Doping: UCI blasts leaks of ‘suspicious list’, defends targeting of riders
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Doping: UCI blasts leaks of ‘suspicious list’, defends targeting of riders

by VeloNation Press at 2:56 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
Says list is proof that serious efforts are being made

Responding to the publication of a confidential list of riders dealing with suspicions of possible doping, the UCI has criticised those who leaked the information to l’Equipe. The French newspaper today published an article detailing the UCI’s assessment of those who competed in last year’s Tour de France. A table drawn up by the governing body prior to the start ranked riders from zero to ten, with the former being regarded as zero-risk of doping, and the latter being regarded as very suspicious.

L’Equipe listed riders such as Thomas Voeckler, Michael Barry, Edvald Boasson-Hagen, Fabian Cancellara, Chris Horner, Nicolas Roche and David Zabriskie as 0/10, while at the opposite end of the scale, it said that Carlos Barredo and Yaroslav Popovych were ranked 10/10, and Denis Mencov at 9/10.

Commenting on the piece in a lengthy communiqué, the UCI has expressed its displeasure at the release of such information, and stressed that a rider’s ranking is not proof of doping.

It explained that prior to every major Tour, blood tests are performed on each of the riders who take part. After that, this data plus the riders’ biological passports are combined to draw up what it terms a ‘testing plan’ which determines priorities for testing, their frequencies and what tests will be performed.

“It is essential to note that the list published by L’Équipe, entitled “Index of suspicion”, is liable to be interpreted in an incorrect and prejudicial manner,” stated the UCI. “It contains only an initial summary assessment of the results of the analyses for the sole purpose of establishing an order of priorities for testing and therefore cannot under any circumstances prejudge the possible guilt of the persons whose names appear on the list.

“Whatever the assessment of the appropriateness of testing a specific rider, the list does not justify any suspicion or condemnation.”

It also added that the list is ‘far from the examination of haematological data by biological passport experts.’

Several of the riders mentioned in the article have also been critical of the release of the information. One rider who preferred not to comment on record today said that the leak of the information reflected gross incompetence on the UCI’s part, and was of big frustration to the riders. However it remains to be seen who gave the information concerned to L’Equipe. It was available to the governing body and to WADA; the former has promised to track down the source of the leak.

“The UCI deplores and strongly condemns the breach of confidentiality which allowed this list to be sent to the press,” it said. “A leak of this kind is highly irresponsible and unacceptable. The UCI will consult WADA in order to launch an in-depth investigation of the matter.”

States existence of list is proof that anti-doping efforts are solid:


The UCI’s statement doesn’t deny that the list existed, but rather explains why one was drawn up and said that it is proof that the governing body is serious about tackling the problem.

For several years the UCI has said that it carries out targeted testing, something which is necessary to be efficient in its examination of riders and also to make the most of limited funds. The list was used for that reason and, it says, shows that big efforts are being made.

“While advocating the principle that “suspicion is not the same as guilt”, it can however been seen that the system enables anti-doping tests to be targeted more effectively and therefore also enables the fight against doping as a whole to be enhanced,” it states.

“Acknowledged as a “unique document, unprecedented in any sport” this list “reveals a reality that is very remote from the notion that ‘they all resort to doping’ and puts paid to the idea of organised team doping”.

It said that because of the anti-doping efforts carried out, the proportion of riders breaking the rules has significantly decreased. It also promised that the biological passport would become increasingly effective in time.

However what is equally important is the safeguarding of confidential information and, whatever the source, there are many riders who may feel aggrieved that the data has made its way into the media.

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