As Signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code, the UCI believes that it leads the way in the protection of clean athletes. The independence of its anti-doping activities is fully safeguarded and the robustness and effectiveness of its program are confirmed and continuously enhanced. The in-depth reform of the UCI’s anti-doping procedures, launched in September 2013, has been carried out swiftly with clear positive consequences.
Main Actors Involved in the Fight Against Doping in Cycling
Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF)
An organisation that is central to the fight against doping in cycling, the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) has gained ISO certification and is independent of the UCI. The CADF is mandated by the UCI to:
- Define and implement the doping control strategy on behalf of the UCI;
- Conduct a comprehensive in- and out-of-competition testing program to detect prohibited substances and methods;
- Investigate and intelligence-gathering; grouping information from law enforcement, anti-doping organisations and other sources to build an increasingly intelligence-led program
- Manage and constantly improve the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program;
- Provide support to the UCI Legal Anti-Doping Services (LADS);
- Provide administrative support to the Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) Committee;
- Train the CADF Doping Control Officers (DCO);
- Train riders and teams in the use of the different existing online platforms (ADAMS, ALPHA);
- Play a consultative role with regard to research, education and prevention.
The independence of the CADF was significantly reinforced in September 2013 when its Board was completely renewed. The CADF is chaired by Mr Rune Andersen, a renowned anti-doping expert, and comprises three members who are independent of the UCI: two legal experts, Mr Christophe Misteli and Mr Thomas Capdevielle, and a financial expert, Mr Yvan Haymoz.
The UCI determines the CADF’s priorities in terms of the testing strategy and broad lines of approach through a contract of services. CADF reports to its Board and the UCI on a quarterly basis.
For more information about the CADF, please visit: www.cadf.ch
Legal Anti-Doping Services (LADS)
The LADS were established in October 2013. Essentially composed of legal experts, this body intervenes when a case of an apparent breach of the anti-doping rules is reported to it, in particular by the CADF, and takes responsibility for the procedure that will result in the sanction – or not – of the rider (or other licence holder) in question.
Until October 2013, the legal management of potential doping cases was conducted by the UCI Legal Service. Nowadays, the LADS is set up as a unit separate from the rest of the UCI in order to afford this function greater independence. The working relationships between the members of this Service and other UCI employees is subject to strict guidelines. In particular, the LADS do not receive any instructions from the UCI Management.
Instead, all key decisions throughout the case management are systematically made in consultation with an external and independent legal counsel. This process is detailed the “Internal Regulations for Anti-Doping Procedures”, a document approved by the UCI Executive Board in November 2013. Another key element governing LADS’ activities are that all consultations with the external legal counsel and decisions must be in writing. This methodology ensures accountability and clear audit trail.
The UCI external legal counsel
The UCI uses the services of an external and independent legal counsel. This is the Lévy-Kaufmann-Kohler practice in Geneva. The role of the external legal counsel is generally to offer a second opinion (in addition to that of the LADS). It is consulted by the Service at each stage of a procedure. The external legal counsel is also involved with appeals lodged before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
UCI Anti-Doping Policy Board
This body is made up of three people: the President of the UCI Anti-Doping Commission (see below), Mr Artur Lopes, a representative of the UCI external legal counsel, Mr Antonio Rigozzi, and the UCI Director General. The role of the Board is usually to reach a decision when the LADS and the external legal counsel disagree or cannot reach a decision (in particular because a question of principle must first be resolved).
The decisions of the Anti-Doping Policy Board take into account the circumstances of each individual case. The Board pays particular attention to the objectives of the World Anti-Doping Code, while overseeing an effective allocation of resources in order to maximise the impact of the UCI anti-doping program.
UCI Anti-Doping Commission
This Commission is chaired by Dr Artur Lopes. The members are Dr Chris Jarvis and Ms Marjolaine Viret, attorney-at-law. In particular, the Commission defines the general aspects of the UCI Anti-Doping Program and oversees the draft and amendments of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.
UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal
Established in January 2015, the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal took over the task, previously delegated by the UCI to the National Federations, of handling disciplinary proceedings and rendering decisions concerning anti-doping rules violations. This ensures equality and due process for all riders under the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, regardless of the nationalities. The Tribunal also guarantees a consistent case law. The judges are fully independent from the UCI and were nominated in view of their outstanding expertise in the field of anti-doping and dispute resolution.
UCI and Anti-Doping: Key Steps
In general terms, the independence of anti-doping with regards to the UCI has been considerably increased since 2013. This does not mean that the UCI is disregarding its responsibilities in the fight against doping. To the contrary, the UCI is now in a much better position to assume these responsibilities by avoiding the possibility of interference of its directors in the work of the anti-doping experts (both scientific and legal).
Relations drawn up by the bodies described above as well as those produced by the UCI President’s office, Management and Administrative Service are subject to the strict guidelines of the Internal Rules for Anti-Doping Procedures. This document, approved by the UCI Executive Board in November 2013, very precisely defines the responsibilities and remits of all parties and the manner in which they can, or cannot, communicate with each other. This allows a guarantee of the independence of anti-doping activities with regards to the UCI in order to avoid any conflict of interest and thus guarantee the ethics of the fight against doping in cycling. The UCI is the first organisation involved in the fight against doping to adopt such rules. In this way the UCI undertakes to act with complete transparency with a view to establishing and ensuring the strict respect of the principle of accountability which represents the best guarantee of credibility in the long term.
In the same vein, in January and February 2014, the UCI commissioned an independent audit by the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO) with a view to confirming the relevance and effectiveness of its anti-doping program. A summary of the iNADO report is published on the UCI website and the UCI has implemented its recommendations to ensure that its process is fully in line with best practice.
Furthermore, the UCI itself opened up to an unprecedented level of independent scrutiny from the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC). In January 2014, the CIRC was established by the UCI “to conduct a wide ranging independent investigation into the causes of the pattern of doping that developed within cycling and allegations which implicate the UCI and other governing bodies and officials over ineffective investigation of such doping practices”.
The CIRC’s report and its recommendations were published in full in March 2015 to ensure transparency.
In 2015, the UCI introduced new Anti-Doping Rules to reflect the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code, further strengthening cycling’s anti-doping procedures, with far reaching sanctions on teams with riders who are found to have doped (competition suspension plus a fine of 5% of the team budget).
At the same occasion, the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal, composed of independent judges, was established as first instance for anti-doping disciplinary proceedings. The Tribunal took over the task previously handled by National Federations. This change ensures due process and consistent case law.
Another prong of the program has been to increase collaboration with other Anti-Doping Organisations. Since 2014, the UCI has set up more than 21 formal collaboration agreements with NADOs (USA, Switzerland, France, Germany, South Africa, UK, etc.) to coordinate testing and investigation, shifting the UCI’s anti-doping strategy towards a more intelligence-led approach.
How anti-doping activities work: from potential infringement to possible sanction
First phase: detection of potential infringement and communication of the case to the LADS
In this initial phase of the process, potential breaches of the anti-doping rules (ADRV) are noted and reported by the competent parties and then sent to the CADF. When a case amounts to a potential ADRV, the CADF forwards the case to the LADS. The most common scenarios are described below.
• A rider is submitted to an in-competition control. Several actors may carry out this type of control and are responsible for reporting it: DCOs appointed by the CADF, the NADO of the country in which the athlete is licensed, the NADO of the country in which the athlete is present, National Federations or the organisers of major sporting events (Olympic and Paralympic Games, Commonwealth Games, etc.). Once the control has been conducted, the relevant authority organising the sampling completes the control form in the ADAMS (Anti-Doping Administration & Management System) program, set up and supervised by WADA. In particular, the rider’s identity and sample number are indicated here. The sample is dispatched to a WADA-accredited laboratory without the rider’s identity being communicated. The laboratory enters the results of the analysis in ADAMS. The CADF coordinates and supervises all operations by the actors involved. It is the CADF that examines potential breaches of the anti-doping rules from a scientific point of view. When it considers that there has been a potential breach (adverse analytical finding) and that the rider has no authorisation for use of the prohibited substance for therapeutic purposes (TUE), the CADF sends the dossier to the LADS.
• A rider is submitted to an out-of-competition control. This type of control is delegated by the CADF to one of its partners (sampling agencies IDTM, PWC, GOS or Clearidium). The following stages are similar to that described for in-competition controls: recording the control in ADAMS, dispatch of an anonymous sample to a WADA-accredited laboratory for analysis, results of this analysis made known to CADF via ADAMS, examination of any potential breach by CADF and forwarding the dossier to the LADS if necessary.
• All riders of UCI WorldTeams and UCI Professional Continental Teams have a biological passport (this requirement may be extended to any rider of any other categories and disciplines). The passport data is drawn up on the basis of controls conducted (both in-competition and out-of-competition). ADAMS updates the profiles of riders as soon as the corresponding results are submitted to ADAMS by WADA-accredited laboratories. The Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU), a body operating from the Swiss Doping Analysis Laboratory in Lausanne, is notified when a rider’s haematological profile is updated. The APMU continuously sends a series of profiles to experts who examine them and then return evaluations to the APMU. If an evaluation indicates that it is unlikely that a profile is the result of a standard physiological or pathological condition, the APMU informs the CADF, which then provides additional information on the rider concerned. The work of the APMU and the experts is conducted by means of a unique identifier without the rider’s identity being revealed. The APMU then returns the profile and additional information to the expert who first examined the profile and forwards it to two other experts. All three experts consider the profile individually. If they are unanimously convinced that the case is one of possible doping, the process enters a relatively complex phase (telephone conference between the experts, provision of several additional analytical and pre-analytical items of information by the CADF, re-examination in view of the new information provided). Upon their review, if the experts declare an Adverse Passport Finding, the dossier is passed on to the LADS.
• If a rider provides erroneous information on his or her location such that the anti-doping official cannot carry out a scheduled out-of-competition control, or if the rider provides whereabouts information after the date fixed by the CADF: this is known as a whereabouts failure. The accumulation of three whereabouts failures over a period of 12 months represents an infringement. Such failures may be noted and reported by CADF approved partners (IDTM, PWC, GOS or Clearidium) or the CADF itself. The procedure is then the same as in the first two scenarios: examination of potential breaches and then, if necessary, dispatch of the dossier to the LADS.
• If a rider does not submit to a control (cannot be found, disappears, refuses to submit to the test, etc.), this behaviour is noted and reported to the CADF by the DCO appointed by the CADF, the relevant NADO or other authorised organisation. As in the scenarios described above, the CADF examines the breach, gathers the necessary information to draw up a dossier, and then dispatches this dossier to the LADS.
• It may be the case that a rider attempts to manipulate a control (e.g. by using techniques that seek to falsify the sample or even by intentionally destroying the sample). The actors described in the previous scenario, to which must be added to the laboratory analysing the sample, note and report the facts to the CADF which acts in the same manner as described above.
• The final scenario concerns the administration, possession or trafficking of prohibited substances. These may be noted and reported to the CADF by the actors mentioned in the two previous scenarios, by WADA or the civil authorities (e.g. the police). The CADF then follows the same procedure as for the previous scenarios.
Second phase: the management of cases by the LADS
When there is an apparent breach of the anti-doping rules, a new phase commences: a phase that will result in the sanction – or not – of the individual in question. The central actor of this stage of the process is the LADS which take over from the CADF. The LADS must refer to the external legal counsel which issues a second opinion at every key stage of the procedure as set forth in the Internal Regulations.
Here is a summary of the major types of potential breach of the anti-doping rules, as mentioned above:
• adverse analytical finding (following an in-competition or out-of-competition control);
• adverse passport finding;
• breach of the requirements regarding athlete availability for out-of-competition testing;
• “non-analytical” breach of the anti-doping rules (i.e. not based on an analysis result, e.g. a refusal to submit to a control).
The considerations below relate to managing cases in each of these situations.
Adverse analytical finding
The LADS receive an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF, in other words, a prohibited substance was detected in a sample) from the CADF.
On the basis of an examination of a potential breach by the CADF, the LADS informs the rider, his or her National Federation, the NADO of his or her country and WADA of the advent of an abnormal result. If the substance discovered is “non-specified” (as opposed to “specified” substances – it is unlikely that the presence of “non-specified” substances can be explained by a credible reason not linked to doping), the rider is provisionally suspended (although this does not insinuate prior proof of guilt). The provisional suspension is reported on UCI’s website. The UCI Management is informed at the same time. Not only is it useful to make a provisional suspension public, but an appropriate communication in this situation contributes to the UCI’s transparency in the subject of anti-doping.
At this stage, the rider may request the LADS to order the opening of the B sample. If this confirms the AAF of the A sample, or if the rider dispenses with this option, the LADS request the rider to explain why the sample has returned an AAF.
In all cases, the LADS then consult the external legal counsel without revealing the rider’s identity. Two situations are then possible:
• The external legal counsel and the LADS both consider that there is cause to open disciplinary proceedings. In this case, the rider is informed of the applicable sanction. If the rider accepts the sanction, the LADS informs the UCI Management as well as the external legal counsel (which is then informed of the rider’s name). If the rider rejects the sanction communicated by the LADS, the case is referred to the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal.
• The external legal counsel and the LADS both consider that the case should not be pursued. In this case, no disciplinary proceedings will be initiated. The UCI, NADO, National Federation and WADA are informed accordingly.
Adverse Passport Finding
The LADS is informed by the CADF if an abnormal biological profile has been identified. The LADS proceeds as follows:
• notifies the rider of the suspicions against him or her, as well as WADA (in confidence);
• sends the rider and WADA a copy of the documents that demonstrate the potential infringement;
• invites the rider to provide explanations of the profile;
• informs the rider’s NADO, if an agreement with this body allows this type of information to be shared.
Once the rider has given an explanation, this is submitted to the same group of experts that initially assessed the rider’s passport. At this time, either the group of experts does not have a unanimous opinion that there is cause to pursue the case, and thus the case is closed, or all three experts believe that there is a breach of the anti-doping rules and the LADS then processes the case in consultation with the external legal counsel as described above.
Breach of requirements regarding athlete availability for out-of-competition testing
The CADF reports potential whereabouts failures to the LADS. The LADS then notifies the rider and invites him or her to explain the reason for the failure. On this basis, the LADS decides whether the whereabouts failure is to be recorded or not as per the anti-doping rules. The rider is informed of the decision and may request that the case is re-examined by a third party. If a rider accumulates three whereabouts failures over a period of 12 months, this constitutes a breach of the anti-doping rules. At that moment, LADS processes the case in consultation with the external legal counsel as described above.
Non-analytical breach of anti-doping rules
The procedure applicable in the event of a potential non-analytical breach is very similar to the procedure that applies for an adverse analytical finding.
The CADF informs the LADS of the existence of an apparent non-analytical breach of the anti-doping rules. The LADS investigates the case as follows:
• notifies the rider, offering him or her the opportunity to provide an explanation, then;
• gathers information from the appropriate sources (e.g. the relevant National Federation).
Once the LADS has gathered information from the rider and other relevant sources, it contacts the external legal counsel. The process of managing the results then continues in accordance with the same principles of cooperation between the LADS and the external legal counsel. For all matters and especially when it touches upon an issue of principle, the option of resorting to the Anti-Doping Policy Board is available described above.