UCI upset about Tour allegations


PARIS -- The International Cycling Union lashed out at France's anti-doping agency Monday for alleging that the Astana team that included eventual winner Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong received preferential treatment during drug tests at this year's Tour de France.

Contador won for the second time, while seven-time champion Armstrong finished third.

A report drawn up by France's national anti-doping agency concluded that Astana "benefited from special treatment from UCI officials" during the Tour, Le Monde reported.

Le Monde and other French media said the agency's 10-page report faulted the cycling union for letting Astana be the last to be tested every morning and giving them extra time to report for testing.

The anti-doping agency did not immediately respond to a call late Monday seeking confirmation of the report. Le Monde says the document was based on journals kept by two doctors who carried out blood and urine tests on behalf of the anti-doping agency.

The cycling union says it received a copy of the report and called the allegations "groundless." While many recent Tours have been riled by doping scandals, no riders failed tests during the 2009 edition.

"The UCI scrupulously respects the obligations imposed by the World Anti-Doping Code: the equal treatment of teams and riders is strictly guaranteed, the conditions of testing meet the existing standards and the rules for conserving samples are carefully observed," it said.

The UCI also questioned the motivations of the anti-doping agency's head, Pierre Bordry, accusing him of "seeking the media spotlight." It said it would study "the possibility of working with a neutral partner for tests in France."

The Astana team did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment late Monday.

Contador remained with Astana following his win, while Armstrong launched Team RadioShack, which will debut at the 2010 Tour Down Under in Australia.