Cycling and doping bodies announce Tour deal

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(AFP) – The International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Monday that it has agreed to cooperate fully with the French anti-doping body at this year’s Tour de France.

The two bodies had been at loggerheads since March’s Paris-Nice race but have now found common ground ahead of the sport’s glamour event.

“The UCI and the independent Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) have announced a continuation of their partnership with the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) to conduct anti-doping tests at the major races held in France in 2013,” said the UCI statement.

“The CADF and AFLD will combine resources and expertise to organise and provide anti-doping tests, including for the Criterium du Dauphine in June and the Tour de France in July.”

The agreement marks a victory for the AFLD which had been fighting for total collaboration from the UCI since tensions arose during Paris-Nice.

The agreement covers the centenary Tour, which runs from June 29 to July 21, as well as all other races taking place in France.

“The UCI is determined to ensure that cycling is a clean sport. As such, we are extremely happy to be partnering with the AFLD,” said UCI president Pat McQuaid.

“Together, we will ensure that today’s young riders in the peloton are not tarnished by issues that took place years in the past.

“Cycling has a bright future and those who will define that future can be found among the current generation of riders who have chosen to prove that you can compete and win clean.”

The agreement means AFLD will have complete access to riders’ biological passports and their locations.

AFLD will also have the freedom to conduct unannounced tests.

French Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron, who was heavily involved in the case, said in a statement to AFP that she was “delighted with this agreement”.

“This is great news for the sport and great news for the Tour de France,” she added. “This marks the first tangible progress in the fight against doping in cycling since the (Lance) Armstrong affair exploded.”

In January, after years of denials, disgraced US rider Armstrong finally admitted to having doped throughout his career, in which he had won the Tour seven times before being stripped of those victories.

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