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Fränk Schleck speaks with police in Pau

By:
Barry Ryan
Published:
July 18, 2012, 0:29 BST,
Updated:
July 18, 2012, 1:29 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Race:
Tour de France
Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan)

Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan)

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RadioShack-Nissan rider positive for diuretic

As news of his withdrawal from the Tour de France following an adverse analytical finding for the diuretic Xipamide broke on Tuesday evening, Fränk Schleck was speaking with police in Pau.

After receiving notice of his positive test, Schleck is understood to have opted to travel to the police station himself to make a statement to officers from OCLAESP (Central Office for the fight against environmental damage and for public health).

Meanwhile, the entrance to Schleck's RadioShack-Nissan team hotel, the Villa Navarre in Pau, had been blocked by police as television crews and journalists began to assemble outside, waiting for a response from the team.

Shortly after 10pm, RadioShack-Nissan press officer Philippe Maertens came to the gates of the hotel to field questions from the reporters gathered outside.

"We're all a bit devastated but we can't do anything, we can only acknowledge the facts and see what happens. It's up to Fränk himself to find an explanation," Maertens said, adding that it "had not yet been decided" if Schleck would seek an analysis of his B sample.

Schleck's positive test dates from July 14, the day of stage 13 of the Tour to Le Cap d'Agde and Maertens said that the team had no reason to suspect such an occurrence before the race began.

"No, there were no doubts. If the team had doubts about him, they wouldn't have brought him to the Tour de France," he said.

Schleck himself has yet to make a public pronouncement on the matter, but Maertens said that the rider was surprised by the news: "He has no explanation."

As Xipamide is a specified substance, Schleck could in theory have continued in the race while awaiting analysis of his B sample, but the RadioShack-Nissan team opted to remove him from the race. Schleck entered the rest day 12th overall, 9:45 behind yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins (Sky).

"He was our best rider here, we needed him for the teams classification," Maertens said. "He's an important factor of our team who is gone. It's important for the other riders too because it's their profession and they've worked for this goal, but to be honest, it's worst for Fränk himself."

Schleck's family, who had come to visit him during the rest day in Pau, were present in the hotel on Tuesday. "It's not a happy situation," Maertens said.

Schleck's younger brother Andy is not at the Tour as he recovers from a fractured pelvis, but when contacted by a reporter from Le Parisien, he stressed his support. "On my life and on my family, I'm sure he hasn't taken anything," Schleck said.

 

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