Luxembourg rider Frank Schleck is out of this year’s Tour de France after failing a drugs test.
The 32-year-old, who finished third in last year’s race, tested positive for the diuretic Xipamide on Saturday.
Schleck, the older brother of 2010 winner Andy, was 12th in the Tour’s overall standings, nine minutes and 45 seconds behind leader Bradley Wiggins.
His RadioShack-Nissan team said today he had been withdrawn from the race so he could prepare a defence.
“Our team attaches great value to transparency,” said a team statement. “After being informed by the UCI (International Cycling Union) about the presence of Xipamide in the urine sample of Frank Schleck on 14 July, the team has decided to immediately withdraw Frank Schleck from the Tour de France.
“Even though an abnormal A sample does not require these measures, Mr Schleck and the team believe this is the right thing to do, to ensure the Tour de France can go on in calm and that Frank Schleck can prepare his defence in accordance with the legal timing to do so.
“On the subject of Xipamide, the team can declare the following: it is not a product that is present in any of the medicine that the team uses and the reason for the presence of Xipamide in the urine sample of Mr Schleck is unclear to the team.
“Therefore, the team is not able to explain the adverse findings at this point.
“However, the team is fully determined to collaborate with the anti-doping agencies in order to resolve the matter.”
The diuretic is classified as a specified substance and does not require a provisional suspension. Xipamide is a sulfonamide used for the treatment of oedema, fluid retention and hypertension.
A UCI statement read: “Earlier today, the UCI advised Frank Schleck of an adverse analytical finding (presence of the diuretic Xipamide) in the urine sample collected from him at an in-competition test at the Tour de France on 14 July 2012. (BBC)