|Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc has indicated that a rider has tested positive for EPO in the Centenary Tour de France. Leblanc made the announcement on Saturday evening, but did not disclose the name of the rider, his team, or whether he was still in the race. A full announcement will follow the completion of the final stage. It would be the only positive drug case so far in this Tour.
According to L'Equipe who is quoting a source close to the Tour de France officials the rider was caught at a test during this years race and it is according to this source 'not one of the big names'. The rider in question, which name, nationality and team have not been revealed, asked for a contra expertise. The contra expertise will take place in a few days.
"It is no stage winner", a official source adds to the speculation a big fish is caught.
"This prooves the messures we took after the 1998 Tour are functioning well. The sport has to live unfortunately a little with persons who disrespect the rules. We test them, we detect the abbuse, we sanctionise them and continu without them, with the major part of the bunch." tells Tour director Jean Marie Le Blanc. Since EPO is being controlled in urinesamples by the
Laboratoire national de Châtenay-Malabry, only one rider (Spanish Txema Del Olmo) tested positive, at the Tour 2001.