Other Sports Should Order Independent Reports, Says Tour De France Boss

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has urged other international federations to “clean” and investigate their sport.

Ahead of the start of the last stage of Paris-Nice, Prudhomme said on Sunday that cycling had been at the forefront of the fight against doping after being haunted by many doping scandals. Prudhomme made these remarks after the International Cycling Union (UCI), the world governing body of cycling, published an independent report into the dirty past of cycling.

The Tour de France director was quick to welcome publication of the Independent Reform Commission’s (CIRC’s) report. Prudhomme remarked the CIRC report suggests that cycling, which became the sport that first implemented the biological passport in 2008, had shown great strength to deal with doping issues. Prudhomme added the report was ordered by the UCI and it exists because the management of the UCI wanted it, which shows that there have been improvements in a world that is not perfect but the fight against doping is a permanent fight. Prudhomme explained we are on the right track but we must not be complacent.

Prudhomme went on to remark that cycling was and is not the only sport that is hit with doping problems. He remarked cycling cannot be singled out and you cannot just put it in a corner and added that he thinks we all dream that all the international federations order an independent report to look into what’s going on in their patch. The director of the prestigious Tour de France event went on to say that the report by CIRC demonstrated that doping had not been entirely eradicated and was less prevalent with some riders still abusing corticoids and using micro-dosing to avoid detection.

The CIRC report is not exhaustive in nature. It has its share of shortcomings as the report drew conclusions with less than 6% of the interviewees being current professional riders. Prudhomme said he sees that many people from the UCI have been interviewed, which is logical because it was the primary goal of the report, but it would not have been shocking to see more professional riders being interviewed.

The UCI was quick to unveil a series of anti-doping recommendations after the CIRC report went public. The world governing body of cycling now wants night-time access to riders and “more robust” re-testing of their stored samples. The UCI will ask more of its independent anti-doping unit (CADF) and may recruit an intelligence manager to work with customs and law enforcement agencies. In addition to these recommendations, the UCI also plans to create a fit-and-proper test for team directors and doctors, re-launched whistleblower hotline, and faster prosecutions of biological passport cases.

Prudhomme applauded the recommendations and said there are already a lot of measures — just look at what cycling is doing compared with other sports. He added but the co-operation with the pharmaceutical industry is, I think, a great leap forward, which will bring quick results.

Prudhomme also said he is hopeful for a quick resolution of the Team Astana issue and remarked we all know that it can drag along. The Kazakh-funded outfit would lose their automatic Tour spot if the UCI License Commission accepts the request of the UCI and that would mean Vincenzo Nibali, the Tour de France 2014 winner, may lose out on starting the world’s greatest cycling race on July 4.

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