ex-leopard riders are getting on with Johan.... etc etc.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1893 posts]
19th July 2012 - 18:53


Personally i think i will wait to see what the b test shows and then doom him to a lifetime in hell if it comes up positive.

A quick question though - if it comes back negative do the boffins in the labs get their arses kicked for sloppy work or is it a case of "oh well we got it wrong, lets everyone move on" and leave Franks reputation shattered with a constant "did he or didnt he" ??

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3237 posts]
19th July 2012 - 19:42


Also how much was in his system ?

Was it like Contador who had so little in his system it wouldn't stimulate a slug or did it make the Niagra falls look like a drip ?

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3237 posts]
19th July 2012 - 19:44


I am sharpening my pitch fork right now...this is Frank, "I can't remember why I paid Dr Fuentes 7000 euro's" Schleck remember. He has had it coming. I will collect firewood later. Then give him a fair trial when we have finished the witch hunt Devil

posted by SideBurn [913 posts]
19th July 2012 - 21:10