The UCI assured the organiser of the upcoming Giro d'Italia that all of the teams participating in this year's event have signed onto the biological passport programme, including the LPR Brakes team of 2007 Giro winner Danilo Di Luca. The Italian has been under scrutiny by the Italian anti-doping authorities after returning unusually low hormone values after stage 17 of the race last year. Di Luca also served a three-month suspension for his involvement with Dr. Carlos Santuccione, who notoriously provided doping substances to athletes across Italy.
The Professional Continental teams LPR Brakes and NGC Medical - OTC Indutria Porte were not originally part of the passport system, but were recently brought on board. The teams did not receive the 'wild card' status from the UCI which would have allowed them to participate in ProTour events, but joined the system at their own cost. "They have agreed to pay the full cost of the programme for their teams. The UCI has the discretion to include any team which is willing to finance their participation in the passport," read a UCI statement.
The UCI is optimistic that the programme is providing an effective deterrent to doping, but aren't so naive to think that all riders are now clean. "We can never be 100-percent sure that a rider isn't doping. We can't control the decisions taken by riders before and during a race," read the organisation's press release. "But we can certainly influence their decisions by conducting an effective anti-doping program. Riders will be completely deterred from doping when they feel that the risks of being detected and banned exceed the potential benefits of using doping methods and substances."