By Susan Westemeyer
The Agency for Cycling Ethics (ACE), which is running the anti-doping programmes for Team High Road and Team Slipstream, has introduced a second programme "for small teams with correspondingly smaller budgets." It also announced its first client for the programme, BMC Racing Team, an American Professional Continental team.
"We are excited that the BMC Racing Team has joined in the fight against doping and that we can provide a programme to help them have confidence that their team is racing clean," said Jim Winett, chief executive officer of The Agency for Sports Ethics.
In 2006, ACE introduced the "Pure Sport Program," which High Road and Slipstream use. It is "a unique and comprehensive programme to monitor cyclists' biological markers (biomarkers) over time in the fight against doping, incorporating an average of over 30 collections per rider per year, and testing of both blood and urine."
The new programme announced Tuesday is called the "Blood Passport Program" and offers "slightly more blood testing at a small cost," according to the company's press release. "ACE's Blood Passport Program includes an average of 15 random collections per rider per year, both in and out of competition, and provides longitudinal analysis of biological markers, including testing for haemoglobin, hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume, reticulocyte count, and off score (stimulation index). As a result, this programme provides for blood testing and analysis equal to or greater in frequency than the UCI's 2008 program."
According to ACE Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Paul Strauss, "We recognize that not every team can afford the exceptional level of security that the Pure Sport Program provides. Our Blood Passport Program was designed to allow teams who cannot afford our Pure Sport Program the ability to still participate in a monitoring program."