PARIS (AFP) — The Union Cycliste Internationale on Tuesday banned French rider Steve Houanard for two years after testing
positive for banned blood booster EPO in September. The UCI also announced that it had asked the Belgian federation to open disciplinary proceedings against Leif Hoste over his Biological Passport profile.
Houanard, who has no major wins to his credit, raced for the Ag2r La Mondiale team, which renew his contract for 2013. A professional since 2009, he tested positive in an out-of-competition urine test on September 21.
The UCI added that it had asked the Belgian cycling federation to instigate a disciplinary procedure against Belgian rider Leif Hoste “for an apparent violation of the anti-doping rules, on the basis of information provided by the blood profile in his biological passport.
“Mr. Hoste shall be accorded the right to the presumption of innocence until a final decision has been made on this matter,” the UCI said. “In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI is unable to provide any additional information at this time.”
Nicknamed the “Poulidor of Flanders” for finishing second in the Ronde van Vlaanderen three times (2004, 2006 and 2007), Hoste announced his retirement in late 2012, pointing to back problems that prevented from reaching the level he wanted.
When asked about banned rider Ricard Riccò in February 2011, Hoste told reporters at the Tour of Qatar that “the public makes a difference [between] this exceptional case and the majority of riders who ply their trade faithfully.”
After spending eight of his 15 years as a professional with Lotto, Hoste rode with Katusha in 2011 and Accent Jobs in 2012.