UCI to go ahead with anti-doping passports despite WADA withdrawal, CYC

28th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

International Cycling Union was surprised at agency’s pull out of pilot project but will move ahead with plans to provide riders with biological passports

28 March 2008

GENEVA - The International Cycling Union will move ahead with an anti-doping plan to provide riders with biological passports, despite losing the support of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The UCI said in a statement it was surprised that WADA had pulled out of the pilot programme. But the world cycling body added it "would nevertheless continue its best efforts to implement the programme."

WADA said on its Web site that it could not be involved with the programme - which involves taking samples to establish each rider's steroid and blood profile - because of a separate legal dispute with the UCI. The Montreal-based agency said it would focus instead on implementing the pilot programme in a sport other than cycling.

The announcement came after the UCI lodged a complaint in a Swiss court over what it called "continual injurious and biased comments" by former WADA chief Dick Pound.

"WADA agreed to pilot its athlete's passport project with the UCI, rather than any other sport, in an attempt to help restore cycling to a cleaner and more credible state," said John Fahey, who replaced Pound as WADA president in January. "This came following a cycling season and Tour de France in 2007 in which cycling was yet again wracked with doping scandals."

Fahey said it was no longer possible to continue the partnership "in light of the UCI's attack on WADA."

UCI announced last October that it hoped to implement the passport early this year to detect possible doping. The programme was praised by IOC president Jacques Rogge, who said he expected other sports federations to adopt the same approach.

The lawsuit announced last week centers on criticism by Pound of the UCI and its former president Hein Verbruggen over fighting doping in cycling.

Pound regularly clashed with Verbruggen and the UCI over the doping scandals that have rocked the sport.

In response, WADA said it would help defend its former president.

[Copyright AP 2008]

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