Italian climbing sensation, Ricardo Ricco, has been expelled from the Tour de France and accused of doping. The news was broken by the official publiciation of the French Anti-Doping Agency (ALFD), L’Equipe.
In response to the largest test of this year’s Tour, the entire Saunier Duvalteam has withdrawn from racing and has suspended its racing operations until further notice.
As an interesting sidenote, Cycling news is reporting that the brand of EPO that Rico is accused of using is called Micera and manufactured by Swiss based Roche. Micera has the longest half-life of all FDA-approved erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) — up to 6 times longer than darbepoetin alfa and up to 20 times longer than epoetin. Currently, there is no validated test for Micera from WADA.
Cyclingnews has a brief interview with Michael Audran on the topic.