Houanard given two-year ban

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced that French rider Steve Houanard has been given a two-year ban following a positive test for EPO.

The banned blood-boosting drug was found in Houanard's system after an out-of-competition test in September of last year.

Houanard, who was a member of the Ag2r-La Mondiale team at the time, has signed a document accepting the sanction.

The UCI has also asked the Belgian Cycling Federation (RVLB) to open disciplinary procedures against Leif Hoste based on the blood profile of his biological passport.

"Mr Hoste shall be accorded the right to the presumption of innocence until a final decision has been made on this matter," the UCI said.

"In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI is unable to provide any additional information at this time."

The Belgian, who has twice finished second in the Tour of Flanders, announced his retirement from professional cycling at the end of last year.