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June 28, 2004

Leblanc: New doping controls

The Globe and Mail | Tour de France director says dopers will be caught

Jean-Marie Leblanc discussed the spate of doping scandals with the AP Monday, and said the UCI will add blood tests to the previous testing mix.

Last year, organizers used urine tests for banned substances, drawing blood only for hematocrit levels, which are treated as evidence but not proof of doping. This year, riders' blood will be tested for banned substances, as well.

"What do sporting authorities, research labs, sports ministers do? Every year, they are able to do a little more in the anti-doping fight," Leblanc said.

Leblanc said he doesn't know whether Lance Armstrong is clean, but that he knows why authors write critical stories and books:

"I have my doubts about human nature," Leblanc said. "Jealousy toward others is everywhere."

Update: Procycling.com has more details on the new blood tests.

If put into force, the new tests could effectively sound the death knell for products such as synthetic haemoglobin and human growth hormone, and also catch out riders practising blood transfusions. In all three cases the move would mark the fruition of years of research. The development of a test for human growth hormone alone has taken almost a decade and has cost several millions of dollars. As recently as two weeks ago, WADA-sponsored research scientists at the University of Southampton told procycling that they were "pessimistic" about a test for the banned hormone being approved in time for the Athens Olympics in August.

Procycling quotes Leblanc that "taking the blood sample is a very long process. Well, on the morning of the stage or the evening after it, and taking into account the capacity of the laboratories, we are trying to find a way to work in harmony with the various authorities."

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2004 in Doping, Top Stories, Tour news | Permalink

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