AURILLAC, France, July 12, 2011 (AFP) – Tour de France director Christian
Prudhomme applauded the race’s anti-doping efforts Tuesday hours after Russian
cyclist Alexandr Kolobnev quit the race in disgrace.
Kolobnev became the first rider to be forced out of the July 2-24 event
after an ‘A’ sample from the Katusha rider tested positive for a banned
A statement from cycling’s governing body, the UCI (International Cycling
Union), announced that a urine sample taken from Kolobnev in-race on July 6,
had tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic.
The anti-doping fight has been theoretcially boosted by closer
collaboration between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and France’s
National Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) this year.
Without elaborating further, Prudhomme applauded their combined efforts.
“Cycling is fighting back. I’m delighted to see the true collaboration
betweeen the UCI and the AFLD (French National Anti-Doping Agency),” said
Prudhomme prior to the race’s 10th stage.
“Fighting against doping is extremely complicated but it is much easier
when it is done together.
“And here is a good example of the anti-doping authorities working
together. The UCI and the AFLD are working hand in hand.”
The UCI, confirming the rider’s positive test, issued a statement
reporting: “The UCI has informed the Russian rider Alexandr Kolobnev of an
abnormal finding (presence of hydrochlorothiazide according to a report
submitted by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry) from a urine
sample taken during the Tour de France on July 6, 2011.
“Mr. Kolobnev has the right to request analysis of a B sample and to be
present during the process.”
Under UCI rules Kolobnev could have continued to race because the banned
diuretic is classed as a “specific substance” by the UCI.
But Katusha, in a bid to save the Tour and the team from further
controversy, said late on Monday’s rest day that Kolobnev would not continue.
And they warned he would be sacked and faced a substantial financial
penalty if the B sample was also positive.
“Team Katusha rider Alexandr Kolobnev, after testing positive for a
diuretic at a medical examination during the Tour de Frances first week,
decided to suspend himself according to UCI rules, waiting for the B-sample,”
said Katusha’s statement.
“At the moment, team management and the rider have no further comment. It
has to be noticed that internal rules in Team Katusha say that the rider, if
the B-sample also tests positive, will be fired and will have to pay five
times his salary as a fine.”
A diuretic, hydrochlorothiazide is listed as a banned substance because it
can also be used to mask other drugs.
The 30-year-old Kolobnev, a silver medal winner at the 2009 world road
championships, was placed 69th in the overall Tour de France standings, 22min
15sec behind yellow jersey leader Thomas Voeckler.
Kolobnev, a multi national champion, is also a respected one-day classics
rider who finished fourth in the Olympic road race at the 2008 Beijing Games.
He has also finished on the podium of several hilly classics, finishing
third in the Tour de Lombardy in 2009, sixth at the Amstel Gold Race the same
year and runner-up at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2010.