Mikel Astarloza has been provisionally suspended by the UCI for a positive result for EPO in an out-of-competition test, dating from June 26 2009.

A stage winner in the Tour de France – who also finished 11th overall – the decision to suspend Astarloza was made in light of a report from the WADA-accredited laboratory in Madrid that found traces of the drug in a urine sample.

The provisional suspension will remain in place until a hearing panel convened by the Spanish Cycling Federation determines whether Astarloza is guilty.

The hearing panel will also make a decision on applicable sanctions, if necessary, and possible disqualification from the Tour de France.

  • harry neill

    I’m a cyclist,have ridden a road bike for around 5yrs,my son has raced and time trialed to a reasonable level,(not so much now),I’ve watched him train,suffer then take part,I’ve trained hard to reach what i regard a good level for what i need, to ride for at least 2-3hrs. I still suffer badly on hills but i wont give up,hills wont beat me.We’ve all suffered for our love of the sport of cycling,i wont give up watching whether on the telly or up close and personel, but like everybody has said why o why do pros think that they wont get caught. It just makes me very sad

  • C in Marin

    Two thumbs up to poster Robin Hague: I too have noticed, with horrified fascination, the extremely regrettable dentition on many of the Spanish and Italian riders. Now I understand why…

    On a more serious note:
    1) This is sad: I too was charmed to hear that this was MA’s first big pro race win.
    2) What is up with results from testing done in late June not being ready until after the TdeF? Do the testers just hate the fans, the peleton and/or the Tour? Is there some super-time consuming process to run these tests? If not, this is kind of insane, especially since the TdeF is, like, the big race of the year.
    3)I did note with interest that one doping rider recently stated that ‘he did it because he felt pressured to ride when he wasn’t adequately prepared post-injury.’ While that def. doesn’t exclude him, what do you more august cycling fans think about this — do riders on these Euro teams face more pressure to do more races. to keep their names in front of their home sponsors, than the larger better funded more ‘intl’ teams? Or not? A real question, I don’t know enough about the business of the sport to make a guess here.

  • Nigel

    Tend to agree with the sentiments, but let’s wait for the “B test etc in case there has genuinely been a mistake/process failure. (I’m not optimistic in light of AFLD’s comments about re-testing 15 of the Tour top 20 though…)

  • Tom M

    It just makes me a bit sad. I felt so good for Mikel watching him cross the line on stage 16, as the commentator said he’d never won a pro race (he did win the TDU overall but had never crossed the line first) so watching him look nervously behind him as he pedalled the final few Ks and the massive smile on his face when he crossed the line was great. It made me think that was what cycle racing was all about, but now all I can think is how shallow he must have felt knowing he had cheated. One day we’ll be rid of the scurge of drugs but these events prove it’s going to take a lot more work.

    To the poeple who ask “How can anyone be stupid enough to think they can beat the tests now?”, we have to think; if he managed to win the Tour Down Under, is it likely that he was cheating then but got away with it? This may not sound fair, as he didn’t test positive for that event, but he must have known he was running the risk of all his previous results being called into question. Of course we have to allow the man a fair hearing and we probably shouldn’t assume guilt until it’s proven, but it’s hard to remain impartial when we all care so much about the sport.

    On a good note, well done Brad for releasing your blood results, it’d be good to see some of the other top riders doing the same.

  • D Darby

    Why do they do it? How can any rider expect to “get away with it” now that there are so many tests carried out? A 2 Year Ban is obviously not enough…….

  • dcsmith2020

    somethings will never change . some people will try and beat the system no matter what the consequence’s .now could be the time to make it an all out ban for drugs cheats.two year ban for someone quite young seams a bit pointless if they can start almost where they left of .time for some tough love i think.

  • Dave Vickery

    What a complete dipstick! This devalues every rider in the race. I agree, chuck the twit out for at least three years.

  • Simon Jordan

    I suspect that idiots like this will make our blood boil over what they are doing for the sport. Two year bans never seem enough and yet most of us are proud / enthousiastic to follow and cheer David Millar. Where do we draw the line?

  • Lashan

    I followed the entire tour and hoped it would have been a clean one and now this news. These people should not be allowed to participate in any future Pro Tours.

  • simion baxter-cox

    He’s Spanish isn’t he……………………………………………………

  • Robin Hague

    Assuming he’s guilty, Astarloza’s orthodontic situation should serve as a warning to other EPO/Cera users. Clearly these drugs have a detrimental effect on dental health, accelerating tooth growth and creating a somewhat, presumably unwanted, equine result.

  • peter Johnston

    without sounding like nick griffen, isnt it timesomething was done about the spanish riders. hear cera /epo shame in a headline two years ago and you could be guaranteed it was an italian and and you would have good odds its was an italian or spaniard cheating. CONI etc has started to put its house in order now unless the spanish do thesame by opening up Puerto etc it must be time to ban them or at least not invite caisee d’epargne ( ok i know its officially french) and euskatel to the tour and vuelta. Aumary owns them bothand therefore have the power.
    Drug cheats should be banned for life reduced to two years if they give immediately info on doctors, systems, etc. and then kicked in the knackers by the runners up for half a hour

  • Roy

    A lifetime ban for cheaters they have no respect for the sport and allowing their return must surely be detremental for cycling and sponsors.

  • daz h

    all the spanish riders are on drugs, there the biggest cheats in cycling. thats fact! possibly only sastre thats not. wiggo for the vuelta.

  • Ashley Stark

    Watch the video of him winning his TDF stage and you see an ecstatically happy man. And yet behind it all, he knows he’s cheating. Must be a pretty hollow victory and it just goes to show the level of self-delusion that riders who dope can achieve.

  • Dave M

    What an idiot.

  • KGLoki

    What a plonker. How can anyone be stupid enough to think they can beat the tests now. Just when we thought we’d seen a clean tour. A two year ban is not enough, it’s because of idiots like this that people question the achievements of Wiggins and Cav. Raise the ban to a minimum of three years. Throw him out of the tour.