Two riders back from doping bans return to the pro ranks this week.
Thomas Dekker lines up for the Tour of Portugal for the Chipotle development team while Mikel Astarloza returned to action Wednesday with Euskaltel-Euskadi.
Dekker, 26, confirmed Monday that he is racing this week with the Chipotle Development Team, a move that could see him race with Garmin-Cervélo next season.
Dekker posted on his Twitter account he’s confirmed with Chipotle and thanked team principals Jonathan Vaughters and Doug Ellis as well as team captain David Millar for their backing.
Dekker tested positive for EPO from sample taken in December 2007 that wasn’t analyzed until just before the 2009 Tour de France.
After initially denying it, the two-time Dutch national time trial champion later admitted using EPO during parts of the 2007 and 2008 season. His two-year-ban ended June 30.
Astarloza, meanwhile, was scheduled to start Wednesday’s first stage of the Vuelta a Burgos in northern Spain with his former team, Euskaltel-Euskadi.
Astarloza, 31, tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test just before the start of the 2009 Tour de France. He started the race with the results still unknown and went on to win a stage in the Alps.
When the results were later verified, Astarloza was stripped of the stage victory and Sandy Casar was later awarded the stage. Astarloza denied taking EPO, saying it would be “sporting suicide” to dope.
He was eventually handed down a two-year racing ban and Euskaltel-Euskadi stuck by its word and rehired him.
Astarloza is expected to race the Vuelta a España later this month and race the 2012 in the Euskaltel jersey.