Luxembourg rider Frank Schleck denied taking any banned substance despite testing positive for a forbidden diuretic at the Tour de France, and has suggested he may have been poisoned.
The RadioShack Nissan Trek team leader said he “formally rejects” having taken any banned substance, and requested the B sample to be tested.
A statement sent by the rider to media in Luxembourg said, “If this analysis confirms the first result, a complaint will be filed against an unspecified person for poisoning.”
A RadioShack spokesman on Wednesday confirmed the authenticity of the statement to AP. The team pulled him from the race after the positive test, and said he would be suspended if the backup sample comes back positive, too.
Cycling’s governing body the UCI said on Tuesday that Schleck tested positive for the banned diuretic Xipamide on Saturday, another reminder of the doping cloud that has damaged the image of cycling.
The diuretic is classified as a specified substance and does not require a provisional suspension. The World Anti-Doping Agency defines “specified substances” like Xipamide as those that are “more susceptible to a credible, non-doping explanation.”
Bans for such substances are often shorter, and athletes have a better chance of proving that they did not intend to consume it or enhance their performance.
Tour chief Christian Prudhomme, speaking near the start of Wednesday’s 16th stage into the Pyrenees, noted Schleck, under UCI rules, could have taken the start.
“It is a wise decision and for that matter, the only one imaginable,” Prudhomme said in a statement lasting less than a minute. He did not take questions.