Editor’s Note: The UCI issued the following statement on Friday in response to L’Équipe‘s publication of the governing body’s “ranking” of riders in the 2010 Tour de France as to the level of suspicion triggered by analysis of blood samples submited in advance of last year’s Tour de France.
Suspicion is not the same as guilt – The UCI calmly and carefully continues the fight against doping
The French newspaper L’Équipe published an article in its edition of 13 May about the anti-doping test procedures employed at the 2010 Tour de France.
To ensure that the information that has been published is properly understood, the UCI wishes to point out that a blood test is performed on all participants before every major Tour. The UCI’s Anti-Doping Service then draws up a “testing plan” on the basis of the results of these tests and the athletes’ biological passports. This testing plan defines the priorities, frequency and features of the tests to be performed during the race.
It is essential to note that the list published by L’Équipe, entitled “Index of suspicion”, is liable to be interpreted in an incorrect and prejudicial manner: it contains only an initial summary assessment of the results of the analyses for the sole purpose of establishing an order of priorities for testing and therefore cannot under any circumstances prejudge the possible guilt of the persons whose names appear on the list. Whatever the assessment of the appropriateness of testing a specific rider, the list does not justify any suspicion or condemnation.
This superficial but practical procedure has been made possible within the framework of the biological passport programme – launched by the UCI in 2008 in cooperation with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) – under which the sophisticated targeting of testing is a major focus. However, the information published by the French newspaper is far from the examination of haematological data by biological passport experts.
While condemning the potential exploitation of the situation and the inevitable distortions of the truth to which the L’Équipe revelations will give rise – as well as the possible unfortunate consequences for the riders and the teams – the UCI wishes to highlight a number of fundamental issues raised by the article in question.
While advocating the principle that “suspicion is not the same as guilt,” it can however been seen that the system enables anti-doping tests to be targeted more effectively and therefore also enables the fight against doping as a whole to be enhanced.
Acknowledged as a “unique document, unprecedented in any sport” this list “reveals a reality that is very remote from the notion that ‘they all resort to doping’ and puts paid to the idea of organised team doping”.
Thanks to the “tremendous work done by the UCI in recent years (…) the proportion of riders who cross the red line has reduced.”
Of course this does not in any way imply a denial of the existence of the problem. It does however demonstrate the fact that the UCI’s anti-doping services have the situation under control and that their monitoring – via the biological passport in particular – will become increasingly effective. Through its daily commitment, the UCI is showing its determination to oppose the scourge of doping by all the means at its disposal and will always continue to play the role of the Federation that leads the way in this field.
Finally, the L’Équipe publication confirms that the UCI is using all possible resources to fight for an increasingly clean sport of cycling (which the statistics prove is happening).
On the other hand, the UCI deplores and strongly condemns the breach of confidentiality which allowed this list to be sent to the press. A leak of this kind is highly irresponsible and unacceptable. The UCI will consult WADA in order to launch an in-depth investigation of the matter.
UCI Press Office