Fränk Schleck receives one-year ban for failed Tour de France doping test

RadioShack rider tested positive for diuretic during last year's race; partially backdated ban means free to compete in mid-July

by Simon_MacMichael   January 30, 2013  

Giro 2012 S11 Frank Schleck signs on (Gian Mattia D'Alberto - LaPresse - RCS Sport)

Fränk Schleck has been banned for a year as a result of his positive test for the diuretic Xipamide during last year’s Tour de France. The partially backdated ban, which has been reduced from the maximum that could have been imposed of two years on grounds of proportionality, will expire on 13 July, in the middle of this year’s race.

The 32-year-old's RadioShack-Nissan team, as it was then called, confirmed during the second rest day of the Tour de France in Pau that Schleck's A sample had tested positive. The doping control was conducted three days earlier at the end of Stage 13 at Cap d'Agde.

Schleck, who has always protested his innocence, saying he did not dope but did not know how he had ingested the substance, immediately requested that his B sample also be tested, but the result remained the same, and disciplinary proceeedings were opened against him.

There is no minimum threshold for an adverse analytical finding to be returned in the case of a diuretic, meaning that the onus was on Schleck, as it was on Alberto Contador following his positive test for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour, to prove that it came to be in his system innocently.

The substance is not performance enhancing in itself but can be used as a masking agent.

"Of course I am disappointed by the verdict that has just been announced," said Schleck in a statement quoted on Eurosport released after the vedict of the anti-doping panel of the Agence Luxembourgeoise Anti Dopage (ALAD) was announced just after 6pm local time this evening.

In its decision, the ALAD said that it believed that the substance came to be in Schleck's body innocently, perhaps through a contaminated supplement, but that he had failed to provide an explanation of how it came to be there.

"I think that the decision to suspend me during one year is too severe considering the fact that the Council acknowledged that I unintentionally consumed a contaminated product," he added.

"Unfortunately the provisions of the UCI are such that an involuntary contamination is sufficient in order to pronounce a punishment.

"We will now analyse the decision in detail and decide on potential further steps. However I bear a positive aspect of the decision in mind, the judges acknowledged that I am not a cheater."

In a statement issued shortly after the sanction was announced, Schleck's RadioShack-Leopard-Trek team said: "The Management of Leopard S.A. has taken note of the verdict of the CDD (Conseil de Discipline contre le Dopage) in the case of Fränk Schleck's positive test for xipamide during the 2012 Tour de France.

"Leopard S.A. is content that the anti-doping authorities have now reached a verdict, but will not make any further declarations about the case until it has studied the argumentation of the CDD more closely."

For now, Schleck remains listed as a rider on the team website.

Schleck, who had finished third behind his brother Andy and the winner Cadel Evans in the 2011 Tour de France had faced a ban of up to two years.

The shorter ban imposed by the ALAD's disciplinary panel is, according to its decision (published in French here) "proportional to the intrinsic seriousness of the violation of the anti-doping rule."

The rider has the right to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), while the UCI and World Anti Doping Agency are also entitled to appeal to the same body to seek a longer ban.

18 user comments

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NOT good enough, I really hope the UCI and WADA sort themselves out and appeal the ruling, giving him a longer ban. If he hadn't been a TdF contender in the past, he would have been out on his arse. Angry Angry Angry Angry

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9036 posts]
30th January 2013 - 17:28

9 Likes

Tommy Voeckler came 4th on GC that year... just sayin'.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [954 posts]
30th January 2013 - 17:36

10 Likes

As much as you want to throw the book at Lance Armstrong the 'smoke without fire' brigade need to cool down. This ruling seems proportionate and no one has ever said that Frank's performances are 'unbelievable.' All pro riders are still taking all kinds of supplements. He is responsible, he can't explain it, he is getting the punishment.

I've heard people calling Frank and Andy 'The Chemical Brothers' which is taking guilt by association too far.

I shudder to think what would be said if any of our precious British riders had an adverse test result.



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1428 posts]
30th January 2013 - 18:34

13 Likes

Sücks to be yöu, Fränk.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
30th January 2013 - 18:42

11 Likes

Going by his form last year you'd have to agree, whatever it was it definitely wasn't "performance enhancing".

Rules is rules.

_SiD_'s picture

posted by _SiD_ [180 posts]
30th January 2013 - 18:52

8 Likes

Exactly, bikeboy76. It's not as if Fronk has a shady past, like transferring money to Fuentes and being implicated in Operation Puerto, or anything like that.

Oh, hang on a minute...

posted by andyp [1063 posts]
30th January 2013 - 19:24

10 Likes

Frank, the rules basically say, what ever you put into your body its your responsibility whether knowingly or other wise. Get over it! Loser

Rupert

posted by Rupert49 [38 posts]
30th January 2013 - 19:46

13 Likes

Seems, fair, proportional and fairly well thought out by the Luxembourg Anti Doing Authorities (its a crying shame their acronym isn't LADA Sad ) which is to be expected when the UCI aren't involved.

Yeah, he probably ingested it accidentally but he couldn't confirm that and he's responsible for what's in his body so a bad was needed however I think its fair and proportionate.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
30th January 2013 - 21:54

9 Likes

So it seems the Luxembourgian folks haven't stuck to the rules here and we could see this drawn out and 2 years applied Big Grin

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9036 posts]
30th January 2013 - 22:09

7 Likes

National body does its rider a favour, nothing new there then... They are "part of the problem".

He didn't prove that he didn't take it, he just claimed innocence (as I read it he just invoked the Contador defence... Consumed something contaminated).

"To justify any elimination or reduction, the Athlete or other Person must produce corroborating evidence in addition to his or her word which establishes to the comfortable satisfaction of the hearing panel the absence of an intent to enhance sport performance or mask the Use of a performance-enhancing substance"

No proof? No dice... 2 years. Expect a call from WADA.

posted by AlanD [12 posts]
31st January 2013 - 0:09

12 Likes

>"To justify any elimination or reduction, the Athlete or other Person must produce corroborating evidence in addition to his or her word which establishes to the comfortable satisfaction of the hearing panel the absence of an intent to enhance sport performance or mask the Use of a performance-enhancing substance"

Intent of whom? The athlete? Or those who feed and drug them? If it's only the athlete, then Greg Lemond's iron shots would have been legal (Sports illustrated | Greg Lemond | iron).

Charlie Horse

posted by ch [109 posts]
31st January 2013 - 8:21

13 Likes

Its clear to me he is damn lucky. It doesn't take much to go through his diet and vitamin intake to work out where the contamination came from unless you don't want to let on where the contamination came from. He should keep his head down and look forward to the Giro de Lombardia. He aint going to win the Tour anyway

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
31st January 2013 - 8:54

9 Likes

bikeboy76 wrote:
As much as you want to throw the book at Lance Armstrong the 'smoke without fire' brigade need to cool down. This ruling seems proportionate and no one has ever said that Frank's performances are 'unbelievable.' All pro riders are still taking all kinds of supplements. He is responsible, he can't explain it, he is getting the punishment.

I've heard people calling Frank and Andy 'The Chemical Brothers' which is taking guilt by association too far.

I shudder to think what would be said if any of our precious British riders had an adverse test result.

I agree, that since the only crime was getting caught taking a diuretic which is not performance enhancing should probably get a reduced sentence if there were elements of doubt. Unfortunately this substance is not one that is regularly found in nature.

I understand that a feature of Marco Pantani's doping was the amount of time he took before turning up at the doping control. It would have been pertinent to know if this was a factor in Schleck's appearance at the doping control.

I would have had more sympathy for a less well known rider getting caught. But the problem is people don't dope to stay with the bunch. They dope to win.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1199 posts]
31st January 2013 - 9:03

10 Likes

If the UCI had even the merest scrap of integrity surely they would ba asking for a review of the sentence. I like the Schleck's though do not think that they are as good as the hype around them. Sadly though far too much smoke around them. Father stopped/arrested and vehicle searched, money transfers, Puerto. Sorry but after the LA story do you still think all of these things are coincidences/ some foul conspiracy? Innocent until proven guilty. But he is guilty of failing an A & B test and not being able to provide at least some form of mitigating circumstances. I never believed Contador, I don't believe Frank. Sad but true.

And I don't see why the sentence for masking agents isn't the same as actual performance enhancers. Was the drung on a banned list - yes. So no excuse IMHO for less than the 2 year ban.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [399 posts]
31st January 2013 - 13:01

9 Likes

Looks so similar to Contador, who first got 1 year from the nationals and later a one year upgrade from UCI. So maybe Frank will also get a free upgrade, which would also make the UCI look a toughi in the anti-doping fight. Silly

posted by Dr. Ko [109 posts]
31st January 2013 - 16:40

15 Likes

I wonder if arranging "accidental contamination" of food supplements by athletes and manufacturers could be the next step in doping Thinking

blog rowerowy - my blog about bicycles (written in Polish, but feel free to visit me! Smile )

mikroos's picture

posted by mikroos [197 posts]
31st January 2013 - 18:47

8 Likes

andyp wrote:
Exactly, bikeboy76. It's not as if Fronk has a shady past, like transferring money to Fuentes and being implicated in Operation Puerto, or anything like that.

Oh, hang on a minute...


+1 Exactly
Fuentes said last week in court that he was just a doctor & didn't do 'training programs' a la Michele Ferrari... just the blood bags!
Frank had always said he paid for 'training programes' Liar

Almost exactly the same crime as Contador... but he has a lot more support... at least in the english speaking press... strange double standard to me Surprise

Paulo's picture

posted by Paulo [110 posts]
4th February 2013 - 16:19

10 Likes

Why can't we get back to simples? If Armstrong was never actually caught but on the evidence gathered receives a lifetime ban, why do Schleck, Contador get away with short term bans? If they have been caught once, you can bet your bottom dollar that they have done it more than once and will be prepared to do it again. Schleck and Contador are the riders of today and therefore what happens to them will have more affect on those still racing than what was done to Armstrong who was not really in contention anymore.

GRRRRRRRR!

posted by thehairs1970 [24 posts]
5th February 2013 - 12:40

8 Likes