The fight against doping in cycling took a step forward on Wednesday as the sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced that it has established a partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
The collaboration will see the organisations sharing anti-doping intelligence, information and riders' biological passport data in a new level of co-operation to prevent and catch drug cheats in cycling.
UCI president Brian Cookson hailed the partnership as 'tremendous progress' in re-establishing the credibility of the organisation after previous doping scandals and allegations of cover-ups.
"Signing a sharing agreement with one of the most important stakeholders in the field of anti-doping is another testimony to the tremendous progress we have made in the past three years in rebuilding trust in the UCI," said Cookson.
"This partnership strengthens our intelligence-led approach and we now have an unprecedented level of collaboration with anti-doping organisations around the world."
The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) – who undertake the anti-doping programme in the sport on behalf of the UCI – will work with USADA to form a new testing plan for UCI sanctioned cycling events in the USA.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart said: "I am excited that the progress made by the UCI over the last several years has allowed our organisations to now come together to best serve clean athletes.
Watch: Anti-doping seminar highlights
"We know from experience that when sport organisations partner with independent anti-doping organisations, it brings confidence to athletes that their rights are being protected, and that they can compete and win on a level playing field."
Earlier this week, the UCI announced that thermal imaging cameras will be used during the Tour de France (July 2-24) to help detect hidden electric motors in bikes.
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