Tough new anti-doping controls will be in effect at this year’s Roland Garros.
“This year, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, like all players who compete at Roland Garros (May 24 to Sunday June 7) will not only be subject to traditional anti-doping controls by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), but also those carried out by the very effective French Agency for the fight against doping (AFLD).
Under a new World Anti-Doping Code, which allows an organization to implement national anti-doping tests in addition to those organized by a federation for a major competition, the president of the AFLD, Pierre Bordry, asked his counterpart at the ITF for the right to make additional checks during the fortnight in Paris. The ITF agreed. “The AFLD will conduct random and targeted checks at Roland-Garros,” Pierre Bordry confirms. “The tests will be organized according to the information we have and the evidence available from the ITF.“
Before the 2008 Tour de France, the AFLD received a “tip” from the Italian Olympic Committee – that riders were using CERA, the new generation of the (blood boosting drug) EPO – to find this substance in the urine of several cyclists. Does the AFLD have a similar clue before Roland Garros?
“Does the AFLD have a similar clue before Roland Garros?” Now that’s the million dollar question. It will be interesting to see how this story develops – are certain players really being targeted or is this just extra sensitivity brought on by l’affaire Gasquet?
The last time the AFLD tested at Roland Garros was in 2006. For the past two years the ITF has tested, exclusively, and used a Swedish sampling company and labs in Montreal (the same labs that recently found cocaine in Gasquet’s urine.) No one has tested positive for drugs at Roland Garros since Mariano Puerta, after making it to the final in 2005.
The AFLD is hard core – it’s famously the thorn in Lance Armstrong’s side (click here.) If I were a tennis pro, I’d be terrified to eat a hot dog or a bag of Fritos right now. Who the heck knows what’s in those things, anyway? Stick to organics, guys.