PARIS (Reuters) - French AG2R rider Sylvain Georges’s positive test at the Giro d’Italia occurred because he mistakenly took a performance-enhancing drug, team director Vincent Lavenu said on Wednesday.
Georges tested positive for the stimulant Heptaminol in a sample taken on May 10, the International Cycling Union (UCI) had earlier said in a statement.
“I just talked to him on the phone. He told me he had used a product because he had heavy legs, thinking it was harmless,” Lavenu told Reuters.
“There was no intention to dope. But it’s a silly mistake that hurts him and the whole team. The consequences are disastrous compared to the original action.”
Georges pulled out of the Giro before Wednesday’s stage 11 and would not ride again until the issue was settled, said Lavenu, whose team are part of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MCCC), that has a strong anti-doping stance.
The 29-year-old Georges, who won a stage of the Tour of California last year, has not been given a provisional ban by the UCI because under the governing body’s anti-doping rules Heptaminol is a specified substance and can be used in certain circumstances.
The drug widens blood vessels and can be used in the treatment of low blood pressure.
Georges has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample.
“As far as I know, he has already done so,” Lavenu said.
Reporting Gregory Blachier; Editing by Ken Ferris and Alison Wildey