International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid has again fanned the ongoing and smouldering power struggle between cycling's governing body and the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) by stating that he would prefer his organisation to take sole responsibility for drug testing at next year's Tour de France.
The AFLD, which was in charge of the doping controls in the 2008 edition of the Tour, discovered that high-profile riders such as Bernhard Kohl, Riccardo Riccó and Michael Schumacher - among others - all used prohibited methods of performance enhancement, namely the latest-generation variant of EPO, CERA.
In 2009, UCI and AFLD collaborated again at the French Grand Tour, but the new-found partnership turned sour when an AFLD report recently released cited lax UCI anti-doping procedures at this year's Tour. MvQuaid maintained that the French agency hadn't alerted them to the findings of the report before its public release in what he perceived as an attempt to undermine his organisation.
McQuaid had spoken to Cyclingnews in late October, outlining his desire to see the relationship between the AFLD and UCI ended; he again made his opinion clear at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), held recently in Stockholm, Sweden.
"At the 2009 Tour, we really tried to find ways of collaborating with the AFLD, but they blew it on the floor when they shook our positions and our methods by making public a report that should have remained between the UCI and the AFLD," McQuaid told French sports daily L'Équipe.
McQuaid has now called for the relationship to be severed. "We are not prepared to risk endangering all efforts which have been made in cycling in the fight against doping by putting new work in the hands of this agency," he stated.
AFLD chief Pierre Bordry has reacted to McQuaid's comments, illustrating the fact that the AFLD maintained contact with the UCI and no attempts to undermine cycling's governing body were made. "I remind them [the UCI] that the AFLD has not failed to alert them, live during the competition, in July 2009, about the dysfonctional organisation of the controls during the Tour with regard to the World Anti-Doping Code," he stated.
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