The UCI is looking into the possibility of working with the International Testing Agency (ITA) on anti-doping. The move comes partly in response to the Operation Aderlass investigation, which the UCI says has shown a need for “more of a global approach”.
Operation Aderlass has been looking into alleged doping practices carried out by Erfurt-based German physician Mark Schmidt. A number of cyclists and winter sports athletes have been implicated.
In August, Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi – who won Milan-Sanremo and the points jersey in all three Grand Tours – was handed a two-year ban for blood doping as a result of the investigation. More recently, Slovenian cyclists Kristijan Koren and Borut Bozic were also given two-year bans.
The UCI says that Aderlass has shown that, “doping now knows no boundaries, neither between sports nor countries.”
Founded in 2018, the ITA is an independent, not-for-profit foundation supported by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada). It is currently in charge of anti-doping programmes for more than 40 organisations.
The UCI says it will liaise with the ITA to assess whether closer collaboration could bring benefits to cycling. It did however emphasise that it would continue to make use of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) – another independent body – which has been managing the UCI’s anti-doping programme in recent years.
In a statement, the UCI said: “The UCI is looking to liaise with [ITA] to assess whether closer collaboration could bring benefits to the cycling community.
“In more specific terms, the UCI is keen to gauge the potential advantages that more of a global approach could bring with regard to synergies, not least in key areas such as research, innovation, intelligence and investigations, and pooling costs and resources.
“The UCI nevertheless wishes to make it clear that it is fully appreciative of the expertise of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF). An independent body founded in 2008 with the brief of setting out and implementing the UCI’s anti-doping strategy, the CADF has put cycling at the forefront of the fight against doping. It is for that reason that the UCI will make sure CADF’s expertise is preserved regardless of the outcome of the discussions. In any case, the UCI confirms that the CADF shall retain the responsibility for the cycling anti-doping programme for 2020.”
Separately, the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) – the union of pro teams created to defend the idea of clean cycling – has announced that its members are to start testing for thyroid stimulating hormones.
While membership of MPCC is voluntary, the move is significant in that the MPCC has often led the way with anti-doping measures. It maintained a “no needles” policy long before it was adopted by the UCI and it also led the way in testing for cortisone/cortisol and Tramadol.
In a statement, the organisation said: “On the request of the physicians of the MPCC teams, tests on Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) will be added to cortisol level ones our movement will perform.
“The goal is to collect anonymous and accurate data so the working group the MPCC is setting up can provide a framework for a new regulation on thyroid hormones. In case any anomaly is found, the team physician responsible for the involved athlete will have to line things up in the proper way.”