ProTour teams commit to DNA testing option

The UCI announced Wednesday that all 20 ProTour teams and all but a few of those teams' riders will...

The UCI announced Wednesday that all 20 ProTour teams and all but a few of those teams' riders will participate in DNA profiling in an effort to address doping allegations. UCI President Pat McQuaid told the Associated Press (AP) that the agreement "gives us an important tool to work with".

On Tuesday it was revealed that DNA in a saliva sample from 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich was matched with that in blood bags labelled with the names "Jan," "number 1" or "Hijo Rudicio" ('son of Rudy') seized in the Operación Puerto investigation. Despite the recent evidence, Ullrich and his attorneys have maintained his innocence, denying any involvement in a blood doping program.

Per the agreement, riders would not put their DNA in a bank; instead they commit to do so if involved in a doping investigation that requires such evidence. In theory, the DNA information could enable riders to prove their innocence.

Speaking about the new measures, Gerrit Middag, general manager of the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT), told the AP, "It gives the right signal. In the long term, it will prove its value."

The half-dozen riders who have not committed to DNA profiling remain anonymous and currently do not face an official deadline to adhere to the new measures. However, at the launch of its new anti-doping initiative in March, the UCI announced that 100% of ProTour riders would commit to DNA testing, although it remains to be seen whether the new measures can be backdated to force ProTour riders implicated in Operación Puerto to provide DNA samples.

Although the Spanish courts have shelved the investigation, McQuaid has said the UCI will continue to address the Operación Puerto case. "We want to get all the truth out," he said.

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