Paris:Doping tests at this year's French Open tennis tournament will be handled at a Canadian laboratory in Montreal rather than the Chatenay-Malabry lab in France.
French officials said the decision was made to save money and increase the number of tests and was no reflection on the French lab, which is under scrutiny for its handling of Tour de France winner Floyd Landis' samples.
The International Tennis Federation oversees drug-testing at the Grand Slam tournaments.
"It's the ITF which is responsible for the anti-doping controls and they have an agreement with Montreal," FFT spokesman Thibault Fraix-Burnet said on Wednesday. "Chatenay (Malabry) is more expensive than Montreal, which allows the federation to carry out more tests, more random tests, not just during competition but also during training."
"They are two labs of the same quality," Fraix-Burnet said. He did not give an exact figure on how tests would be carried out, but said the same tests at Chatenay-Malabry would have cost about "double" the amount.
A statement from the ITF put the cost of analyzing a single sample at the Canadian lab at US$190, including shipping fees. The same tests would cost US$376 at the French lab, the statement said.
"The savings will allow the ITF to raise the number of anti-doping controls throughout the year," the statement said, adding that the number of urine controls at this year's French Open would increase to 180, compared to 157 last year.
The French lab handled the tests which found that Landis tested positive for elevated testosterone to epitestosterone levels during last year's Tour. Landis denies doping and accuses the lab of mishandling his samples. His arbitration hearing began this week in California.