Tour-Brandt claims methadone came from tampered product

Updated: July 15, 2004, 1:35 PM ET

FIGEAC, France, July 15 - Belgian rider Christophe Brandt, kicked out of the Tour de France after failing a dope test for methadone last week, believes the drug came from tainted nutritional supplements.

Brandt, his lawyer, a doctor and a witness consulted the chemist who had sold him two nutritional supplements prescribed by Lotto-Domo team doctor Daniel de Neve, the rider told Belgian daily Le Soir on Thursday.

The chemist said he had worked with methadone on the day he had prepared products prescribed to cure Brandt's recurrent liver problems.

"It's a relief for me," Brandt told Le Soir. "Even if I remain suspended by the Lotto-Domo team pending a decision by the Belgian Cycling League, I hope to avoid a sanction thanks to this new evidence."

Brandt was tested after the second stage between Charleroi and Namur and again last Friday.

Both tests and their B samples revealed traces of methadone, a drug used as a substitute to heroin but almost never used as a performance enhancing product.

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