The Union Cycliste Internationale considers ridersâ€™ health and the promotion of sporting ethics as high priorities. Its anti-doping programme is now recognised by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as one of the best in the world.
In 2008, the UCI created the Cycling Anti-doping Foundation (CADF) to manage the activities and funding of its anti-doping programme.
The UCI anti-doping programme has two objectives:
- get rid of cheats (doping detection)
- dissuade riders from resorting to doping (education, communication, firm sanctions, biological passport).
It comprises four pillars: testing, education, sanctions and the involvement of people concerned.
The UCI conducts blood and urine tests, in competition and out of competition. These tests have three distinct objectives:
- direct detection (testing can reveal the use of a prohibited substance or method);
- targeting (testing can be used to decide which riders should be the subject of special attention);
- drawing up individual profiles (the basis of the biological passport).
In 2009, the UCI carried out 15,700 anti-doping tests (43 per day) throughout the world!
THE BIOLOGICAL PASSPORT: A REVOLUTION IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DOPING
Developed in close collaboration with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the individual biological passport of a rider is an electronic document that includes:
- the results of urine and blood tests,
- the riderâ€™s haematological profile,
- the riderâ€™s steroid profile.
The major innovation of the biological passport is that it combines blood and urine tests to establish ridersâ€™ individual limits (individual haematological and steroid profiles). The individual limits allow more accuracy (compared with the limits set for the population) in determining whether or not a rider has used illegal methods.
The haematological and steroid profiles are established after several blood and urine tests. The haematological profile can show blood manipulation (for example use of EPO). The steroid profile can indicate the use of steroids (such as testosterone) thanks to urine tests.
The biological passport requires the strict implementation of a protocol, established in collaboration with the World Anti-Doping Agency. The main points of this protocol are described below:
- Athletesâ€™ whereabouts: in order to allow the UCI to carry out controls at any time, the riders must provide details of their movements by means of the ADAMS system (Anti-Doping Administration and Management System) managed by WADA.
- Sampling: urine and blood samples are taken from riders in and out of competition. All samples are taken by UCI approved officials.
- Analysis of samples: this is carried out by a laboratory accredited by WADA, the UCI and the Swiss Quality Control Centre (CSCQ).
- Interpretation of results: the worldâ€™s leading experts analyse abnormal blood profiles. They advise the UCI on whether to open disciplinary proceedings for a breach of the anti-doping regulations.
- Sanctions: the UCI may decide to commence disciplinary proceedings on the basis of the expertsâ€™ recommendations. Proceedings can lead to the sanctions established by the World Anti-Doping Code.
All riders on UCI ProTeams, UCI Professional Continental Teams with wild card status and other teams wishing to apply for this status have a biological passport.
TRAINING AND EDUCATION
The UCI has established education campaigns in order to discourage doping at all levels. Some examples of these initiatives are:
- distributing an interactive DVD to athletes entitled â€śTrue Champion or Cheat?â€ť,
- setting up a training programme for Directeurs Sportifs entitled â€śTurning Passion into Performanceâ€ť,
- making sure that athletes and team members have access to the international database on authorised and prohibited substances.
The â€ś True Champion or Cheat? â€ś programme
Launched in September 2009 the â€śTrue Champion of Cheat?â€ť programme is an interactive on-line education programme aimed at riders. It makes the athlete and his/her entourage aware of the regulations, of ethical dilemmas, and of health matters linked to doping. This programme is obligatory for all riders subject to anti-doping tests and members of a national or professional team. The National Federations are the UCIâ€™s principal partners in ensuring this programme is followed.
The UCI applies the rules established by the World Anti-doping Code: a rider who cheats can be suspended for up to 4 years for a first violation of the anti-doping rules. A second serious violation of the anti-doping rules can lead to life suspension for the rider.
The whole cycling community must be involved in the fight against doping. The UCI works closely with the teamsâ€™ and ridersâ€™ associations and with the National Federations. Members of the UCIâ€™s Anti-doping Services regularly visit teams subject to the biological passport programme. The UCI also organises seminars for team doctors.
FUNDING THE FIGHT AGAINST DOPING
The UCIâ€™s anti-doping activities are financed by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF). The budget is
over â‚¬ 5 million a year. The main parties involved in funding the initiative are represented on a committee of contributors.