Giro d'Italia: French cyclist Sylvain Georges fails drug test

French rider Sylvain Georges has failed a drugs test at the Giro d'Italia.

The 29-year-old, who rides for the AG2R team, tested positive for heptaminol, a substance that widens blood vessels, from a urine sample given on 10 May.

What is a specified substance?

  • A specified substance is a substance which allows, under defined conditions, for a greater reduction of a two-year sanction when an athlete tests positive for that particular substance
  • The purpose is to recognise that it is possible for a substance to enter an athlete's body inadvertently, and therefore allow a tribunal more flexibility when making a sanctioning decision

The International Cycling Union has not imposed a provisional ban on Georges and he has "the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample", according to UCI rules.

Georges's team withdrew him from the Giro ahead of stage 11.

The French cyclist won his first pro tour stage at the Tour of California in May 2012.

The UCI will now request details from Georges as to how he came into contact with the substance. He has not received a provisional ban because heptaminol is a specified substance which can be used in certain circumstances.

Cyclists have tested positive for it before, but the biggest previous case was French swimmer Frederick Bousquet, a former world-record holder, who received a two-month ban in 2010. 

In a separate case, Venezuelan rider Miguel Ubeto Aponte has been provisionally suspended by the UCI.

The 36-year-old rides for the Lampre-Merida team but is not in their Giro d'Italia squad.

"The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne indicating an adverse analytical finding of GW1516 sulfone in a urine sample collected from him in an out of competition test on 16 April," read the statement.

His provisional suspension will be in place until a hearing convened by the Venezuelan Cycling Federation determines whether he has committed a rule violation.