Mikel Astarloza Denies Doping
Spaniard Mikel Astarloza, who finished 11th overall in the 2009 Tour de France, denied on Tuesday that he had taken any illegal substances after testing positive for the banned blood booster EPO.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) provisionally suspended the Euskaltel Euskadi rider on Friday following a positive out-of-competition test on a urine sample taken on June 26. "I haven't taken anything illegal," Astarloza told a news conference.
"I will do whatever it takes to find out where this supposed positive result came from."
Astarloza, 29, cast doubts on the test that was carried out in a WADA accredited laboratory in Madrid, saying: "There are reasons to doubt its credibility."
He refused to give details, but said that he had lost faith in the system, whatever the B sample test revealed, and added that doping in this day and age was "Madness. Sporting suicide."
The rider and his team have requested the B sample test. If that is also positive, Astarloza will face a two-year suspension.
Astarloza won the 16th stage of this year's Tour de France. His best achievements have included victory in the Tour Down Under in 2003 and ninth place overall in last year's Tour de France.