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Moreni and Cofidis leave Tour after positive testosterone test

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French gendarmes take Cristian Moreni

French gendarmes take Cristian Moreni (Image credit: AFP)
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Cristian Moreni (Cofidis) was arrested immediately

Cristian Moreni (Cofidis) was arrested immediately (Image credit: AFP)

By Brecht Decaluwé in Ley

One week after the doping news from T-Mobile's Patrick Sinkewitz and one day after the Vino-bomb, and the third doping story surfaced to ruin the Tour de France.

A rider that was currently in the Tour de France peloton had tested positive for testosterone, a banned substance that plays a role in enhancing recuperation. Once again, the news was leaked to the French newspaper L'Equipe, which published the news five hours before the rider was informed.

The rider's identity remained unknown for a few hours, but when the riders started rolling over the finish line on the legendary Col d'Aubisque, Cristian Moreni's name surfaced as the concerned rider-- a likeable Italian and a member of the French team Cofidis.

At 8 pm Wednesday, the president of the jury Didier Simon announced the news officially to the press in Ley. "Today, the UCI informed us that a rider tested positive after a doping test that was performed after the stage [11] to Montpellier."

Simon continued by saying the rider and his team were informed at 6:15 pm and explained that the rider had three hours to request the result of the B-sample. "I'm waiting for confirmation from Francis Van Londersele [directeur sportif Cofidis], but Moreni would have decided not to request it," the French official said to the gathered press.

Meanwhile the 34 year-old Moreni was picked up by the French gendarmerie after his finish in 41st place, 21 minutes back, on the Aubisque. He was escorted to be tested as part of the stage's "random" controls. A police car followed in the team car caravan up the Col d'Aubisque to meet Moreni post-stage, after his control was performed. He was taken away by the Gendarmerie (French police) for questioning.

ASO officials in the press room explained Cristian Moreni was officially out of the Tour de France.

A few moments later, the Cofidis team announced that the entire team would withdraw from the Tour de France upon request of their main sponsor as an ASO-spokesman confirmed to Cyclingnews. After the departure of team Cofidis - including Brit Bradley Wiggins - only 143 riders remained in the world's biggest cycling race.

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