Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme and ASO President Patrice Clerc met with the press Saturday morning in Cognac to discuss the last three weeks of their Grand Tour. The event was hit with the news of two in-race positive controls and two other pre-event doping-related incidents that left the Frenchmen wanting to distance its race from the UCI (International Cycling Union). Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown was in Cognac before the start of the time trial listen to what the Frenchmen had to say.
Patrik Sinkewitz, Alexander Vinokourov, Cristian Moreni and Michael Rasmussen made the 2007 Tour one to remember, but not for the right reasons. Both Sinkewitz and Rasmussen had pre-race issues that ASO, organiser of the Tour, believes the UCI could have prevented or perhaps it let slip by.
"There can only be one answer for the UCI, either they are incompetent or want to damage the Tour de France," blasted Prudhomme Saturday morning. Former maillot jaune wearer Michael Rasmussen missed two out of competition doping controls in June according to the UCI but Tour organisers were never made aware of it. "The UCI knew about the missed controls, and by the team, and yet the UCI told us he was okay," commented Clerc.
"Strange that we only knew of the Sinkewitz's positive results in the Tour," Prudhomme added. "Other results come so much quicker, so, for us, I get the feeling that the UCI did not really want to give us the results before [the Tour]."
There were two positive results in the Tour, with Alexander Vinokourov (Astanta) testing non-negative for blood doping while Cristian Moreni (Cofidis) tested non-negative for testosterone. Both the Switzerland and French registered squads were asked to leave the event, and did so immediately. "The mistakes from two riders, Alexander Vinokourov and Cristian Moreni, damaged the Tour de France with their behaviour," said Clerc. "Most of the riders are working in a clean way, without using any products. But some of them did not understand that things have changed. Most teams are doing well but some don't understand."
To read the full news feature, click here.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
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August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
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