Rabobank happy with 2008 retest result
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rabobank happy with 2008 retest result

by Conal Andrews at 8:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping

The Rabobank cycling team of third-placed Denis Menchov has said that it is pleased with the outcome of yesterday’s AFLD announcement relating to the 2008 Tour de France samples.

The French anti-doping agency said that re-examination of samples belonging to 17 riders showed that they were negative for CERA, the third generation EPO.

"This is a blessing for cycling'', Harold Knebel of the Rabobank Cycling Teams was quoted as saying by Sportwereld. “The suspicion that…generally prevails in cycling, is now little more into the background. It seems a signal that we're on the right track.”

Menchov and Laurens ten Dam were reported as being two of the riders who were being rechecked, something which would have concerned the team. But all appears clear for the duo. “We are pleased with the result,” said Knebel. “Not only for ourselves, but also because I had found it very annoying when one of the other teams had been accused.”

Meanwhile there is confusion about the status of the claim by the AFLD that heavy medication was found by police in the garbage of teams participating in this year’s Tour. The products are apparently not banned under the WADA code, but the AFLD is asking why apparently fit riders are taking substances normally used by ill people.

"These products are incongruous in an environment where people are theoretically healthy," said Michel Rieu, the scientific adviser of the AFLD, during a press conference Wednesday. “It seems anomalous that anti-hypertensives were found. The objective [of these] is to ensure that the athlete's blood pressure does not rise. Why?” he asked, according to L’Equipe.

“It is amazing that sitagliptin, used by diabetics to produce insulin, or valpromide, an anticonvulsant used to treat manic-depressive psychosis, would be included in this therapeutic arsenal.”

AFLD president Pierre Bordry said that he had reported the findings to the World Anti Doping Agency in July. However, its president John Fahey and its scientific director Oliver Rabin told AFP in September that they had not been notified.

The French newspaper Le Monde reported this week that several products were also found that required import authorisation from the French Agency for the safety of Health products (AFSSAPS). They are otherwise illegal on French soil and the medications, two anti-hypertensive drugs called Telmisartan and Quinapril, were seized. It is not know which teams were involved.

The AFLD has said that it believes two new banned products were used during the 2009 race, namely a form of EPO called Hematide and the fat-burning, muscle-building substance AICAR. It is working on tests for both and is likely to run retests on suspicious samples.

As was the case with the 2008 race, it may be quite some time before the final results are fully verified.


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