The French authorities today conceded to the wishes of professional cyclists and have delayed the release of a senate report on doping until after the Tour de France. The report will now be released three days after the race concludes on the Champs-Elysées.
The report on a senate investigation into the effectiveness of anti-doping, which is expected to include a list of riders who tested positive for EPO in retroactive testing of samples from the 1998 Tour de France, was due to be made public on July 18, the same day that the dual ascents of l'Alpe d'Huez were set to decide the victor of this year's event.
A delegation of professional riders, including Jens Voigt, Jérémy Roy, Samuel Dumoulin, Jerome Pineau, and Luis Angel Mate, met with French sports minister Valerie Fourneyron before the start of the Tour de France to request the delay.
The news was welcomed by Dumoulin, who told L'Equipe, "It is a nice gesture on the part of the senators. They heard us and understood that our claim was well founded. Our goal was to avoid confusion between old business and the current peloton.
"We never said we did not want the fight against doping, but simply were asked for equality between sports. Given the media coverage of the Tour, we know that a spark would trigger a huge fire. Viewers would be reminded of the old doping cases. Now we can concentrate on the sport, and once we have turned the page of the Tour, we will focus on the findings of the investigation."
Leaked details of the report have already named Laurent Jalabert as one of the riders suspected of EPO use, and the news cost the Frenchman his job reporting on the Tour for French television.