Roman Kreuziger, key support rider for Alberto Contador, out of Tour de France over bio passport abnormalities

But why did UCI take eight months to move case forward?

by John Stevenson   June 30, 2014  

Roman Kreuziger.png

Czech professional cyclist Roman Kreuziger has denied doping after being stood down by his Tinkoff-Saxo team over irregularities in his biological passport values.

Kreuziger maintains there are innocent explanations for what the UCI claims are abnormalities identified in his biological passport in 2011 and 2012.

Nevertheless, Kreuziger will not be racing again until the issue is resolved, although the team has not formally suspended him.

In a statement, Tinkoff-Saxo said: “The team has decided, in agreement with Roman, that he will not ride in any races including this year’s Tour de France until more information becomes available to the team.

“Though he won’t be racing for now, until more information becomes available to the team it will not provisionally suspend Roman unless required by the UCI or the Czech Federation.”

The case will raise questions over the speed with which the UCI acts in biological passport cases. The passport system tracks the levels of cells and other substances in a rider’s blood and urine over time to detect unusual values that can indicate doping.

Kreuziger claims he was notified on June 28, 2013 that the UCI had detected abnormalities in his biological passport values.

He said in a statement: “I immediately had the data in my biological passport checked by two accredited experts, who in September and October last year unanimously concluded that the values were due to causes that were not due to the use of doping substances or methods.”

Statements from those experts were passed to the UCI by October 3, 2013, the team said.

On May 30, Kreuziger was advised that the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CAFD) Experts Panel did not accept his explanation.

He sought the opinion of a third expert who, he said, confirmed that “the data in my biological passport are absolutely normal and give no grounds for suspecting the use of doping substances or methods.”

Nevertheless, Kreuziger finds himself out of the Tour de France where he was expected to be a key support rider for team leader Alberto Contador.

“I intend to defend myself in the appropriate quarters, even by the more expedite legal proceeding, in order to establish in the fastest possible way the truth in this matter,” he said.

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Its impossible to comment really except that this all takes too long and the timing sucks. Whilst we are at it, any news on JTL?

posted by Simmo72 [277 posts]
30th June 2014 - 12:58

like this
Like (26)

3 years since a finding - and its not done and dusted ??? that is ridiculous. I mean, really ridiculous.

posted by edster99 [151 posts]
30th June 2014 - 14:27

like this
Like (16)

UCI still not fit for service it seems; honestly, how many years does it take to make a decision and how is it acceptable that this hits a team weeks before the biggest race of the year, especially as the alleged offences date back from his Astana days.

Regardless of the actual case, it's just not acceptable in this day and age to drag this out over years, and it does pose the question whether the biological passport is as reliable as the UCI and WADA wants us to believe; after all it seems 3 independent experts, Tinkov Saxo medical staff and the UCI expert panel cannot agree on interpreting the data.

And the UCI believes it is perfectly acceptable for a rider under investigation to move teams - I wouldn't be very happy as team manager to find out halfway through the season.

posted by Metjas [280 posts]
30th June 2014 - 14:44

like this
Like (18)

The problem with the bio-passport is that it's based on science that's founded on pretty sketchy data with respect to elite level endurance athletes. There is software that flags anomolous bio-passport parameters, and then it goes to a subjective interpretation by a panel of experts.

As a result, there is a *lot* of room for the experts to argue about the data, and the riders/teams themselves can get their own experts in to argue even further.

posted by Paul J [582 posts]
30th June 2014 - 15:19

like this
Like (17)

Paul J wrote:
The problem with the bio-passport is that it's based on science that's founded on pretty sketchy data with respect to elite level endurance athletes. There is software that flags anomolous bio-passport parameters, and then it goes to a subjective interpretation by a panel of experts.

As a result, there is a *lot* of room for the experts to argue about the data, and the riders/teams themselves can get their own experts in to argue even further.

I think that is why they prefer suspensions. As it says the UCI have not actually banned or suspended the rider, just that he has an anomalous reading. This means that the UCI suspects but cannot confirm he is doping. I'm guessing the choice of Saxo-Tinkoff is one which covers the bases. If he's found guilty he/the team do not have any sanctions against them in the Tour and it removes the finger of suspicion from their team.

A few months down the line he comes back and has served his suspension with no effects on the upcoming races. It minimises the damage to the team and is almost self-regulating

I wonder whether the JTL situation is that he cannot recreate the conditions under which the anomaly occurred. Anyway the fact remains that things have not eradicated doping. So status quo

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1110 posts]
30th June 2014 - 15:44

like this
Like (16)