Anti-doping Authorities to Join Forces for 2011 Tour de France

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02/11/2011| 0 comments
by AP and Roacycling.com

Anti-doping Authorities to Join Forces for 2011 Tour de France

The French anti-doping agency and cycling's governing body have started discussions about renewing their partnership for the 2011 Tour de France.

The French anti-doping agency and cycling's governing body have started discussions about renewing their partnership for the 2011 Tour de France.

The two organizations have been at odds in recent years after Pierre Bordry, a former president of the agency, criticized the UCI's anti-doping program. That resulted in the AFLD being cut out of testing at last year's Tour de France.

AFLD president Bruno Genevois said at a joint news conference Thursday with World Anti-Doping Agency chief John Fahey that talks have begun with the UCI.

A renewed cooperation could open the way for AFLD testers to collect samples during the 2011 Paris-Nice race from March 6-13 before the 2011 Tour de France in July.

"Contacts have been renewed and we can hope for a good outcome in March," Genevois said. "Discussions between the AFLD and UCI are still ongoing and I can't tell you more for the moment, but we are hopeful."

Fahey said the UCI has a responsibility to ensure a "robust anti-doping program" is implemented for cycling's showcase race.

"I sincerely hope that there is clearly an opportunity ... to use AFLD," he said. "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 AFLD was only allowed to perform supplementary tests at last year's Tour after WADA intervened. When publishing its 2010 Tour report, WADA praised the UCI's overall efforts at the Tour, but said improvements could be made in testing.

WADA's report also said the UCI should work with the AFLD given its track record in catching 2006 Tour champion Floyd Landis for doping and uncovering the widespread use of CERA, an advanced form of the blood-booster EPO.

Bordry and UCI president Pat McQuaid fell out when they worked together during the 2009 Tour. Bordry has since resigned and was replaced by Genevois.

Fahey refused to answer a question about whether he would be happy with a one-year ban for Alberto Contador, who tested positive for clenbuterol on his way to a third Tour victory last July.

Contador, who blames contaminated meat, submitted his final defense this week.

"It's a little early to give an opinion," Fahey said. "We have been given a draft preliminary findings, which was passed on to Mr. Contador for further comment. I can't give a definitive answer. We can only do that when we'll have the full findings to examine."

Contador will be stripped of his third Tour de France title and excluded from this year's race if a one-year suspension imposed by the Spanish cycling federation is upheld.

A final ruling is expected later this week, but that decision can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport by Contador, the UCI or WADA.

Fahey also said WADA will help Brazil and Russia to put in place strong anti-doping programs during the 2014 and 2016 Olympics. The Russian city of Sochi is hosting the 2014 Winter Games, with Rio de Janeiro staging the

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