FRENCH FED. MEDIC ISSUES WARNING OVER BIO-PASSPORT
French Cycling Federation doctor Armand Megret has warned that numerous questions concerning the much-vaunted biological passport are - in his opinion - far from being resolved.
Two weeks after cycling’s authorities and the major Tours reached a rare joint agreement to implement the biological passport, French newspaper L’Equipe reported on Thursday that Megret has published an open letter in which he claims very little concrete action has actually been taken so far.
“The biological passport...is lacking in organisational details, methodology, pre-analysis, techniques to be used by the laboratories, kits and scientific protocols.” Megret argues.
He is equally doubtful about how the results from the biological passport - which checks for irregularities in riders physiological parameters rather than directly testing for doping products - will be applied.
“We don’t know if this is really anti-doping - which will lead to a fine or suspension - or whether it’s a medical procedure, which would lead simply to a no-start.” Megret adds.
It was agreed in Paris two weeks ago that the biological passport will be in place - at least for all the ProTour riders - by January 1st 2008, and will be needed by every rider who wants to take part in the Tour de France.
However, since then there have been no announcements on what concrete action will be taken to carry out a plan designed to be a major step in the war on banned drugs.
Another development which could have important consequences for the biological passport is the court case which Kazakh Andrey Kashechkin, who tested positive in a random anti-doping check in August, is currently fighting in Liege, Belgium - over the UCI’s right to take blood or urine samples outside certain time limits.
Should Kashechkin win, it is not clear what ramifications this could have for anti-doping legislation in general and for the biological passport - largely based on taking samples from riders, some of them away from races, throughout the year - in particular.
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French Cycling Federation: www.ffc.fr.