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UCI at odds with French agency over Paris-Nice controls

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Pierre Bordry, President of the Châtenay-Malabry anti-doping laboratory (LNDD)

Pierre Bordry, President of the Châtenay-Malabry anti-doping laboratory (LNDD) (Image credit: AFP)
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UCI President Pat McQuaid at the Tour Down Under

UCI President Pat McQuaid at the Tour Down Under (Image credit: Sirotti)

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has firmly refused a proposal by French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) president Pierre Bordry for additional controls in the next edition of Paris-Nice from March 7 to 14.

The UCI will provide "a perfectly adequate control program with 95 checks, including unannounced controls," said UCI president Pat McQuaid in a letter to Bordry, according to the AFP. "I see no deficiencies that would necessitate 15 additional controls. "

The two agencies have been in conflict over who should perform doping controls on French soil. The AFLD took over from the UCI during the 2008 Paris-Nice and Tour de France, and uncovered the use of a novel EPO drug, CERA, with a newly developed test.

Yet McQuaid was able to re-assert the UCI's domain over testing after he brokered a peace agreement with the race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation's parent company, Éditions Philippe Amaury, at the end of 2008. He isn't ready to give any quarter to the AFLD, which has been highly critical of the UCI's efforts.

McQuaid questioned Bordry's desire to perform 15 more controls at an event that already has 95 checks, and said perhaps the agency would be better served focusing on controls at national races in France and on out-of-competition testing, "even if they are less visible and profitable in terms of media exposure".

Questioning the use of French taxpayer money to fund the proposed additional Paris-Nice controls in light of the agency's recent budgetary problems, McQuaid compared the efficiency of the AFLD, giving as an example the pre-Tour de France controls performed by each agency last year. "While the UCI did 190 out of competition controls, AFLD did only 13, of which six were French riders it controlled throughout the year."

The UCI president was critical of the AFLD for its accusations of biased conduct by UCI controllers toward the Astana team as well as voicing those accusations to the press before addressing them with the UCI, and "public announcement of suspicion without verifying the facts".

McQuaid ran down a laundry list of flaws in the AFLD's control procedures before concluding that the UCI would accept the input of information from the AFLD. "If the AFLD has information justifying the control of a particular rider, simply notify Dr. Zorzoli (the UCI's physician in charge). Please note that during Paris-Nice 2009 and during the Tour de France 2009, the UCI has controlled all riders suggested by the AFLD. "

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