The Tour de France passed without doping positives and cycling could be coming out of a difficult period, according to International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid, yesterday.
"I haven't heard of any positive tests at this year's Tour de France or that we're checking samples to confirm positives," McQuaid told Reuters at the Tour of Ireland.
Spain's Alberto Contador won the Tour de France, July 4 to 26, by 4:11 over Andy Schleck and 5:24 over teammate Lance Armstrong. It was the second year anti-doping testers used biological passports to control blood values. They used the passports in addition to traditional methods of searching for specific banned drugs.
Four riders tested positive during the race in 2008, including double stage winner Riccardo Riccò. Testers caught other riders, like Bernhard Kohl, after the race when they re-tested samples. Kohl finished third overall and won the mountains classification.
"It's been a difficult moment for cycling because of the doping scandals, but I think we're coming out of it and going into a good period," said McQuaid.
However, the biological passport is unable to catch some "sophisticated" cheats, anti-doping campaigner David Walsh told Cyclingnews this month. "The evidence we have so far is that the guys towards the winning end of the classification in big races are still significantly ahead of the UCI's checks," said Walsh.
Walsh pointed to studies by Antoine Vayer, a former coach from the Festina team. Vayer analysed data from the Grand Tour's major climbs and rider's power outputs.
One doping positive was indirectly associated with the 2009 Tour de France. The UCI announced after the race that Spain's Mikel Astarloza, winner of stage 16 to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, tested positive for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) in an out-of-competition control on June 26.
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