Friday, May 13, 2011

What the UCI dope list means?

Today, Le Equipe published a list, ranking every rider from last year's Tour De France on how likely they were to be doping based on their Biological Passport. That Biological Passport is a health record of every pro rider, chronicling their blood values over their career, the idea behind it is that if levels change in a dramatic and erratic fashion it can point to someone who is doping. What does this list mean then, well each rider is placed in a number from 0 (no suspicion of doping) to 10 (high suspicion or evidence of doping) with anything under 5 being unlikely to have doped. This list was supposed to be used as a tool to guide testers on who to test during the tour. It should be noted that none of this proves that someone has or hasn't doped. There's no proof in this evidence at all, and the numbers can be swayed by a large amount of factors (illness, crashes, even a rider who is completely clean can have a higher than normal reading because of getting into shape.)

So what does this mean? Well, first and foremost, it means they are actually using the biological passport. We haven't heard much from the UCI and WADA in regards to actually being able to catch someone in the act. So it's good news for all of us fans to know that they are using this information to clean up the sport of cycling.

Second, that most of the peloton was in under level 5. Out of 198 riders, only 42 riders where above the upper limits, meaning 156 riders were below the upper limits. That's a good majority in the lower half, or safe zone. Even ten years ago, if they had this the numbers would surely have been swapped. Even the highest zone 10 only had two riders, Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), and Yarasloz Popovych (Radioshack.) In fact if you put all the members of the team together. The top three times most likely to dope are HTC, Astana, and Radioshack. All 4 french teams were the least likely to dope, followed by Garmin and Cervelo.

Overall, I think this is good news for cycling fans and the majority of the peloton, and can only hope bad news for anyone in the upper 5.

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