French anti-doping agency president Pierre Bordry criticizes UCI’s biological passport

By Samuel Petrequin, AP
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bordry slams UCI’s biological passport

PARIS — French anti-doping agency president Pierre Bordry criticized the International Cycling Union’s biological passport program Thursday and said he wanted to perform additional tests during the Tour de France.

Attending a scientific symposium on doping, Bordry questioned the passport’s reliability and suggested the UCI was misusing its information.

“I don’t think the biological passport is useful,” Bordry said. “What we need is neutral information on biological data. And we need a biological passport that is absolutely transparent to target riders. Everybody should deserve the same treatment.”

The UCI’s biological passport program forces riders to provide samples which are compiled in individual body chemistry profiles that officials can compare to their race-day blood levels. Any fluctuations can signal possible doping.

The UCI is likely to perform all tests during the Tour de France, which starts July 3, but the World Anti-Doping Agency could allow Bordry to perform more controls after he made a formal request in accordance with the World Anti-Doping code.

The AFLD and UCI have a long history of clashes. Last year, Bordry accused UCI drug-testers of favoring Lance Armstrong’s former team Astana during the 2009 Tour.

UCI president Pat McQuaid then lashed out at Bordry’s alleged incompetence and decided the world body would be the sole authority in charge of all tests during the three-week Tour this year.

“McQuaid asked us to keep our mouths shut because we are incompetent,” Bordry said. “Let’s wait and see what WADA will say. I can understand that an international federation is in charge but it has to be transparent and to give guarantees.”

The UCI and AFLD worked together on last year’s Tour but the partnership was a failure, according to Bordry, and he said it would have been impossible to renew it this year.

“I don’t want to work with the UCI. The big risk is that the tests have no credibility,” Bordry said. “WADA now has to figure out if we can find a deal. But we need guarantees. Last year we had problems every day. We are not going to revive a situation like in 2009. But if we are not there, police forces will be there (to catch cheating riders).”

Two years ago, when the UCI was in dispute with Tour organizers ASO, the French agency performed the tests alone and caught several riders, including Riccardo Ricco. The promising Italian rider won two mountain stages before testing positive for the banned blood-boosting hormone CERA.

Bordry also said the French anti-doping agency is working in unison with its American counterpart.

“They gave us information about American riders training in France,” Bordry said. “They gave us the assignment to perform controls on them. This is a very good thing that national agencies can cooperate.”

Bordry said AFLD performed a doping test on seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong before the Tour of Luxembourg, where the American finished third earlier this month.

Last year, the AFLD said Armstrong did not fully cooperate with one of its testers who showed up at his residence in France to collect blood, urine and hair samples. At issue was a 20-minute delay, with Armstrong insisting the tester had agreed to let the rider shower while the American’s assistants checked the visitor’s credentials.

“This time, everything went fine,” Bordry said.

Bordry added he was worried by the numerous doping cases hitting cycling every year.

“And if you look at all the judicial cases resulting from doping, most of them are related to cycling,” Bordry said. “There is a problem with this sport.”

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