Monday, July 28, 2014

Tour de France Winner Stripped of Yellow Jersey After Clean Drug Test

PARIS — (TYDN) Vincenzo Nibali, the first Italian to win the Tour de France in 16 years, was stripped of his yellow jersey here Sunday after his blood tested negative for drugs, TheYellowDailyNews has learned.

The clean drug test from the 29-year-old Italian certified tour officials' suspicions that Nibali was not a dirty rider. Despite wearing yellow for 19 of 21 stages, the tour stripped the Astana rider of the winner's jersey for violating its doping policy.

Vincenzo Nibali, moments before being stripped of yellow jersey. Photo: Ciclismo Italia
Tour director Christian Prudhomme announced that Nibali, who won stages on the Vosages, the Alps and the Pyrenees, was in breach of tour drug rules. The announcement turned the festivities following the final stage procession on the Champs Elysees from jubilation to exasperation.

"Nibali has disgraced this tour with a clean blood test," Prudhomme said in an exclusive interview with TheYellowDailyNews. "Every racer knows our drug policy and must follow it."

The Italian, in an exclusive interview with TheYellowDailyNews, said he would challenge the findings.

"I would never let down my family, fellow team Astana riders or my country," said an outraged Nibali, who added that he was "shocked" by the drug test results. "I have been following the new drug policy, to a letter, following its adoption last year."

"Somebody must have switched my sample with a clean one," Nibali charged. "My climb at the Pyrenees speaks for itself."

Tour officials changed its zero-tolerance policy in 2013 to avoid a another embarrassment like the one in which Lance Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour De France titles after testing positive for taking performance-enhancing drugs.

That year, Armstrong told Le Monde that it was "Impossible to win without doping because the tour is an endurance event where oxygen is decisive."

Prudhomme said Nibali's blood sample has been locked in a safe and is being transported to the United States, where it will be analyzed again by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.  Results are expected as early as next week.

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