UCI chief reacts to latest AFLD comments
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Saturday, March 06, 2010

UCI chief reacts to latest AFLD comments

by Ben Atkins at 3:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Paris-Nice
 

International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid has reacted to the latest comments from the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD), according to AFP. In a press conference on the eve of the Paris-Nice race, McQuaid hit back at statements from AFLD that it would not work with the UCI but would instead inform the French judicial authorities of any suspicions.

"For the UCI it's an accepted fact that the AFLD will not cooperate with us," he said. "It's more important for the AFLD to position themselves with regard to the media impact than to worry about the final result."

He was also criticised the timing of the French agency’s announcement, as it was made "just before the start of the first big French race which reopens an argument which nobody needs."

The row over who controls the sample taking and drug testing at France’s biggest races has been rumbling on ever since the AFLD published a report last October criticising the UCI’s handling of the process at the 2009 Tour de France. Among other things the agency claimed that the Astana team of race winner Alberto Contador and third-placed Lance Armstrong was given preferential treatment during the race.

It also questioned the fact that, despite a rash of positives in the 2008 race and a number in the races leading up to it, there were no positive tests at the 2009 Tour.

The UCI denied all the AFLD charges and responded with a list of its own criticisms. Since that time the UCI has taken on the sole responsibility for testing, as it says is right under WADA regulations as Paris-Nice is an international race.

The row is expected to rumble on right up the start of this year’s Tour de France, where the UCI has made it clear that the AFLD is not invited. If the French agency makes good on its claim of informing the French judiciary of any suspicions it has, it could lead to scenes of team hotel and vehicle raids not seen since the Festina Affair at the 1998 Tour.

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