Cycle sport’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), and the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) have agreed to collaborate over anti-doping procedures at this year’s Tour de France (July 2-24 2011).
The two organisations fell out over Tour dope testing at the 2009 event when AFLD claimed that the UCI anti-doping inspectors had not followed correct procedures. AFLD claimed that the UCI gave preferential treatment to Astana riders, giving them more notice of dope controls than other teams. The UCI denied the allegations.
In 2010, the UCI carried out dope testing at the Tour de France without AFLD. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) inspectors followed the UCI testers during the 2010 Tour and produced an independent report. Part of the report recommended that the UCI patch up its differences with AFLD and present a unified front against doping at the race.
Both the AFLD and UCI will field two teams of three anti-doping inspectors each day, comprised of staff from each organisation. One team will take samples at the stage finish and the other will concentrate on ‘on-the-spot’ tests.
According to the UCI, all 198 riders in the 2011 Tour de France will have blood samples taken on the Thursday before the race starts. The data from the samples will be added to each rider’s biological passport, and will therefore form part of a long-term reference for riders’ blood and urine values.
These pre-Tour samples will be analysed at the Laussanne laboratory in Switzerland, with in-race samples being analysed at the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory in France.
A minimum of 150 urine and 50 blood samples will be taken during the event in addition to further biological passport tests.
The UCI has also announced that it will introduce a rule from July 1 2011 preventing riders who are found guilty of violating anti-doping regulations from subsequently working on the staff of a cycling team.
The UCI and AFLD anti-doping teams have already worked together at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné and Paris-Nice.