French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) president Bruno Genevois is hopeful that his agency can work alongside the UCI and carry out testing at the 2013 Tour de France, although he noted that no firm decisions on anti-doping protocol for next year can be taken until after the UCI Independent Commission completes its review of the governing body’s activities.
“For now, the UCI is in a waiting position,” Genevois told L’Équipe. “We would like to have a strategy with upstream controls, blood and urine samples, and specific searches. All the same, the UCI has had the merit of putting in place the biological passport since 2008, and has been able to establish instances of doping and hand out penalties.
“I have been able to keep up contact with the UCI, whereas I have struggled to establish continued contact with the International Tennis Federation. In the field of the fight against the doping, there are many who believe but too few who practice.”
The AFLD provided documentation and test results to the US Anti-Doping Agency as part of its investigation into doping at the US Postal Service team, but the case against Lance Armstrong also relied heavily on testimony and confessions from his former teammates.
“The proof gathered by USADA was essentially the result of investigations and testimony of former teammates of Armstrong but the cooperation between different agencies was also useful – the AFLD was able to pass on documentation in its possession as well as the results of analyses of Armstrong’s urine,” Genevois said.
While Genevois acknowledged that the fight against doping has progressed beyond the analysis of blood and urine samples, he warned that whistleblowers should be afforded reduced suspensions rather than outright immunity in return for testimony.
“In my opinion, an accusation shouldn’t lead the impunity of the accuser but only to a reduction of the penalty. The denunciation must come early on in the process. It ought not to be someone at the end of his career getting off too lightly by making a denunciation.”
Genevois also hinted that the AFLD was progressing with its bid to establish a test for Aicar, which burns fat and improves endurance but is currently undetectable.
“It’s encouraging,” he said. “We still have to wait for fine-tuning of the detection before the test is validated by WADA. Our strategy is not to speak too quickly or too soon. That can lead to changes in behaviour and lead some people to get off too lightly. We can also keep samples for eight years and that forms part of the dissuasion. I believe that pressure is mounting on cheats.”