No positive tests were found at last year's event despite 622 samples.
The Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) "has revealed plans to tighten up anti-doping controls at this year's Tour de France," which begins on Saturday in Leeds, according to the London INDEPENDENT. Those plans "consist of a new agreement" between the Agence Francaise de Lutte contre le Dopage (AFLD) and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, the independent body mandated by the UCI to carry out the fight against doping in cycling. Riders participating in the Tour de France "will undergo a number of stringent checks, including blood checks for all ahead of the race." In addition, the UCI "has confirmed that certain riders will be target-tested as part of a joint decision between the CADF and AFLD." Some blood samples "will also be kept, possibly for several years to leave the possibility open for re-testing with developing technology." One of UCI President Brian Cookson's key pledges after replacing Pat McQuaid in September "was to make cycling's anti-doping programme completely independent of the UCI." This latest news "will be seen as a step in the right direction towards that aim" (INDEPENDENT, 7/3
). REUTERS' Julien Pretot reported the agreement "is an extension of the one that was in place for last year's race, which implies blood tests on every rider before the start as well as targeted testing during the race." There "was no positive test on the 2013 Tour de France" after 622 -- 443 blood and 179 urine -- were collected during the three-week race (REUTERS, 7/3