Brandt ejected after positive test

Surprise on the Tour as Lotto's Christophe Brandt tests positive, and more surprise at what he tests

Surprise on the Tour as Lotto’s Christophe Brandt tests positive, and more surprise at what he tests

The Tour has its first genuine doping scandal tonight after Christophe Brandt, a Belgian rider with the Lotto-Domo team, tested positive for methadone after the stage to Namur last week. He was immediately expelled from the race and did not start today’s stage. News of Brandt’s positive test broke today during the stage from Chateaubriant to St Brieuc and most minds were attempting to understand why the rider – ironically from Lige, where this year’s Tour started – would have used a product renowned for the ease of its detectability and usually associated with recovery from heroin addiction. Gerard Dine, the former head of the French Cycling Federation’s ‘suivi medical’, was stunned to hear that a rider had tested positive for methadone. “I couldn’t believe it, and my first reaction was that it must be a mistake,” said Dine. “It is very surprising and I’m amazed, because I’ve never ever heard of such a case. One drop of methadone in a water bottle and you are positive. There are a thousand products more effective and some are legal.” Brandt protested his innocence. “I don’t understand how it was in my body,” the 27 year old said. “It’s incredible – because it’s a product that helps you relax, not that gives you energy. I’m going to organise my defence because I don’t rule out manipulation or an error in the test. I hope my team is behind me, but the damage is done. I don’t want to be a victim, but this will make headlines and it’s in my interest to prove my innocence.”