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Spanish court rules biological passport not valid for Salas' doping ban

Combined classification leader Ibai Salas Zorrozua (Burgos BH)
Ibai Salas (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

The on-again, off-again doping ban of Ibai Salas took yet another turn in favour of the Spaniard after his attorney Jose Rodriguez successfully convinced the seventh judicial review court in Madrid that the UCI's biological passport is not a valid method to determine a doping offence.

The former Burgos BH rider received a four-year ban in 2018 for anomalous passport values between January and August of 2017 by the Spanish anti-doping authorities, AEPSAD. 

In 2019, Salas won an appeal to the Administrative Court of Sport in Spain that ruled the biological passport "is not sufficient to prove the commission of an infringement" of anti-doping rules.

WADA appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which, in August, sided with the anti-doping ruling body, writing that the six blood samples that Salas provided were examined by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Barcelona and the panel unanimously concluded that the values were "highly abnormal" and "indicated a high probability of doping". The rider provided "no credible, physiological or pathological reason to explain the abnormality."

According to a report Iusport, in Salas' lawyer Jose Rodriguez argued that "no substance or prohibited method was detected."

The court agreed to acquit Salas based on an "absence of sufficient proof of the charge to exhaust the presumption of innocence".

The court wrote that the biological passport while justified for further investigation "in order to collect evidence proving an anti-doping rule violation" anomalous values in themselves cannot be classified as an adverse finding.

WADA said they would "review the full decision and we reserve our right to appeal it if appropriate".

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