The World Anti-Doping Agency has praised the Court of Arbitration decision to ban Franco Pellizotti and Pietro Caucchioli. The two Italian cyclists were each given a two-year suspensions for violations of the biological passport programme.
“These two completed cases involving the Athlete Biological Passport Program (ABP) represent a significant step in the global fight against doping in sport. The ABP has proven it can withstand legal and scientific challenges,” said WADA director David Howman in a statement issued this week.
“Further, as stated in the Caucchioli decision, the ABP is considered a valid and reliable method for indirectly detecting doping.”
Howman added, “These decisions send a strong message to athletes who take the risk to cheat that they will ultimately be caught”
There are still two biological passport programme cases pending before the CAS. Francisco de Bonis' case was heard last month, while Tadej Valjavec expects a ruling on his case later this month.
“WADA is satisfied with the progress made with the ABP and recognizes the rigour and the continuous efforts of the International Cycling Union (UCI) in its implementation,” Howman said. “The commitment of the UCI to the ABP has been considerable and with this legal backing from CAS, it will allow them to further advance their program. In the coming months and years, we look forward to the implementation of the ABP by other anti-doping organisations on a broad scale as we continue to enhance this instrument.”
All of the athletes involved have denied doping. Pellizotti announced his retirement from the sport after the CAS decision this week.