Mikel Astarloza has finished his two-year doping ban and has insisted he will return to the peloton, possibly as soon as the end of this month. The Spaniard has continued to train during his ban, and claims that both his head and legs are ready to go.
The Euskaltel-Euskadi rider won the 16th stage of the 2009 Tour de France, attacking out of a breakaway group on the mountain stage. Then 10 days later the UCI announced that an out-of competition doping control on June 26 had returned positive for EPO. He was suspended and subsequently sacked by his team, and eventually given a two-year suspension.
Now, according to Marca.com, Astarloza is said to be returning to the team this season, perhaps even riding the Tour of Poland, which starts on July 31.
“Nothing is confirmed yet. I won't discuss it until the matter is finished. Neither I nor the team has any news,” he told the Spanish newspaper.
When or if he does return, Astarloza will be ready. “My legs are fine. I have trained a lot for two years, trying to do my best,” he said.