Tour Director is Clear
"This decision will confirm our position
in the unrelenting struggle against doping."
Jean Marie Leblanc, director
of the Tour de France, has officially announced that he will not allow any rider
involved in a police doping investigation to begin his race next Saturday.
Stating that he had hoped not to have this announcement interfere with the
national championships taking place in many countries this weekend, Leblanc said
he could wait no longer.
Leblanc said that he informed the Cofidis president,
Francois Migraine, of his decision, as two Cofidis riders who are slated to race
for the Cofidis team, David Millar and Cedric Vasseur, have been interrogated by
French authorities. Vasseur was also denied participation in the French national
championships because of this. Leblanc said that Migraine concurred with his
Below are the UCI invitation requirements that teams, riders and
race directors must follow. The teams must submit their final rosters on
Wednesday - how Leblanc will be able to bar specific riders is perhaps a tenuous
issue, since a race organizer must accept or reject team and rider
participations 40 days before the race start - unless he finds agreement within
the affected teams to not send the "tainted" riders, he can only submit his
objections to the Race Commissaire, who is a UCI or national federation
official, and who cannot be involved in any way with the race organization.
Di Luca is Angry
One of the other riders who would be affected by this decision is Saeco's Danilo
Di Luca, who says he wants to race the Tour de France. His team manager Claudio
Corti said, "To forbid him to ride in France would be an excessive decision. For
us, there is no Danilo affair."
Di Luca stated Saturday, "What's important is
that the team supports me, but this process is incredible: I risk not being able
to ride the Tour because Leblanc doesn't want anyone under investigation. My
house has been searched, nothing has been found. I have never had a positive
control, nor been outside of regulations, and the telephonic monitorings
concerning me didn't reveal anything." The rider went on to ask, rhetorically,
about the riders investigated in Italian police raids three years ago in the
Giro, who are apparently not the object of this particular decision, though to his knowledge the investigation has not been concluded.
Bitterly, he added, "If they wanted to make me miserable, they succeeded: the
Championship of Italy is the perfect time."
UCI Regulations for Invitations to Races
Below are the pertinent UCI
regulations race organizers must follow in inviting teams and riders to races.
The [race] organiser shall, at least
60 days in advance, invite the team, Trade Team or rider by sending general
At least forty days before the race, an invited party shall inform the
organiser in writing (letter, fax) whether he/it wishes to participate in the race or whether he/it wishes to
decline the invitation. At least thirty days before the race, the organiser shall send an official
UCI enrolment form to all invited parties whose participation he accepts. At the same time, he shall
inform invited parties whose participation he does not accept to that effect.
At least twenty days before the race, the invited party shall return to the
organiser the original and three copies of the duly completed enrolment form. The organiser shall keep
the original (top copy) of the form and shall, within 48 hours of its reception, send the three other
copies to each of addresses mentioned thereon.
72 hours before the event's start time, the trade teams must fax the
organiser a copy of the entry form giving the names of the entrants plus two subsitutes.
Any party failing to meet the prescribed deadlines shall forfeit its rights.
The organiser may not refuse to allow a team or a rider entered to start. He
must submit his objections to the Commissaires Panel which shall decide.
Should the organiser without valid reason refuse to allow a trade team
entered to start in an event in class 3 or above, the organiser must pay the trade team a penalty charge
of three times the total value of starting expenses payable.
This section is located in the UCI
Race Rules here.
Report of 25 June 2004
The Tour of France director, Jean Marie Leblanc, has apparently announced today that he
won't accept riders implicated in judicial procedures regarding dopage or who
are part of a police doping investigation. This position has apparently been
approved by the UCI.
Two French publications, LeMonde, and the sports publication
L'Equipe, have published various stories since the beginning of the year
regarding French and Italian dopage investigations that have implicated various
riders or who are included as part of doping investigations. L'Equipe
also published the Leblanc announcement today.
Such a stance by Leblanc is certainly understandable, but the difficulty lies
in the fact that at least some of the allegations published by these media
organs may be part of confidential judicial investigations that improperly
appeared in print. Cofidis and Saeco have both complained that they have not
been officially notified of their implicated riders, learning of it instead in
the press, and earlier this year Cofidis was barred by the investigating French
judge from being made an official party to the investigations of its riders and
Since no binding legal decisions have yet been made as part of either of
these investigations, such as convictions or national cycling federation
suspensions, Leblanc is in the quite interesting position of perhaps
excluding riders based on rumor.
For the various Tour teams, such a decision has impact:
According to the French publication L'Equipe, Time Trial World
champion David Millar was detained for 48 hours by the French police earlier
this week in relation to an ongoing investigation regarding former Cofidis rider
Philippe Gaumont. L'Equipe also reported that Cedric Vasseur has also been
interviewed as part of the Gaumont allegations. Interestingly, Vasseur's father
and Jean Marie Leblanc, Tour de France director, are old friends, going back to
their racing days.
Eddy Mazzoleni has been precautionarily suspended by the Saeco team after
media leaks of a supposed investigation against him which appeared in the French
publication LeMonde last week. Other Saeco riders supposedly
implicated in a large Italian investigation are Danilo Di Luca and Alessandro
Police raids by the Italian NAS (Nuclei Anti-Sofisticazione, anti-drug branch
of the Carabinieri) were conducted during the second
Giro rest day
in May. At the time of the searches, the officials in charge of the searches
announced that nothing significant and nothing compromising had been found.
Fabio Sacchi is implicated in the Italian investigation.
LeMonde also reported that Mario Scirea and Alessio Galletti are part of the
Italian doping investigation.
More information as it becomes available, and please see our Tour Team roster
list, which is being regularly updated,