Written by: Justin Davis
PAU, France, July 17, 2012 (AFP) – Luxembourg’s Frank Schleck, a former
podium finisher, was being questioned by police on the fringes of the Tour de
France Tuesday after testing positive for a banned diuretic, his RadioShack
Schleck, who had already quit the race after being informed of the positive
test, went to a local police station of his own accord after being told police
would be coming to take him in for questioning, according to RadioShack.
RadioShack spokesman Philippe Maertens said: “Frank Schleck went
voluntarily to the police office. He is currently being questioned by police.”
It is widely believed the move was to avoid police raiding the team’s hotel.
Schleck’s positive test for the banned diuretic Xipamide was announced
earlier by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
RadioShack confirmed to AFP earlier that “Schleck has left the race”.
Maertens added that “if his B sample tests positive he would be suspended by
the team”, while awaiting further investigation.
Maertens also said Schleck had “spoken to” team manager Johan Bruyneel, but
would not reveal the content of their exchange.
A statement released earlier by the team said: “Our team attaches great
value to transparency. Because of this… the team has decided to immediately
withdraw Frank Schleck from the Tour de France.”
Earlier, the UCI said 32-year-old Schleck had been informed of an “Adverse
Analytical Finding (presence of the diuretic Xipamide based on the report from
the WADA accredited laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry) in the urine sample
collected from him at an in competition test at the Tour de France on 14 July
Schleck “has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample”,
added the UCI. RadioShack said the substance “was not present in any of the
medicine that the team uses”.
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”.
The UCI explained: “The UCI Anti-Doping Rules do not provide for a
provisional suspension given the nature of the substance, which is a specified
RadioShack, meanwhile, said it was “the right thing to do” to take Schleck
off the race “to ensure the Tour de France can go on calmly and that Frank
Schleck can prepare his defense in accordance with the legal timing to do so”.
The UCI said Schleck was allowed “four days for him to have his B sample
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.
Schleck, whose younger brother Andy was awarded the race victory from 2010
after Spain’s Alberto Contador was disqualified for doping, was in 12th place
at 9:45 off the pace of race leader Bradley Wiggins of Britain.
After the second rest day Tuesday, the race resumes Wednesday when the 16th
stage takes the peloton over four major climbs towards a downhill finish at
Last week Frenchman Remy Di Gregorio of Cofidis quit the race after calls
to a supplier of doping products were intercepted by and acted upon by police.