SAINT-GAUDENS, France (AP) _ Belgian champion Ludo Dierckxsens, winner of the 11th stage of the Tour de France, was dropped by his team after he admitted taking a banned substance to treat a knee injury.

The Belgian had passed his drug test after he won his stage, the International Cycling Union said Monday. But Dierckxsens acknowledged using Synacthene and had a doctor's prescription _ yet hadn't told his team, Italy's Lampre.

He was the first cyclist to admit taking a banned substance during this year's Tour, a race that was nearly halted last summer because of a drug scandal.

Pietro Algeri, director of the Lampre team, decided to send Dierckxsens home, and he left for Belgium on Monday.

Dierckxsens won last Thursday's stage between Le Bourg d'Oisans and Saint-Etienne, calling it the highlight of his career.