By Shane Stokes in Granada
Relax-Fuenlabrada rider Oscar Laguna has tested over the UCI's 50% hematocrit cut off point and been ejected from this year's race. Along with the other riders due to line up in the Vuelta on Saturday, the 27 year old Spaniard was tested between 7:30 and 9:30 on Thursday morning, and was the only one to display blood readings above this mark.
Laguna won a stage in the Tour of Aragon last year and was second on the 14th stage of the Vuelta in 2002.
Testing above the UCI's 50% limit is seen as suggestive - rather than proof - of possible EPO use. Laguna will now have an enforced two week 'holiday' from racing, after which he will be re-tested by the UCI in order to determine if he is fit to return to competition.