Montreal, June 30, 2003 - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced today that a team of its Independent Observers will be present at the Tour de France, which will begin July 5 in Paris.
The primary objective of WADA's Independent Observer Program is to assure athletes and the world at large that anti-doping rules are being properly applied in the course of major competitions. Observers follow all aspects of the doping-control operations and issue a public report after the event, in which they report on whether the doping-control rules have been applied. The report may also contain observations on improvements that can be made in the process at future events.
At the Tour de France, the Independent Observer team will observe doping-control procedures from the start of the Tour until July 9. After that date, they will receive daily laboratory reports and other relevant information and can return to the Tour for further observations if the documentation reveals any anomalies.
"I am very pleased that WADA can send, for the first time, a team of Independent Observers to the world-famous Tour de France, particularly on its 100th anniversary," said Richard W. Pound, WADA's President. "I applaud UCI and the organizers of the Tour for allowing the team to be present, and the French Ministry of Sport for ensuring that the Observers will have access to all relevant information throughout the event."
The Observer group will be composed of team president Dr. Luis Horta, director of sports medicine at the National Institute of Sport in Portugal; Dr. Anik Sax, secretary of the National Committee for Anti-Doping in Luxembourg; and Ms. Jennifer Ebermann, WADA's manager responsible for the Independent Observer Program.
Point of Contact for the media :
Frederic Donze, media relations manager