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Passport cases around the corner?

The UCI's biological passport programme has yet to produce any doping sanctions, but according to a recent article in the New York Times, action could come soon. UCI president Pat McQuaid said that cases would be pursued in "the coming days and weeks," but did not reveal how many riders are suspected of doping. He hinted that it would be between one and six riders.

The blood passport system, which examines a series of blood values from each individual rider over time, can detect the evidence of doping in the absence of an analytical positive test for a certain drug. The scheme has yet to stand up to the legal system, and the UCI has been careful to make sure all of the details are covered before going forward with seeking sanctions against riders.

According to the latest report, the UCI has taken an average of 10 samples from some 800 riders, both in and out of competition under the passport testing regime.

David Howman, the World Anti-Doping Agency's director general, is busy preparing a manual for athlete passports to standardize the process, and said the UCI has followed all of the rules.

"Everyone is scared of that first case because they don't want it to bomb on them," Howman said. "We are very anxious to ensure that this is a successful project because the sooner we have a successful case, the better it will be for future cases. This will be a significant step forward in protecting clean athletes."