The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced that it will send a team of independent observers to the Tour de France cycling race which begins Saturday in Paris.
In a statement Monday, the Montreal-based agency said it would follow all aspects of doping control operations at the race and issue a public report after the event. WADA president Richard Pound praised race organizers and the international cycling body for permitting the observer team to attend the Tour.
This is the 100th anniversary edition of the 20-stage race, which goes clockwise around France, through the Alps and Pyrenees, and finishes back in Paris on the Champs-Elysees on July 27.
Lithuanian cyclist Raimondas Rumsas has been dropped from Italian cycling team Lampre, after he failed a second doping test taken during the Tour of Italy race.
The Lithuanian Sports Federation said Monday that Rumsas, who finished sixth, tested positive for an unspecified drug during the race which ended June 1. After the International Cycling Union informed Lampre of the positive result, the team suspended the 31-year-old rider pending the results of his B-sample.
A spokeswoman for the Federation said the second test proved Rumsas had taking the endurance enhancing drug EPO, erythropoietin. The second sample had been tested in Lausanne, Switzerland, earlier this month and the results were faxed to the federation Monday.
Rumsas had demanded a second test, saying he was confident it would clear him. The Lithuania Cycling Federation said it was ready to impose an appropriate punishment if the second sample tested positive. That could include a ban of up to two years.