Italy’s Cristian Moreni of the Cofidis team has been named as the rider who failed a dope control for testosterone after stage 11 of the Tour de France.
Moreni was picked at random for the test after the stage on Thursday, July 19 from Marseille to Montpellier. Moreni finished Wednesday’s 16th stage to the summit of the Col d’Aubisque but was arrested by French police after doing a final anti-doping test. The team’s hotel near Pau was also searched by police a witness said.
The chief UCI commissaire at the Tour de France told the press at 8:00pm that Moreni’s A sample was positive and that the Italian had decided not to test the B sample, meaning he was automatically out of the Tour de France.
The Cofidis team immediately pulled out of the Tour de France and the riders, including Britain’s Bradley Wiggins were taken to a local police station. The riders returned to the hotel at 9:00pm but will not start Thursday’s 17th stage.
Moreni has had a long career in professional cycling spanning nearly a decade, with stage wins in the Giro and Vuelta to his name. On Wednesday morning, French sports newspaper L’Equipe announced that an un-named rider had failed a dope test for exogenous testosterone after stage 11, but it took until the late afternoon for the name to be leaked to the French media.
This is the second positive case for testosterone to break during the Tour after it was announced Patrik Sinkewitz failed a test in June. It is yet another blow to the Tour organisers after Alexandre Vinokourov sensationally failed a test for blood transfusion after Saturday’s stage 13 time trial, which he won. His entire Astana team subsequently withdrew from the race.
At the start of today’s stage, the riders – including Moreni and his Cofidis squad, which also includes Bradley Wiggins – staged a protest against continued doping by riders.
More details to follow