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Biological Passports vs. Team Programs: Can We Get Along?

Apparently the answer is a conditional maybe. CN does a nice roundup of how the Passports program might conflict with or duplicate the team practices, and the logical conclusion is that the team programs might become redundant at some point. I suppose this is what cRaZy uncle Hans-Michael Holczer was trying to say, in his typically overzealous tone, that the teams should drop their programs and give the money to the UCI. I don't think we're there yet.

Also, while the longitudinal testing could become redundant, there are nonetheless things teams can do that the Passport program won't, such as pretty much all the other functions doctors fulfill besides monitoring blood values (nutrition? vitamins? troubleshooting? I'm not really one to ask). Having a team-based, full-service medical program obviates the need for outside (re: shady) doctors to ever touch a rider. IMHO, the Passport program is enforcement, nothing else, so over time if the team-based blood value monitoring becomes unnecessary because the Passports have it covered, look for teams to redirect funds into other aspects of their anti-doping programs.


In other passport news, apparently the Pro Tour teams are pressuring continental teams to join the Passport program, or risk having the big teams refuse to race against them. Already, continental teams who have wildcard status for Pro Tour events must be part of the Passport program, so this won't be a conflict at the Pro Tour events, and one would expect the Grand Tours to enact a similar backstop. But Pro Tour teams typically race their secondary captains and even their stars on occasion in top home-country events (e.g., Coupe de France, Cobbles semi-classics like the Scheldeprijs, or the myriad regional tours in Spain and Italy), against continental teams who aren't currently part of the Passport scheme. Here's hoping they work something out, because these "lesser" races are part of the fabric of pro cycling and gain a good measure of their heft from having the best in-country teams join the fun.