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Cofidis explains retirement from Tour

Cofidis released a statement on its website yesterday, explaining why it asked the general manager, Eric Boyer, to withdraw the cycling formation from the Tour de France immediately, including pulling out of the advertising caravan.

Cofidis, which specializes in credits over the phone, called it a question of ethics, above all. It outlines the commitment in the fight against doping since 1998, when it signed the first "Charter of sponsors" together with other French teams.

Cofidis already overcame a difficult time with the cycling team in 2004. It hoped that its decision to stay and invest into cycling despite all the problems and support Draconian measures would allow for an efficient fight against doping.

The statement continued that those measure, which included that everybody on staff sign the charter, have not prevented the rider Cristian Moreni to display an intolerable behaviour, which has resulted immediately in Cofidis to apply the disciplinary measures.

Cofidis will one more time analyse the new situation. It will always be in solidarity with those who fight against doping and feel the pain that Moreni has brought on to the members of the team and their families.

Cofidis' statement reminded everyone that it has a strong anti-doping program in place, including six analyses per year in addition to the ones from the French cycling federation (FFC). There is also a detailed fitness, blood and hormone test twice a year.

As for drug tests, Cofidis requires a bi-annual check for cocaine, amphetamines, cannabis, heroin, anabolic steroids and its stimulants and corticoids. Those tests are done in Strasbourg, under the guidance of Prof. Pascal Kintz.

Additionally Cofidis requires an annual psychological analyses and training camps, which include presentations about doping, team building and hygiene in sports, are held in France, to make the controlling easier.

The statement concluded with specific demands by the sponsor Cofidis, including the requirement to have the riders race no more than 90 days a year to facilitate recuperation. The earnings scheme will be modified to not be directly tied to the UCI classification, which will also be applied to the management.

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