The UCI say they are set to “explore new avenues” as they look to step up their fight against doping in light of the recent Operation Aderlass investigation.
Cycling’s governing body decided at the UCI Management Committee, which met during the Yorkshire World Championships, that they “would look into the possibility” of working with the International Testing Agency (ITA) on anti-doping.
The ITA currently oversees the anti-doping programmes of more than 40 organisations around the world, including the international federations of a number of Olympic sports as well as a number of other major sporting events.
The UCI say the recent Operation Aderlass case has shown “one more time that doping knows no boundaries, neither sports nor countries” and therefore they need to add to how they attempt to tackle the issue.
Operation Aderlass was a police investigation into blood doping in the Nordic skiing World Championships in Seefeld, Austria. Police raided 16 properties and arrested nine people earlier this year during operations in Seefeld and Erfurt, Germany, and 40 blood bags were seized in the process. A number of skiers were arrested and it soon emerged that top tier cyclists were also involved.
This week WorldTour team Bahrain-Merida fired a rider and a sports director after they were banned by the UCI for their links with the Operation Aderlass blood doping scandal.
Slovenian rider Kristijan Koren and his compatriot Borut Božič, a former pro turned DS, were both suspended by the team earlier this year after the UCI published names of riders believed to be involved in the Austrian and German doping ring.
Bahrain-Merida terminated both riders’ contracts and pointed out the violations were committed before the team existed.
The UCI say this new potential partnership with ITA and “global approach” could help in key areas such as research, innovation, intelligence and investigations, and pooling costs and resources.
In a statement, the UCI said: “In its capacity as a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code, the UCI is responsible for the fight against doping in cycling. As a result, it is obliged to consider all available means for ensuring and enhancing protection for clean cyclists.”