Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Mikel Astarloza faces a two year ban after the team revealed that his second blood sample had also revealed traces of EPO.
The Spanish team said in a short press release that despite this result they continue to believe in the rider’s innocence and have hired lawyers to try and prove this is the case. The evidence, though, is all to the contrary.
The out-of-race samples were taken on June 26th, just before the Tour de France, and shortly after Astarloza had finished third in the Spanish national championships. The first result was published on July 31st. And now the B sample has revealed exactly the same result.
Astarloza therefore stands to lose his victory in stage 16 of the Tour de France, in which he finished eleventh overall.
For Euskaltel-Euskadi this is their second positive for EPO in barely a month, after former Dauphine Libere winner Inigo Landaluze failed an anti-doping test for the same banned substance. Landaluze later admitted using EPO.