UCI and AFLD announce Paris-Nice anti-doping cooperation
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

UCI and AFLD announce Paris-Nice anti-doping cooperation

by Shane Stokes at 11:17 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Paris-Nice
UCI says it has until March 24th to appeal Contador decision

Speaking at a press conference at the eve of Paris-Nice, UCI President Pat McQuaid and AFLD President Bruno Genevois confirmed what they said was a significant agreement to collaborate during this year’s event, bringing to an end a period of tension between the two bodies.

A total of 120 anti-doping tests will be carried out at the WorldTour race, which begins near Paris tomorrow. These examinations will comprise 70 tests carried out between March 6th and 13th, with the AFLD collecting and analysing these, as well as approximately 50 biological passport blood samples conducted by the UCI. The latter will be used for targeting.

Mr McQuaid stressed what he said was “the importance of this understanding, which revives the collaboration on the best possible terms between the two organisations for the effectiveness and therefore the success of the anti-doping fight.”

It followed a long period of tension between the AFLD, the French anti-doping agency, and the UCI, which arose in the months after the French body carried out testing during the 2008 Tour de France. It caught a number of big-name riders at the event, including double stage winners Riccardo Riccò and Stefan Schumacher, as well as King of the Mountains and third-place finisher Bernhard Kohl.

The worsening relationship between the AFLD and the UCI meant that the latter blocked the agency from conducting testing on last year’s Paris-Nice. AFLD did play a part in testing during the Tour de France, but only after it took an appeal to WADA.

The relationship has improved since its former president Pierre Bordry handed over the reins to Genevois in October. McQuaid said that a new level of cooperation had been reached.

“The misunderstandings which had troubled relations between the UCI and AFLD are now in the past,” he said. “We are extremely happy to be able to work alongside AFLD once again, in a calm atmosphere where we have restored confidence in each other.”

While the agreement announced today doesn’t extend to the Tour de France, the communiqué stated that an evaluation would be carried out after Paris-Nice and could lead to cooperation at the Tour. Genevois said that he considered the upcoming collaboration to be an important step.

“I am very pleased with this agreement for anti-doping tests and analyses at Paris-Nice. This understanding opens new possibilities for cooperation between the UCI and AFLD,” he said.

McQuaid, Dr Mario Zorzoli and Professor Marcello Faina, the president of the UCI Medical Commission, also met with team doctors today. An evaluation of the Biological Passport was carried out, together with a review of the new additions to the list of banned substances updated by WADA. They are also aiming to come up with a proposition aiming to regulate the use of injections. Several ProTeams have a no-needles policy with their riders, with all vitamins and other permitted substances being taken orally. However there is no rule in place banning their use.

Contador appeal decision due before March 24th

McQuaid also told the media present today that the UCI had until March 24th to lodge an appeal in relation to the Alberto Contador case. WADA rules state that governing bodies have 30 days to post appeals after the receipt of the full documentation pertaining to such cases. While Contador was cleared by the Spanish cycling federation RFEC on February 15th, it took over a week for the UCI to get the necessary paperwork.

McQuaid didn’t indicate whether the UCI was likely or not to appeal, indicating that more needed to be done to arrive at a decision. “Our principal lawyer will start working on the Contador case on Monday. I can't give an opinion on whether he is guilty or not,” he said, according to Reuters. “But the Contador case is difficult for the sport. It's like a cloud over our head.”

The Spaniard tested positive for Clenbuterol days before winning his third Tour de France. The results of that test were announced at the end of September and since then he has worked with his legal team to fight the charges. Under WADA rules, a ban of one to two years is the most likely outcome, but the RFEC decided he should be cleared without sanction. Contador himself has conceded that it is likely that this decision will be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and that he will have to defend himself there.


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