This has been bugging me for a while, not sure what to do with it. I’ve mentioned it to a few real journalists, and some others have called me with questions. I’ve been quite open with them because I feel it is important for the sport, which seems to be at a cross-road. Here’s what I’ve told these journalists:
If what I have been hearing is indeed the case throughout the sport, then that would be worrisome. It would mean that in a crucial build-up and competition period, only riders who were on teams with independent anti-doping programs (such as HTC and Garmin-Cervelo) have been properly monitored to the extent that science is capable of. And it’s why I tweeted earlier that teams claiming they don’t have to do anything because there is the biological passport are, well, what’s the word?
Apparently defending biological passport cases in court is expensive, and in my eyes it points to a flaw in the set-up. When you come up with a new process, you have to make the riders’ rights the top priority. Only that way can you minimize costly challenges. The simple fact that riders don’t have access to all the data used to convict them risks turning the biological passport into sport’s version of military tribunals. I’ve written about this before.
I don’t think there are necessarily bad intentions here, but if the teams are paying a ton of money to fund the biological passport and all that money goes to defending cases so there is little money left for further testing, then riders, teams and federations have to sit together and figure this out, rather than just letting the biological passport die. It’s in everybody’s best interest to do so. And it gives the sport a chance to not only be the first to set up a revolutionary technology, but to also be the first to integrate it in the sport in a fair, sustainable way.
If you want cycling to continue to lead the way in the anti-doping struggle – no matter how hard – and not give up on the passport, then please spread this story. Thanks.
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