French anti-doping authorities have a list of 40 riders under suspicion of doping in the 2008 Tour de France, according to a report published in an Austrian newspaper. The French National Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) has started testing samples taken from those riders during the 2008 Tour, with results expected in the next fortnight.
According to Austrian newspaper Kurier, Bernhard Kohl was officially questioned by representatives of the AFLD. After the official interrogation, Kohl met privately with Jean-Pierre Verdry, the director of the agency controls department. Verdry showed him a starting list from the 2008 Tour with about 40 names marked on it, with those riders being under suspicion of doping.
“When I saw this list, I was beside myself,” Kohl said. Verdry confirmed the meeting. “Yes, I showed him the list.”
AFLD director Pierre Bordry said that “Before the start of this year's Tour in Monaco, we informed about 15 riders that they samples from 2008 would be re-analysed. We expect to be able to announce the results within one to two weeks.”
Kohl, who tested positive for the EPO-CERA during the Tour de France, was not surprised at the thought of others using the drug. “For most of the top riders, I could imagine that they had taken CERA. After all, we were all sure that it couldn't be proven.”
The top riders' mood changed during the Tour, he said. “Many were tense.” Things got worse when Ricardo Ricco was the first to be tested positive for CERA. But as a few days passed with no further positives, they relaxed. “We convinced ourselves that nothing would happen.”
But it did happen. Kohl and his Gerolsteiner team-mate Stefan Schumacher tested positive for CERA. Kohl is sure that they weren't the only two to have used the drug, but not really surprised that they were the only two to be caught, as the team was set to fold at the end of the season. “It was an easy thing to present two prominant black sheep. Like saying, 'Look, here are the bad guys'.”
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