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Gripper visits Columbia for anti-doping update

Anne Gripper visited Columbia's training camp

Anne Gripper visited Columbia's training camp (Image credit: AFP)

By Daniel Benson in Mallorca

The UCI's Anne Gripper made a flying visit to Team Columbia's training camp Monday, to explain changes to the governing body's (Union Cycliste International) testing procedures for 2009. Gripper and her colleagues will be visiting as many ProTour teams as possible in the coming weeks, with Liquigas next on the list.

"We're giving each team an update on the biological passport and how the programme has progressed. We want to give them notice and explain what will happen next year with rule changes that affect them under the World anti-doping [WADA] code and the UCI's anti-doping rules," said Gripper.

The first rule change concerns the riders' whereabouts, with athletes required to specify a one-hour guaranteed testing slot every day for a three-month period. Within that time-frame they must have a daily residence and they must inform the UCI of their schedule, as well as any travel arrangements, via the ADAMS, the Anti-Doping Administration & Management System. ADAMS is an online reporting system for the riders which allow them to make quick changes if their schedule changes. The one-hour rule was previously adopted by Germany.

"Obviously they don't know their exact plans for March, so they also have to update their whereabouts if a change occurs. It's only during that one-hour slot that a missed test can be recorded. That's where they need to be careful. If they have three whereabouts failures or three missed tests [or a mixture of both] in 18 months it can lead to an anti-doping violation, depending on the circumstance. Riders can provide explanations before a ruling is made," said Gripper.

The second major rule change covers therapeutic use exemptions and how riders apply for them. There are now different types, meaning a rider with asthma will need to have an 'asthma TUE' (therapeutic use exemption) form, which needs a full medical file. Those using corticoids steroids need only to declare that through ADAMS.

Another rule change means that national anti-doping organisations are required to inform the UCI of any missed test or a finding failure.

Gripper was also at the team training camp to demonstrate the upgrades made to the ADAMS system. "The rider asked some good questions but most were interested in the practical side of how the programme worked and out-of-competition testing," Gripper said.

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