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ASO, the owners of the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix among other events, have said that they will remove the latter event from next season’s ProTour unless a fine imposed on them following the running of this year’s race is not withdrawn. ASO have been fined 7,200 euros by the International Cycling Union’s disciplinary commission after three riders went through a closed train level crossing in April’s race. All three riders – Peter van Petegem, Vladmir Gusev and Leif Hoste – were disqualified in the immediate aftermath of the event. The commission also requested that ASO find a new route for the final stages of next year’s race.
“A new final section to Paris-Roubaix that doesn’t include level crossings is impossible, unless we were to make the riders race for more than 300 kilometres, which is unthinkable. If the UCI doesn’t make clear they understand this, we will withdraw Paris-Roubaix from the ProTour.”
– Meanwhile, UCI head man Pat McQuaid has insisted in an interview with Dutch paper De Telegraaf that when he originally went to Spain to request more information about the Puerto blood doping investigation, he was told that the problem affected “200 athletes – 30% of them cyclists, 30% footballers, another 20% tennis players, and the rest of them athletes. But up to this point no other names have come out and the politicians deny that tennis and football are involved even when [the doctor at the centre of the affair] Eufemiano Fuentes says the opposite”.
– In the wake of Frankie Andreu’s admission last week that he used the blood-boosting product EPO when riding for US Postal in 1999, the Discovery Channel team that took over the Postal ‘franchise’ has announced it is going to undertake an internal inquiry into the controversy. The team has said that the inquiry could lead to legal action being taken.
– The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has decided not to ban hypoxic (altitude) tents, which are claimed to allow athletes to boost endurance without travelling to altitude. However, WADA president Dick Pound said investigation of the issue will continue.
“The biggest item for discussion was whether we should put on the list of prohibited methods artificially hypoxic conditions and the consensus – in fact, the overwhelming consensus of our health, medicine and research committees – was that, at this time, it was not appropriate to do so,” Pound told AFP. “It doesn’t mean that we approved it. It simply means that at this stage, knowing what we know, we think that perhaps it is not right to put it on the list.”
Pound stressed that there are some medical concerns about their use which will continue to be investigated. “There may be some potential danger of a medical nature. We think it’s something that is more a concern generally to the health of the athletes. So we asked the International Olympic Committee’s medical commission to consider questions of health affecting athletes.”