In a joint press conference held with the French Anti-doping Authority (AFLD) in Paris this morning, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced that names of professional cyclists who’s biological passport figures have thrown up anomalies will be released next week.
“Following a meeting of experts in Geneva last week the UCI has decided to take action against a certain number of riders early next week,” UCI president Pat McQuaid announced.
“The riders will be informed early next week, then the teams and national federations will be informed. We will name the names shortly after that.”
McQuaid said that it is not possible to immediately sanction a rider on the basis of findings from the biological passport system. However, if the UCI does deem that the findings are worthy of further investigation, they can open a long-term anti-doping violation case against the rider.
“When we open these cases next week there is no provisional suspension, so it’ll be up to the teams to decide what to do with the riders.”
Cycling Weekly suggested that some teams would withdraw a named rider, whereas others would not. McQuaid’s answer was “it’s up to the teams to weigh up the pressure that is brought to bear and study each case.”
“Race organisers may take steps to exclude riders, and any dispute would then have to be settled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” McQuaid continued.
The UCI’s biological passport system was set up as a long-term anti-doping procedure. A riders blood, urine and other values are charted throughout the racing season, both using in-competition and out-of-competition testing. Any sudden change in value – for example, haematocrit – may indicate the use of banned performance-enhancing substances.
Results of the passport system have been a long time coming. On Tuesday, the UCI announced that Spanish Katusha rider Antoni Colom had failed an out-of-competition test for EPO as a result of findings from the passport system.