UCI pledges to use greater targeting in 2011 anti-doping efforts
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Friday, December 3, 2010

UCI pledges to use greater targeting in 2011 anti-doping efforts

by Shane Stokes at 9:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Governing body also plans campaign to prevent riders considering using banned substances

Riders who have suspect biological profiles will be increasingly targeted in 2011, according to the UCI. The governing body has pledged to carry out a significant jump in the number of controls carried out on what it terms ‘riders whose profiles may indicate illegal behaviour.’

“It must be these riders who are the priority targets rather than riders with completely regular profiles who make up the majority of the peloton,” it states.

The Foundation Board and the Funding Committee of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation met yesterday in Paris, with UCI President Pat McQuaid and Daniel Baal chairing the board and the committee respectively. As a result of that meeting, the outline of the UCI’s anti-doping programme for 2011 was approved.

Speaking about the planned targeting, it said that the biological passport made such focussing possible. “The very large number of controls conducted since the introduction of the biological passport (nearly 25,500) has allowed reliable profiles to be drawn up for the riders concerned,” said the UCI in a release. “In terms of physiological data, the UCI thus now has a knowledge of these athletes that is without par in the world of sport. Moreover, top-performing athletes as well as newcomers to the peloton will be subject to improved targeting.”

Intentions must be followed up by action in all cases:

It will be hoped that this targeting will lead to the elimination of the kind of tactical errors and oversights which were reported by WADA’s independent observers after the Tour de France. That report outlined several worrying incidents relating to testing of suspect riders before and during the Tour.

Without naming the riders in question, it detailed that several ‘of significance’ had not been tested at all between April and June 2010. Once the race started, three riders who were either deemed suspicious or performing extremely well were not blood tested during the Tour.

In addition to that, two riders allocated a priority index of ten (highest priority of testing, due to status as favourites and suspicion of possible doping) were recommended for blood testing. One wasn’t tested at all, while another underwent no further blood tests after stage three.

For two riders with a priority index of eight, recommendations to target-test them for EPO were not followed through in one case, and substantially delayed in the other.

The incidents highlighted a bewildering lack of due diligence on riders who were suspected of possible doping. Today’s announcement of more targeted testing will only be relevant if each incidence is followed through properly and thoroughly, and errors such as those are avoided in future.

Prevention campaign also to be run:

The UCI also confirmed today that it is to try to dissuade riders from resorting to doping through a prevention campaign. “The UCI intends, in collaboration with National Federations and other relevant organizations, to attack this evil at its root: sanctioning cheats is necessary, but it is even more essential to prevent young riders from resorting to illegal practices,” it said. “The UCI will provide a substantial amount of information on this subject during 2011.”


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