Dr. Michael Ashenden has resigned from his position as an independent member of the UCI's panel of experts that reviews the blood passport data of professional cyclists.
The report, by BBC Mundo, quotes Ashenden as saying: "that the passport still has shortcomings and will not accept a new confidentiality clause he believes is an attempt to prevent him to express his doubts."
Last year, Ashenden told Cyclingnews that he had "noticed a significant gap between tests in some of the profiles" that he had reviewed. "It's definitely not in every single profile, but enough to have left an impression on me," he told Cyclingnews.
"What I can’t answer is why those gaps are present," Ashenden continued. "Perhaps the UCI are pursuing a targeting strategy that I'm not aware of, but leaving big gaps doesn’t make any sense to me."
The UCI issued a press release today in response to Ashenden's comments in which the organisation thanked him for his contributions to the Biological Passport Program, but sought to clarify statements regarding anti-doping processes and the relationship between external experts and the UCI they consider "misleading and incorrect".
"The UCI clarifies that there is no 'UCI panel of experts that reviews blood passport data of professional cyclists' any more," said the UCI statement. "In compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency Athlete Biological Passport Operating Guidelines released on January 2012 the Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU) coordinates all blood passport results evaluation directly with external independent experts. The UCI is not involved in any way in this part of the process."
Regarding comments about gaps in tests for some biological passport profiles, the UCI stated it had "already responded in full in August 2011 at the time the comments were made."
As a sports journalist and producer since 1997, Jane has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games, rugby league, motorsport, cricket, surfing, triathlon, rugby union, and golf for print, radio, television and online. However her enduring passion has been cycling.
Jane is a former Australian Editor of Cyclingnews from 2011 to 2013 and continues to freelance within the cycling industry.
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