Frank Schleck gets one-year ban
Frank Schleck has been handed a one-year ban by the Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency (ALAD) after testing positive for a banned substance during last year's Tour de France, ruling him out of the event this year.
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ALAD confirmed the 32-year-old RadioShack Nissan Trek rider's suspension on Wednesday evening, adding that it had been backdated to begin on July 14, 2012 following his positive test for the diuretic Xipamide following the 13th stage of last year's Tour.
Schleck finished third in the 2011 Tour and was 12th when his participation in the 2012 race ended - five stages prematurely - on July 17.
This year's Tour de France begins on June 29.
Luxembourg's Anti-Doping Disciplinary Council (CDD), which ruled on the case for ALAD, outlined in detail the circumstances of the case, with Schleck adamant he had not deliberately used the diuretic, an explanation that was accepted on the basis of scientific evidence.
He offered to take a lie detector test but that was ruled unnecessary.
CDD ruled that as Schleck's punishment, they "pronounce against him the penalty of suspension of 12 months; say that the period of suspension takes effect on the date of July 14 2012; say there has has been the cancellation of individual results by Frank Schleck achieved since the 2012 Tour de France".
CDD also said Schleck must pay costs of the testing to the UCI, world cycling's governing body, amounting to 3,590 Swiss francs (£2,500).
However, he avoided a heavy financial penalty, which might have applied. Under UCI rules, Schleck could have been fined 70% of his annual salary, which when taking into account his image rights comes to 1.8million euros (£1.55million). The penalty could have come to £1.08million.
CDD said: "Given the length of the suspension being 12 months, the Disciplinary Council intends to abstain from imposing a financial sanction which is optional and which would be a disproportionate sanction if it was added to the length of the ban which has itself pronounced a proportionate punishment to the doping violation."