Sylvain Georges has said that his positive doping control could be traced to a “harmless drug” he took to improve circulation in his legs, but accepted the blame for not reading the packaging, calling the situation “stupid”. Team AG2R-La Mondiale has suspended him, but now the team may be in the position of suspending itself, after two positive doping controls within 12 months.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Georges said, “I took Ginkor Fort, which is freely available without a prescription. Now it appears that that medicine contains a very small dose of the prohibited Heptaminol, a substance which I had never heard of before today. I did not study the composition of the drug and did not consult the team doctor before taking it. Stupid.”
The 29-year-old said that he has always tried to use homeopathic remedies and “lives as naturally as possible for my sport. I have always detested doping.”
He concluded by saying that “I want to apologize to my team and sponsors for the negative publicity resulting from this. I never tried to cheat and will do everything to prove I didn't.”
Team director Vincent Lavenu said that “there was no intention to dope. But it's a silly mistake that hurts him and the whole team. The consequences are disastrous compared to the original action." He added that as far as he knew, Georges had already requested that the B Sample also be tested.
Lavenu now faces a difficult decision. His team is a member of the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC), which has an internal rule that a team with two positives within twelve months must suspend itself from racing for eight days as of the start of the next WorldTour race. Steve Houanard tested positive for EPO at an out-of-competition control last September. Grand tours are not included, but this could prevent the French team from riding in the Criterium Dauphine and the Tour de Suisse.