The UCI's biological passport programme should soon reveal the first cases of riders suspected of cheating during the 2008 season. Anti-doping experts are currently examining about 800 medical files of top level pros that have been tested since the inception of the programme in the beginning of the year, and are expected to inform the UCI of cases susceptible for doping charges during the month of November.
The head of the UCI anti-doping commission, Anne Gripper, revealed that the expert's recommendations included suspect cases, but did not want to comment further. "For us, it is important that the first cases are very solid," she said to French news agency AFP. "Even if this can be frustrating because it takes a long time, we will remain patient and prudent. The first cases need to be flawless to stand firm against meticulous scientific and legal scrutiny, rather than hastily presenting cases that could be appealed."
Procedure mistakes could indeed lead to legal battles over the outcome of the rider profile, as has often been the case in doping cases in the past. It is therefore very important to "identify each result that contributed to establishing the profile to see if it can be considered valid," according to UCI scientific adviser Mario Zorzoli.
It is this work that is now close to being finished, with the independent experts giving "recommendations" to the UCI this week. "The anti-doping commission will then decide if we open a disciplinary procedure, like for a positive anti-doping control," said UCI press officer Enrico Carpani. These procedures would in turn lead to possible suspensions of the concerned riders by their national federations. "But this can take some more time," added Carpani.