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Page last updated at 18:13 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 19:13 UK

Briton Wegelius gains Tour slot

Charles Wegelius
Charles Wegelius came 45th in the Tour in 2007

Briton Charles Wegelius has been given a place in the Tour de France after Dutchman Thomas Dekker was ruled out following a positive doping test.

Wegelius, who finished 45th in the Tour in 2007, will come in for Dekker in the Silence-Lotto team.

Wegelius, who is known as a "domestique" or a key team member, will hope to build on that success.

Dekker, a former Dutch champion, won the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race in 2006 and the Tour of Lombardy in 2007.

Dekker's team Silence-Lotto team said on their website: "We have learnt on Wednesday morning that new tests... on samples from December 24, 2007, have proved positive for EPO (the blood-booster)."

"He (Dekker) has been immediately put on a list of 'non-active' riders," said sports director Marc Sergeant.


At the time of the test, Dekker, who is now 24, was riding for the Rabobank team.

Dekker was found guilty of a doping offence after the International Cycling Union (UCI) found suspicious data in the blood samples of the Dutch rider provided in 2008 and 2009 as part of the build-up of his biological passport.

The UCI has collected blood samples from all professional riders since the start of 2008 to create a medical profile that would be compared with data registered in anti-doping tests.

The UCI asked the Monaco federation, to which Dekker is affiliated, to open disciplinary proceedings against the 24-year-old, twice a Dutch time-trial champion, who faces a two-year ban from the sport.

"The UCI has instructed the Monegasque Cycling Federation ... to open disciplinary proceedings on this matter," a UCI statement read.

In recent years the Tour has been marred by a string of doping controversies.

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see also
Armstrong opts to ride 2009 Tour
01 Dec 08 |  Cycling

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