Sky withdraw Colombian Henao over altitude concerns

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Marche-en-Famenne (Belgium) (AFP)

Sky have withdrawn Sergio Henao for a three months precautionary period after internal tests, but the British cycling team insisted Wednesday the Colombian rider had not failed a drug test.

Henao, second in the recent Tour of the Basque Country, was one of the favourites to win Wednesday's Fleche Wallone, a race in which he came second in 2013.

The move comes after Henao was contacted by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) this week requesting information relating to the 2011-2015 period.

Sky explain on their website that the withdrawal is over concerns about his tests when he returns to train at altitude in his native Colombia.

They also said Henao had been withdrawn from competition for similar issues previously and that the decision to remove him now had been made in March.

Sky director Dave Brailsford offered support to the 28-year-old.

"We believe in Sergio," he said.

"The physiology of 'altitude natives' is a complex area. In recent years we have proactively sought to understand it better - both for Sergio and for the benefit of clean sport," he said.

The rider himself was less upbeat.

"I am beyond disappointed," he said.

"I have worked incredibly hard to get back to racing fitness after shattering my knee last year - but I know who I am, how hard I have worked and the sacrifices I have made to be where I am today. "

Henao has been with Sky since 2012.