Xavier Florencio of Cervelo TestTeam has apologised for using an over-the-counter haemorrhoid treatment without first consulting the team doctor.
The Spaniard broke internal Cervelo TestTeam rules and pulled him from their Tour de France line-up on Friday night. The Swiss-based team will start the Tour with only eight riders.
Following the Tour de Suisse, Florencio said he suffered from “increasingly painful” haemorrhoids, and bought a common over-the-counter remedy to treat the problem. “I looked at the prospect and I saw no contra-indication for athletes,” he said in a statement issued a few hours after the Cervelo TestTeam announced he would not ride the Tour de France.
On Friday morning he again used the ointment before training, and in the afternoon he told the team physician about it. “The doctor advised me that this ointment contains ephedrine”, which is forbidden under International Cycling Union anti-doping rules. “The effects of the ointment take two or three days to go away, and I was in danger of testing positive at a doping control,” he said.
The team subsequently pulled him from the Tour squad and suspended him from all competition. "This substance was not cleared in advance with the medical staff. This usage without clearance violates the internal policy,” the team said.
"I should have gotten in touch with team doctors before I self-medicate, but I never thought that this product, which is commonly used and available without a prescription, could have these contra-indications," Florencio said. "It was a terrible mistake and I feel very bad because I worked very hard to get to this race in the best condition."