Russian cyclist Alexandr Kolobnev became the first cyclist at this year's Tour de France to fail a doping test, the International Cycling Union said today. A urine sample collected from Kolobnev last Wednesday tested positive for a substance called Hydrochlorothiazide, which is a diuretic that can also be used as a masking agent that hides the presence of other drugs, the UCI said. It is the first positive case at this year's race, and happened on the Tour's fifth stage—a flat sprint stage from Carhaix to Cap Frehel. Kolobnev was in 69th place heading into tomorrow's 10th stage.
Kolobnev, who rides for the Katusha team, has four days to request a "B" sample analysis. The Katusha sports director told the AP that Kolobnev was currently meeting with team management, and that a decision on whether he continues in the race was likely to be taken later tonight. When asked whether Kolobnev would stay in the race, the director said, "I don't think so." The UCI can not provisionally ban Kolobnev because Hydrochlorothiazide is classified as a specified substance, but punishment for a positive test of this kind ranges from a warning to a two-year ban. (Click to read more about this year's Tour de France—or just watch footage from all the crashes so far.)