TARBES, 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 took away the Barloworld rider, who was 19th overall in the Tour after 10 stages, after they briefly questioned him at the team's hotel in the southwestern town of Tarbes.
Claudio Mansata, a Barloworld spokesman, said Duenas Nevado has pulled out of the race and was immediately suspended by the 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.
Duenas Nevado, 27, riding in his third Tour de France, recorded his best finish of 39th last year. Among his previous achievements were victories in lesser-known races: The Regio Tour in 2007 and the Tour de l'Avenir in 2006.
It was the second dose of bad news for Barloworld during the Tour. Its team 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.