2011 will see increased testing of riders with suspect profiles, says UCI

Governing body also seeks to protect young riders by fighting doping at lower levels of sport

by Simon_MacMichael   December 3, 2010  

Syringe

World cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has today revealed details of its anti-doping programme for the 2011 season, the main thrust of which will be increased controls of “riders whose [biological passport] profiles may indicate illegal behaviour.”

The approach to be adopted next year was approved in Paris yesterday by the UCI’s Foundation Board, chaired by Pat McQuaid, and the Funding Committee of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), chaired by Daniel Baal respectively, met yesterday in Paris.

According to a statement from the UCI, it is focusing on riders with suspect profiles because it believes “It must be these riders who are the priority targets rather than riders with completely regular profiles who make up the majority of the peloton.”

The statement continues: “This improved targeting has been made possible by the biological passport. The very large number of controls conducted since the introduction of the biological passport (nearly 25,500) has allowed reliable profiles to be drawn up for the riders concerned.

“In terms of physiological data, the UCI thus now has a knowledge of these athletes that is without par in the world of sport. Moreover, top-performing athletes as well as newcomers to the peloton will be subject to improved targeting.”

As well as more focused targeting, the UCI is also determined to focus on stamping out doping at lower levels of the sport, saying that “sanctioning cheats is necessary, but it is even more essential to prevent young riders from resorting to illegal practices.”

The UCI explains that it will be providing “a substantial amount of information on this subject during 2011,” with the campaign being co-ordinated in partnership with national federations and “other relevant organisations.”

The governing body insists that its announcement of its plans for 2011 “represents a further step forward” in the fight against doping.

However, the sport is of course overshadowed at the moment by the uncertainty surrounding what sanction, if any, will be imposed on Tour de France winner Alberto Contador following his positive test for clenbuterol during this year’s race, and the ongoing investigation in the United States into doping in pro cycling, centred around Lance Armstrong and other former members of the US Postal Service team.