Valjavec cleared in biological passport case, UCI may appeal doping ruling to CAS
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Valjavec cleared in biological passport case, UCI may appeal doping ruling to CAS

by Conal Andrews at 8:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Slovenian claiming of poorly conducted tests and illness

Tadej ValjavecOn the same day that Franco Pellizotti was deemed guilty by the Italian Olympic Committee CONI, the UCI’s biological passport system faced a challenge after the Slovenia national anti-doping agency cleared Tajej Valjavec of suspected drug use.

The suspended Ag2R La Mondiale rider was yesterday declared innocent of the charge against him. The Slovenian agency accepted his defence that he had been sick when some of the tests were taken and that this had affected his blood values; in addition to that, it was claimed that some of the tests had not been carried out correctly.

The UCI is currently examining the situation, and will translate the ruling. It is expected that it will appeal it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. “Our legal department have to understand what is written in this document and study it,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told AP. “We have to know why they took the decision.”

The Slovenian ruling is a challenge to the biological passport system, which is credited with making it far more difficult for riders to used banned practices. Riders such as Pietro Caucchioli, Francesco de Bonis, Ricardo Serrano and Ruben Lobato have all been handed two year bans on the basis of the passport, which uses a pattern of blood values rather than a positive test to determine guilt.

It is the first time that such a system has been used in sport, and it is now being adopted by other disciplines such as athletics and triathlon.

However Valjavec’s clearing by the Slovenian authorities is a challenge to this, and the UCI is likely to work to prove that the system is indeed reliable.

This year’s Tour de France is thought to have benefited from the passport. The riders were said by sports scientists and analysts be climbing at a slower rate than before, and there were also day to day variations in form which made the race more unpredictable.


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