By Hedwig Kröner
An embarrassing mishap for the French anti-doping movement occurred yesterday at the finish of the penultimate ProTour race this season, Paris-Tours. After Alessandro Petacchi sprinted to the victory and gave his TV interviews, he was not asked to the doping controls that usually involve the winner of an event, as well as other, randomly chosen riders.
"The doctor that had been commissioned by the AFLD [the French Anti-Doping Agency] was late," explained ASO press officer Mathieu Desplats to Cyclingnews. "He arrived only 15 minutes after the riders. Normally, this person needs to be at the finish two hours before in order to prepare everything."
The organiser of the event, in this case ASO, is not involved in the process of doping controls at the finish. "We only provide the equipment and materials for the doping control to take place," continued Desplats. "The van in which it will be carried out for example, and the water for the riders - things like that. But we are not in charge of the actual taking of the urine sample."
It is the UCI that delegates this responsibility to the national anti-doping agencies, in this case the AFLD. No explanation for this disaster has yet been given, as the persons in charge could not be reached.