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French to test Tour de France samples for blood transfusions

The final stage of the Tour de France 2008

The final stage of the Tour de France 2008 (Image credit: AFP)

There may be more positives from the Tour de France, as French anti-doping boss Pierre Bordry has said that his agency will go after riders who used autologous blood transfusions. "We already have serious evidence about cases of such autologous transfusions," Bordry said in an interview with the German television sender ZDF. "As to who might be involved, we will be able to say that later."

The AFLD, the French anti-doping agency, has a new method of detecting such transfusions, a method which was not available earlier. The agency will use the method to test the doping samples of suspect riders.

At the moment the agency is busy checking samples for CERA, the new EPO, "but soon we will be able to prove autologous transfusions and we will then test with it."

The agency already has its eye on riders who demonstrated irregular blood values before the Tour, about 30 altogether, and has already informed the riders and their teams. Some of the riders had their blood values returned to normal during the Tour, but others did not. "Some of the suspect riders got back to their normal values. We were very surprised to see, how weak their performance became," Bordry said.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.