Portuguese cyclist Andre Cardoso has been provisionally suspended after he failed a test for the banned blood-booster Erythropoietin (EPO), according to the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Cardoso had been included in Trek-Segafredo’s team for the Tour de France that includes Alberto Contador.

In a statement, the world governing body of cycling said the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that Portuguese rider Andre Cardoso was notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of Erythropoietin in a sample collected in the scope of an out-of-competition control on 18 June 2017.

Trek-Segafredo can still replace Cardoso in their nine-man squad for the Tour under the UCI rules, which is spearheaded by twice champion Contador and German John Degenkolb. The team later announced that Spanish veteran Haimar Zubeldia will replace Cardoso on its Tour squad. In a statement, Trek-Segafredo said we hold our riders and staff to the highest ethical standards and will act and communicate accordingly as more details become available.

The 32-year-old Cardoso had managed top-20 finishes in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. He was to be one of the domestiques of Contador in the mountains on the Tour de France that runs from July 1-23.

Since 2008, Cardoso has raced professionally. This was his first season with the Trek-Segafredo professional cycling team. Before this, Cardoso raced for four years with the Slipstream Sports outfit — first Garmin-Sharp, then Cannondale-Garmin and Cannondale-Drapac.

In a statement, Andre Cardoso remarked that he has already requested his B sample to be tested. Cardoso also said that getting the chance to ride at the pinnacle of professional cycling is the greatest honor he could ever hope for, and he was looking forward to doing his best for his team and himself at the Tour. The Portuguese cyclist also commented that he believes in clean sport and had always conducted himself as a clean athlete, but he realizes that this news puts a dark cloud on not just himself but also on our sport and his team, teammates, and staff. Cardoso went on to add that those people are my friends and colleagues before anything else and for whom he had unlimited respect, and under no circumstances he would ever do something that could put them, their families or their reputations in jeopardy.

In the statement, Cardoso added he is fully aware that he will be presumed to be guilty and added but it is important to him to say that he is devastated by this news and he wanted to state that he had never taken any illegal substances. The cyclist from Portugal added that he had seen firsthand through his career the awful effects that performance enhancing drugs have had on our sport, and he would never want to be a part of that. Cardoso added he had always tried to be a constructive influence in the peloton and on young, aspiring cyclists and added it is his great hope that the B sample will come back as negative and will clear him of any wrongdoing.

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