UCI critical of French position on Pereiro
By Andrew Hood
VeloNews European correspondent
This report filed January 22, 2007
The UCI heavily criticized the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) on Monday for alleging that runner-up Oscar Pereiro failed anti-doping controls en route to finishing second overall in the 2006 Tour de France.
The French authorities are in an uproar after Pereiro showed traces of salbutamol on two occasions in the 2006 Tour and insinuated that the Spanish rider wasn't in compliance with anti-doping rules.
On Friday, Pereiro produced the required documentation to demonstrate he's had UCI-sanctioned approval since 2005 to use an asthma medicine that contains traces of the banned substance.
In a letter sent to Pereiro, UCI president Pat McQuaid criticized the French agency but also castigated the Spanish rider for not complying with administrative procedures.
French authorities went public with their claims last week after waiting for months to receive the required exemption while Pereiro claimed it was a "misunderstanding." French authorities are expected to meet this week to review the certifications.
The full text of the UCI's English version of the statement follows:
"On Monday 22 January, the President of the International Cycling Union (UCI), Pat McQuaid, sent a letter to the rider, Oscar Pereiro, from the Spanish team ‘Caisse d'Epargne', in which he deplored the attitude of the French Agency for the Fight against Doping (AFLD).
Having suffered from asthma for the last several years, Oscar Pereiro has authorization (TUA) allowing him to treat this illness by using salbutamol, recognized by the UCI, the AFLD and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
At the 2006 Tour de France, traces of this product were found in his urine. However the result of tests carried during the race cannot be considered as a positive anti-doping control.
Although he had medical justification requested from September 2006 by the AFLD proving that he indeed suffered from asthma brought on by physical exertion, Oscar Pereiro delayed providing it to this organization. This is considered as a failure to respect established administrative procedures.
This serious negligence by the Spanish rider is regrettable and harms the image of cycling as a whole, although he is not guilty of any infringement.
The UCI has asked the AFLD to refrain from publicly implying that a rider is guilty of a doping offence when he has only committed an administrative fault. Such an attitude does not help to support the cycling community, which is fighting more than ever against the phenomenon of doping."