Cycling: Pereiro insists he did not cheat

19th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 18, 2007 (AFP) - Spanish cyclist Oscar Pereiro tested positive for the banned substance salbutamol during the 2006 Tour de France where he finished runner-up, French newspaper Le Monde claimed on its website edition on Thursday.

PARIS, Jan 18, 2007 (AFP) - Spanish cyclist Oscar Pereiro tested positive for the banned substance salbutamol during the 2006 Tour de France where he finished runner-up, French newspaper Le Monde claimed on its website edition on Thursday.

Salbutamol, which is a substance often prescribed for asthma sufferers, was discovered in Pereiro's urine sample after the 14th and 16th stages.

American rider Floyd Landis, who won the race, also failed a drugs test in the race when he tested positive for high levels of testosterone.  Pereiro insisted that he is not a cheat.

"I used Ventoline (a medicine used to treat asthma which contains salbutamol) because the UCI (International Cycling Union) allowed me to do so," Pereira told Radio Cadena Ser in Spain.

He added that he would send the relevant documents, which he said will prove his innocence, to French anti-doping authorities on Friday.

According to Le Monde, the two dope tests failed by Pereiro took place on July 17 after the 14th stage from Montelimar to Gap and on July 19 in the aftermath of the 16th stage from Bourg-d'Oisans to La Toussuire.

Le Monde claim in their report that the UCI had allowed Pereiro to use salbutamol as a medicine under the therapeutic use exemptions scheme.

However, the French anti-doping body (AFLD) claim that the Caisse d'Epargne rider didn't have the relevant forms.

Le Monde reported that, since August, the AFLD had contacted the Spaniard three times in order to gain the relevant proof that he suffered from an illness that "required the use of salbutamol".

By Thursday, the body was still waiting for a response.

The French authorities were also, the newspaper claimed, waiting in vain for the UCI to show them the documents that would prove they had authorised Pereiro's use of the substance.

As for the UCI, cycling's governing body say as far as they are concerned, there is no case for Pereiro to answer.

"I believe that Le Monde has made a big mistake...I hope everything will be solved," added Pereiro. Caisse d'Epargne said on Thursday that Pereiro was not a cheat.

"Oscar received two letters from the AFLD in October and November," said Francis Lafargue, the team's spokesman.

"He had the documents but he forgot to respond to the agency, it is carelessness," said Lafargue who added: "the AFLD will receive before the end of the week all the documents required."  

The AFLD will meet again on Thursday, January 25, to discuss their next step.

"If the cyclist has not sent the information required by the AFLD or if they are not convinced by its experts, then Pierre Bordry (AFLD president) will open a disciplinary procedure," added the Le Monde report.

The authority of the AFLD is limited to French soil only but Pereiro will risk not taking part in the 2007 Tour de France and could be stripped of second place in the 2006 race.

The newspaper added that "six other riders tested positive in the 2006 Tour". They had medical dispensation to use banned substances, but those authorisations will also be examined at next Thursday's meeting.

Meanwhile, race winner Landis, who could be stripped of the Tour de France title after testing positive for high levels of testosterone, is appealing the result.

He has claimed that inconsistencies by the French laboratory which analysed his samples led to his positive result.

If found guilty, Landis would be the first rider in the modern era to be stripped of the triumph.

The American has been called to appear before the French anti-doping agency on February 8.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

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