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The Cycling Anti Doping Foundation (CADF), which manages the anti-doping programme of the UCI, has announced that there were no positive tests in this year’s Tour de France.
The Swiss-based organisation has said that a total of 719 blood and urine controls were carried out on riders, and that none had been red-flagged.
CADF Director Francesca Rossi explained that a total of 522 samples were carried out during the Tour, with the other 197 conducted prior to the start of the race. The latter were for biological passport purposes and, of the 522 in-race controls, an additional 320 were used for the passport.
“Our strategy of targeted testing was reinforced this year following information received from numerous different sources,” said Rossi.
“Once again the collaboration with the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) was excellent. The anti- doping target testing strategy was discussed daily, taking into account the performances of the riders and other data. We also had a valuable contribution from UK Anti-Doping before the start and during all stages in England.”
According to the CADF, each of the samples at the Tour were analysed for Erytropoyesis Stimulating Agents (ESA). These include EPO and other substances which bring about an increase in the number of red blood cells in the body.
A certain number of other samples were analysed using isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS), which can detect the abuse of testosterone and its precursors.
Two WADA-accredited laboratories were used for testing; prior to the race the laboratory in Lausanne was used for analysis and this also acted as a back-up during the Tour. The in-race samples were analysed at the laboratory of Cha?tenay-Malabry in Paris.
Importantly, the UCI, the CADF and the AFLD will store the samples in order to be able to potentially run retrospective analysis in the future. This would enable newly-developed tests to be used, thus increasing the likelihood of catching out anyone using any products or methods which might currently sidestep detection.
According to Dr. Rossi, a new step was introduced at this year’s Tour; for the first time, a second large-scale and unannounced round of tests were done during the Carcassonne rest day. This was along the same lines as the pre-race testing, and was done with the support of the AFLD.
UCI President Brian Cookson thanked the various anti-doping agencies involved for their collaboration. He described such pooling of resources and efforts as being absolutely essential.
“Thanks to a sharing of information, the effectiveness of the testing distribution and therefore the overall anti-doping programme is improved, with the stakeholders sharing their knowledge, their know-how and the information they have available,” he explained. “In addition, it increases the programme’s transparency while obviously respecting the confidentiality regulations in force.”
UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Andy Parkinson added that his organisation shared information and expertise prior to the start of the race, which began in Britain.
The overall total of 719 tests is an increase over the 622 samples collected and analysed during the 2013 event.