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Re-testing not the priority for McQuaid

Pat McQuaid agrees with longer bans

Pat McQuaid agrees with longer bans (Image credit: Sirotti)

After declaring his support for four-year bans for riders found guilty of doping infractions last week, UCI president Pat McQuaid has stated that he opposes re-testing further samples to check for CERA.

In the wake of the scandals surrounding Stefan Schumacher, Leonardo Piepoli, Riccardo Ricco and Bernard Kohl, it was proposed that samples from last year's Tour de France could be re-tested for the presence of this new-generation of the famed blood booster, EPO.

The Irishman told AP that "From the UCI's point of view, we prefer to look forward rather than look backward. To randomly say 'OK, let's take all the samples from 2007 from the Tour de France and put them all through testing processes'... it's futile, it's expensive and it's not going to serve the purpose in the anti-doping fight of today."

All testing at the 2007 Tour de France was conducted by the UCI, and after the events surrounding the feud between that organisation and Tour organisers ASO, the French anti-doping authority (AFLD) was responsible for controls throughout the '08 Tour.

The AFLD has said it is willing to re-test samples from the 2007 Tour and this year's Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, although McQuaid said that could pose more problems than it solves.

"If we're going to start rejigging the podium of every major international race over the past two or three years, by finding new tests for new products, and going back to the organiser and saying 'you've got to rejig your podium'... it makes a complete mockery of sport. You need very good information in order to do that in the first place.

"I couldn't give you an answer as to where the 2007 samples are, nor whether they are adequate for the testing," added McQuaid. "The Giro was over four or five months [ago]. I don't know whether the samples are still [valid], whether they've degraded to an extent."

McQuaid also explained that, "It's very difficult to detect CERA in urine samples. I don't know about the blood samples, what the situation is there. As I say, I prefer that we move forward, rather than move backward."