No failed tests… yet, but some sickly Tour teams had drugs for high blood pressure and diabetes

And AFLD repeats claim that Astana were given favourable treatment over doping controls

by Tony Farrelly   October 7, 2009  


Today saw round 3 in the war of words between the French Anti Doping Agency (AFLD) and the cycle sport's governing body, the UCI.  At an eagerly anticipated press conference today the AFLD announced that while there had been no positive tests so far from the samples taken at this year's Tour de France the organisation had seized suspicious substances, and AFLD boss Pierre Bordry repeated his criticism of the UCI's approach to testing and of its supposedly favourable treatment of the Astana team.

According to the AFLD the drugs seized at the Tour, while not performance enhancing themselves, were known to be used as part of organised doping regimes.

"We know well the methods that can be used to do that,"  AFLD doctor, Michel Rieu, told reports adding that "Drugs against high blood pressure or diabetes are incongruous when dealing with people supposedly in good health".

Speaking to Le Monde on Monday, Monsieur Bordry had said he was convinced that riders had been using two new drugs at this year's Tour, Hematide – a third generation EPO product, and Aicur which works on muscular tissue to promote the burning of fat. Bordry told Le Monde that he was concerned at how thin some of this year's Tour riders were.

No test currently exists for either Hematide or Aicur, so it is possibly unsurprising that no positives were found – however the AFLD are working on developing tests and will continue to test samples retrospectively as it is still doing with samples from the 2008 Tour.

The other main themes of the press conference were the AFLD's continued assertion that the UCI favoured Astana, and so didn't conform to doping regulation, in the way it implemented its own testing procedures although AFLD testing director Jean-Pierre Verdy was careful to point out that this did not mean that Astana were necessarily doing anything wrong.

What concerned the AFLD was that when it came to Astana there was often a long delay between notification of a test and the actual test itself which according to Dr Lieu gave riders the opportunity to get ride of any incriminating evidence.

Round 4 in what promises to be a long running saga will no doubt be along shortly with an inevitable angry response from the UCI.

4 user comments

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It is not very scientific to speculate in public that some cyclists were using Aicur because he thought they were looking very thin. Cyclists are known to have the lowest percentage body fat of any athlete, and he was observing cyclists in the world's most demanding race!

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1449 posts]
7th October 2009 - 17:58


Maybe, but my view is that if he says some of them were using Aicur they probably were - I don't think they'd waste money developing a test if they didn't think they were going to catch a few people.

And don't forget this year's Tour was not the first time he's seen skinny cyclists - the AFLD has been involved in dope testing for years.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
7th October 2009 - 18:03


A blood and urine test for Aicar has already been developed. Last 2 paragraphs.

demoff's picture

posted by demoff [344 posts]
7th October 2009 - 18:33


Sounds like nearly but not quite, last para near the end…

'While the test is very reliable in mice, Evans says that further analyses are needed to ensure that it is accurate in humans. Evans, HHMI and the World Anti-Doping Agency are now working to certify the detection system and make it available in time to retroactively test athletes who compete in the 2008 Olympics."

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
7th October 2009 - 20:35

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