Paris - Italian rider Diego Ulissi, who won two stages of this year's Giro d'Italia, failed a drugs test during the race, his team Lampre confirmed on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old returned a positive test for salbutamol, a drug used to treat asthma, during the 11th stage on May 21 at Savone.
Lampre said that Ulissi had revealed to testers at the time that he had two puffs of ventolin containing salbutamol as well as paracetamol, following a fall during the stage.
The Tuscan rider has been suspended by his team pending the analysis of his B sample.
"Ulissi strongly rejects the presence of such a large amount of salbutamol," the team said in a statement.
Riders are permitted to use the drug for medical purposes below a certain threshold, but Ulissi's sample contained almost twice the permitted concentration.
The statement continued: "The results of the test from the UCI report the presence in the urine of the athlete of an abnormal amount of salbutamol (1900 ng/ml), higher than the limit allowed by the regulations, which sees the limit at 1000 ng/ml.
"The athlete himself and the medical staff of the team will continue to explore the reasons why the urine has been identified as having an abnormal and high presence of salbutamol, compared to only two inhalations performed."
Ulissi won the fifth stage at Viggiano and the eighth at Montecopiolo, but quit the race after the 17th stage.