British time trial ace Matt Bottrill was to attempt Hour Record on August 8, but has hit series rule-related of setbacks

British time trial star Matt Bottrill was to put in an attempt at the iconic Hour Record this summer, but a series of setbacks caused by lack of clarity in the rules have forced him to put the attempt on ice.

Bottrill was initially due to attempt the record in August, then September but has now been informed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) that any rider wishing to attempt the record must be part of its biological passport anti-doping programme.

Currently only riders in WorldTour-level ProTeams, Professional Continental teams and selected other individuals are part of the passport scheme. This rules out the majority of track riders and riders who are not part of top-level international road teams.

“There is no wording in the rules saying a biological passport is needed,” Bottrill told Cycling Weekly. “But I heard on the grapevine that this was going to be applied. So I emailed the UCI last week and got confirmation that this was the case.”

“The first plan was [to do the attempt on] August 8, but then we read the rules and it was not clear if a time trial bike was allowed. Then I got confirmation it was, but that took a week,” explained Bottrill. “So then the plan was to go for September 14 at Newport. But then I got the news that I could not do it. I could go for the masters record, but it’s not quite the same.”

Bottrill has been training for the event, and has the bike ready. However, without the lengthy process of building up a biological passport profile, he is not eligible to make the attempt.

When contacted by Cycling Weekly, a spokesperson at the UCI told us: “Clearly it is in the interests of the sport to ensure that riders who attempt iconic records such as the Hour do so on equal terms.

“For those riders who are not already in the Athlete Biological Passport programme, that will mean a degree of testing to establish their biological profiles by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) – the independent body mandated by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to carry out the anti-doping testing programme in cycling – before the attempt.”

The UCI altered the rules for the Hour Record in May, scrapping the controversial ‘athlete’s hour record’ with its highly-specific equipment regulations. Anyone attempting the record can now use a track pursuit bike which adheres to UCI rules for such a bike.

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) have both expressed an interest in attempting the record. Both riders are part of the UCI’s biological passport scheme as they ride for WorldTour teams.

The Hour Record is recorded as the distance ridden by a cyclist within a one-hour period. The current record is 49.7km set by the Czech rider Ondrej Sosenka.

The UCI regulations on the Hour record can be read here. Rule 3.5.026 on page 73

  • Dave2020

    But the UCI didn’t tell Jonathan Tiernan-Locke he couldn’t ride events in 2012 without being tested. They actually refused his team’s request to establish the biological passport at their own expense! Ergo, cost is not the issue. The system’s broke – that’s the issue. Unfortunately, experts often exhibit this arrogance of being ‘certain’ about their subjective judgements. Intellectual rigour is notable for it’s absence.

    It is clear to me that expert understanding of this science simply isn’t good enough to state with ‘lawful’ certainty at what level any individual’s ‘blood values’ become evidence of unnatural intervention, such as blood doping.

    If they can’t take a sample of Bottrill’s blood before the Hour Record attempt and prove afterwards whether or not it shows any ‘anomalies’, then the system is not fit for purpose and is likely to result in a gross miscarriage of justice every time there’s a borderline case.

    A conviction ‘on the balance of probabilities’ is simply not acceptable – that’s not evidence. Change the rules, they’re unworkable. (as rules so often are)

    • Colin

      Wow. It’s clear you have zero understanding of how the Passport works.

      • Dave2020

        Team Sky tested JT-L in 2012 and were no doubt pleased with what they saw. If his ‘blood data’ had been too good to be true that should have aroused suspicion, but it didn’t and he was offered a contract.

        When Tiernan-Locke’s condition took a dive in 2013 (illness, over-training? Who knows why?) the Biological Passport takes these lower ‘values’ as his ‘normal’ profile and defines those from 2012 as an ‘anomaly’. It would be more logical to accept that the 2013 ‘values’ were abnormally low!

        If specific markers are identified how can that evidence now be “confidential”? Give us the facts. The whole sorry mess should’ve been confidential in 2013, but it was ‘leaked’. Guilty unless proven innocent seems to be the premise of the case for the prosecution.

        Why do riders want to be tested at altitude camp? Why don’t the UCI do it? Because the biological profile established by CADF would then have artificially high baseline ‘values’ for those athletes, so future tests are less likely to result in so-called ‘anomalies’.

        You claim “anyone can pay” to go on the system, but JT-L wasn’t allowed too. Why not?

        “a degree of testing to establish their biological profile” would have to be in place for at least a year, I’d imagine, so Matt is stymied by the UCI’s incompetence.

        As I said, if the system “works” blood samples taken around the time of a record attempt should identify any true anomalies. Otherwise it smacks of statistical probabilities. I find that experts don’t like to admit they can’t be certain of their facts – gives a bad impression.

        • Colin

          JTL was on the Bio Passport prior to jointing Sky. So why do you keep claiming he wasn’t allowed?

          • Dave2020

            That’s what his team claimed. See the earlier reports.

  • http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/ Simon R

    Such a shame that the UCI is limiting hour record attempts on the basis of the bio passport therefore keeping it for WorldTour riders. The amateur ethos of the hour record is the very essence of the event.

    • Colin

      They aren’t limiting it. They are adding the requirement of the Bio Passport. Matt can pay to go on the Passport (as can anyone wanting to do the record). Only Pro Tour and Pro Conti riders are automatically on the Passport already.

  • lee

    Just do it anyway!
    But why isn’t there a biological passport programme adopted for all of our top athletes…. pro AND top amateur.

    • Colin

      Errrr…… COST.

      • Lee Wingate

        Eerrrr…. Really. How much could it possibly be…. On the cheap…. Velodrome time and Giant will supply a suitable track pursuit bike. How was he going to pay for the attempt anyway. Just do it…. It’d be unofficial but real TTers would know the results. UCi and they half-cocked rules are a pain at best of times. They are about 10 yrs out of date with equipment, especially the 6.4kg rule for pro road bikes!?

        • Colin

          The question was ‘why isn’t there a biological passport programme adopted for all of our top athletes…. pro AND top amateur.”? The answer is COST. Plus there’s not a huge reason to do costly testing on amateur athletes.

          • lee

            I think there’s very good reason to test the top amateur’s. Only 1-2years ago, a top amatuer roadie was busted for doping. If you win a big race, you should be drug tested.

            its the same with triathlon at top world age-group level….some racing at the world champs definitely shining! really p*sses actual clean athletes off.