German sprinter Danilo Hondo has been suspended by the management of his team, Gerolsteiner. After being informed by the UCI that Hondo tested positive for a banned substance twice at the Vulta a Murcia in early March, team manager Hans-Michael Holzcer immediately supended the rider in conformity with existing contracts. Hondo was tested three times in Murcia: at the first stage, there was no adverse analytical finding, but at the two subsequent stages and tests, Hondo tested positive for a stimulant, whose nature has not yet been announced.
The 31 year-old, who placed second at Milano-Sanremo this year, has made a first public statement in which he expressed his disbelief. "I have to take the test results for a fact, even if I feel as in a state of shock," he said. "I will try to determine the reasons for all of this scientifically within the next few days. I ask for everybody's understanding that I will only comment this publicly upon presentation of facts."
Hans-Michael Holczer, manager of team Gerolsteiner, reacted promptly. "In compliance with our general attitude on the subject we suspeded Danilo immediately," he said. "The causes [for these findings] are being investigated thoroughly at the moment to elucidate the matter completely. All further statements would be pure speculation at this point. We will publish any new knowledge on the case as soon as it is available."
It was not possible for Cyclingnews to find out why the nature of the substance in question has not yet been communicated. If a B sample confirms the result, Hondo could face a two-year suspension by the German cycling federation and the end of his career as a ProTour cyclist.
Hondo had dropped out of the Three Days of De Panne and cancelled his participation in the Tour of Flanders on Wednesday because of a cold resulting in fever. "He really was ill," said Gerolsteiner spokesman Mathias Wieland. "It had nothing to do with his positive doping result."