In response to a statement issued last week by the Change Cycling Now group and former UCI panellist and current Change Cycling Now group member, Dr. Michael Ashenden, the UCI has issued a response with their side of the story.
Quite to my surprise, this response was sent directly to me, directly citing a post that was a verbatim copy of CCN’s press release. I’m just passing the information along folks!
From UCI Communication Services:
The UCI wishes to make clear the valid reasons why the number of blood passport tests that it conducted in 2010 was lower than in 2009.
The facts also explain the exact context in which financial constraints were taken into account.
Firstly, the UCI conducted more tests in 2008 and 2009 than the numbers required to maintain a robust blood passport.
In 2010 the number of tests for riders who were in the passport for more than a year could be reduced without impairing the validity of their passport because their profile had been established as a result of the high number of tests conducted in 2008 and 2009 when the passport was first introduced. The definition of the term “older riders” has been taken out of context. It is not based on age. It refers to riders that have been in the passport programme and therefore have been tested for a longer period of time as opposed to riders who are newly introduced to the programme.
A sufficiently high number of tests were conducted on riders who were new to the programme in 2010 in order to establish their profile.
The UCI is entirely satisfied that more than enough tests were conducted in 2010 in order to maintain a robust blood passport programme. No decision was ever taken to suspend testing.
The financial constraints that existed in 2010 had no detrimental effect on the blood passport.
Put simply, these financial constraints obliged the UCI to cut back on the number of tests that it had conducted in 2009, considering that it had conducted more tests than were required that year, and that reducing the number of tests in 2010 would not impair the validity of any passport.
For clarity, Gerard Vroomen stated in August 2011 that he had not heard of a rider being tested for the biological passport between the end of the 2010 Tour and April 2011, while also recognising that the number of tests may be decreased once a rider’s profile is established.
The UCI corrected the record at that time highlighting the fact that 2,650 blood passport tests were conducted, in addition to other anti-doping tests, during the specific period referred to by Mr Vroomen.
The issue raised by Mr Vroomen and the UCI response to that has also been conveniently taken out of context. It is also worth remembering that it was the UCI that led the way as the first organisation worldwide to introduce the blood passport.