French rider tests positive
French rider Steve Houanard has tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO.
The 26-year-old, who has been a professional cyclist since 2009, failed an out-of-competition test on 21 September.
Houanard, who has no major wins to his credit, has been racing for the AG2R La Mondiale team, who have not renewed his contract.
"We are obviously extremely shocked by this news," the AG2R team said.
"Therefore, we decided to immediately to push him aside from competition and we lay him off as a precautionary measure until the French National Federation opens disciplinary proceedings."
Team manager Vincent Lavenu said: "It is with sadness that I heard this unfortunate news.
"Above all, I'm driven this evening by a strong feeling of anger because of important damages for the team and our sponsors.
"I want to reiterate our commitment to the biological passport and to the values upheld by the International Cycling Union. We have full confidence in the competent authorities in their fight against doping."
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