On Wednesday, July 24, 2013, a French Senate Commission is set to release a list of riders from the 1998 Tour who tested positive for EPO when the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) re-examined the samples for research purposes in 2004. Marco Pantani won the epic Grenoble-Les Deux Alpes stage of July 27, 1998, a victory from which Pantani went on to win the Tour de France that year. Pantani also won the Giro d'Italia in 1998 and is the last rider to win the Tour and Giro in the same year.
The following statement has been issued by the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA); Gianni Bugno is Chairman.
CPA statement of July 18, 2013
The CPA expresses its concern over the publication of a "list" of names of riders of the Tour de France in 1998 allegedly tested positive for EPO, due to a serious violation of fundamental rights of the riders that this publication may generate.
The CPA was informed by the press that the Commission of Inquiry of the French Senate on the effectiveness of the fight against doping planned to annex to his report a list of riders
who have been detected positive for EPO on samples from the 1998 Tour de France. The CPA wrote last week by its lawyers to the Commission to express its profound concern
for this publication because it would cause serious and irreparable consequences for the riders whose name is mentioned, in violation of their fundamental rights.
Indeed, such a list is not reliable : the tests were performed since many years, on condition of anonymity, for purely scientific purpose and not for anti-doping control; the conditions under which the tests were realized are different from those applied for an anti-doping control, as the laboratory that performed thee tests recognized. Under these conditions the results are absolutely not guarantee d and it is impossible to guarantee the absence of errors including the nominative assignment.
In addition, such a list is not accurate : the tests of that time involved only a small number of riders of the 1998 Tour de France. Under these conditions, in addition to possibly incriminate riders not doped, the list "could whiten" others who might have doped. Such a publication would be doubly unfair, unfairly condemning some riders while others would escape.
Finally, the publication is itself a penalty without any right of defense. It would have undeniable and irreversible impact on the reputation of the riders complained of, and on their current and future work. And while the against-analysis seem excluded. The publication of a list would be tantamount to an accusation of doping without any possibility of defense!
The CPA had asked to be interviewed prior to any decision of the Commission . The CPA note that the Commission of Inquiry met before yesterday to approve the report that will be made public next week. The CPA continues to assert that the Commission of Inquiry should not give credence to such a list by making it public in its report because such publication would bring nothing useful to the quality of its works on the subject of anti-doping, although the CPA fully supports the struggle and all the efforts to fight against this scourge.
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