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Cofidis pull out after failed test

  • Story Highlights
  • Cofidis team pull out after Cristian Moreni tests positive for testosterone
  • The 34-year-old failed the test following Thursday's 11th stage to Montpellier
  • The Italian is the second rider to fail a test during this year's Tour de France
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COL D'AUBISQUE, France (Reuters) -- Cofidis have announced they are pulling out of the Tour de France following Italian Cristian Moreni's positive test for male sex hormone testosterone.

Moreni is the second Tour rider to fail a drugs test after Alexander Vinokourov's positive for blood doping.

"It's the only thing to do in such circumstances," said the team's president Francois Migraine.

"It's an earthquake. This can have very serious consequences for the future of the team," said team manager Eric Boyer.

In June, Migraine said he did not know whether he would renew the company's cycling contract at the end of the 2008 season.

Cofidis, founded in 1997, was rocked by a doping scandal in 2004 which ended with Frenchman Philippe Gaumont and Briton David Millar admitting to using banned substances.

Migraine said at the time: "We are staying. We want to work for a better sport."

On Tuesday, Cofidis founded the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) with five other French teams and the two German teams competing in the Tour de France.

They asked for all to abide by their charter adopted in 2005 under which riders implicated in doping affairs are not allowed to race.

Cofidis are the second team to leave the race amid doping scandals after Astana pulled out on Tuesday following Alexander Vinokourov's positive test for blood doping.

The 34-year-old Moreni, who was arrested by French police at the end of stage 16, failed the test after the Tour's 11th stage to Montpellier.

The former Italian champion was 54th in the overall standings.

The French team's hotel in Lescar was raided by the gendarmerie, witnesses told Reuters.

Vinokourov tested positive after his victory in last Saturday's time trial in Albi. As a result, his Astana team pulled out of the Tour, although Vinokourov denies doping.

Last year's Tour champion Floyd Landis tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone on his way to victory in 2006.

The American denies any wrongdoing and is waiting to hear the ruling on his case by a U.S. arbitration panel. If he is found guilty, Landis will be the first Tour winner to be stripped of the title. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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