Inspector denied entry after credential flap

Updated: August 14, 2004, 12:50 AM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- A blood doping test on many of the top cyclists at the Athens Games had to be canceled Friday when the inspector was not allowed into the Olympic Village because of a problem with his credential, the UCI cycling federation said.

"We had everything ready -- the commissioner and the doctor and the riders were there but the inspector was not allowed to go in," UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said.

The UCI immediately warned the IOC, and Olympic organizers have apologized for the incident, he said. "We were very disappointed," Carpani said. "We invest a lot of time and money in the controls."

It was too late to administer the tests later Friday because such blood samples have to be taken early in the morning.

The problem occurred a day after authorities couldn't find Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou in the athletes' village for drug tests. The pair were later in a motorcycle crash and hospitalized.

"We were standing there with our five riders, but after 20 minutes, still no one had shown up," said Dutch team doctor Tjeert de Vries. Riders from the Italian, French and Belgian teams also were there.

Carpini said that between the inspector and the riders "there was a door and he could not go through it."

Cycling has been hit by a series of doping scandals recently, and several gold medal contenders have had to pull out of the games because of doping admissions.

Friday's test had been planned well in advance, and was not an unannounced, out-of-competition check. A similar test may now be held in the days leading up to Wednesday's time trial.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press