Astarloza's counter-analysis positive

Euskaltel continue to back Mikel Astarloza despite B-sample positive for EPO

Team Euskaltel-Euskadi announced on Tuesday that counter-analysis has confirmed Mikel Astarloza's positive test for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO).

"It is not a surprise, since the result was leaked to the media a few days ago," said the Basque team.

Astarloza, 29, tested positive for EPO on June 26, but the International Cycling Union (UCI) only announced the result on July 31. He rode the Tour de France and won the mountain stage to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, on July 1, ahead of France's Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux).

The UCI temporarily suspended Astarloza when it announced the result. "I know that I have not taken anything prohibited," said Astarloza last month.

Euskaltel, who have backed Astarloza since the announcement of his initial positive test result, re-affirmed their faith in the rider yesterday. Astarloza has "given this matter to his lawyers and experts to show innocence," the team added.

Astarloza was the second rider from the Basque team to test positive in July, after Iñigo Landaluze.

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