The Agency for Cycling Ethics (ACE) is going out of business, effective immediately, because of financial problems. The US-based firm had done anti-doping testing for the American teams Columbia, Garmin-Chipotle and BMC Racing.
"I can confirm that the Agency for Cycling Ethics is closing operations," co-founder and CEO Paul Strauss, told ESPN.com "We have no other comments regarding this."
The three US teams were among those who had an independent doping-control firm to keep an eye on its riders. Garmin owner Doug Ellis said that he was working with Columbia owner Bob Stapleton, "hoping to be able to get something else in place by the beginning of next season. There's no way forward that doesn't include this kind of program."
Under the ACE program, riders would have blood and urine tests about 26 times a year, in order to establish their baseline values and establish profiles to be used in conjunction with the UCI's biological passports.
A similar program is offered by Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard, who does controls for Teams CSC Saxo Bank, Astana and Liquigas, but who might not be able to take on any more teams. "The problem is that there aren't that many people with expertise in this field, people who we trust and that the world also trusts,"' Ellis said.(SW)