The Union Cycliste International has this evening issued a statement refuting the suggestion reported by much of the media that the biological passport profiles of 30 professional riders showed anomalies that warranted investigation.
Robin Parisotto, a blood-doping expert working for the UCI, told German television at the weekend that 30 riders were under suspicion of having doped, following analysis of more than 1,000 blood samples.
But the UCI issued a statement saying that Mr Parisotto’s comments did not accurately reflect the situation.
The UCI said that in 2008 approximately 8,300 blood samples were collected to compile the biological passports of 804 riders.
A ‘small number’ of profiles are now under scrutiny, according to the UCI, but action will only be taken if the evidence stands up to high scientific and legal examination.
Laboratory analysis of each sample was processed using a mathematical model which creates an individual blood profile of each rider.
“It has taken time before enough samples were collected in order to build a profile for each rider which was elaborate enough for drawing conclusions,” said the statement.
“The profiles have been submitted to a group of nine independent scientific experts who were appointed by the UCI to interpret the scientific and statistical elements of each profile in order to give recommendations on whether blood manipulation had occurred.
“A first selection resulted in a number of profiles that that could be qualified as ‘abnormal’ and which required further attention from the experts.
“A thorough examination by the experts of these profiles resulted in a number being considered as not suspect, based on indications that the abnormal profile may have arisen due to reasons other than doping.
“There were other profiles which justified immediate target testing with normal doping controls and/or the collection of further blood samples for completing the profile in order to exclude any uncertainties.
“A small number of profiles is now under further scrutiny following high scientific and legal standards.
“The concept of indirect detection which is enabled through profiling is a new paradigm in anti-doping. It is therefore critically important that the UCI will proceed only on sound evidence of doping.
“The benefit of the profiling approach is that no tests are wasted. A rider?s profile can continue to be built to ensure certainty of interpretation.
“The UCI invested significant effort in 2008 to establish and lay the foundations for the biological passport. It has proved to be very valuable in terms of building up information, experience and know-how. It is a solid basis for bringing the biological passport at cruising speed in 2009.”
Union Cycliste Internationale website: www.uci.ch