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Riders' group repeats opposition to release of 1998 Tour EPO positives

Fans wonder if riders are on EPO or not.

Fans wonder if riders are on EPO or not. (Image credit: AFP Photo)

The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) has said that the French Senate should not release a list of the names of riders who are said to have tested positive for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France. Releasing that information could generate “a serious violation of fundamental rights of the riders,” the group said.

There was no test for EPO in 1998, and the French anti-doping agency conducted retroactive testing on the doping samples in 2004. In August 2005 the head of that agency said that there were 40 positives from the 1998 Tour.

 The French Senate ordered the identification of those riders who tested positive. Last month it was reported that Laurent Jalabert was one of those who was positive for EPO. The full report was originally scheduled to be released yesterday, but the decision as later made to issue it after this year's Tour.

The release of this information “would cause serious and irreparable consequences for the riders whose name is mentioned, in violation of their fundamental rights,” the CPA said in a press release issued Thursday.

The list would not be reliable, the group claimed, as, for example, the tests were performed years ago, and laboratory conditions have changed in the interim. “Under these conditions the results are absolutely not guaranteed and it is impossible to guarantee the absence of errors including the nominative assignment.”

It would also not be accurate, since “only a small number of riders” were tested. The named riders would be condemned, the CPA said, while other riders who were not tested and were doped “would escape”.

Further, the riders would now have no defense. Publication of the names “would have undeniable and irreversible impact on the reputation of the riders complained of, and on their current and future work. And while the against-analysis seem excluded. The publication of a list would be tantamount to an accusation of doping without any possibility of defense!”

The CPA said that the French Commission of Inquiry “should not give credence to such a list by making it public in its report, because such publication would bring nothing useful to the quality of its works on the subject of anti-doping, although the CPA fully supports the struggle and all the efforts to fight against this scourge.”

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