Cycling: Lack of positive tests at Tour lifts McQuaid

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The Independent Online

The UCI president Pat McQuaid said yesterday there had been no positive dope tests at this year's Tour de France and looked to a drugs-free race being the future pattern.

McQuaid said: "At this point in time I haven't heard of any positive tests at this year's Tour de France or that we're checking samples to confirm positives.

"It's looking like the Tour de France will not have any positive tests for a number of years. I think that's a big step forward for cycling."

Professional cycling has been blighted by doping scandals in recent years as blood and urine tests caught out riders using the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO).

Last year, cycling became the first sport to introduce a revolutionary blood passport system that monitors athletes' blood values rather than looking for a specific drug.

"It's been a difficult moment for cycling because of the doping scandals but I think we're coming out of it and going into a good period," McQuaid said.

The only blight on this year's Tour was when the winner of stage 16, the Spanish rider Mikel Astarloza, was revealed to have been found positive for EPO in a test conducted eight days before the Tour began