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Frank Schleck will miss the 2013 Tour de France after he was handed a one-year backdated ban for failing a doping test during last year's race, the Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency said on Wednesday.
Schleck, third overall in the 2011 Tour, tested positive for the diuretic Xipamide following the 13th stage.
ALAD representative Raymond Mousty told a news conference that the ban started from the day Schleck failed the test on July 14, 2012.
Schleck, who has denied knowingly taking a banned substance, will be eligible to compete again two weeks after the start of the Tour.
"Of course I am disappointed by the verdict that has just been announced. I think that the decision to suspend me during one year is too severe considering the fact that the council acknowledged that I unintentionally consumed a contaminated product," Schleck said.
"Unfortunately the provisions of the UCI are such that an involuntary contamination is sufficient in order to pronounce a punishment.
"We will now analyze the decision in detail and decide on potential further steps. However, I bear a positive aspect of the decision in mind, the judges acknowledged that I am not a cheater."
The 32-year-old rider, who also finished fifth overall in the 2008 and 2009 Tours, faced a possible suspension of up to two years.
In its reasoned decision, ALAD explained it opted for a one-year ban on grounds of proportional punishment, stating it was Schleck's first doping offense.
The disciplinary committee stated that, "the presence of Xipamide is explained by the ingestion of (nutrition) supplements" and that the substance had not been "used as a performance-enhancing substance or a masking agent".
(China Daily 02/01/2013 page23)