By Susan Westemeyer
Cyclingnews has reliably learned that Team Milram's Igor Astarloa wasn't suffering from an intestinal infection when he dropped out of the Giro d'Italia after the second stage. Instead, the Spanish former World Champion showed significant problems with what Focus magazine claimed were his blood values, and was therefore removed from the race. It was not a positive doping test, but the matter is now in the hands of the team management.
The Astarloa story bears similarities to that of Serguei Gonchar from last year's Giro. T-Mobile team removed the Ukrainian from the roster immediately after announcing the roster, claiming he was suffering from a cold.
A few days later the team announced that it was withholding him from racing for 30 days, following questionable results from blood tests. The team ultimately terminated its contract with Honchar in June, citing"violations of the Team Code of Conduct."