January 27, 2009 – Following recent declarations published in the press according to which the profiles of some thirty riders registered in the biological passport are to be considered as suspect, the International Cycling Union (UCI) would like to clarify this matter.
In actual fact, these statements do not correspond exactly to what an in-depth analysis by the UCI experts has established is the present situation.
Throughout 2008 the UCI collected approximately 8’300 blood samples which were integrated into the biological passports of 804 riders.
The lab analysis results of each sample were processed in a mathematical model which yields the individual blood profile of each rider.
It has taken time before enough samples were collected in order to build a profile for each rider which was elaborate enough for drawing conclusions.
The profiles have been submitted to a group of nine independent scientific experts who were appointed by the UCI to interpret the scientific and statistical elements of each profile in order to give recommendations on whether blood manipulation had occurred.
A first selection resulted in a number of profiles that that could be qualified as “abnormal” and which required further attention from the experts.
A thorough examination by the experts of these profiles resulted in a number being considered as not suspect, based on indications that the abnormal profile may have arisen due to reasons other than doping.
There were other profiles which justified immediate target testing with normal doping controls and/or the collection of further blood samples for completing the profile in order to exclude any uncertainties.
A small number of profiles is now under further scrutiny following
high scientific and legal standards.
The concept of indirect detection which is enabled through profiling is a new paradigm in anti-doping. It is therefore critically important that the UCI will proceed only on sound evidence of doping.
The benefit of the profiling approach is that no tests are wasted. A rider’s profile can continue to be built to ensure certainty of interpretation.
The UCI invested significant effort in 2008 to establish and lay the foundations for the biological passport. It has proved to be very valuable in terms of building up information, experience and know-how. It is a solid basis for bringing the biological passport at cruising speed in 2009.