WADA PULLS OUT OF BIOLOGICAL PASSPORT PROJECT
The World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] has announced it will no longer collaborate with the UCI’s biological passport.
WADA’s announcement comes after the UCI revealed that it intends to sue former WADA boss Richard Pound over criticisms of its own former president, Hein Verbruggen.
"In the light of the UCI's attack on WADA, we now find a partnership with the UCI untenable and will therefore initiate dialogue with other sports in order to advance the Athlete's Passport [the biological passport] project." WADA president John Fahey said on Thursday.
Pound never minced his words when discussing cycling’s problems with doping, famously accusing the sport of “being in the toilet.”
Things did not get better when Verbruggen was replaced by Pat McQuaid, who once said that Pound “has his knife in our sport. The sooner he leaves the better.”
The relationship briefly improved when WADA and the UCI joined forces together with Tour organisers ASO over the biological passport last October.
But if ASO and the UCI have already fallen out, the UCI’s decision to sue WADA’s former president appears to have re-opened the wound between cycling’s governing body and the anti-doping agency once again as well. The victim of that war of words is the biological passport.
"WADA agreed to pilot its Athlete's Passport project with the UCI, rather than any other sport, in an attempt to help restore cycling to a cleaner and more credible state," Fahey added.
"This came following a cycling season and Tour de France in 2007 in which cycling was yet again wracked with doping scandals.”
Vaunted as the weapon with which cycling was going to combat doping once and for all, for many WADA’s exit seriously reduces the credibility of the passport. It will also almost certainly have unpredictable knock-on effects in the ongoing UCI-ASO conflict.
The UCI issued a press release on Thursday evening saying that they were “surprised” by WADA’s withdrawal.
“The case brought against [Richard Pound] does not in any way target the institution of which he was formerly the President.
We have always made a very clear distinction between WADA and Mr. Pound.”