Recent statements concerning doping investigations stemming from the biological passport programme "do not correspond to what an in-depth analysis by the UCI experts has established in the present situation," the International Cycling Union (UCI) said in a press release issued Monday night.
Over the weekend, Robin Parisotto, a blood-doping expert working for the UCI, said in an interview on German television that "The UCI has taken and examined more than 1,000 blood samples from riders for the biological passport. More than 30 are suspicious and some [riders] could face a ban." In its press release, the German sender ARD said that the blood values of some riders "clearly indicated blood doping."
The UCI noted that it had collected 8,300 blood samples from 804 riders for the biological passport programme. These profiles were then reviewed by a group of nine independent scientific experts, who were to give recommendations as to whether there was an indication of blood manipulation.
The first results showed "a number of profiles that could be qualified as 'abnormal' and which required further attention from the experts," the UCI said. However, after further examination, a number of these were no longer considered suspect, while others were found to justify additional testing.
"A small number of profiles is now under further scrutiny following high scientific and legal standards," according to the UCI. However, it is "critically important that the UCI will proceed only on sound evidence of doping.
"The UCI invested significant efforts in 2008 to establish and lay the foundations for the biological passport. It has proved to be very valuable in terms of building up information, experience and know-how," the UCI concluded. "It is a solid basis for bringing the biological passport at cruising speed in 2009."(SW)