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Last Updated: Monday, 22 October 2007, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Cyclists face rise in drugs tests
Cyclists
The cyclists' "passport" could be introduced early next year
The International Cycling Union will increase the number of anti-doping tests next year by more than 50%.

In-competition tests will total 8,000, while there will be 7,000 out-of-competition tests conducted.

The news comes after the announcement of plans for "anti-doping passports" for all professional riders next year.

Under the plan, blood and urine samples would be used to create a medical profile that could be compared to results of subsequent doping tests.

Cycling has been hit by several doping scandals in recent years, particularly in its blue riband event, the Tour de France.

"What this means is the rider becomes his own reference point," said Anne Gripper, the UCI's anti-doping chief.

"We look for variations to determine whether there may be use of a prohibited method or substance."

Gripper said the scheme would be the first of its type in any sport.

"What we're looking for is indirect evidence of the fact that cyclists may be doing something to increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of their blood either through blood doping or through small doses of EPO or something like that," she added.

World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) president Dick Pound believes anti-doping passports will be in widespread use within three years, but not in time for next year's Beijing Olympics.

Plowman Craven Evans Cycles became the first UK team to introduce blood passports, when they launched their "Race Clean" initiative on the eve of this year's Tour of Britain.

SEE ALSO
Di Luca given doping suspension
17 Oct 07 |  Cycling
Landis in last-chance drugs plea
10 Oct 07 |  Cycling


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