Astarloza Positive EPO Test Confirmed
Spaniard Mikel Astarloza, who finished 11th in this year's Tour de France, has had a positive test for the banned blood booster EPO confirmed, his Euskaltel-Euskadi team said on their website on Tuesday.
Astarloza, 29, who won the 16th stage of the Tour, was provisionally suspended on July 31 for a positive out-of-competition test on his A sample. He faces a two-year ban.
"Euskaltel-Euskadi communicates that Mikel Astarloza has received today the result of testing on the B sample from the anti-doping control carried out on June 26th 2009, and the result is non-negative," said a statement on the team's website (www.fundacioneuskadi.com) said.
"The team is not surprised at this result, given it was leaked a few days back to the media, and we were prepared to face this. As has been the case since the announcement of the non-negative of the A sample on July, 31st, the team trusts in the rider's innocence."
"We have placed this affair in the hands of our lawyers to prove he is innocent."
Astarloza won the Tour Down Under in 2003 and finished ninth overall in last year's Tour de France.
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