ACE's demise triggers new anti-doping system for Garmin and Columbia

Jonathan Vaughters announced that a new system for extra testing of Garmin-Chipotle and Team...

Jonathan Vaughters announced that a new system for extra testing of Garmin-Chipotle and Team Columbia's riders will be created to replace work done by the now defunct Agency for Cycling Ethics (ACE).

Vaughters told Cycling Weekly that the scientists responsible for the new system will have access to ACE's anti-doping records for the two American teams. The new system is likely to be run in collaboration with cycling's governing body, the Union Cycliste International (UCI).

Throughout 2008, ACE had been taking blood and urine samples from Columbia and Garmin riders every two weeks as part of a reinforced system of anti-doping testing that guaranteed maximum credibility. The tests were not specifically to search for banned drugs, rather to look for indications of their possible use. ACE recently ceased operations for unspecified reasons, although they were rumoured to be in financial difficulty.

Garmin and Columbia have worked together to create a new system that will carry on ACE's work in 2009. Crucially, just like ACE, the new system will be independent of the teams, guaranteeing maximum credibility. The other team that was using ACE's services, BMC Racing, is not included.

"ACE did a great job, but we're optimistic that this new system will be even better," said Vaughters, whose line up in 2009 will include Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, Magnus Backstedt and Dan Martin.

"We're going to talk this through with the riders first at the team get-together in mid-November, and then we'll be revealing specific details to the press later on in the month or in December."

Vaughters is optimistic that things are getting even more transparent. "We'll be able to use the profiles forwarded from ACE and as the UCI's biological passport gets more effective with more and more data, we'll be able to have an even more accurate picture than we already had in 2008."

Brits Bradley Wiggins and David Millar are both riding for Garmin-Chipotle in 2009, and Mark Cavendish is staying at Columbia, as boss Bob Stapleton restructures the team around him.

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