The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced on Wednesday that the biological passports developed with the UCI would be used for the Tour de France even if the race is not sanctioned by the sport's governing body, but the president of the French anti-doping agency is not so sure the systems will be in place by then.
WADA Director General David Howman told AFP that despite the fact that the system was developed by the UCI, WADA and the French Ministry of Sport, it would be ready to be used by whichever governing body were to sanction the Tour.
The passport would look at six blood samples for some 700 to 900 riders leading up to the Tour de France, and would be compiled by WADA's ADAMS software, which is accessible to any anti-doping agency.
The French Anti-doping Agency, AFLD, could be pulled in to run the doping controls for the July event if it is held outside the aegis of the UCI, as is the case for Paris-Nice. Its president Pierre Bordry has guarded optimism for the practice being fully functional in time for the Tour. "Even if WADA is aware of a suspicious passport, will it be able to transmit the result to the French Agency for the fight against doping?"
Bordry clarified that its options would be limited even if a suspicious value were detected, and it would only be able to perform targeted controls on the rider in question, and "under no circumstances provide the result to ASO," said Bordry. "I would be very surprised if the French Ministry of Sports continued to fund a blood passport that is not usable for the Tour de France."
The battle between the ASO and the UCI has delayed the implementation of the passports because of funding issues, and Bordry was concerned that any delay would get passed down to the laboratory which must analyse the samples. "If we wanted to integrate the laboratory Châtenay-Malabry, we would have to train staff and purchase equipment, which will take two months," he said.