France?s Jimmy Casper has been suspended by his Agritubel team after it was revealed he is the fifth rider who tested positive during the Tour de France.
The little sprinter joins Manuel Beltran, Moises Duenas, Riccardo Ricco and Dimitri Fofonov on the list of shame from the Tour but sadly his positive seems to more of mix over an asthma drug and written permission to use it in races.
Traces of a glucocorticoid were found in Casper?s urine sample. He suffers from asthma and had a Therapeutic Use Exemption certificate for the drug in question but the TUE ran out at the end of May and a new TUE listed another drug, while Casper apparently used the old one. The difference between the drug found in his urine and the one listed on Casper?s TUE sparked the positive test result.
"I am asthmatic. I did not take it as a performance boost, but for treatment,? Casper told the AFP news agency.
?For the twelve years I?ve raced, I?ve had a TUE for the (asthma drug) Syndicort. My previous TUE, which expired on May 29, covered the drug. On the new one there?s another product, Becotide. This product caused the positive control. I do not know who has been negligent, if the error came from me or the (team) doctor."
Spain?s Pedro Horrillo was involved in a similar situation in 2007 and was cleared and Casper and the Agritubel team have pleaded with the French Federation to clear him of any wrong doing.
?I?ve got faith in him, I don?t think he wanted to cheat,? David Fornes, the Agritubel team manager, told the Reuters news agency.
?He?s been taking the medicine since the start of his career. Unfortunately if the Federation decide to suspend him, we?ll have to fire him.?
Casper is remembered for winning the opening road stage of the 2006 Tour de France in Strasbourg. He finished third behind Britain?s Mark Cavendish on the stage to Toulouse this year but did not finish the Tour de France after finishing outside the time limit on the stage to L?Alpe d?Huez.
The French Anti-doping agency who carried out the doping control during the Tour de France revealed last week that a total of 76 out of the 180 riders in the Tour de France. That means that almost half of the Tour peloton had some kind of TUE certificate for asthma or other health problems that requires medical treatment while racing.
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