UCI President Brian Cookson has told Cyclingnews that the sport's governing body will launch an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding the Roman Kreuziger Biological Passport violation case.
Cookson, speaking at the launch of the 2015 Tour de France route, told Cyclingnews that, "the matter is in the hands of lawyers and we'll take legal advice on that. I fully expect that we'll be appealing the case and within the time limits."
Kreuziger was cleared of any anti-doping violations by the Czech Olympic Committee (CAC) on September 22 after an 15-month case, with the CAC judging that "the values of the Athlete Biological Passport do not exceed the so-called basal (extreme) values, taking into account expert opinions submitted by the International Cycling Federation and the athlete in question, who explained the abnormality."
However the UCI has always defended the Biological Passport programme, believing the longitudinal blood tests are a vital tool in the fight against doping in sport.
Kreuziger has already been provisionally suspended once by the UCI in the long and drawn out affair relating to what the UCI called "very serious anomalies" in his blood values from the 2011 and 2012 Giro d'Italia, when the rider was part of Team Astana.
Kreuziger was made aware of the UCI's Biological Passport violation investigation back in June and was promptly kept out of the Tour de France by his team. However they reinstated his race status in August with the view of him taking part in the Tour de Pologne and the Vuelta a Espana. This pushed the UCI into action with a provisional suspension quickly put in place. He was cleared on September 22 and rode for Tinkoff-Saxo at the Milan-Turin and Il Lombardia races.
The UCI's move to appeal at CAS isn't the first time a biological case has ventured to Swiss courts. In 2011 CAS heard the case of Franco Pellizotti with the Italian rider eventually handed a two-year ban. The UCI has never lost an appeal to CAS concerning the Biological Passport.
When asked how important the CAS case could be for the UCI and its Biological Passport, Cookson dismissed some recent doubts about its validity.
"The biological passport is a wonderful tool. The only ones that seem to challenge it are the ones that fall foul of it," he said.
"I've seen some very foolish statements recently about the biological passport but it's been a great way for our sport to help clear up the problems of doping. It's not solved every problem and I'm sure it never will but it's been a wonderful tool. It's lowered the radar, tightened the net, whatever analogy you want to use and it's something that we're very pleased about. A number of other sports want to introduce it as well, WADA are 100 per cent behind it and I'm confident that it will be a tool that’s extremely helpful."
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