UCI to take action, Tour riders face army of testers

Disciplinary action for biological passport abnormalities

The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced that it will be taking disciplinary action against an undisclosed number of professional riders whose biological passports have shown abnormal results, at a press conference in Paris on Wednesday.

"The riders will be informed early next week," said UCI president Pat McQuaid, according to AFP. "We will inform their teams and national federations. We will [then] name the riders and will start disciplinary proceedings against them."

McQuaid did not reveal the names of the riders involved nor the teams effected. Sources within the UCI have indicated that the names of riders could emerge on Monday of next week.

McQuaid went on to explain that the UCI would not itself be suspending the named riders, instead leaving it to teams to decide what action should be taken immediately against their riders. "There will be no provisional suspension. It will be up to the teams to decide what they do," said McQuaid.

The UCI president also revealed that riders in next months Tour de France will face the biggest anti-doping army ever seen at a major sports event.

AFP reported that improved relations between the UCI and the various anti-doping agencies will ensure the most comprehensive testing procedures in cycling's history. "The Tour de France in 2009 will probably be the most tested sports event in history," McQuaid said.

"Our [the UCI and testing agency AFLD] collaboration at the Paris-Nice race (in March) worked extremely well, we continued discussions and came up with an anti-doping programme leading up to and through the 2009 TDF," added McQuaid.

"During the race we will do three to four hundred tests. Tour officials have provided us with a long list of riders likely to be racing the Tour."

The news comes just a day after rider Antonio Colom, was suspended by his team, Russian squad Team Katusha. The Spaniard returned a positive test for the banned blood agent EPO. The rider is currently awaiting the results of testing on his B-sample.

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