Catching drug cheats
AACPI wants to institute blood tests in place of urine tests
Posted: Tuesday July 21, 1998 01:45 PM
MILAN, Italy (CNN/SI) -- Following drug allegations surrounding this year's Tour de France and revelations from Festina's team doctor Erik Ryckaert that team manager Bruno Roussel collected money from cyclists to purchase drugs, the Association of Italian Professional Cyclists (ACCPI) wants to eliminate cheating by replacing urine tests with blood tests.
"It is vitally important for everyone in cycling...to realize how indispensable such a step is," ACCPI said, adding it would raise the matter with international cycling bodies and push for the change as soon as possible.
Festina's riders, including Richard Virenque, Alex Zuelle and Laurent Dufaux, were expelled after Festina boss Bruno Roussel admitted making banned drugs available to his riders in a "deliberate management" of doping products.
ACCPI said it was essential that cyclists themselves realized the seriousness of the doping problem.
It saw routine blood testing as the only way to take concrete and immediate action and said drugs companies should also play their part "to make it possible to detect certain substances during testing."
Although blood tests are used in cycling, the association said they were carried out solely on health protection grounds. Urine tests are the standard way of checking for banned drugs.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) introduced blood tests last year to protect riders against the effects of the banned hormone erythropoietin (EPO) which enhances oxygen in the blood.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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