Details relating to the possible publication of the independent review into Sergio Henao’s (Team Sky) controversial blood profile are still unclear, with the leading doctor who carried out the tests unwilling to disclose details to how or when the resulting data may be published.
Team Sky requested that an independent review be set up in relation to Henao’s passport data in 2014 after the team internally raised concerns over readings taken from out-of-competition tests. Henao was pulled from racing as a result but was reinstated in May of that year after the independent review committee had given the rider the all-clear to race.
At the time of Henao’s return, Team Sky and the medical team at Sheffield University, who carried out the tests, indicated that the results from their review would be published.
However Henao’s passport data once again made the headlines last week after the UCI and their anti-doping arm, the CADF, sent the Colombian a letter relating to what Team Sky called a "potential anti-doping rule violation". Henao has less than two weeks to respond to the CADF’s request for more information, and Team Sky have once more pulled the rider from racing until further notice.
Two years have passed since Henao’s blood data first prompted action from his own team and the results and findings from the initial report appear no closer to being made public. It’s understood that they could be used in a possible defence should the situation result in a passport violation.
Last week Cyclingnews contacted Team Sky in order to seek clarity over the situation. The team have stated since 2014 that the responsibility to publish the report on Henao always lay with the medical team involved in conducting the tests, and not the team. They repeated that stance, telling Cyclingnews, “It is they who will be responsible for the timelines of publication.
“We commissioned the report due to a lack of available scientific research on altitude natives. The research was carried out independently of Team Sky, under rigorous testing conditions and using WADA accredited laboratories. There are processes that those leading the research will wish to complete before full publication and so it is understandable that this will take time.”
The independent report was led by Dr Eddie Hampton but he was not available for comment when Cyclingnews contacted his office last week. When contacted this week, Hampton’s secretary would only say that contact should be made with Team Sky, rather than Hampton, and that he had nothing more to add on the matter.
Hampton did go on the record last year, telling CyclingTips that, “the research around this case has been taken very seriously and we undertook a large amount of complex scientific analysis before giving our recommendation for Sergio to be allowed to return to racing.
“It’s still our intention to publish the results in the scientific literature. There are many processes to take into account when you write and publish scientific papers and delays of over a year are not unusual in these cases. We hope it can be done as soon as possible.”
Cyclingnews understands that Team Sky have been in contact with Hampton over the last few weeks but the team would not add to their previous statement.
Robin Parisotto, a leading expert in UCI passport cases and blood profiling, recently told Cyclingnews that, “I would be concerned that it took two years to publish. It’s unusual but I’m basing my comments on the 2005 paper that was specifically about Lance Armstrong’s physiology. It’s feasible that it could have been published by now if that was their intent. Two years is a concern. Maybe there wasn’t sufficient data to build a paper. There are a few unknowns.”
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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