International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid, quoted in French newspaper L'Equipe yesterday, said that the UCI is doing increased testing on 50 riders in the run up to the Tour de France. Amid speculation about the amount of 'positive' biological passport cases the UCI will announce this week, the Irishman stressed that the first number is unrelated to the second.
"I emphasised that there weren't 50 suspicious riders," he told Cyclingnews Monday morning. "The 50 refers to a selection from the long list for the Tour de France."
The organiser "gave us the long list of some 300 riders which had been supplied to them by the teams, from which each team will select their nine for the Tour. All of these riders are subject to extra testing in the weeks leading up to the Tour de France. A group of around 50 were selected by UCI, ASO [Amaury Sport Organisation] and AFLD [French anti-doping agency] comprising the race favourites, leading riders in each team and some targeted riders; they will get extra testing on top of the others."
Separately, the cycling union will inform several riders and their teams this week of adverse results under the biological passport system, perhaps as early as today. There had been a considerable delay in implementing the findings of the longitudinal study, but the cycling union says that it is now ready to progress and ask for sanctions.
Cyclingnews sought clarification of the exact number of riders, but McQuaid declined to give more specific details. "UCI will be announcing this week a small number of riders on whom we will be starting disciplinary procedures as a result of their biological passport," he stated.