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Tour riders tested

By Gregor Brown in Compiègne, France

The Tour de France's Sporting Safety and Condition Commission bodies carried out blood checks on 53 riders Tuesday morning before the start of State 3. All riders were declared fit to start the stage from Waregem to Compiègne. UCI anti-doping inspector Marc Vandevyvere saw to the testing of six teams - Astana, Predictor-Lotto, Française Des Jeux, Ag2r Prévoyance, Discovery Channel and T-Mobile - between the hours of 7:20 and 8:40.

The blood tests, performed on riders such as Alexander Vinokourov, Robbie McEwen, Philippe Gilbert and George Hincapie, are apart of normal controls that can be carried out by the UCI during a stage race.

According to UCI and WADA codes, these controls are considered 'in race', which can be performed up to three days before the race start or until midnight on the last day of competition. National federations turn the testing over to the cycling union during stage races, however in May's Giro d'Italia the rules were strangely violated when the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) carried out its own controls.

187 riders are set to start Wednesday's Tour stage, the 193 kilometres route from Villers-Cotterêts to Joigny.

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