Velonews reports strike four, a positive for Dmitry Fofonov (19th in the GC) of Credit-Agricole for a stimulant. CyclingNews says it is for heptaminol, on a test after Stage 18.
There have been no EPO busts since Ricco, and no reported results for Piepoli at all. With four positives, 2008 is now "dirtier" than 2007 and 2006. Because the FFC/AFLD are running things this year, it is being called "progress", while last year under the UCI was a disaster...
As another Tour de France nears its conclusion this morning the CyclingNews shares Pierre Bordry's declaration the this year's event was a success, at least from the viewpoint of the AFLD. One if his only regrets is that the UCI refused to cooperate more with his agency. Bordry thinks targeted testing was the key to this year's mere smattering of doping violations:
"For us to target some riders we used a mix of their results, our own information and what we seen on the race itself," he told the Associated Press. "The chief of the doping controls spent the entire month of July watching the Tour on television."
The agency will have performed 250 doping controls during the race on top of the pre-race tests. "It's more than what the UCI usually do," Bordry said. But, he said, the targeted testing could have been more effective had the UCI shared its data from the biological passport program.
We do not understand the logic. Four compared to three positives on more tests doesn't look like spectacularly effective targeting compared to the previous year.
ESPN/Bonnie Ford writes a wrapup, including:
So why do things feel different? Should they? The anti-doping programs undertaken by Garmin, Columbia and CSC provide some assurance that teams are trying to turn things around, but then again, customs officials last week theatrically stopped and searched a car on the race course that was driven by the father of CSC's fraternal one-two punch of Andy and Frank Schleck. The authorities found nothing, but the action couldn't help but foster unease.
Perhaps that was the point. The French cycling federation wrestled control of the race from the international governing body and put national anti-doping officials in charge of testing. Under the new regime, speculation about who is suspect has become open debate as some of the same riders had their numbers pulled for testing day after day. Obstinate denial about the sport's dirty secrets has gradually evolved into a kick-butt-and-post-names approach that could unfairly smear some riders. That might be the price the sport has to pay at this point.
ESPN/AP says IOC president Jacques Rogge is expecting that the number of dopers caught during this Olympiad will increase due to more testing and better urinalysis.
Racejunkie congratulates "King Carlos of Spain", and gives Bijarne Riis an aptly amusing nickname. RJ also thinks the "God of Thunder" will rule today.