AFLD request to perform anti-doping controls at Tour de France is denied
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

AFLD request to perform anti-doping controls at Tour de France is denied

by Conal Andrews at 5:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
WADA blocks French agency’s application to carry out additional testing

AFLDFollowing yesterday’s announcement of an agreement between WADA and the UCI in relation to anti-doping controls at this year’s Tour de France, it appears that the French anti-doping agency AFLD has been denied permission to run its own tests during the race.

The news, which was anticipated by some after yesterday’s announcement, means that the UCI will be the only testing body involved in monitoring at the Tour.

The AFLD did all the testing during the 2008 edition of the race as the UCI were at loggerheads with ASO, the race organisers, in relation to their dispute over the ProTour. The AFLD was very successful in catching riders, with top names such as the stage winners Riccardo Ricco, Stefan Schumacher and Leonardo Piepoli plus third-place finisher (and King of the Mountains) Bernhard Kohl all being caught for CERA.

In total eight riders tested positive, with the aftermentioned riders being busted for CERA, and Manuel Beltrán and Moisés Dueñas being disqualified for using EPO.

In contrast, there were no positives at all from last year’s race. Stage 16 winner Mikel Astarloza was disqualified for a positive EPO test, but the urine sample in question was taken before the race.

The AFLD did have an involvement as a partner of the UCI, but their relationship was a tense one. After the race the French body highlighted a number of failings on the UCI’s part, including claims that it showed a bias towards the Astana team of Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador. One example was that the team was given almost an hour’s notice before an early-morning test was carried out, thus invalidating the usefulness of what should have been a surprise control.

The UCI rejected the accusations, and said the AFLD was unprofessional in going to the media with its complaints rather than dealing directly with the UCI.

The AFLD had sought permission to conduct some additional testing at this year’s Tour, as is permitted under Article 15.1.1 of the World Anti-Doping Code. However WADA needs to approve this and, according to L'Equipe, this request has now been rejected.

VeloNation was told yesterday by a WADA spokesman that the decision will be announced today; we will have more details when these become available.

The tests carried out at the Tour de France will now be analysed at the laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland, rather than the Châtenay-Malabry facility in Paris.

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