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Barloworld’s Moises Duenas has been pulled from the Tour de France after a urine sample provided after stage 4 showed signs of the blood booster erythropoietin.
Police later found banned substances in Duenas’ hotel room, according to a statement on the Barloworld Web site.
The Spaniard was in 19th place in the overall standings, 6:43 behind overall leader Cadel Evans, following Monday’s stage to Hautacam. The team was informed of the positive test by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) on Wednesday morning and Duenas was immediately suspended from the team.
Duenas is the second rider to have failed a drug test for rEPO at the Tour after a sample provided by Liquigas’s Manuel Beltran showed evidence of the same drug.
The test is designed to distinguish naturally occurring erythropoietin from that produced in a laboratory (rEPO) by measuring the electrical charges of the isoforms of the two substances. Duenas has the option of requesting that his B sample be tested to confirm the results of the first test, but current Tour policy calls for the immediate suspension of any rider whose A sample comes back positive.
A team spokesman confirmed that police had taken Duenas away for questioning, and said they had suspended the rider while they await the results of further tests.
“Right now Moises is at the police station with the team manager and the doctor. The team has suspended Moises while we wait for other information,” said the spokesman.
He added that the team had been testing the riders regularly, but had so far failed to notice any anomalies.
“The doctor is controlling the riders every day, so far there has been nothing suspicious from any of the riders.”
Duenas, who began his pro career in 2002 with the Relax-Fuenlabrada team, has competed in the last two Tours de France as a member of Agritubel.
If the results of the test are confirmed, the 27-year-old Duenas faces a two-year suspension from the sport.
A team’s statement was published on its Web site Wednesday afternoon.
“Banned products which were absolutely not provided or prescribed by the team doctor were found in the room of Moises Duenas,” the statement read.
Barloworld manager Claudio Corti added: “I have asked French police to hold a full inquiry into the case to understand the seriousness of what Moises Duenas has done. It seems he used banned products without the knowledge of anyone in the team.”
Corti added he was stunned by the news.
“I’m shocked. I want to find out more about what has happened before going into detail and taking further action. However, the one thing I will say is that the team is not involved in this story at all and we’ll take severe action against anyone who damages our credibility and the image of our team.”
Roger Legeay, the Credit Agricole team manager, said the positive tests in this year’s Tour will ultimately prove controls are working.
“It’s not great to hear that a rider has cheated, but that’s what the tests are designed for. When you look, sometimes you find,” he said before the start of Tuesday’s 11th stage.