BRIVE-LA-GAILLARDE, France, July 20, 2012 (AFP) – Former Tour de France
podium finisher Frank Schleck is facing a possible suspension after a second
‘B’ sample confirmed a positive test for a banned diuretic.
Luxembourger Schleck, who finished third on the podium last year, quit the
Tour in disgrace Tuesday after being informed by the International Cycling
Union (UCI) of a positive test for Xipamide.
Although Schleck has proclaimed his innocence and said he will fight to
find out how the substance got into his system, the UCI have asked his
federation to take disciplinary action against the rider.
“In accordance with the Anti-doping rules, the UCI will request the
Luxembourg Federation opens a disciplinary procedure against the rider,” said
a UCI statement.
Although under UCI rules the 32-year-old could have continued in the race,
his embattled RadioShack team sent him home on the second rest day.
Diuretics are not considered performance-enhancing but can be used to help
riders lose weight, and therefore perform better in the tough mountain stages
of the race.
More ominously, they can also conceal the presence of a banned drug by
helping to flush it from the body through increased urination. Xipamide, a
diuretic, is normally used for the treatment of oedema and hypertension.
After witnessing the analysis at the laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry,
France, Schleck said: “The result of the counter test was positive but for me
nothing changes: I just know that I did nothing wrong!
“I will therefore continue my search to find out how the substance could
have entered my body.
“At the moment we are analysing minute by minute what exactly I have been
doing, eating, drinking on the days before the control and on July 14 itself,
who I met, what materials I came in contact with, what nutritional supplements
Because Xipamide falls into a special category of substances under the
World Anti Doping Code called ‘Specified Substances’, Schleck has a chance to
prove his innocence.
The Code states that when an “athlete can establish that the use of such a
specified substance was not intended to enhance sport performance, the period
of ineligibility … shall be replaced with the following.”
For a first violation athletes face anything from “a reprimand” or, at
most, a “one year’s ineligibility”.
A second violation would incur “two years ineligibility”, in other words a
two-year ban, while a third violation would incur a “lifetime ban”.
Schleck’s statement added: “The medical world states that this product,
when performing in extreme conditions such as in a cycling tour, is very
dangerous; it can even cause death.
“Therefore I really need to find out how this product ended up in my
system: since I didn’t take anything, I assume it must have been given to me
by someone, or it could have happened through an accidental contamination, or
it could be caused by something that is not yet known to me since we are still
undertaking a number of analyses.”