UCI Whereabouts program wins battle in Spanish court
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

UCI Whereabouts program wins battle in Spanish court

by VeloNation Press at 1:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping

In a press release today, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced that the Third Section of the Provincial Court of Almería, Spain, has rejected an appeal by Spanish rider Carlos Roman Golbano challenging the Whereabouts Information System instituted by the sport's governing body.

The statement said: "According to the ruling, which confirms the first judgment in the case issued by Almería Civil Court No. 6 in September 2007, the implementation of the programme does not breach individual rights guaranteed by the Spanish Constitution, in particular in respect of the protection of privacy."

The Whereabouts Information System is used to gather vital information about the location of professional athletes who are subject to out-of-competition doping controls. It's an integral part in cycling's fight against doping, and according to the UCI, the decision represents a major step forward in case law in the fight against drug cheats in the sport.

The defense was put forward in conjunction with the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), and the UCI also expressed their appreciation for the help provided by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who they say played an important role early on in the case.

"Cycling has been at the forefront of the fight against doping for many years," said UCI President Pat McQuaid, who was extremely pleased with the news. "We are once again proud that our commitment offers benefits to the sports movement as a whole. We are ever more convinced that our joint efforts against the scourge of doping will become increasingly effective, in particular as a result of rulings such as this, which recognise the basic principles upon which our strategies and actions are based."

Recently VeloNation spoke to Bbox Bouygues Telecom captain Thomas Voeckler about his feelings on the privacy issues with regard to the Whereabouts system in cycling. The Frenchman was in full support of the program saying, "When you are a professional cyclist you have chosen a career path where you do not live a normal life anyway. You need to do whatever is necessary to keep the sport fair [with respect to the fight against doping], and to me it is not an invasion of my privacy or any sort of problem to do whatever is needed to accomplish that goal."

Some 850 professional cyclists are required to report their whereabouts as part of the biological passport program. Earlier this year the efforts by the UCI began to show promise with the first positive controls resulting from targeted testing. The WADA announced that the UCI's innovative program will soon be introduced in other sports.


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