Spanish climber Manuel Beltran has been banned from competing in France for two years after testing positive for banned blood-boosting drug EPO during this year’s Tour de France.

AFLD – France’s anti-doping agency – announced the ban, effective from Tuesday (November 25). Beltran will now not be allowed to take part in the next two editions of the Tour. At 37 years of age, his career must now be over.

The Liquigas rider tested positive for EPO after the first stage of the Tour in July, and was immediately kicked out of the race and suspended by his team. French police searched Liquigas’s team hotel but found nothing.

Beltran was part of Lance Armstrong‘s US Postal and Discovery Channel squads during 2003-05, when the Texan won the Tour. Although Beltran has few wins in his palmares, it was as one of Armstrong’s key mountain men that he rose to prominence. He signed for Liquigas in 2007 after the Discovery Channel team disbanded.


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