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Tour de France, teams set doping fines up to $155K

PARIS -- Teams invited to the Tour de France will be fined up to $155,000 if a rider tests positive for doping.

Eric Boyer, head of the International Association of Professional Cyclist Groups, said the teams signed contracts Friday accepting the new rule. Teams needed to agree to the fines to compete in the July race.

"Everybody has signed it," Boyer said by telephone. "It's up to [$155,000] if a link of cause and effect can be established between the rider and his team" in doping cases.

A spokesman for Amaury Sports Organization, the organizer of the Tour de France, declined immediate comment.

ASO is staging the July 5-27 race under the authority of the French national cycling federation -- ignoring the rules and doping controls of the sport's governing body UCI.

There's another change at this year's Tour. France's Chamber of Arbitration for Sport -- which falls under the French national Olympic committee -- will rule on alleged doping cases, Boyer said.

He said the French arbitration body would rule within 24 hours in suspected doping cases -- and would not wait for a second, or "B", sample to confirm a positive test.

UCI and ASO have been embroiled in a long, bitter dispute following a string of doping scandals at the Tour in recent years, which have tarnished the image of the sport and its premiere event.

Boyer said he was convinced that France's anti-doping agency, the AFLD, "has the capacity to handle all the controls before and during the race, both in terms of logistics and financing."

Boyer, who is also general manager of French squad Cofidis, said his riders faced a surprise AFLD anti-doping check at a team hotel Thursday.