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LUXEMBOURG (AFP) — The Luxembourg anti-doping agency (ALAD) imposed a suspension of one year on Frank Schleck on Wednesday, the agency’s president, Robert Schuller, announced.
Schleck tested positive for the banned diuretic Xipamide during the 2012 Tour de France.
The sanction “is subject to appeal and is at the date of 14 July 2012,” said Schuller.
The backdated sanction means that Schleck will miss the 2013 Tour de France, but could return later this season.
“I am obviously disappointed with the verdict that has been rendered. I believe that the decision to suspend me for a year is too severe given the fact that the council held that I unwittingly consumed a contaminated product. Unfortunately the UCI rules are such that even unintended contamination sufficient to impose a sanction,” said Schleck. “I am, however, relieved that the judges have recognized that it was not a case of doping and that there was no desire on my part to improve performance. This is very important for me, for my family, my team and all those who support me.
“We will now analyze the decision in detail and decide later. I remember, however, a positive element: the judges admitted that I’m not a cheater. ”
Schleck, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), or World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) can appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
His RadioShack-Leopard team released a statement following the agency’s announcement, saying it would study the decision before commenting further: “The management of Leopard S.A. has taken note of the verdict of the CDD (Conseil de Discipline contre le Dopage) in the case of Fränk Schleck’s positive test for Xipamide during the 2012 Tour de France. Leopard S.A. is content that the anti-doping authorities have now reached a verdict, but will not make any further declarations about the case until it has studied the argumentation of the CDD more closely.”