Having announced two months ago that the UCI's biological passport had detected suspect profiles with the likely cause being doping, cycling's governing body appears close to declaring which rider has fallen foul of the sport's anti-doping governance.
And apparently it could be a high-profile scalp ahead of next Saturday's Giro d'Italia start in Amsterdam.
According to Italian cycling site tuttobiciweb, sources close to the UCI have stated that one of the suspected riders is "an Italian high-level athlete, [set] for a starring role in the Giro d'Italia."
UCI president Pat McQuaid revealed to Bloomberg in late February that a handful of riders had been asked to explain their blood values to the independent expert panel that examines the biological passport readings. "We see no other reason other than a possible potential doping reason," said McQuaid.
Riders were notified and given a month to present clear and justifiable evidence supporting the presence of an abnormal profile. Following examination of this evidence from riders by an independent commission of nine experts, the UCI has been preparing statements regarding the situation, with the announcement due to be made later today or tomorrow.
Gazzetta suggests between five and eight riders involved
Monday's Gazzetta dello Sport reported that between five and eight riders could be named, suggesting that they could include a Russian, two Spaniards, a Slovenian and probably two Italians, of whom one is riding the Giro d'Italia with ambitions of success. Gazzetta added that this rider's passport problems refer to the 2009 Tour de France.
Gazzetta dello Sport suggests the names will be revealed today (Monday) because the Giro d'Italia organisers RCS Sport has to make a final decision on the teams and riders it confirms for this year's race which begins in Amsterdam next Saturday.
Last year, five riders were identified as having manipulated their blood, namely Spain's Igor Astarloa, Ruben Lobato and Ricardo Serrano and Italy's Pietro Caucchioli and Francesco De Bonis.