Tour de France

ICU wouldn't mind some cheats

2011-07-18 22:28
Pat McQuaid (File)

Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux - A positive doping test or two at the Tour de France wouldn't necessarily be a "bad thing" - as it would suggest the battle against cheats is working, the head of cycling's governing body said on Monday.

International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid said if cycling's premier race went two years without a positive test, then "you'd probably say there must be something going wrong here."

He spoke  on the Tour's second rest day - before riders set off toward the Alps and the Paris finish on Sunday.

The Tour, which just a few years ago was plagued by numerous doping cases and suspicions of cheating, has had just one positive test in this edition.

Alexandr Kolobnev dropped out of the Tour last week after the UCI said a urine sample collected from the Russian rider on the day of Stage 5 tested positive for Hydrochlorothiazide - a banned diuretic that can also be used as a masking agent.

McQuaid said the fact that unheralded Thomas Voeckler of France is leading the Tour - with several riders close behind - suggested the sport is becoming cleaner, but he doubts cheating will ever be totally eradicated.

"I don't think it's ever possible, not just in cycling but in any sport, that you're going to get no cheaters," McQuaid said, adding that an isolated positive test isn't a cause for panic.

"It's not a bad thing, it shows that the system's working, it shows that you're catching people, and it shows that if a rider does take a product that is an illegal product that it can be caught and found in the system," he said.

The UCI, in coordination with France's anti-doping agency, is conducting hundreds of anti-doping tests during the race. Some cyclists have complained about the intense testing regime, though many others accept the controls.

"I read that a rider said yesterday he had had three controls in 24 hours, there's a reason for that," McQuaid told reporters. "The reason is that the UCI continues to look (for cheaters) - and if necessary with two or three checks a day."

Three-time Tour champion Alberto Contador tested positive during last year's Tour for the banned muscle builder clenbuterol. He's been allowed to ride because sport's arbitration body hasn't ruled on his case yet.

Contador is currently seventh overall, 4 minutes behind Voeckler. The Spaniard could be stripped of all his titles back to last July if the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules against him next month.

Also Monday, McQuaid said the UCI is in talks toward a "compromise" with the professional cycling teams' association over its threat to boycott the Tour of Beijing in October if a looming ban next year on race radios isn't overturned.

The Association of Professional Cyclists argues radio communication is needed to improve riders' safety during races. The UCI says it distorts the true nature of the sport.

Read more on:    tdf  |  pat mcquaid
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

 

3 must-do trail runs

If you love trail running, you have to put these on your bucket list.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route

Standings

Vote

What do you enjoy most about the Tour de France?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.