PARIS, Feb 28, 2013 (AFP) – The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) on
Thursday gave the green light to working with cycling’s governing body, the
UCI, during the Tour de France.
The AFLD will not, however, take part in doping tests taken during the
Paris-Nice race which starts on Sunday. Those tests will be adminstered by the
Thursday’s statement by the AFLD marks an apparent easing in the
often-testy relations between the agency and the International Cycling Union
The AFLD was officially sidelined from working at any UCI-affiliated races
in France in 2010 after accusing the UCI a year previously of favouritism
towards some teams.
It was claimed, notably, that the Astana team of two-time champion Alberto
Contador — with whom the now-disgraced Lance Armstrong raced in 2009 — kept
UCI doping inspectors waiting for nearly an hour as samples were sought.
Despite being France’s national agency, it left the AFLD virtually
outlawed. In order to carry out controls on riders at the 2010 Tour, for
example, the AFLD had to make special requests to the World Anti-Doping Agency
But on Thursday, the AFLD said “new elements” could allow it to “carry out
tests in other international cycling competitions, in particular the Tour de
It said that should it have access to information on the whereabouts of
riders, results of their biological profiles and were able to conduct random
controls for the duration of a competition on riders jointly agreed upon with
UCI, then the two bodies could work together.
The UCI said it was happy with the AFLD’s statement.
“The UCI notes with great satisfaction the AFLD’s desire to relaunch talks
for the upcoming races,” a UCI spokesman told AFP, stressing that the goal was
to “find the best solution to safeguard the quality and different balances in
the anti-doping fight”.
But it qualified that satisfaction by expressing “regret” at the idea of
having to share biological passport information and riders’ whereabouts, in
line with WADA’s stance on data protection rules.