Drug testing in the forthcoming Tour de France will test for homologous blood transfusions, but not autologous transfusions or growth hormone, the French national anti-doping laboratory announced on Thursday. According to lab director Jacques De Ceaurriz, the much promised growth hormone test, which was used at last year's Athens Olympics, is not able to be used because of financial reasons, citing the global supply of antibodies as a major problem.
Mr De Ceaurriz said that the homologous blood transfusion test will be used for the first time at the Tour, even though it was announced as going to be used at the start of last year's Tour. The controversial transfusion test has already been used at the Athens Olympics and during the Vuelta a España in 2004, with the then Phonak teammates Tyler Hamilton and Santiago Perez both testing positive for the presence of another type of red blood cell in their bodies. Appeals in those cases are still ongoing, with arguments about establishing a false positive rate and the possibility of having a "vanishing twin" being put forward by Hamilton.
During the Tour, riders will give 150 urine samples and 40 blood samples. The World Anti-Doping Agency has asked that samples be kept for three months following the Tour for possible later testing.