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Tour de France stage winner Mikel Astarloza tests positive for EPO according to the UCI

Posted Jul 31 2009 2:18pm

Mikel So do you remember stage 16 of the this year's Tour de France?

That was the stage when the two Schleck brothers put the hammer down and a lot of top riders went out the back of the pack including Lance Armstrong.

But one rider who did not wilt under the Shleck brothers push to the top of mountain was Spaniard Mikel Astarloza (team Euskaltel-Euskadi team).

In fact he sprinted ahead of all of the drama of the General Standings battle and won the stage with a roar of victory as thousands of Spanish and Basque fans cheered his super human effort.

Well, and you guessed it, apparently his effort was just a bit too super human as the rider in the orange colors of Euskaltel-Euskadi has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for EPO, the UCI reported Friday.

Mikel Astarloza EPO is a commonly misused performance enhancing drug that allows the blood to carry more oxygen.

Another year and another performance enhancing drug scandal at the Tour de France.

Velonews is reporting that, "Under UCI rules, Astarloza has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B-sample.

Astarloza could receive a ban of up to two years if he is issued a sanction by the Spanish cycling federation.

There was no immediate response from Astarloza or his Euskaltal-Euskadi team"

This initial report is makes many cycling insiders wonder if another shoe will fall as it seems that cycling is still not performance enhancing drug free.

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