UCI Defends Testing Procedures, Says Astana not Favored

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10/7/2009| 0 comments
by Reuters

UCI Defends Testing Procedures, Says Astana not Favored

Alberto Contador's Astana team has been accused of receiving preferential treatment during July's Tour de France.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has defended testing procedures after the French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) said the Astana team of Tour champion Alberto Contador was given preferential treatment during the race.

“The UCI considers the accusations of the AFLD to be completely groundless and even very serious,” the sport’s governing body said in a statement on Monday.

“Following doubts already expressed by the AFLD, the UCI had launched an investigation on the treatment granted to Astana and had concluded that this team had not been favored,” the UCI said.

The ALFD report, published in part by French daily Le Monde on Monday, alleged Astana, which also had seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong in its ranks for the race, “were always the last to be tested in the morning, there were delays in presenting themselves to the tester.”

AFLD president Pierre Bordry, who leveled similar criticisms against the UCI during the Tour, is due to hold a news conference on Wednesday.

Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens told Reuters: “The Astana team have always done what they were asked by testers. If AFLD have any questions on their working methods, they’d better contact them.”

The UCI and the AFLD had agreed to work together on the Tour de France, but the sport’s governing body is considering another option for next year’s race.

“The UCI is now considering to collaborate with a neutral partner on French ground. Such an option has already been implemented by other international federations,” the UCI statement said.

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