Radioshack climber misses spring, Tour de France
Radioshack's Frank Schleck, brother and key ally of the Tour de France contender Andy Schleck, has received a back-dated one-year suspension for last summer's positive test containing the banned diuretic xipamide. Because his positive test happened during the 2012 Tour de France and Schleck was removed from competition at that time, the suspension has been backdated to July 14, meaning Schleck will be eligible to return to the sport on July 14, 2013. This year's Tour de France begins two weeks earlier, leaving Andy without his brother in the Tour yet again.
In 2010, Frank crashed out on stage 3, leaving Andy to duel alone with Alberto Contador, which he lost on the road but won in the courtrooms after Contador's suspension. In 2011 both Schleck brothers animated the race and finished second and third -- Frank's best result -- to Cadel Evans. Last year Frank was removed from the race, while Andy was home recovering from a fractured sacrum. This year it will be Andy alone from the start.
The Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency opted for a single year suspension, rather than the standard two years, citing the low amount of xipamide in Schleck's system. Schleck has maintained his innocence, and cites the reduced suspension as evidence that this was a technical violation, not an intentional doping case.