2008 Tour retest results due tomorrow
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2008 Tour retest results due tomorrow

by Conal Andrews at 6:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping

Cycling is braced for bad news tomorrow, with the French anti-doping agency AFLD due to announce results from its retests of selected 2008 doping control samples.

The agency has indicated that up to 40 riders showed possible signs of manipulation or doping in the race. It is running more advanced tests than were available last year in an effort to determine if these riders did indeed break rules. The third generation EPO product CERA is one key test that will be performed.

Tests for the substance were introduced without warning during last year’s Tour, leading to the disqualification of riders such as stage winners Riccardo Ricco, Leonardo Piepoli and Stefan Schumacher, as well as third place finisher and King of the Mountains Bernhard Kohl.

It is thought that a more sensitive test for CERA is now available.

Prior to this year’s Tour a reported 15 riders were told that they were suspected of doping, and that retests would be done.

The AFLD announced in recent days that it was commencing work on the retests, and that the process would take up to a fortnight. Tomorrow’s announcement is far ahead of that timescale, and so it is uncertain if all the results will be back at that point or if the agency will release its findings in batches.

Meanwhile its president Pierre Bordry has reiterated earlier claims that the AFLD believes that blood transfusions plus two new drugs were used during this year’s Tour de France. One is Hematide, a currently-undetectable form of EPO, while the second is a product called AICAR which enhances fat burning. Tests for both are being developed.

He also said that drug products were found in the trash belonging to several teams. "We found several strong medications, including a substance which produces insulin and usually is used for diabetes."

The AFLD yesterday alleged that the UCI did not act in a professional manner while conducting tests during this year’s Tour, and gave preferential treatment towards the Astana team of race winner Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong.

The governing body responded later by rejecting the accusations and threatening to end its work with the AFLD.


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