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Testing to be tightened before the Tour de France
The UCI has confirmed that it will work in partnership with the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) for the rest of the season, improving the quality of testing and intelligence before this year's Tour de France.
The two bodies have been at odds in recent years and especially in recent months regarding the quality of testing and the access to the data from the UCI's Biological Passport programme. The AFLD refused to work with the UCI this spring, citing the Federation’s “serious mistakes” made in the past and the effects of the Lance Armstrong affair.
The UCI announced that CADF (the UCI's Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation) and AFLD will now combine resources and expertise to organise and provide anti-doping tests, for the Critérium du Dauphiné in June and the Tour de France in July.
“We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with the AFLD. The CADF's and the AFLD’s anti-doping procedures are among the most innovative and stringent in sport," Francesca Rossi, Director of the CADF, said in a press release from the UCI.
"It was cycling, for example, that was the first sport to introduce the urinary EPO test, the homologous blood transfusion test and the biological passport.”
It seems the French Minister for Sport Valérie Fourneyron played a key role in rebuilding relations between the UCI and the AFLD.
"This makes the first tangible progress in the fight against doping in cycling since the Armstrong affair exploded," she was reported as saying by L'Equipe.
UCI President Pat McQuaid said claimed the agreement was an important step for the future of clean cycling.
“The UCI is determined to ensure that cycling is a clean sport. As such, we are extremely happy to be partnering with the AFLD. Together, we will ensure that today’s young riders in the peloton are not tarnished by issues that took place years in the past," he said in the UCI press release.
"Cycling has a bright future and those who will define that future can be found among the current generation of riders who have chosen to prove that you can compete and win clean."