UCI reveals first biological passport doping cases
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

UCI reveals first biological passport doping cases

by Agence France-Presse at 12:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Cycling's world ruling body announced on Wednesday that five cyclists would face doping charges uniquely on the basis of irregularities found in blood samples from their biological passports.

Former world road race champion Igor Astarloa of Spain is among the three Spaniards and two Italians who are facing doping charges, according to the International Cycling Union (UCI).

The news comes just over a fortnight before the start of this year's Tour de France, being held July 4-26, although none of the riders snared by the UCI was expected to star at the three-week epic.

As well as Astarloa, fellow Spaniards Ruben Lobato Elvira and Ricardo Serrano have been snared by the UCI. The two others are Italians Pietro Caucchioli and Francesco De Bonis.

The UCI said in a statement the five had "violated the anti-doping rules on the basis of information from blood profiles on their biological passport".

In what is being seen as a new strategy by the UCI, it will be the first time that athletes who have not tested positive will face doping charges purely on the basis of their biological passports.

However it is not the first time a cyclist has been banned without failing a dope test. Italian star Ivan Basso was banned just over two years ago based on evidence linking him to the Operation Puerto affair.

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