Vroomen raises questions about UCI bio passport
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vroomen raises questions about UCI bio passport

by Shane Stokes at 3:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Cervélo co-founder claims a large gap in testing may have existed

Gerard VroomenCervélo co-founder Gerard Vroomen has raised questions about the UCI’s biological passport, saying that in his knowledge, a large gap may have existed in testing up until at least the spring of this year. Talking about the sport being at a cross-road, he wrote about the subject on his blog today, asking for it to be highlighted.

“I have not heard of a rider being tested for the biological passport between the end of the 2010 Tour and April 2011. After that I am not sure,” he stated. “While it is logical that the frequency of testing might decrease somewhat once profiles are established, the fact remains that the profile in itself is not a deterrent. The deterrent comes from testing current values against those profiles to see if there are clues indicating doping.

“If what I have been hearing is indeed the case throughout the sport, then that would be worrisome. It would mean that in a crucial build-up and competition period, only riders who were on teams with independent anti-doping programs (such as HTC and Garmin-Cervelo) have been properly monitored to the extent that science is capable of.”

VeloNation sought to contact the UCI president Pat McQuaid, but has not yet been successful in reaching him.

Vroomen suggests that one possible reason is that the money provided by teams and the UCI to fund the biological passport may have been used to fund the legal bills of fighting the cases. If so, he said it is a situation that needs to be addressed.

“I don’t think there are necessarily bad intentions here, but if the teams are paying a ton of money to fund the biological passport and all that money goes to defending cases so there is little money left for further testing, then riders, teams and federations have to sit together and figure this out, rather than just letting the biological passport die. It’s in everybody’s best interest to do so,” he stated. “And it gives the sport a chance to not only be the first to set up a revolutionary technology, but to also be the first to integrate it in the sport in a fair, sustainable way.”

There have been no new biological passport cases launched in many months, with only a handful of riders being suspended since the testing system was introduced.

The UCI has repeatedly stated that the system it runs is the toughest anti-doping measure throughout all the sports, and that it is proof that cycling is far cleaner than it was in the past. However it doesn't regularly release figures relating to the volume of testing being done, and since previous anti-doping chief Anne Gripper left the organisation, the biological passport has been less open to discussion by the UCI than before. This makes it difficult to ascertain how much testing is being carried out.

Apart from his role in building Cervélo, Vroomen was involved in the running of the Cervélo test team which existed between 2009 and 2010.

VeloNation will continue to seek a response from the UCI to the questions raised by Vroomen.

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