June 29, 2004
More on doping blood tests
The UCI's head doctor, Mario Zorzoli, believes the Tour's blood tests will mark their first use in a sporting event.
Zarzoli said the tests should be able to detect synthetic hemoglobin and transfusions. He said tests for human growth hormone haven't been approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency, but that organizers might freeze competitors' blood and test it once an effective test is available.
Are riders everywhere panicking over what may happen come Saturday?
"In principle, the teams should be prepared for this," he said. "We warned them at the start of the season that we intended to start blood testing at races. Then, in the communiqué about anti-doping procedures that we send out before every major tour, we informed them of the likelihood of the blood tests at the Tour. That was about ten days ago.
Synthetic hemoglobin and transfusions were two procedures described by former Kelme rider Jesus Manzano in his series with the Spanish sports newspaper AS. He also claimed riders used Actovegin, steroids, and EPO.
Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc told L'Equipe he is prepared for police raids during the 2004 Tour. He said he hopes any intervention will be "done with the most possible respect for athlete in the midst of three weeks of difficult competition."
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