Tour chief hesitant on national team formula

29th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 29, 2007 (AFP) - A return to the formula of national teams could be the way forward for the Tour de France, according to Patrice Clerc, the president of the race's parent company ASO (Amaury Sports Organisation).

PARIS, July 29, 2007 (AFP) - A return to the formula of national teams could be the way forward for the Tour de France, according to Patrice Clerc, the president of the race's parent company ASO (Amaury Sports Organisation).

However ASO chief Clerc played down the chances of the entire Tour peloton consisting of riders in national team colours, as was the case in one edition in 1968.

Clerc told L'Equipe newspaper, which is also owned by ASO, that he is "seriously considering" the option as one of the measures to help stamp out doping in the race.

This year's 94th edition was on of the most controversial in nearly a decade, with two positive doping cases and a long-running controversy over missed random tests which led to the exclusion of race leader Michael Rasmussen.

"I think that some kind of mixed formula could work. Some of the teams picked for the race could be national teams. It's one of the options we're looking at," Clerc told the sports daily.

Clerc however seemed less enthusiastic about a return to an all-national team line up at the world's biggest bike race.

"We would have to look at it seriously, but I fear that it could fall victim to sneaky deals between riders who might live and train together for most of the year, then find themselves as rivals during the Tour."

Danish climber Michael Rasmussen had won two stages and was wearing the yellow jersey when he he was thrown off the race by his Rabobank team, who then sacked him after discovering he had lied to them about his whereabouts, adding to existing suspicions that he had been doping.

Kazakh star Alexandre Vinokourov then tested positive for blood doping, leading to the eviction of his Astana team.

France's number one team Cofidis followed suit when Italian Cristian Moreni tested positive for testosterone.


AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article