UCI and AFLD reach agreement

Pierre Bordry (R) and Pat McQuaid (AAP)

The International Cycling Union (UCI) and the French Anti-doping Agency(AFLD) have reached an agreement over drug-testing measures.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) and the French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) have reached an agreement over drug-testing measures in the Paris-Nice stage race, which starts on Sunday.

"There was a strong desire on both sides to work together," UCI president Pat McQuaid said.

AFLD president Pierre Bordry, who declared himself "very satisfied" with the agreement, said the drug-testing programme for the Paris-Nice would serve as a test prior to a new collaboration between the two bodies during the 2009 Tour de France.

"After the Paris-Nice, we will re-evaluate the situation, but there is no reason to believe that this collaboration cannot continue," McQuaid said.

Last year, AFLD took sole responsibility for drug-testing at the Tour de France and the Paris-Nice, after a disagreement between UCI and race organisers the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) saw the two races re-classified as national, rather than international, races.

Following a reconciliation between UCI and ASO, AFLD feared being assigned a reduced role, having unveiled seven instances of doping during last year's Tour, including Italian rider Riccardo Ricco's positive test for Cera, a previously unknown strain of the banned blood booster EPO.

According to the agreement signed on Friday, AFLD has retained its role in testing and analysis and has also been granted the power to actively target cyclists which it suspects of doping offences.

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