A Swiss cyclist riding for BMC Racing, a Swiss-American team recently invited to the 2010 Tour de France, has admitted he took an endurance-boosting drug.
Thomas Frei, a 24-year-old racer from Olten, has now been fired from the team after being taken out of competition for testing positive for the drug EPO last week.
The cyclist admitted to the team management that he intentionally broke anti-doping rules, adding he had “acted alone” and the doping was in no way tied to his team.
"The BMC Racing Team regrets this situation for Thomas Frei and his career, and also for the team," team president Jim Ochowicz said in a statement on Tuesday. "The BMC Racing Team will now separate from Thomas Frei but thanks Thomas Frei for his honesty to confess his failure."
BMC management had already suspended Italian riders Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio after learning of their roles in an ongoing investigation into an earlier doping case.
Unlike Ballan and Santambrogio, Frei has been with the team since last year. He had been in sixth place in the Tour du Trentin when he was caught.
The doping case is another bruise for BMC owner Andy Rihs, a Swiss entrepreneur whose previous team, Phonak, crumbled after several high-profile doping cases. Rihs has vowed to deal with cheats swiftly and harshly.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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