PAU, France, July 17, 2012 (AFP) – Luxembourg’s Frank Schleck, a former
podium finisher at the Tour de France, has tested positive for a banned
diuretic, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced Tuesday.
Schleck, who finished third in 2011, is currently racing the 99th edition
with the RadioShack team run by Belgian Johan Bruyneel.
A statement from 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 Ch?tenay-Malabry) in the urine
sample collected from him at an in competition test at the Tour de France on
14 July 2012.”
Schleck “has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample”.
The UCI, however, indicated it expects Schleck to be immediately suspended
from the race, in accordance with strict anti-doping rules in place.
“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
Diuretics are not performance-enhancing in themselves although they can be
used to help riders lose weight, and therefore perform better in the tough
mountain stages of the race.
Xipamide, a diuretic, is normally used for the treatment of oedema and
Schleck has a chance of proving his innocence because Xipamide falls into a
special category of substances under the World Anti Doping Code called
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”.
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
Schleck, whose younger brother Andy was awarded the race victory from 2010
after Spain’s Alberto Contador was disqualified for doping, sits in 12th place
at 9:45 off the pace of race leader Bradley Wiggins of Britain.