AG2R-La Mondiale’s team manager, Vincent Lavenu, has confirmed it has sacked rider Sylvain Georges, who tested positive for the substance heptaminol during last month’s Giro d’Italia.
News of the positive test emerged when Georges failed to take to the start of Stage 11 of the three-week race, with the urine sample for the substance, contained in medicines that can improve blood circulation, taken after Stage 7.
“He is no longer part of the business,” Lavenu told AFP, referring to Georges’ sacking. “You don’t do it easily. But we’ve got very strict internal rules. There was a definite breach.”
As a member of the Mouvement pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC), in accordance with its rules AG2R unilaterally withdrew from the following WorldTour race, the Critérium du Dauphiné, and Lavenu reflected: “We know very well that our team can’t make mistakes.”
Lavenu said the team would step up internal testing of its riders and introduce tougher sanctions as a result of Georges’ case.
The team’s commitment to anti-doping is outlined on its website, where it states: “The prevention of doping and the fight against doping are high priorities for the AG2R La Mondiale team. Managers, riders and staff are always mindful of this issue while they work every day to make the sport free of doping.”
Those policies are set to be tightened as a result of the positive test by Georges, with Lavenu saying that team will increase both the extent of internal testing and the penalties imposed on riders breaching its code of conduct.
Meanwhile, the team has also revealed the names of four riders who will support Jean-Christophe Péraud when he leads it in the 100th edition of the Tour de France when it starts on Corsica a fortnight on Saturday.
Those riders are Romain Bardet, Maxime Bouet, Samuel Dumoulin and Biel Kadri. The names of the remaining four riders will be communicated after the French national championships, which take place on Sunday 23 June.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.