Bora-Hansgrohe team manager Ralph Denk has announced former rider Ralf Matzka returned a positive test for Tamoxifen on March 3, 2016. The 27-year-old German did not race for Bora after the Tour of Flanders in April last year and is not contracted to a team in 2017. He has not been suspended despite the adverse analytical finding,
Tamoxifen is an anti-estrogenic that increases the production of testosterone. It can also be used in the treatment of breast cancer.
In a statement, Denk explained that positive test was likely due to contamination of water and team decided not to go public to "protect the athlete".
"After carefully reviewing the experts' reports, the team Bora-Argon 18 took the decision not to publish the results at this time of the investigation to protect the athlete," Denk wrote. "An investigation procedure of the Frankfurt Prosecutor has been closed in September 2016 due to lack of suspicion. Until today the rider has not been suspended or banned by the UCI. The UCI has initiated internal proceedings and has taken legal actions. On the basis of the experts' reports and all given facts at this point of time, the team expects a verdict of acquittal. The team will not give any further statements to the ongoing proceedings."
According to a Sueddeutsche Zeitung report, Matzka explained he would be answering any questions and believes he is innocent.
"I can only tell everyone that they should deal with our statements, either they believe me or they do not believe me," said Matzka.
The announcement comes after testing opening half of the Tour de France for Bora-Hansgrohe following the disqualification of world champion Peter Sagan on stage 4, and loss of Rafa Majka due to the injuries he sustained in a stage 9 crash.