/ Cycling

Schleck to miss Tour de France after ban

Updated: Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013 19:26 | Comments

The Luxembourg will have to watch on when this year's Tour starts at the end of June
The Luxembourg will have to watch on when this year's Tour starts at the end of June

Frank Schleck will miss the 2013 Tour de France after he was handed a one-year backdated ban for failing a dope test during last year's race, the Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency (ALAD) have announced

Schleck, third overall in the 2011 Tour, tested positive for the diuretic Xipamide following the 13th stage.

ALAD representative Raymond Mousty told a news conference that the ban started from the day Schleck failed the test - 14 July 2012.

Schleck, who has denied knowingly taking a banned substance, will be eligible to compete again two weeks after the start of the Tour. 

"Of course I am disappointed by the verdict that has just been announced. I think that the decision to suspend me during one year is too severe considering the fact that the Council acknowledged that I unintentionally consumed a contaminated product," Schleck said in a statement.

"Unfortunately the provisions of the UCI are such that an involuntary contamination is sufficient in order to pronounce a punishment.

"I think that the decision to suspend me during one year is too severe" - Schleck

"We will now analyse the decision in detail and decide on potential further steps. However I bear a positive aspect of the decision in mind, the judges acknowledged that I am not a cheater."

The 32-year-old rider, who also finished fifth overall in the 2008 and 2009 Tours, faced a possible suspension up to two years.

In its reasoned decision, ALAD explained that it opted for a one-year ban on grounds of proportional punishment, stating that it was Schleck's first doping offence. 

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