Rumsas' post-Tour drug test is negative

Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre-Daikin) rides during the stage 19 individual time trial  Credit: Mike Powwll/Getty Images
VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — A doping test taken by Raimondas Rumsas, the Lithuanian cyclist at the center of a Tour de France doping controversy, has come back negative, sports officials announced Tuesday.

Rumsas flew to neighboring Latvia last week to take the test for banned anabolic steroids, saying he wanted to dispel any doubts about whether he had cheated. The test wasn't sanctioned by the International Cycling Federation.

"This result proves what we already knew: Raimondas is absolutely clean,'' said Rima Berloviene, head of the state anti-doping department of Lithuania's Sports and Physical Education Agency. "All doping suspicions are unfounded.''

She said two vials of the same urine sample taken in Latvia were sent abroad for final testing, one to a lab in Sweden and one to Germany. Tuesday's result, faxed to Lithuania, was from the Swedish lab.

"We are 100 percent sure the another part of the sample sent to Germany will have the same result,'' said Berloviene, whose agency, together with Rumsas, took the initiative to have the testing done.

Rumsas, who placed third in the race last month, fell under scrutiny when his wife, Edita, was detained in France after she was allegedly caught transporting doping products just as the monthlong competition ended.

French police said Edita Rumsas was carrying performance-enhancing drugs, including EPO and testosterone. The 30-year-old cyclist was tested for doping four times during the race, with all the tests coming up negative.

Rumsas said the drugs found by police were intended for his mother-in-law.

He has been called in for questioning by French police but has said he won't travel to France for fear of being arrested. He has invited French investigators to his home in Italy to question him there.

In an interview to be published Wednesday in the French magazine Paris-Match, Rumsas said that if he goes to France and gets arrested, there won't be anybody to look after his three children, aged 4, 6 and 8.

The children "only have their father to look after them. They doubly need me,'' he said.

"I prefer to stay and wait as a spectator rather than try to help my wife by throwing myself into the mouth of wolves.''

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