WADA hasn’t yet been approached by Sky over data offer, will look at proposal
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Monday, July 15, 2013

WADA hasn’t yet been approached by Sky over data offer, will look at proposal

by Shane Stokes at 5:58 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
Agency responds to Brailford’s pledge to hand over biological passport plus other data

WADAFurther to Dave Brailsford’s suggestion today that Team Sky could turn over comprehensive data on its riders to the World Anti Doping Agency as part of a commitment to increase transparency, WADA has said that hasn’t yet been approached but would look at the proposal.

Brailsford was speaking in a press conference held this morning in the Team Sky hotel. He was responding to the many questions Tour de France race leader Chris Froome and the team have faced during this race and earlier, with Froome’s dominance on Aix 3 Domaines and Mont Ventoux plus his strong second place in last week’s time trial raising some eyebrows.

Brailsford insisted today that the squad has nothing to hide and that he wanted to prove it by handing over data.

“We’ve been thinking about the biological passport and how that works with an appointed panel of experts who get all the information, get all the blood data from everybody, and analyse that,” he said. “Of course the biological passport isn’t just a blood value. Theoretically, the biological passport should be blood value, weight, power…it should be a whole picture of that individual, not just blood values.

“If you extrapolate that thinking forward I think we’d be quite happy, we’d actually encourage, maybe WADA to appoint an expert and they could have everything that we’ve got.”

Contacted by VeloNation, WADA said that it had no contact thus far with Team Sky. “It doesn’t seem like it is a proper invitation. It seems that these are just comments in a press conference,” said Ben Nichols, WADA’s Senior Manager of Media Relations and Communications.

“What we are saying is that we haven’t received anything. As far as I know, this is the first I have heard of it. We appreciate that it was raised in the press conference but we haven’t had an official invitation and we haven’t been able to respond to anything.”

Nichols pointed out that WADA has thus far not carried out a role such as that which has been proposed. “It is not specifically in WADA’s mandate to accept specific team or individual requests,” he stated, “and we undertake at-event observation programs only if invited to do so by an International Federation.”

However when asked how WADA would respond if it was approached by Team Sky, he said that the request would be studied.

“We would obviously look at it. I am sure it is something that David Howman would look at it and we would have to judge it on what it is, exactly. I can’t say yes or no, it depends on what it is,” he said. “For now, we haven’t received anything, so it is difficult to say.”

One issue that must be considered is that WADA has stated several times in recent months that its budget it already stretched dangerously thin. It is not clear how Brailsford’s proposal would be funded. If WADA would have to look after that aspect, the tight finances might act as a barrier or a limitation. Conversely, if Sky provided funds to cover the cost, that could raise other questions.

What’s clear is that the offer to hand over biological passport profiles plus other data appears to be a step forward. It must now be seen if the proposal will materialise into something concrete and, if WADA isn’t in a position to carry out the request, if an alternative could be found.

In the meantime, Nichols reaffirmed that WADA is open to other types of contact. “We encourage all those involved in sport to share relevant intelligence with those whose aim it is to promote fair and clean sport,” he said. “We would always be receptive to information that will aid the fight against doping in sport.”


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