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Richeze out of Giro over positive drugs test

Max Richeze in the leader's jersey at the Tour de Langkawi

Max Richeze in the leader's jersey at the Tour de Langkawi (Image credit: John Pierce)

Argentinean sprinter Max Richeze will not start the Giro d'Italia after he received notification that a sample taken from him during April's Circuit de Sarthe was positive for a steroid, his team announced Friday. The CSF Group Navigare rider tested positive for stanazol after he won the final stage in Le Mans. His team will not be able to replace Richeze, and will start the Giro with eight riders.

"I've been told by the International Cycling Union that traces of the same steroid Ben Johnson was caught for, I think it's called stanazol, were found in a urine sample given by Max Richeze after he won the last stage of the Sarthe race (in France)," team manager Bruno Reverberi said Friday. "I'm really sorry that it has happened just before the start of the Giro d'Italia because we try and run a clean team."

The rider was sent home to await the analysis of his B-sample, but because the news came so close to the start of the race, the team will not be allowed to replace the rider.

Ironically, Richeze will presumably be made a dual stage winner of the 2007 Giro d'Italia after the disqualification of Alessandro Petacchi's results from last year. The Argentinean placed second to Petacchi on both stage 18 and the race's final stage in Milan last June. Petacchi lost those results after testing positive for a too-high dose of asthma medication and then losing his appeal of the suspension.

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