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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Oops. Better return that Caisse d'Epargne jersey

The French newspaper Le Monde has reported that 2006 Tour de France runner-up Oscar Pereiro tested positive twice for the asthma drug salbutamol. The rider's urine tested positive for the drug after stage 14 and again after stage 16. Poised to take the title of Tour winner ever since Floyd Landis' positive control for testosterone, Pereiro might instead find himself banned from the race because of a dispute between the UCI and the French antidoping agency over what the agency views as excessive medical exemptions.

The UCI had apparently granted Pereiro, along with dozens of other riders, 'therapeutic use exemptions' (TUE's) for drugs that are normally banned in competition unless the athletes can show a medical need for the substance. However, the French antidoping agency AFLD was not satisfied with Pereiro's documentation for his exemption for the asthma drug, and were suspicious of the large number of riders being granted exemptions.

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