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Cycling News Flash for July 25, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Moreni positive for testosterone

Cofidis' Cristian Moreni
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Cristian Moreni of Cofidis has been confirmed as rider who tested positive for testosterone following the Tour de France's 11th stage on July 19. Coming just one day after news that Astana's Alexandre Vinoukourov tested positive for a blood transfusion, news of the second positive doping control hit the Tour de France when the French newspaper L'Equipe reported Wednesday afternoon that one sample from stage 11 has tested positive for testosterone. It was later announced that the rider in question was Cofidis' Cristian Moreni.

The newspaper reported that the analysis to determine if the testosterone was of exogenous origin had already been completed, and the IRMS confirmed that the chemical came not from the rider's body but from a man-made source.

The testing was performed at the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory - the same lab responsible for performing tests on Floyd Landis' 2006 Tour sample that showed a similar result. This result is the second positive of the Tour, and the third testosterone positive announced this month after Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile) and Matthias Kessler (Astana).

The 2004 Italian Champion finished 102nd on the transitional stage to Montpellier, 3'20" behind winner Robert Hunter (Barloworld). In addition to his national championship win, the rider from Lombardia finished second in the 2005 Tour stage 18, in Mâcon, behind Matteo Tosatto. A B-Sample may be requested by the 34 year-old.

Moreni and the Cofidis team were part of a group of riders who staged a protest at the start of today's stage in Orthez, along with the other French teams and the Gerolsteiner squad. The teams came together to form the new 'Mouvement pour un cyclisme crédible' - and stayed behind at the start and allowing the rest of the peloton to ride on ahead in protest of continued doping in the peloton, as evidenced by Vinokourov's positive test for blood transfusion.

Reported by Gregor Brown and Brecht Decaluwé in Ley.

Explosions along Tour route

There was scary news of a completely different being reported from Wednesday's Tour stage. A bomb threat called in to authorities, as reported by Cadena Ser radio, saying that several explosive devices had been placed along the Tour's route through Spain. The station's internet site reported that a small explosion took place in the woods close to the town of Belagua, about 50 metres from the road. The race had already passed by when the explosions occured and no one was injured in the blasts.

According to Vasco Press, the Basque separatist organisation ETA has been named in the incident.

Vinokourov: 'I never doped'

Vinokourov told the French sports daily L'Equipe in Wednesday's edition that he had not cheated. "It's a mistake. I never doped, that's not the way I see my profession," the newspaper quoted him as saying. "I think it's a mistake in part due to my crash. I have spoken to the team doctors who had a hypothesis that there was an enormous amount of blood in my thighs, which could have led to my positive test."

Vinokourov claimed to be the victim of a "provocation." "It's been going on for months and today they're managing to demolish me," he said. "The setting up of our team made a lot of people jealous and now we're paying the price. It's a shame to leave the Tour this way, but I don't want to waste time in proving my innocence."

Vinokourov did manage a joke about his situation. "I heard that I made a transfusion with my father's blood," Vinokourov said. "That's absurd, I can tell you that with his blood, I would have tested positive for vodka."

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