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Report: CADF begins back-testing samples from 2016, 2017

Officials are taking a close look at samples taken during the 2017 Tour de France using improved detection methods.

Operation Aderlass takes a new turn as officials have begun back-testing anti-doping controls from 2016 and 2017, the Belgian daily Het Nieuwsblad reports Saturday.

There was no immediate confirmation, but the paper quoted a Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) official saying that the re-testing process has begun. Last November, the UCI initiated the process to back-test some samples based on information gathered from the ongoing Aderlass affaire.

The CADF released this statement: “Last November, the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) received information and documents from the Austrian authorities in connection with the Aderlass case. The UCI asked the CADF to carry out the necessary re-analyses of samples collected between 2016 and 2017. On the basis of additional information provided by the authorities in charge of the investigation, the CADF proceeded to identify the relevant samples and carry out the first analyses. The process is ongoing and at this stage the CADF will not make any further comments.”

Officials are acting on insider information about possible banned performance-enhancing products that was not detectable at the time. According to the paper, CADF is putting a special focus on the 2017 Tour de France on an unnamed product with links to the United States.

Labs in Seibersdorf, Austria, and Cologne, Germany, are conducting the tests using new testing methods, the paper reported, and any abnormal results would be shared with the UCI.

It’s the latest twist in the investigation that dates back February 2019 that focused on Nordic skiers and expanded to cycling. More than a half-dozen current and former riders being handed down bans in what’s the highest-profile doping investigation in years.