The decision extends the existing two-year collaboration with the centre, led by the highly experienced Dr Paolo Borrione, who is a member of the Italian Olympic CommITTee’s Anti-doping Control Board, was a WADA Independent Observer to the Beijing Olympics, and directed all anti-doping checks at the Turin Winter Olympics 2006.
Astana began working with the laboratory based in Orbassano (northern Italy) in 2010, in order to allow team doctors to add the results of internal controls – which are mandatory for all riders – to the UCI’s biological passport, and to carry out additional tests to help ensure the riders’ health.
Dr Andrea Andreazzoli, team doctor for the 2010 seASOn and the head of the project, explains: “We chose the Orbassano Centre for various reASOns, but above all because Dr Borrione is absolutely impartial and because we wanted to be sure to use the same equipment and procedures that the UCI uses for the biological passport, meaning we can obtain uniform results.”
“In the seASOn just gone, we carried out many analyses and tests through the Orbassano lab, both during races and during training camps, plus – of course – the four internal controls required under UCI rules. However, the blood tests are not limited to those required for the biological passport, but wider in scope, because one of our goals has always been to monitor our riders’ health continuously. Over the two years we have been able to discover viruses that some of our riders were suffering from, which meant they could be treated quickly.
“The collaboration will continue in 2013 and we have opened the doors of Pro Team Astana to the Orbassano Centre so that we can have 360° cooperation with them, benefit from their experience, and work together to develop an extensive programme of controls and tests. We are aiming to increase the number of controls for the coming seASOn in order to achieve this.”