Team spokesman Philippe Maertens explained to Cyclingnews that the riders were indeed subjected to frequent targeted controls by the UCI during the 2010 Tour de France, but neither rider tested positive or has had disciplinary action taken against him.
"The UCI made a list, and it's their right to do so. I think it's a good thing they have a biological passport. They make a list based on different criteria - we don't know what the criteria are," Maertens said. "Then they made extra controls during the Tour de France which is perfect. Our riders were check a lot of times. Based on that, it's a good system."
He said there are many reasons why a rider could have been given a higher number. The team was never informed of any irregular blood values detected by the UCI for either Muravyev or Popovych, but other information could have factored into the UCI's ranking.
"Muravyev is a good example. We don't know why he's on the list as 8, it could be either because he trains in Tenerife - all riders who train there are high on the list. The other thing is, Muravyev has a consistently low haematocrit. Riders with low haematocrit before the Tour de France were targeted because the UCI believes they could have withdrawn blood to re-inject during the Tour.
"With Muravyev, you can check with the UCI; his haematocrit is 37. after the Tour de France it's still 37, today it's probably 37. He said to me, 'They can put all my values on the Internet, but not this?' [Articles like L'Equipe's] aren't good for his image. He's such an honest guy."
Maertens said that both Popovych and Muravyev were subjected to additional controls during the Tour, but once the race was over, the UCI stopped testing them altogether.
RadioShack therefore has no reason to take any action against either rider, as they did against Vladimir Gusev after the team's independent testers supposedly detected irregular values in 2008 when Johan Bruyneel and the staff managed the Astana squad.
"In Gusev's case, our doctors had reason to believe this is not normal. In the case of Popo and Muravyev, it doesn't seem strange at all.
"We're not happy about [the leaked list], but you have to put it in perspective. They had their list, they probably used that list to make extra controls, and then after the Tour de France they say they saw nothing wrong."
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A swimmer in her younger days, Laura made the change to cycling later in life, but was immediately swept up by a huge passion for the sport. Riding for fitness quickly gave way to the competitive urge, and a decade of racing later she can look back on a number of high profile races and say with confidence, "I started". While her racing days are over for the most part, she continues to dabble in cyclo-cross and competing against fellow pathletes on the greenways of Raleigh, North Carolina.
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