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Cycling: Impey tests positive for banned substance

History-making South African cyclist Daryl Impey has tested positive for a banned substance, his Australian Orica GreenEDGE team said Wednesday.

LEEDS, United Kingdom: History-making South African cyclist Daryl Impey has tested positive for a banned substance, his Australian Orica GreenEDGE team said Wednesday.

Last year Impey, 29, was the first ever African to wear the Tour de France's yellow jersey.

Back in February he tested positive for Probenecid, a substance used to treat gout and hyperuricema but banned because it can be used as a masking agent.

"ORICA-GreenEDGE has been notified that Daryl Impey has returned an adverse analytical finding and has been notified by The South African Institute for a Drug-Free sport that he delivered a positive A and B sample for the substance Probenecid after the South African Championships on February 6, 2014," said an official team statement.

"The team would like to underline that it respects Daryl Impey's right to prove his full innocence and will not comment any further until the process has run its due course and a final conclusion has been made.

"As per the team's code of conduct, Daryl Impey will not feature on the team's roster until the case has been closed and he is fully eligible to ride."

Impey has already been left off Orica's Tour de France team. He has denied any intentional wrongdoing.

"The notification came as a complete shock to me just days before the start of the Tour de France, particularly since anti-doping tests conducted on me on 8 and 9 February 2014 yielded no adverse results," Impey said.

"I am extremely distressed by the finding, as I have always raced clean throughout my career. Every result that I have achieved to date has been as a result of hard work and dedication on my part.

"I notified my team immediately after being informed by Cycling South Africa of the adverse finding. I would like to thank them, my family and friends for their support during this difficult time.

"I remain confident that I will be vindicated and proved innocent of any wrongdoing."

The positive test came following Impey's victory in the South African timetrial Championships, while he also finished second in his national road race.

Orica won the fourth stage team timetrial at last year's Tour, putting Impey's Australian team-mate Simon Gerrans in yellow.

Impey took over the yellow jersey for two stages, six and seven, before losing it to eventual winner Chris Froome following the first mountain stage.

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