Cervelo TestTeam suspends Florencio

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands -- Cervelo TestTeam rider Xavier Florencio was suspended from competing in the Tour de France for using a substance containing the banned stimulant Ephedrine, the team said.

The 30-year-old Spaniard was withdrawn from the list of planned riders set to start the race on Saturday because of "a violation of internal policies" of the squad, Cervelo said in a statement.

The team, led by 2008 Tour winner Carlos Sastre, said it found out Friday that Florencio had been using a substance with Ephedrine to treat "a saddle discomfort" without clearing its use in advance.

Cervelo said team riders must obtain permission from its medical staff before they can use any supplements or medication, and Florencio had not. He was suspended from competition until the team "can make a full determination based on all the facts."

Team spokesman Geert Broekhuizen said that because of race rules, Cervelo would ride a man down -- with eight riders instead of nine. The formal presentation of all 22 teams took place Thursday.

Florencio's role on the tightly knit team was in part to help guide Sastre through the mountains and his suspension has dented morale in the squad, said a Cervelo director.

"Everybody was sad about what's happening. We had a long team meeting about it last night," Cervelo general director Joop Alberda said. "We just explained why we did what we did.

"Sometimes, you just have to turn the next page."

Alberda said that Florencio had come forward, and that there was no positive doping test involved.

The three-week Tour's prologue Saturday takes riders on a 5.53-mile course through Rotterdam.