French cyclist Houanard suspended on suspicion of EPO

French cyclist Steve Houanard has been provisionally suspended by the UCI on suspicion of doping.

Cycling's governing body said the suspension was the result of an "adverse analytical finding of EPO in a urine sample," submitted by the 26-year-old on the 21st of September.

Houanard's team AG2R - La Mondiale said they were shocked at the news and that they would "push him aside from competition and lay him off as a precautionary measure until the French National Federation opens disciplinary proceedings."

Team manager Vincent Lavenu said: "It is with sadness that I heard this unfortunate news. Above all, I’m driven by a strong feeling of anger because of important damages for the team and our sponsors.

"I want to reiterate our commitment to the biological passport and to the values upheld by the International Cycling Union. We have full confidence in the competent authorities in their fight against doping. “

Houanard has been a professional since 2008 first with the Skil-Shimano team and then with AG2R - La Mondiale for the past two seasons.

His only professional win came in his debut season when he won the Trophée des Champions.

Houanard can request the testing of his B sample.