Is the UCI losing control over teams with riders under suspicion of doping?
The Vacansoleil squad is officially listing Ezequiel Mosquera on its 25 roaster for 2011. This despite Mosquera testing positive for masking agent hydroxyethyl starch (HES) during this year’s Vuelta a España. (The A positive was back in September and yet we’re still waiting on B.)
While the Spanish Cycling Federation tries to figure out how to let Alberto Contador off, he’s free to attend the Saxo Bank training camp. Nobody has any idea when or how long this story will drag out. Will he be free to race while the UCI dithers?
These two stories remind Twisted Spoke of what seems to be a growing trend in the ProTour: ignoring the UCI. Our suspicion is that the UCI has lost momentum and support for the biological passport and proved itself increasingly ineffective in prosecuting high profile riders with have skilled legal consul.
This in turn is creating a situation where teams aggressively ignore the UCI. Last year, Liguigas went along with sitting down Franco Pellizotti for his “abnormal” passport readings. Last year, Team BMC pulled Allessandro Ballan out of his racing program after the Italian authorities named him in a doping investigation.
Don’t expect that this year. Teams aren’t going to take their riders out of competition for things like a “suspicion” or an “investigation.” Why should they jeopardize big wins and happy sponsors when there’s a high likelihood nothing of consequence will happen in the end?
Pellizotti won his case with the Italian federation and the supposed case against Ballan evaporated into thin air. Need another reminder? Anybody remember the big noise around Operacion Grail?
Team managers learn the new rules pretty quickly and what they’ve seen lately is a lot of investigations that lead nowhere or are overturned in court. Outside experts take potshots at the biological passport and of late the UCI has a low success ration in prosecuting passport cases.
Why should teams sanction their own stars when nobody else will? Our feeling is that the UCI is one again losing control of the battle. Pellizotti’s lawyer Rocco Taminelli showed every other legal consul how to beat the UCI and WADA. The floodgates are opening and yes, Pat McQuaid should resign iimmediately
This trend doesn’t look pretty and you can bet your Sugoi RSE bib short things aren’t getting better any time soon. Agree or disagree?