Your Montana Public Radio
Wed August 21, 2013
No Positive Tests For Doping At This Year's Tour De France
Hundreds of samples taken from riders in this summer's Tour de France found no signs of doping, officials say. The epic race, which was put on for the hundredth time in 2013, has been at the center of recent doping scandals.
Anti-doping officials say they took 202 blood and urine samples before the race began, and an additional 419 during competition. Nearly 200 of those samples were taken with the goal of creating a "biological passport" for riders, to establish a baseline of their body chemistry.
Of the blood samples taken during the race, Velo Nation reports, 18 tests "were for human growth hormone analysis, two were for blood transfusions and 22 were ESA (erythropoiesis-stimulating agent) tests."
The announcement was made Tuesday by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, an arm of cycling's governing body.
NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports for our Newscast unit:
"Officials from the International Cycling Union say they changed strategy this year by being unpredictable in their testing.
"The news comes as a welcome boost to a sport that has suffered damage to its reputation with Lance Armstrong's admission that he cheated throughout his seven Tour victories.
"And recent testing of samples from the 1998 and 1999 tours showed a number of riders testing positive for the banned blood-booster EPO.
"The winner of this year's tour, Britain's Chris Froome, was subjected to intense press scrutiny and speculation regarding the validity of his at-times phenomenal performances.
"Anti-doping authorities say Froome was tested alot. They also say that just because no doping was discovered, doesn't mean the race was necessarily drug free."
According to news site France 24, anti-doping authorities plan to keep the samples for eight years, possibly to test them again in the future.
The doping scandals of recent years have also brought turmoil to the leadership of cycling's governing body. Pat McQuaid, the UCI president who is seeking reelection, lost the support of Swiss Cycling this week, putting a dent in his hopes to return to office, Cycling News reports.
McQuaid's home federation, Cycling Ireland, has already voted not to nominate him for a new term.