Duenas Nevado pulls out of Tour, detained by police

Updated: July 16, 2008, 1:04 PM ET
Associated Press

FOIX, France -- French police detained Spanish cyclist Moises Duenas Nevado on Wednesday after he tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO during the Tour de France.

Police detained Duenas Nevado, who rides for Barloworld and was 19th overall in the Tour, from a hotel in the town of Tarbes, where his team stayed. He remained in custody Wednesday for questioning, notably about where he may have obtained EPO, a police official said.

Moises Duenas Nevado
PATRICK HERTZOG/Getty ImagesMoises Duenas Nevado (right) can only watch as the Tour de France goes on without him after he tested positive for EPO.

Claudio Mansata, a Barloworld spokesman, said Duenas Nevado has pulled out of the race and was immediately suspended by the team. The seven other team riders still in the race started Wednesday's 11th stage.

"I'm shocked," Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti said in a statement. "The one thing I will say is that the team is not involved in this story at all, and we'll take severe action against anyone who damages our credibility and the image of our team."

The case marks the second positive EPO test this year involving a Tour rider, in a sport whose image has been long tarnished by drug use and other cheating. Spanish veteran Manuel Beltran -- a former teammate of seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong -- was sent home for testing positive for EPO after the first stage this year.

Pierre Bordry, head of the French anti-doping agency, said Duenas Nevado tested positive after the fourth stage on July 8 at Cholet, the site of the race's first time trial. The doping agency has replaced the International Cycling Union in handling doping controls at the Tour for the first time this year.

International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid said he felt "great anger once again."

"I just can't understand when are these guys are going to learn," McQuaid told The Associated Press by telephone. "If the 'B' sample is positive, then all I can say is the guy's a fool. The net is closing in."

The 27-year-old Duenas Nevado, riding in his third Tour de France, recorded his best finish of 39th last year. Among his previous achievements were victories in the Regio Tour in 2007 and the Tour de l'Avenir in 2006.

If the 'B' sample is positive, then all I can say is the guy's a fool. The net is closing in.

-- ICU president Pat McQuaid

McQuaid said the lure of glory in cycling's biggest race influences doping.

"The Tour is the biggest event in the world and people will take that risk," he said. "It's unfortunate. Throughout the rest of the year we don't get that many positives in other races."

It was the second dose of bad news for Barloworld during the Tour. The team's leader, Colombian rider Juan Mauricio Soler, pulled out of the race last week after injuring his wrists in a crash during the first stage. Soler was the King of the Mountains champion as the Tour's best climber last year.

The two previous Tours were also marred by doping, pressing organizers ASO and the UCI to clean up the race. Sponsors, such as the longtime German backer T-Mobile, pulled out.

Last year, the pre-race favorite Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan tested positive for blood doping, Italian rider Cristian Moreni tested positive for testosterone, Iban Mayo of Spain was busted for using EPO, and race leader Michael Rasmussen was kicked out just days before the end for lying about his whereabouts to avoid pre-Tour doping tests.

Mayo was cleared by his national federation, but the case is still being contested by the UCI.

In the 2006 Tour, Floyd Landis tested positive for synthetic testosterone after a spectacular comeback ride that set the stage for his victory. The American was later stripped of the title after a long court battle.

Following Tuesday's rest day, Cadel Evans of Australia took a one-second lead into Wednesday's 11th stage, just ahead of Frank Schleck of Luxembourg. The 104.1-mile trek from Lannemezan to Foix features one category 1 climb up the Col de Portel.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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