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Tour stage winner Astarloza tests positive

  • Story Highlights
  • Spanish rider Mikel Astarloza suspended after positive test for EPO on June 26
  • Astarloza won 16th stage of Tour de France and faces being stripped of victory
  • Euskatel rider faces two-year ban if case against him is proven
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(CNN) -- Tour de France stage winner Mikel Astarloza has been suspended for doping, cycling's world governing body announced on Friday.

Astarloza was all smiles after winning the mountainous 16th stage of the Tour de France.

Astarloza was all smiles after winning the mountainous 16th stage of the Tour de France.

The Spanish rider tested positive for the endurance-booster EPO in an out of competition test on June 26, just over a week before the start of the Tour de France, the UCI said.

The Euskatel star can request a backup 'B' sample to be tested but faces a two-year ban if the case against him is proven.

"The decision to provisionally suspend Astarloza was made in response to a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Madrid," said the UCI statement on its official Web site.

The 29-year-old Astarloza won the mountainous 16th stage of the Tour on July 21, the highlight of a solid professional career.

He now faces being disqualified from the race and stripped of his results and prize money.

It is the first doping case to blight this year's Tour, which was won by Astarloza's fellow Spaniard Alberto Contador with Lance Armstrong finishing in third place.

Astarloza finished 11th overall.

To date, no positive samples have emerged from competitors during the three-week race.

On Friday, Garmin-Slipstream issued detailed results on blood tests taken on their surprise fourth-placed finisher Bradley Wiggins.

The data shows his hemoglobin levels dropping during the race which Garmin says indicates "no evidence of blood manipulation."

British star Wiggins asked for his results to be released and made public.

"His decision makes me and the entire team proud," said Garmin chief Jonathan Vaughters.

Meanwhile, the UCI confirmed the two-year ban on Italian Riccardo Ricco for doping violations at the 2008 Tour de France.

Ricco and several other riders tested positive for CERA, an advanced version of EPO, after winning two stages.

Ricco's Italian federation had given him a reduced suspension of 20 months, allowing him to return early in 2010, but the UCI said his ban would remain at two years in line with the original punishment handed down by the French anti-doping authorities.

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