The French Anti-Doping Authorities (AFLD) have announced on Thursday that Oscar Pereiro?s supposedly suspicious use of the drug salbutamol was in fact completely justified. As Pereiro had repeatedly stated, the AFLD have now also accepted he is a confirmed asthma sufferer, has every right to possess a Therapeutic Use Exemption [TUE] from the UCI and is therefore allowed to take salbutamol to treat the asthma.

?We have made an in-depth study of the Pereiro case and we have confirmed that his medical documents show he has not crossed any lines.? AFLD president Pierre Bordry commented. ?So there will be no further investigation.?

The suspicions of doping surrounding the Spaniard – raised when French newspaper Le Monde wrongly accused Pereiro of testing ?positive? in the Tour de France in 2006 for the banned drug – have therefore disappeared. Pereiro stands in line to inherit the Tour 2006 victory should American Floyd Landis? positive test for testosterone finally be confirmed.

The fact that Pereiro?s name has appeared in the media at all over this case has been widely condemned. Even WADA president Dick Pound, not known as one of cycling?s biggest fans, has said he found it incomprehensible that the story was leaked to the press.

Pereiro was the only cyclist named by AFLD director Pierre Bordry last week to Le Monde as being under investigation by the AFLD – unlike the ten French riders in an identical situation, not identified by Bordry. In the same article about his alleged positive – which was their front page headline last week – Le Monde uttered dark hints about Pereiro’s possible dope taking, saying that the Spaniard was ?no longer claiming that he should be Tour de France winner – and for a reason.?

After the AFLD?s finding, Bordry said he regretted that Pereiro had taken so long to hand in his medical documents outlining his condition as an asthmatic – something also criticised by the UCI. But Bordry offered no explanation at all why he had leaked Pereiro?s name to Le Monde in the first place. As for the newspaper itself, as of Thursday evening, their website did not mention anywhere that Pereiro had been cleared.