Police search hotel room of Barloworld's Dueñas
Spanish rider Moisés Dueñas has become the second rider to register a non-negative test for banned blood booster erythropoietin at the Tour de France. The results came from a sample taken from the Barloworld rider after the Grand Tour's first time trial, Stage 4 on July 8 in Cholet, according to head of the French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) Pierre Bordry.
French authorities reportedly spent two hours searching the rider's room at Le Rex, the team hotel where Barloworld and Bouygues Telecom were staying in Tarbes, France. Only one room is believed to have been searched by French authorities during the morning, number 604 – that of the Spanish rider.
News of Dueñas' test result has spread quickly after confirmation this morning from the senior French anti-doping agency figure, including on LEquipe.fr - a newspaper owned by the same parent company as the Tour. The rider held 19th position on general classification heading into today's Stage 11, which he is unlikely to contest.
Dueñas has been a professional since 2004 with his biggest success to date victory at the Tour de l'Avenir in 2006. He won a stage and the overall of the Regio Tour last year.
The 27 year-old started out his career at Spanish team Relax-Fuenlabrada, before moving to Agritubel for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Dueñas joined Barloworld at the beginning of this season, with the squad again one of a select number of Professional Continental squads to be invited to the prestigious French race. The Spaniard has no wins this year, but was hoping to aim high in the Tour.
Dueñas hails from Salamanca in central Spain. Barloworld's team-manager Claudio Corti wasn't available for comment as the news broke.
Dueñas is the second rider to register a non-negative sample at this year's Tour de France. On July 12 news broke that fellow Spaniard Manuel Beltrán from the Liquigas squad also tested non-negative to EPO, with the rider thrown out of the Tour immediately. Beltrán is awaiting the results of his B-sample test to learn his fate, with Liquigas already confirming the rider will be dumped if the second test upholds the results from his first sample.
French newspaper L'Equipe reported that Beltran was one of 10 riders found by the AFLD to have abnormal blood values in the days prior to the Tour. On July 3 and 4, the AFLD performed blood tests on riders "to allow for subsequent targeted doping tests during the Tour de France", the agency announced Friday.
The other nine riders who showed abnormal results were to be informed last weekend by AFLD, but the agency said that it would take no action against the riders other than to suggest that they submit the results to their team doctor "because of the possibility of a health risk", a statement read.
The AFLD said that it does not have the results of the same riders' testing which was performed in the first half of the year as part of the UCI's blood passport program, but "in the spirit of cooperation with the international federation" it would forward the results to the UCI for inclusion with those riders' profiles.
AFLD has been contracted to carry out anti-doping procedures at this year's Tour, which is governed by the French Cycling Federation following event organiser ASO's falling-out with the sport's international governing body Union Cycliste Internationale. All teams competing in the non-UCI event had to sign contracts with ASO prior to taking part, which were said to include strict measures to deal with breaches of the doping regulations.
The Tour was rocked in 2007 by a number of positive samples, with the most high-profile coming from former Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov. The Kazakh's positive led to his Astana squad being thrown out of the Tour and disallowed from contesting this year's event – despite undergoing a complete restructure under new management.
Cyclingnews.com will have more on this as it unfolds.