Iban Mayo tested positive for EPO on the Tour de France's rest day, July 24, it was announced Monday night. His team Saunier Duval was informed of the positive test by the UCI and immediately suspended the Spanish rider.
The 29 year-old finished 16th in the Tour de France, which finished Sunday. He was 27'09" behind winner and compatriot Alberto Contadour (Discovery Channel). The Basque rider was the Italian team's leader.
"In line with the fight against doping that the team fully support, the rider is immediately suspended until the B sample has been tested," Saunier Duval said on their Web site www.saunierduvalteam.com. "If that is confirmed as positive as well, we will proceed to rescind his contract."
Team manager Josean Fernandez Matxin confirmed the UCI's notification of the positive test on the Tour's second rest day, calling the news a "disagreeable surprise." He told the Europa Press agency that the team is eager to demonstrate that it is clean.
"At no time had he been a suspicious rider, on the contrary," he concluded. "Mayo passed all the UCI controls, all the internal controls, and he had never been suspicious. This has been bad news."
Mayo joined Saunier Duval from the Basque Team Euskatel Euskadi this season. He finished sixth tin the Tour de Frnace in 2003 and won the Dauphine Libere in 2004.
This is the third doping case to arise from the recently concluded Tour de France. Alexander Vinkourov of Team Astana tested positive for blood doping and Christian Moreni (Cofidis) for testosterone. Race leader Michael Rasmussen was pulled out of the race by Team Rabobank for having lied about his whereabouts during training prior to the Tour. Both Astana and Cofidis pulled their teams from the Tour folllowing the positive doping tests.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for more information as the story develops.