Biological passport panel to discuss suspect cases

Astarloa, Caucchioli, De Bonis, Serrano and Lobato Elvira were the riders named by the UCI

Astarloa, Caucchioli, De Bonis, Serrano and Lobato Elvira were the riders named by the UCI (Image credit: Daniel Simms)

The panel of nine experts charged with review of suspect blood test results discovered under the International Cycling Union's (UCI) biological passport program are set to meet this weekend to discuss a new batch of cases. News of the meeting was announced on French website Cyclismag after it contacted two of the nine experts on the panel.

Given that almost six months passed between the last list of five passport-related suspects being drawn up and their names being released by UCI, the meeting is unlikely to lead to any revelations in the immediate future.

On June 17, the UCI announced that it was taking disciplinary action against Spaniards Igor Astarloa, Ricardo Serrano and Rubén Lobato, and Italians Pietro Caucchioli and Francesco De Bonis following a recommendation by the nine experts that had been given in January.

According to one of the experts contacted by Cyclismag: "Among the names under discussion there may well be some who have already tested positive."

Figures released by the UCI on October 15 reveal that more than 800 riders were part of the biological passport program this year. The number of tests conducted on these riders was 9,070, or 80 below the UCI’s target for the year of 9,150. This, however, was significantly fewer than the target of 15,000 tests per year that was set when the passport program was launched at the end of 2007.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).