Cédric Vasseur, the new president of the international association of professional cyclists, CPA, will be attending the international Anti-Doping summit called upon by French minister of Sports, Roselyne Bachelot, in Paris today and tomorrow. The meetings will see representatives of the UCI, WADA, team managers as well as some active riders unite to discuss the latest proposals in the fight against illicit performance-enhancing methods, such as the 'biological passport'.
But former pro Vasseur is not convinced that the summit will provide solutions to the problem, and criticised the fact that the riders weren't represented at the talks at all. "The riders who are invited [David Millar, Thomas Voeckler, Jérôme Pineau - ed.] are there only on a personal basis," Vasseur told AFP. "The riders do not have a representative talking at the round tables. I will be listening to what will be said and inform the riders of it. But I'm annoyed by the fact that it's only about cycling."
The 37 year-old was also wary as the confidentiality of the data produced for the biological passport, which the UCI wants to implement as soon as January 2008. "This subject was invoked without being discussed with the riders," he continued. "This passport can serve as a tool to combat doping, but it shouldn't be used by the media. It should remain the business of the doctors, the UCI and WADA. The medical parameters are confidential. We have seen that anonymous data has been revealed to the public. The Anti-Doping instances have shown that they are not afraid to exclude and sanction - you can't say that they don't fight [doping]."
An increase in the amount of doping controls would not save cycling, either, Vasseur commented. "Quantity does not necessarily mean quality," he said. "Of course there have to be controls, but it shouldn't come down to harassment. In between sending schedules to the team and the other instances, the repetition of controls, the rider has less and less time to focus on the next competition. But just like the team directors, the riders are willing to prove their good faith."
The Anti-Doping summit will consist of four round table meetings in two days. On Monday, the current state of the fight against doping as well as detection methods will be evoked. On Tuesday, discussion topics will include Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE's), the role of team doctors and the possible creation of referee doctors who would control the drug prescriptions of their colleagues during races.
The fourth and last of the round tables will consider the implemetation of experimental measures in 2008, and will sit down Bachelot, as well as UCI president Pat McQuaid, WADA president Richard Pound and Tour de France organiser ASO president Patrice Clerc. The next Tour de France is rumoured to serve as a test run for the application of these measures.