Anti-dopers keen to hold Tour de France samples

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The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) hopes to have the support of cycling’s governing body to store blood and urine samples from Tour de France riders for eight years.

AFLD head Bruno Genevois said yesterday the budget for dope testing at the 2013 Tour is “at least as much as for last year”. He said Tour organisers have agreed to pay half the costs. In its annual report released yesterday, AFLD said 214 blood and urine samples were collected during the 2012 Tour.

The agency and cycling body UCI have clashed in the past but, in April, they reached an agreement to co-operate over testing on the Tour. Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, samples can be held for eight years. Samples can be retested within that period when new testing methods become available.

Genevois said storage costs money and made it clear that the UCI has the last word about whether the samples should be kept or destroyed. He said: “Legally, it’s a sensitive issue. Those samples are collected at the UCI’s request. The French laboratories keep them but it’s the UCI that has control over them.”

AFLD will test some riders before the start of the Tour, which runs from 29 June to 21 July.

Luxembourg’s Frank Schleck left last year’s Tour after testing positive during the race for a diuretic called Xipamide. He was suspended for a year and will miss the 2013 event.