Posted by Editor on 03/6/09
The UCI President, Mr Pat McQuaid, today [March 6th] met media representatives at a press conference held in Paris two days before the start of the Paris-Nice, the first European event of the UCI World Calendar.
Mr Pierre Bordry, President of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) and Mr David Lappartient, President of the French Cycling Federation (FFC), also took part in the meeting together with several team representatives.
The UCI President firstly expressed his delight at the success of the early-season races. Events including the Tour Down Under and the Tour of California had attracted large crowds (750,000 spectators for the Australian event and 2 million in California). The result was that cycling benefited from extensive media coverage that was unprecedented for the months of January and February.
Mr McQuaid then announced that the UCI had reached an agreement with AFLD to collaborate on anti-doping controls during the Paris-Nice. This agreement represents a clear step forwards towards a similar cooperation for the Tour de France.
The AFLD President expressed his satisfaction: "With this agreement, Pat McQuaid and the UCI have made a commitment to us that will ensure an effective and determined campaign against doping. The agreement will mean significant progress for the campaign, in particular by means of improved targeting."
Pierre Bordry expressed his agreement with David Howman, Director-General of the World Anti-Doping Agency, in recognising the efforts that cycling has made in the battle against doping: "Cyclists have learnt a lot more than others. An anti-doping culture has developed in the sport, and the majority of the riders no longer tolerate doping."
Pat McQuaid says he is optimistic for the future: "I am extremely satisfied with this agreement which constitutes a basis for a very significant collaboration with AFLD for other events such as the Tour de France. After Paris-Nice, we will have a look at the situation again, but there is every reason to believe that this collaboration will continue."
The UCI President then informed the press that by 3 p.m. [European time], 15 of the 20 teams due to start the Paris-Nice had fulfilled all their obligations with regards to the biological passport programme while the Bbox Bouygues Telecom; Cofidis, le crédit en ligne; Caisse d'Epargne; Quick Step and Silence-Lotto teams had not yet paid all the contributions due from them to finance the programme and, if this situation persisted, would not be able to participate in the French event.
Following the announcement, Cofidis and Quick Step paid the required sums to the UCI. The UCI is confident that the other teams will quickly follow suit to allow them to be up to date with their contributions by the time of the start of the Paris-Nice.
In conclusion, Pat McQuaid announced that the UCI, after consideration, had recognised the decision taken by the AFLD to suspend the German rider Stefan Schumacher, who tested positive during last year's Tour to France, for a period of two years on French territory. As a result, Stefan Schumacher is subject to an international suspension from 22 January 2009 until 21 January 2011.
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