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AFLD and CADF say samples from top 5 riders on GC being kept as they report on this year's race...

Blood samples from the top five riders on general classification in the Tour de France are being stored for up to 10 years so they can be retrospectively tested if required.

Confirmation that the samples from this year’s winner Chris Froome and his nearest rivals will be kept for a decade came in a report on anti-doping controls at this year’s race.

It was compiled by France’s national anti-doping agency, the Agence Française de Lutte contre le Dopage (AFLD), and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) established by the UCI.

A total of 656 anti-doping controls were carried out at this year’s race – an average of around 30 a day.

Of those, 482 were blood tests that were examined under the UCI’s Athlete Biological Passport programme and for specific anti-doping analysis, while 174 were urine tests.

Just one adverse analytical finding was returned during the race – the Katusha rider, Luca Paolini, who was thrown off the Tour after Stage 7 following a positive test for cocaine.

CADF director Dr Francesca Rossi, said: “A total of 656 controls were carried out during  the 2015 Tour de France.

“In addition, we strengthened our strategy of targeted controls thanks to the use of information provided by numerous  sources and to the support of an intelligence coordinator.

“Once again, the collaboration with the French Anti-Doping Agency (was excellent and the targeted control strategy was discussed daily taking into account the performance of riders and other data.”

AFLD president Bruno Genevois commented: “All samples collected on the 2015 Tour de France were analysed in France, at the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory, which is accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and which uses all the latest detection methods.”

In the past, the relationship between the UCI and the AFLD has often been a strained one, but it has improved since Brian Cookson became the governing body’s president in 2013.

He said: “I would like to highlight once again the excellent climate in which all the stakeholders involved in the fight against doping work together on a daily basis for the benefit of our sport.

“In particular, I would like to congratulate the AFLD and the CADF for their collaboration on this 2015 Tour de France.

“Thanks to the sharing of information between all anti-doping actors and a strategy focused on even more targeted controls, we can be confident of the robustness of our programme,” he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.