I need to see some results from the Biological Passport program... right frickin now.
The bio-passport program was launched by the UCI with much fanfare in late 2007. The idea was longitudinal testing: track a myriad of blood values in a rider, over the season, and you can detect potential cheating from unnatural changes in those values. No longer could a rider hide behind a result below a threshold, like the old thoroughly toothless standard of hematocrit levels at 50%.The biopassport program was going to shed light on every rider's progress and give us a chance to plant red flags for investigation.
For all of 2008 we were told that the program was ongoing but results would be analyzed at the end of the season. Then it was pushed back into early 2009. Now the year is coming up on the halfway point and the silence is deafening. There are some real dangers to this.
First, as Gavia and Ed K were discussing the other day, the UCI is beginning to look like it prefers to hide behind comforting findings that "everyone's clean." Denial works in the short term. It's a disaster in the long term.
The UCI, because it has jettisoned every shred of trust any fan ever may have had in them, also risks the public dismissal of the program if they do not produce some guilt findings. It takes little imagination to picture folders full of proof of malfeasance sitting ignored or locked up in the counsel's office as the UCI's management dithers over what to do.
Worst of all, a lot of us fans have bought into the idea that the sport has made strides in cleaning itself up the last three years. A few positives are not terribly troubling, if they don't upend any major races. Just so long as the peloton has gotten the message we sent after the 2006 season that the status quo has to go. Well, ... have they? Or is the doping enforcement can just being quietly kicked down the road a little longer as a new generation of riders hoodwinks fans like me into believing?'
We need answers. It's coming up on Tour time. And it's been far too long already.