The International Cycling Union (UCI) on Thursday set up a new anti-doping foundation as part of its latest battle to rid the under-fire sport of cheats.
With a budget of five million euros a year, the goal of the foundation "is to permit the improvement of resources available in the anti-doping battle", said a UCI statement.
The new group will be headed by UCI president Pat McQuaid and made up of Peder Pedersen (Denmark), Daniel Baal (France), Artur Lopes (Portugal) and George Ruijsch Van Dugteren (South Africa).
"The introduction of the biological passport, which now complements the range of anti-doping actions undertaken by the UCI, was the driving force for this initiative, which will open new avenues for our Federation to pursue," added the statement.
The foundation board held its first meeting and heard that as of the end of 2007, three quarters of the scheduled drug tests had been carried out - 4,367 in-competition and 1,077 out-of-competition.
"The results detected under this programme will be added to those of the biological passport as from 1 January 2008," said the UCI. "Introduction of the biological passport has resulted in an increase in the number of controls planned under the '100% against doping' programme.
"The UCI is pleased to announce that the various stages in the implementation of the biological passport are going ahead on schedule. To date, 464 unannounced out-of-competition tests have been conducted (out of a total of 911 tests of all kinds). By the end of April, 2,000 tests will have been carried out. This figure will rise to around 4,000 by the end of June."
The UCI added that so far riders from 14 teams are providing information on their whereabouts under the ADAMS programme (Anti-Doping Administration and Management System).
© AFP 2008