Here's this late-evening Eurosport version of the Mayo story:
Spaniard Iban Mayo tested positive on the second rest day of the Tour, July 24. Saunier Duval has suspended its rider while waiting for the second analysis. This is the third case of doping in the Grande Boucle, after Alexander Vinokourov and Cristian Moreni.
The 2007 Tour de France and positive tests: it's a little like the famous brand of dishwashing liquid: "When there are more [dishes, I suppose], it's got more." The day after the arrival on the Champs and the coronation of Alberto Contador, a third doping case has just been revealed. This time it's Spaniard Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval) positive for EPO on the second rest day of the Tour, July 24 at Pau. This was the day before the expulsion of Michael Rasmussen, then Yellow Jersey. The ICU advised the Spanish team of the rider's test. (Mayo was 16th in the Tour, 27 minutes behind Contador in Paris.)
Saunier Duval wasted no time in immediately suspending its rider, explaining that it could not do otherwise "given the line it's taking to combat doping." The team also stated thaat it would cancel Mayos contract if the B-sample analysis confirmed the A-sample result. DS Josean Fernándex Matxin characterized the news as "an unpleasant surprise. He has never been a rider suspected of anything. Quite the contrary. He had passed all our internal tests."
Last May, Iban Mayo had tested positive for testosterone during the Tour of Italy, in which he won a stage. But the Basque rider, subject to natural variations in this hormone, was cleared finally, after a more profound analysis. This time, no doubt: since it's EPO, a substance that is anything but natural. This is the third rider "caught" by the Grande Boucle, after Cristian Moreni (Cofidis) and Alexandre Vinokourov--and perhaps not the last. There must surely be a few more drops at the bottom of the bottle. . . .
Agence France Presse helpfully adds:
This positive result for EPO--the first in several years for the Tour--also proves that the test used by the National Doping Detection Laboratory (LNDD) at Châtenay-Malabry, which has regularly criticized for its limited detection window, does work. This radar, while imperfect, still claims its victims.
Before this latest revelation, the forced departure of Danish Michael Rasmussen, the Yellow Jersey who practically had the race won, and the exclusion of his team, Rabpbank, had already thrown the 2007 Tour into a media whirlwind worthy of the Festina storm during the 1998 Tour.