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Milram terminates Astarloa's contract

Team Milram has terminated its contract with former World Champion Igor Astarloa, it announced Thursday, following disclosures that he had shown "irregular blood values", as reported by Focus magazine.

"He has received a letter saying that he no longer rides for us," said team manager Gerry van Gerwen to the German press agency dpa. "He does not agree with it and therefore it is all in the hands of attorneys." He emphasised that there was no positive doping test.

Astarloa, 32, did not start the second stage of the Giro d'Italia, allegedly because of stomach problems. The Spaniard won the 2003 World Championships in Hamilton, Canada.

Milram recently fired star sprinter Alessandro Petacchi after the Court of Arbitration for Sport suspended him for one year on doping charges.