Dutch expert dumps on biological passport.

The latest story is that some critic, in this case Dutch expert — and by the way, who isn’t a self proclaimed expert these days — Klaas Faber — says the UCI’s biological passport is flawed, both legally and scientifically. He does like the name, though.

Klaas questioned just about every aspect of the passport and dropped damning statements like “they’re torturing the data until they get the result they want.” He even took shots at the statistical analysis, saying any specialist in statistics “would call it second rate and back room science.”

Klaas: your biological passport sucks.

That’s a lot of 10 penny nails in the coffin and to switch metaphors, it’s pretty much open season on the biological passport. Obviously journalists need stories besides guessing what will happen to Alberto Contador and meatgate and what the mysterious Luxembourg team will be named. Klaas makes for explosive copy.

The real story however is not that some expert wants to discredit the passport but the failures of the people behind the passport — the UCI and WADA.

For whatever reasons, it seems to Twisted Spoke that they haven’t done enough to protect the passport and if they don’t bolster support for the analytical tool soon, the sport’s fight against doping is DNF.

If the biological passport is successfully discredited by defense lawyers and CONI and the Court for Arbitrary Arbitration is Sport, then you’ve just lost five years of progress.

We have no law degrees or scientific expertise but right now it feels like the passport is in danger. The Italian Olympic committee ruled against the UCI in deciding there was not enough evidence in Franco Pellizotti’s profile to indicate doping.

It’s the same case for Slovenia’s Tadej Valjavec who was allowed to race again after his national federation cleared him of a doping violation. Italy’s Pietro Caucchioli also has his case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. You can only imagine what the Spanish Cycling Federation is planning now that the passport has lost support.

Once defense lawyers succeed in destroying its validity, well cycling, the UCI and WADA are in big trouble. The jail cell doors will open and they’ll have lost control of the fight against doping once again.

We always go back to Garmin Cervelo’s Jonathan Vaughters saying it’s the best anti-doping tool we’ve got. Sure, every protocol and scientific approach has its critics. Nothing is ever perfect. But if the sports’ governing bodies don’t take steps to rescue the biological passport, to promote, support and protect it, then clean cycling is going to be a punchline in a bad joke.

Twisted Spoke is thinking the UCI needs to do some serious back-room arm twisting with every team that wants to keep their ProTour license. Same goes for rider organizations. It’s put up or shut up time for the biological passport.

Dark Ages, anyone?

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  • Henkio

    It's been said from the beginning. Any bio-passport case that leads to a suspension is going to go to court and lose. The EU has prettly strict rules on the right to employment or something like that. (yeah,yeah, we're all effing commies)
    If everything is pointing to the fact that I steal from my employer, they still can't fire me without factual proof.

    The vampires shouldn't let their heads hang though. With enough money pumped into R&D the time will come when 'anything' be detected.
    From a refill of your own blood on a restday to the snicker bar you shouldn't have had at 1am last thursday.

  • Ricola

    this will be highly interesting to watch. Let's just hope that no scientific misconduct on the sides of the governing bodies puts riders' many years of hard work, image and basically their lives on the line without proper evidence and/or correct interpretation of this evidence. Heheh, I think we should be happy the blood and urine analysis are carried out by external labs where proper scientists are working…. Maybe the money used to construct the biological passport 'in-house' and polish it until it's good, should be used to construct and maintain the biological passport at consortium of universities, contractors and individual trained experts. Things are done proper if everybody involved is able to do each others calculations and arrive at the same conclusions.