Governing body fires back at French agency over Tour de France
In a 12-pages long report sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Thursday this week, the International Cycling Union (UCI) is has thoroughly replied to the accusations made by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) earlier this month. In response to the allegations of providing preferential treatment to the Astana team during the Tour de France, the UCI has fired back and accused the AFLD's own testing procedures of being "far from perfect".
According to international news agencies, which were able to view the report, the UCI countered the statements made by AFLD president Pierre Bordry earlier this month. "Now that the Tour is over, it is even more evident that Astana received absolutely no special treatment, except in the sense of their riders being subject to considerably more doping controls than other riders," the report stated.
Astana riders were subject to 81 doping tests during the race, or more than 10 percent of the total number of tests carried out. "In fact the top individual Astana riders received more than three times the number of tests of most other riders in the race," it continued.
The UCI further defended its anti-doping programme and accused the AFLD of laxism in its procedures in return. "It is important for everyone to understand that AFLD is far from perfect in the implementation of their own anti-doping activities. By the start of the Tour, UCI had conducted 190 out-of-competition tests on riders short-listed for the Tour, while AFLD had conducted 13 tests. Of these, six were on French riders whom they have access to test all year round.
"But of great significance is that five of the samples collected from riders in the same French team, were sent to the laboratory with the full names and details of the riders. This completely invalidates the anonymous chain of custody requirements of the Code and International Standard of Testing."
Moreover, the governing body of the sport said that "several UCI international races went without adequate doping control because of the failure of AFLD to fulfill their commitment to the French Cycling Federation and the UCI to send doctors to conduct testing."
But the UCI did not only criticise the agency's working procedures, but also directly targeted president Bordry. "A true partner does not make assertions to the media before communicating them to their partner," the report stated. "However, with the UCI's reputation already shattered by Mr. Bordry's actions and rhetoric, there is no recourse but to set the record straight in the UCI's correction of his mischievous and misinformed statements."
Furthermore, the report said that the French agency had a reputation in world sports as being difficult to work with. "The UCI is aware of at least three other major international federations who have experienced significant problems working with AFLD," it said, without naming them.
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