Mikel Astarloza announces suspension for EPO positive, vows appeal

Euskaltel-Euskadi's Mikel Astarloza announces that he has been suspended for a positive doping control, but plans to appeal.

Agence France Presse

Mikel Astarloza announced on Saturday that he has been suspended by the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) until June 2011 for a positive doping control prior to last year’s Tour de France.

Astarloza tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin) on June 26, 2009. Upon confirmation of that result in September 2009 his Euskaltel-Euskadi team said it would not sanction the 30-year-old rider.

The team continues to back its rider, but on Saturday Astarloza was forced to announced on his website he will not be returning to the peloton for at least another year.

“I wanted to publicly announce that I’ve received a letter from the RFEC notifying me I am officially suspended until June 26, 2011, for having broken International Cycling Union (UCI) rules,” he said.

“I maintain that I have done nothing wrong … I will be appealing this suspension to the relevant authorities.”