RadioShack Nissan Trek rider Frank Schleck has withdrawn from the Tour de France on 17 July following a positive test for the prescription diuretic Xipamide. The positive was from a sample taken on Saturday, 14 July.
RadioShack announced the withdrawal, stating in a press release that Xipamide is not “present in any of the medicine that the team uses and the reason for the presence of Xipamide in the urine sample of Mr. Schleck is unclear to the team. Therefore, the team is not able to explain the adverse findings at this point…. the team is fully determined to collaborate with the anti-doping agencies in order to resolve the matter.”
Diuretics are banned by WADA because they can help the body clear other, banned substances from the body more quickly.
Schleck’s brother Andy, responding to a reporter for Le Parisien, said, “On my life and my family, I’m sure he took nothing.”
While not a clear indication of doping – Schleck’s B-sample has yet to be tested – it’s a heavy blow for a team that’s already seen its share of hardship on this Tour. Schleck was in 12th place overall, over nine minutes behind yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins today. His brother is sitting out the Tour recovering from a fractured hip. RNT is also suffering from cash flow problems as star riders have gone unpaid and a vendor is suing for payment for a catering truck.