The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) has announced new tests for this year's Tour de France, designed to detect susbstances previously thought undetectable.
French sports daily L'Equipe has reported that AFLD chief Pierre Bordry did not name the substance to be 'targeted' and explained that the procedure is not yet completely ready to be rolled out.
He did confirm that the UCI has given the French agency authority to store samples for the purposes of additional testing if it is required, a condition that proved vital in the cases of Bernhard Kohl, Stefan Schumaher and Leonardo Piepoli, who all tested positive for the latest generation of EPO, CERA, during last year's Tour.
Retired Austrian rider Bernhard Kohl, who finished third overall and won the King of the Mountains title at last year's Tour de France before he was found to test positive for CERA, has agreed to co-operate with the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) in its fight against doping.
Having announced a new test to be instituted by the AFLD at this year's Tour de France, agency chief Pierre Bordry explained that the disgraced former Gerolsteiner rider met with representatives of the authority to discuss a possible collaboration.
"The secretary general of the AFLD and the director of controls met with Bernhard Kohl today in Vienna and returned with information that we will check," Bordry told news agency Reuters. He said that Kohl disclosed "information regarding the fight against doping".
It's an about face for the Austrian, who initially denied having used CERA during the Tour before admitting his misdemeanour and allegedly telling French sports daily L'Equipe that the top 10 rider in last year's Tour de France were doped. He later stated that he had not made that statement and the publication had fabricated the claim.
This apparent collaboration comes after Kohl was suspended for two years and subsequently announced his retirement at the age of 27.
Riders' association says clause not in regulations
The Professional Cyclists' Association (CPA) has explained that a clause demanding payment of salary should a rider test positive for performance-enhancing substances is not permissible according to UCI regulations.
The declaration follows news that Team Katusha riders were told to sign a clause in their contracts stipulating that should they test positive for doping products a financial penalty of up to five times their annual salary may result.
Robbie McEwen stated last week that a third doping case would spell the end for the Russian team, given that star riders Christian Pfannberger and Toni Colom both tested positive for EPO after controls taken during the Spring Classics.
While McEwen expressed misgivings over the introduction of the stipulations, he signed the charter. Overnight however, Belgian rider Gert Steegmans has stated he won't sign the charter, a move which jeopardises his chances of competing in the Tour de France next month. Steegmans has expressed concerns over the situation, labelling it as 'complex'.
In a statement released on Monday, the stance of the CPA concurred with that of Steegmans, explaining, "the CPA reminds all the riders who belong to a ProTour or Continental Professional Team that the UCI Regulation which includes the Joint Agreement does not allow to add a clause which impinges on the riders' rights."
Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde remains on top of the UCI's latest world rankings, released yesterday. It follows his win in the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré earlier this month.
The Spanish rider has managed to continue his run of success despite being at the centre of controversy surrounding his alleged involvement in Operación Puerto. It resulted in a two-year suspension imposed by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and Tour de France organiser ASO telling Valverde he would not be welcome at this year's edition of the race.
Seattle Coffee Gear announced this week that it will hold charitable auctions for five of Rocket Espresso's limited edition Giro D'Italia semi-automatic espresso machines to benefit the charity Coffee Kids.
Hand-crafted in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Giro D'Italia, this series will total 100 machines in all and feature unique touches such as a Maglia Rosa-inspired pink manometer, individually numbered badges, quintessentially Italian detailing and a machine-engraved listing of all 92 winners of the race. Rocket Espresso will also include a June 1st 2009 copy of the newspaper that started the race a century ago, La Gazzetta della Sporte, which celebrates the centennial and the race's historic winner.
"When Rocket offered us the opportunity to carry this special edition, we decided we wanted to make it about more than just selling a collector's item," said Victor Gehlen, founder of Seattle Coffee Gear. "We chose to involve Coffee Kids because we love their mission to help provide community support to coffee growing families in Central America and we thought those interested in a unique machine like the Giro D'Italia Giotto would love to know their purchase was going to support such a great cause."
Five consecutive auctions will begin on June 19 and continue weekly through to July 24. For more information, please visit http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/auction.