Tour organisers call for co-operation in anti-doping fight
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tour organisers call for co-operation in anti-doping fight

by Conal Andrews at 7:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping

Yesterday’s Tour de France presentation was primarily about the route of the 2010 race, but the details of next year’s race were preceded by the organisers’ statements on the fight against doping. In a pointed reference to the spat between the UCI and the French anti-doping agency, AFLD, they underlined the necessity for co-operation between the major players.

ASO president Jean-Etienne Amaury called for what he termed a "responsible dialogue". "Cycling is the most tested sport in the world and these controls are working," he stated, according to L’Equipe. “The vast majority of the field is above reproach. This year, with the introduction of the biological passport, a breakthrough occurred. While the fight against doping has made considerable progress in cycling, it is essential that the actors in this struggle, WADA (World Anti Doping Agency), federations, national agencies, governments continue to cooperate."

His words came just over a week after the AFLD blasted the UCI for what it said was unprofessional behaviour by its testers during the Tour de France. It alleged that the governing body favoured the Astana team of Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong, testing them later than other teams when conducting surprise controls, and also waiting almost an hour one morning.

It claimed samples were mislabelled as out of competition and thus liable to testing for fewer substances, and also that the samples were not stored at the correct temperature.

The UCI hasn’t yet answered the specific claims but said that the AFLD was incorrect in its allegations, and that it would seek an alternative partner for future Tours.

Amaury said that he “regretted the dispute,” while Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme underlined what he said was the "absolute necessity" of the fight against doping. He said that all the various bodies needed to work in harmony.

The statements were not only about the AFLD and the UCI. The Tour organisers also indicated that they had not been informed that analyses were being done on medical waste discarded during this year’s race. The items, including syringes and drips, are currently being examined for traces of banned substances. ASO said that it had only learned from the media that the investigation was taking place.


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