The Associated Press reports that Fränk Schleck has tested positive for a banned diuretic. The test reportedly took place on 14 July, and the Châtenay-Malabry lab carried out the analysis. The substance, xipamide, is a diuretic, and can be used as a masking agent. It is used to treat hypertension and works to control blood pressure.
Xidamide is a specified substance, which means that it does not carry an immediate suspension. It counts among a class of substances that the WADA code recognizes as having a possibility for accidental ingestion. If an athlete can prove that he or she ingested the substance unintentionally, the rules allow for a reduced ban. Tainted supplements or food are the most common sources of positives for specified substances.
The UCI confirmed the test in a statement on Monday. Schleck now must decide if he wishes the B-sample to be tested. In indirect terms, the UCI has called upon Schleck’s RadioShack team to remove him from the Tour de France, so that the race may continue in “serenity.”
In a statement, the RadioShack-Nissan team confirmed that Schleck would not continue the Tour de France when the race resumes on Wednesday. “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,” said the statement. The team also denied any knowledge of the substance and pledged to collaborate with anti-doping authorities in the case.
As of Tuesday’s rest day in Pau, Fränk Schleck was sitting twelfth in the general classification more than nine minutes behind yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins. Schleck has won two stages of the Tour in his career, including a finish on the prestigious Alpe d’Huez climb. He has also won the Ardennes classic the Amstel Gold Race. When his brother Andy, who won the 2010 Tour de France, could not ride this year, Schleck came to the Tour as a possible leader for RadioShack-Nissan, though he denied having the legs to race for the yellow jersey.
Schleck was also among the riders named in the 2006 Operation Puerto doping case. The case detailed a doping ring created by Spanish docter Eufemio Fuentes, and its revelations included doping schedules and blood doping programs for many top riders in cycling. Though the German newspaper Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung reported that Schleck met Fuentes and traced monetary payments between the rider and the Spanish doctor, Schleck was never sanctioned in connection with the case.
Here is the statement from the UCI:
Adverse Analytical Finding for Frank Schleck
Earlier today, the UCI advised the Luxembourger rider Frank Schleck of an Adverse Analytical Finding (presence of the diuretic Xipamide based on the report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry) in the urine sample collected from him at an in competition test at the Tour de France on 14 July 2012.
Mr. Schleck has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample.
The UCI Anti-Doping Rules do not provide for a provisional suspension given the nature of the substance, which is a specified substance.
However, the UCI is confident that his team will take the necessary steps to enable the Tour de France to continue in serenity and to ensure that their rider has the opportunity to properly prepare his defense in particular within the legal timeline, which allows four days for him to have his B sample analyzed.
Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI is unable to provide any additional information at this time.
UCI Communications Services
The full statement from the RadioShack-Nissan team
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.
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.