Team Barloworld is in shock after the breaking news of its rider Moisés Dueñas returning a positive A sample for EPO.
Claudio Masnata, the press contact for the team, recapped the dramatic morning events for Cyclingnews. "We received the info this morning that Moisés Dueñas returned a non-negative sample after the time trial in Cholet. The police searched his room. No other rooms were searched."
The team itself did not get a chance to talk to Dueñas, who was taken by the police for questioning.
Despite the bad news, the team planned to start stage 11 and was assigned car number 13 in the caravane. It indicates that Tour organiser ASO considers this an isolated case of doping, giving the team a second chance.
Masnata described the morale in the team. "The team is in a bad mood. We already had bad news last week, with Soler crashing out of the Tour. We are in shock."
Team manager Claudio Corti had a similar reaction. "I am stunned, but I want to go deeper in this story before telling something definitive and planning our next actions. The one thing I can certainly state, by now, is that the team is not involved in this story at all."
Moisés Dueñas suspended
The team has suspended Dueñas immediately. The next step is for Dueñas's B sample to be tested by an independent doctor. These results will then be submitted and ratified, a process which could take up to five days before a final, conclusive result will be known. The way forward for both Dueñas and the team will only be determined upon receiving these results.
Team Barloworld is concerned about this development and supports the decision by ASO, the Tour de France race organisers, to exclude Dueñas. The team will be assisting ASO in all further investigations.
Chris Fisher, head of corporate marketing at Barloworld commented "We are disappointed and concerned about one of our cyclists testing positive. Team Barloworld has a zero tolerance policy towards doping and, as such, Dueñas has been suspended from all team activities with immediate effect."
Soler back to Colombia
Earlier bad news for Barloworld were the abandonment of Mauricio Soler in stage five, after crashing with about 20 kilometres remaining on Stage 1. After the accident Soler headed to Italy, where he was seen by orthopaedic specialist Dr Archetti. Archetti put Soler's left hand in a plaster and also recommended that Soler wears a stiff brace on his right hand for two weeks.
Soler then left Europe on Sunday, heading home to his native Colombia. The Barloworld captain will also undergo a scan in the near future to study the healing of his fracture in his left wrist; he will also undergo physiotherapy on both injuries.
Soler is expected to return to Italy in the first week of August when other check-ups will be carried out with Team Barloworld's medical staff.
"Mauricio will probably race again at the end of August but it's a little early to say exactly when and where," Team Barloworld manager Claudio Corti said.