By Shane Stokes
Oscar Pereiro's delay in sending requested documents to the French Agency for the Fight against Doping (AFLD) has led to a rebuke from the UCI, with a press release issued on Monday afternoon stating that president Pat McQuaid has expressed his displeasure to the Spaniard.
According to the release, the Irishman: "sent a letter to the rider, Oscar Pereiro, from the Spanish team 'Caisse d'Epargne', in which he deplored his attitude towards the French Agency for the Fight against Doping (AFLD)."
The release acknowledged that Pereiro has medical authorisation to use an asthma medication containing a controlled substance, but faulted him for not responding promptly to requests by the AFLD for related documentation. On Saturday McQuaid told Cyclingnews that he considered the behaviour of both Pereiro and the team to have been unprofessional in this respect.
"The team was aware of the situation and should have been more professional in dealing with it," he stated. "This is damaging to cycling as it creates the wrong impression."
Monday's release continued in the same vein: "Having suffered from asthma for the last several years, Oscar Pereiro has authorisation (TUA) allowing him to treat this illness by using salbutamol, recognised by the UCI, the AFLD and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
"At the 2006 Tour de France, traces of this product were found in his urine. However the result of tests carried during the race cannot be considered as a positive anti-doping control.
"Although he had medical justification requested from September 2006 by the AFLD proving that he indeed suffered from asthma brought on by physical exertion, Oscar Pereiro delayed providing it to this organisation. This is considered as a failure to respect established administrative procedures.
"This serious negligence by the Spanish rider is regrettable and harms the image of cycling as a whole, although he is not guilty of any infringement."
The UCI also re-expressed its dissatisfaction with the AFLD which, it said, was quick to jump to conclusions despite the granting of a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to the Tour de France runner-up.
"The UCI has asked the AFLD to refrain from publicly implying that a rider is guilty of a doping offence when he has only committed an administrative fault. Such an attitude does not help to support the cycling community, which is fighting more than ever against the phenomenon of doping," concluded the release.