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UCI names first five biological passport violators

By:
Gregor Brown
Published:
June 17, 2009, 11:00 BST,
Updated:
June 18, 2009, 12:48 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 18, 2009
Astarloa, Caucchioli, De Bonis, Serrano and Lobato Elvira were the riders named by the UCI

Astarloa, Caucchioli, De Bonis, Serrano and Lobato Elvira were the riders named by the UCI

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Caucchioli, Serrano suspended, De Bonis responds to allegations

Two riders have been suspended by their teams pending disciplinary action by their national federations following abnormal testing results as part of the UCI's biological passport system.

Lampre's Pietro Caucchioli and Fuji-Servetto's Ricardo Serrano have been suspended their teams after being named by the UCI as riders who showed abnormal values in the year-old system. Both teams stated that the riders showed the abnormal results during the 2008 season while riding for other teams.

Caucchioli rode for Crédit Agricole in 2008, while Serrano was part of the Tinkoff Credit Systems team last year.

The UCI announced Wednesday that it has requested that disciplinary procedures be opened against five riders for "apparent violation of the Anti-Doping Rules on the basis of the information provided by the blood profile in their biological passports". The passport system measures a variety of blood parameters over the course of the season in order to detect the effects of doping.

The Lampre team responded to news about Caucchioli, stating that his abnormal values were measured before he signed on to the team. "The value that brought about a warning about a potential anti-doping rule violation concerns a blood test taken in September 2008 before Tour de Pologne, when the cyclist wasn't in Team Lampre-NGC," said team doctor Guardascione.

Fuji-Servetto issued a statement on Serrano, saying, "According to the documentation received, the anomalies into his blood values were found in samples from controls made in 2008, when Serrano was part of another team, with no remarkable variations found in the 2009 samples –a s well in the blood passport as in the internal controls by the team - since the rider signed with the team."

Also named were former world champion Igor Astarloa, former Saunier Duval rider Ruben Lobato Elvira, who is without a team for this season, and Italian Francesco De Bonis (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni - Androni Giocattoli).

Astarloa, the 2003 road world champion, was released from the Milram team last year after displaying irregular blood values. He signed with the division three Amica Chips team for 2009, but the team folded in May.

De Bonis, formerly with the Gerolsteiner team, was placed on inactive status last year but denied that it was due to his test results. He was surprised at the news when reached by Cyclingnews. "I have not yet heard anything. I have been out, someone called today while I was out, but I still have not yet responded to the number. Maybe they were searching for me."

De Bonis was unaware that he was being targeted by the UCI, and said he had heard nothing from them about his passport values. He said that all of his anti-doping controls have been negative throughout the season.

"All the tests I have done throughout the year, including the Giro d'Italia, have been all negative ... all of my samples taken at home, via ADAMS, were all negative."

The Diquigiovanni rider featured in several breakaways during this year's Giro d'Italia, and placed fourth in the Fuga Cervelo classification for time spent in escapes.

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