Banned rank Schleck cut by RadioShack team

Last updated 07:36 05/07/2013

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RadioShack Leopard Trek will cut its ties with rider Frank Schleck after his ban for doping expires, while hoping his younger brother and teammate, Andy, fares well at the Tour de France.

The 33-year-old climbing specialist - the elder brother in a Luxembourg cycling duo - is sitting out the Tour while he serves a one-year suspension for a positive test for a banned diuretic in last year's race.

In a statement Thursday, the team said it has "decided not to renew the collaboration" with Schleck, and wished him luck in his career. Frank Schleck won Alpine stages in the 2006 and 2009 Tours and was third overall in 2011, right behind his brother in second.

Andy Schleck is riding in this Tour for RadioShack, and after Thursday's sixth stage, was 34th - 34 seconds behind leader Daryl Impey of South Africa. The team said the younger Schleck had no immediate comment.

The suspension of Frank Schleck was another blow to cycling's image - and the latest doping case to hit cycling's biggest race. Last year, Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles and later admitted to doping.

During last year's Tour, Schleck tested positive for xipamide - a type of substance which the World Anti-Doping Agency describes as "more susceptible to a credible, non-doping explanation." Bans for such substances are often shorter, and athletes have a better chance of proving that they did not intend to consume it or enhance their performance.

Schleck was facing up to a two-year suspension, but Luxembourg anti-doping authorities instead handed down a one-year suspension in January.

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- AP

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