The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) in charge of contols at the Tour de France will share its pre-Tour test results with the Union Cycliste International (UCI) despite the deep rift between the Tour de France organisation and the sport's governing body. The AFLD was called in to perform the doping controls after the ASO chose to hold the race outside the aegis of the UCI.
Those test results include the blood values from riders who showed abnormal values in controls taken just prior to the start of the Tour de France, the AFLD announced Friday. The AFLD said that it does not have the results of the same riders' testing which was performed in the first half of the year as part of the UCI's biological passport program with which to compare the readings. However, it said, "in the spirit of cooperation with the international federation" it would forward the results to the UCI for inclusion with those riders' profiles.
The AFLD performed blood tests on riders "to allow for subsequent targeted doping tests during the Tour de France," the agency announced Friday, but did not name any riders. That targeted approach yielded the positive of Liquigas' Manuel Beltrán.
Of the controls performed prior to the Tour, some ten or twenty riders showed hematocrit values near the limit of 50%. "Around 20 riders have results a little high, right on the limit," Philippe Sagot, deputy secretary general of the AFLD, told The Associated Press. "There are no infractions, but some figures are very close to the limit, particularly as regards the level of hematocrit," Sagot said.
High values can indicate EPO use, but the reading can also be also due to natural causes. Beltrán was one of the riders to be singled out for additional screening based on the elevated pre-Tour values, and he tested positive on the race's first stage for EPO.
The AFLD said that the other riders who had abnormal results would be informed this weekend, but the agency said that it would take no action against the riders other than to suggest that they submit the results to their team doctor "because of the possibility of a health risk," the statement read.