Oscar Pereiro

Spain?s Oscar Pereiro is under intense pressure to explain why he tested positive twice during the 2006 for the banned substance Salbutamol.

According to reports in French newspaper Le Monde, who broke the news on Thursday evening, and French sports newspaper L?Equipe, Pereiro tested positive after stage 14 to Gap and after stage 16 to La Toussuire. Pereiro stated in the test documents when he gave a urine sample that he had a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for salbutamol issued by the UCI but has since failed to provide medical documentation to back up the TUE despite being sent several requests by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD).

AFLD president Pierre Bordry told L'Equipe on Thursday: ?This rider tested positive twice. Once in Gap and another time in La Toussuire. Each time, he wrote on the test report that he had a TUE but I am asking him to provide us with the medical elements that justify him taking Salbutamol.?

On January 25 the French Anti-Doping Agency will hold a preliminary hearing and if Pereiro fails to provide the necessary medical information the French will consider starting disciplinary action that could eventually lead to a ban.

Pereiro and his Caisse d?Epargne team initially failed to answer phone calls but team spokesman Francis Lafargue later said: "Oscar received two letters from the AFLD in October and November. He had the documents but he forgot to respond to the agency, it is carelessness. The AFLD will receive before the end of the week all the documents required."

Pereiro finished a surprise second behind Floyd Landis in the Tour de France and was expected to be awarded final victory if Landis is suspended for failing an anti-doping test for testosterone. Unless Pereiro manages to satisfy the French he could lose his Tour result and be banned from racing in France. If both Landis and Pereiro are disciplined then Germany?s Andreas Kloden would be declared winner of the 2006 Tour de France.

Mathieu Desplat, a spokesman for the Tour de France told the Reuters news agency "We are waiting until January 25 when Pereiro's case will be reviewed by AFLD before taking any action".

The Le Monde story sparked another spat between the French and Spanish sport and doping authorities. Director of Spain's government-run Sports Council Rafael Blanco told Spanish media: "From our point of view this isn't a positive test and Spanish authorities have not received any communication about any positive. The whole thing seems to have occurred because of a conflict in responsibilities between two institutions.?

"If there had been any doubt about the authorization to take such substances then they make the checks immediately and if there had been the slightest suspicion about Pereiro they would already have made that clear."

UCI President Pat McQuaid told the AP news agency that "there always have been differences of opinion" between the UCI and the French agency on the medical waivers. UCI waivers follow WADA guidelines, "and the French agency has a different view of this."

According to Le Monde six other riders also have ?doubtful? TUE explanations and will also be considered on January 25. None of the riders have so far been named. A total of 12 riders apparently tested positive at the 2006 Tour de France but six have already justified their use of the banned drugs involved.

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