UCI and AFLD confirm they’ll work together on Paris-Nice anti-doping controls
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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

UCI and AFLD confirm they’ll work together on Paris-Nice anti-doping controls

by Shane Stokes at 8:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Signs of improving relations with press conference to be held on eve of race

Pat McQuaidOne year after a bitter tussle over rights to conduct doping controls at the 2010 Paris-Nice, the UCI has confirmed that it will work with the French national anti-doping agency AFLD at this year’s race.

The governing body has today announced that a press conference will be held in Roissy en France on Saturday in order to detail the cooperation between the two at the prestigious early-season event.

“The President of the UCI, Mr Pat McQuaid, and the President of the AFLD (French National Anti-Doping Organisation), Mr Bruno Genevois, will present details of the anti-doping measures which will be taken during the Paris-Nice race,” it stated.

The UCI’s medical director Dr Mario Zorzoli will also be in attendance and he and McQuaid (pictured) will be available to speak to reporters about this and other issues.

The governing body has said that it won’t give away any details of the anti-doping tests to be performed prior to the press conference.

The current position is markedly different to that of one year ago, when the AFLD threatened to collaborate with the police after the UCI refused to allow it conduct testing.

“The AFLD questions the motivations behind the UCI,” it said at the time, “to control Paris Nice race which takes place at the heart of France and mobilizes large public resources, to forego the sworn and independent samplers of the AFLD.”

Tensions remained between the UCI and the AFLD, which had conducted testing on the 2008 event and caught several high-profile riders, including Riccardo Ricco, Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl. The French agency appealed to WADA prior to the Tour de France, and it granted the AFLD the right to request testing on suspect riders.

It also imposed limitations on the information which would be provided to the UCI testers prior to such examinations, raising questions about how the governing body had been running things.

The departure of previous AFLD chief Pierre Bordry in October and the appointment of his successor, Bruno Genevois, started what appears to be a truce between the two organizations. In a press conference held two weeks ago, Genevois said that he wants to work with the UCI on this year’s Tour de France.

“Contacts have been renewed and we can hope for a good outcome in March,” he said, presumably referring to Paris-Nice. “Discussions between the AFLD and UCI are still ongoing and I can't tell you more for the moment, but we are hopeful.”

He appeared at the conference with WADA president John Fahey, who made it clear that he wanted more cooperation. “I sincerely hope that there is clearly an opportunity to use AFLD," he said, according to AP. “The world watches the Tour de France because of its past history, and I sincerely hope that ultimately we have a wonderful event which is not mired in doping. That's what I seek as an outcome.”

The collaboration at Paris-Nice is clearly an important step in the right direction.

The 69th edition of Paris-Nice will begin on Sunday with a 154.5 kilometre stage starting and finishing in Houdan. The race gradually makes its way south-east over the next week, ramping up the action with a 27 kilometre time trial to Aix-en-Provence and several hilly stages.

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