Schleck out after dope test fail

Frank Schleck was last night in a Pau police station after leaving the Tour de France following a positive drugs test, his RadioShack- Nissan-Trek team confirmed.

The 32-year-old Luxembourg rider, third in the 2011 Tour, tested positive for banned diuretic Xipamide on July 14, cycling’s world governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale announced.

Schleck will not start today’s 16th stage, the 197-kilometre route from Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon, but RadioShack-Nissan-Trek will remain in the Tour.

Schleck was 12th overall, nine minutes and 45 seconds behind leader Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), at yesterday’s second rest day and has the right to attend the analysis of his B sample within four days.

RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team spokesman Philippe Maertens confirmed Schleck had voluntarily gone to the French police on receipt of the news for questioning.

Maertens said: “He tested positive for Xipamide. It’s not performance-enhancing but it’s forbidden. The team doesn’t know where that product comes from.”

Asked Schleck’s reaction to the news, Maertens said: “It was like he got a hammer on his head.

“He doesn’t know anything about where the product comes from.

“It’s a shock for everybody. We’re leading the team classification. Without Frank Schleck it’s going to be harder. When something happens like this you can imagine they’re not happy.”

The Luxembourg rider is the elder brother of Andy, who won the 2010 Tour after original champion Alberto Contador was stripped of his title for a doping offence. Andy was injured for this year’s Tour.

Frank Schleck has four times finished in the top 10 of the Tour and won two stages. In 2008 he wore the race leader’s yellow jersey for two days before finishing sixth.

The UCI informed Schleck of the news earlier yesterday and requested his removal from the Tour. The positive test came after Saturday’s Bastille Day stage to Cap d’Agde.

It was not the first trouble for RadioShack-Nissan-Trek this season. Team manager Johan Bruyneel opted not to attend the Tour due to his link with the United States Anti-doping Agency investigation into the US Postal Service team, with seven-time winner Lance Armstrong a fellow defendant. Both Armstrong and Bruyneel deny any wrongdoing. The RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team was formed this year from the amalgamation of Armstrong’s RadioShack team and Luxembourg-backed Leopard Trek team.

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