Cookson defends biological passport, reveals existence of two ongoing cases

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Although the number of biological passport cases has plummeted since Roman Kreuziger’s legal battle saw the case against him dropped in June 2015, UCI President Brian Cookson has said the method of monitoring riders remains valid.

Speaking to CyclingTips this week, Cookson dismissed a question asking if the Kreuziger case had struck a fatal blow to the use of the passport as a sanctioning tool. He disagreed the suggestion that it was now just a method of pinpointing which riders to target test with more traditional anti-doping examinations, and revealed that cases are pending.

“I retain total confidence in the biological passport,” he said. “There is no change, so far as I am aware, in how it is being managed or used in terms of the disciplinary action. Obviously again this is something that takes time to go through cases.

“I know that anti-doping in general is being targeted on an intelligence-led basis, much more in recent times. And that is because the CADF has employed an intelligence officer and so on.

“All of those things are continually moving, they are continually monitored. The biological passport is something that is managed externally from the UCI as well and I have no reason to believe that it is anything other than fully acceptable and fully operational, as it always has been.

“At the end of the day, we work very closely with WADA on the biological passport and they are 100 percent committed and happy with the way it has been managed.”

While there has been a major falloff in the number of cases compared to when the passport was first launched in 2008, Cookson confirmed that riders are indeed facing possible disciplinary action.

“We have got two biological passport cases in the tribunal at this very moment,” he said. “Those cases are ongoing. I think there will be probably be news in the next month or so.” He didn’t state who the riders were.

Sceptics of the passport have suggested that, over time, big riders have become more sophisticated in managing their physiological parameters so as not to trigger suspicion. Cookson disagrees, attributing the drop in number of bio passport cases to a cleaner sport.

“I think the decrease is because it is a very effective tool in discouraging people from doing things that perhaps they were doing before its introduction,” he insisted.

“I think that people shouldn’t assume that because there is no high-profile or evident cases involving the biological passport, that it is not working. On the contrary, I would say that that demonstrates that it is working, very, very effectively.”

In CyclingTips’ full interview with Cookson, the UCI president talks about a range of topics, including his election rivals, goals if he is re-elected in September, the non-payment of salaries from last year’s world championships, technological fraud and ASO.

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