Cycling: Tour de France riders tested for doping
PARIS — France's anti-doping agency has already conducted tests on 30 Tour de France cyclists, and plans more targeted checks before the race starts next month.
The tests were not carried out at random, as cyclists "were targeted based on information from federations, teams or newspapers," Pierre Bordry, head of the French Anti-Doping Agency, said Wednesday.
Jean-Pierre Verdy, the agency's director of testing, said another 20 to 30 riders will be checked before the Tour starts July 5.
"Some cyclists have been targeted several times, and some also had a blood test," he said, adding that results will be available before the race starts.
The Tour de France, which runs through July 27, has been hit with a series of drug scandals in the past two years.
The 2006 winner, Floyd Landis, was stripped of the title for failing a doping test. Last year, race leader Michael Rasmussen was sent home for skipping drug tests before the event, and Alexander Vinokourov, a prerace favorite, tested positive for a blood transfusion.
This year, tests for human growth hormone will take place for the first time.
French officials have also promised more surprises when it comes to testing.
For example, sports directors in the past were given an hour's notice when one of their cyclists was to face a post-stage doping test. This time cyclists will be given no warning and will be guided to the testing room by eight escorts.