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Friday 22, Apr 2016

  Biological Passport Case Opened By UCI Against Henao

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A biological passport case has been opened by the Cycling Anti Doping Foundation (CADF), the anti-doping arm of the UCI, against Team Sky rider Sergio Henao.

The Colombian has 20 days to respond to the request of CADF for more explanations and information relating to his blood profile from a period from August 2011 to June 2015. Henao has been temporarily withdrawn from racing by Team Sky for the second time in his career as a result of opening of the case.

Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford remarked the physiology of ‘altitude natives’ is a complex area. Brailsford added the science is limited and in recent years we have proactively sought to understand it better by undertaking detailed scientific research – both for Sergio and for the benefit of clean sport more widely.

The rider posted a reaction on the Team Sky website and said he has been beyond disappointed. Henao added he had worked incredibly hard to get back to racing fitness after shattering his knee last year – but he knows who he is, how hard he have worked and the sacrifices he have made to be where he is today. The Team Sky said he is calm and confident that this will be resolved soon so he can get back to racing as soon as possible.

The UCI commented this stage is confidential as per the applicable regulations, when the independent experts in charge of reviewing biological passport profiles require further information from the athlete. The UCI and CADF however confirm given that this is already in the public domain that Sergio Henao has been asked to provide explanations for his ABP values and added his explanations will be sent back to the same experts for review and assessment as per WADA’s ABP process and also commented that the UCI and CADF cannot comment further in the meantime.

In March 2014, Henao was first withdrawn from racing and was subsequently placed on a Team Sky ‘altitude research program’ of testing. The rider was cleared to race by his team in June 2014 after he was cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal investigation and urine and blood tests. Team Sky, while clearing Henao, had confirmed that their internal testing program was conducted by a team from the University of Sheffield with the cooperation of the Colombian anti-doping authorities. Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford then said we were left with three choices, one was let him carry on and then see whether in seven months’ time he gets a letter from the UCI or not, we could stop him totally and say we are not happy with the situation but because it is new information that would be very harsh and so we decided on a third option where we try and find a new approach but it is a very difficult situation.

The 2014 testing program started in Europe, continued for six-weeks at altitude in Colombia, and finished with final base-level tests in Nice. The program findings were given to the CADF, the world governing body of cycling, and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

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Thursday 20, Mar 2014

  Team Sky Drop Sergio Henao

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Team Sky Drop Sergio Henao

Colombian rider Sergio Henao has been withdrawn from racing by Team Sky to conduct further tests after questions over his blood values were provoked by the team’s monthly review.

According to Team Sky, the 26-year-old Henao will be subject to an “altitude research program.” Meanwhile, the rider has been withdrawn from racing for a period of eight weeks that means Henao is unlikely to start the opening Grand Tour of the season, the Giro d’Italia, which begins in Belfast on May 9th. A biological passport violation may lead up to a ban of two years for a first-time offense.

Henao, whose younger cousin, Sebastian, joined Team Sky for 2014, was believed to start the Tour de France as a support rider for Chris Froome, the defending champion. Henao was expected to race the Dauphiné Libéré stage race in June and then was believed to make his debut in the Tour in support of the title defense of Froome.

Team Sky Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said our experts had questions about Sergio’s out-of-competition control tests at altitude – tests introduced this winter by the anti-doping authorities and we need to understand these readings better. Brailsford added we contacted the relevant authorities – the UCI (International Cycling Union) and CADF (Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation) – pointed to these readings and asked whether they could give us any insights. The Team Sky principal also remarked we have also taken Sergio out of our race program whilst we get a better understanding of these profiles and his physiology and said we want to do the right thing and we want to be fair and it is important not to jump to conclusions.

Brailsford went on to add that our own understanding is limited by a lack of scientific research into ‘altitude natives’ such as Sergio, who was born at altitude in Rionegro, near Medellín, at an altitude of 7,000 feet and lives & trains in the region outside of the racing season. He also remarked we are commissioning independent scientific research to better understand the effects of prolonged periods at altitude after returning from sea level, specifically on altitude natives and added the independent experts are looking to use WADA-accredited laboratories and Team Sky will make the data and findings available to the World Anti-Doping Agency, the UCI, and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF).

Sir Dave Brailsford also said Sergio will help with this program and we expect him to be out of the race schedule for at least eight weeks and once we have completed our assessment, we’ll decide on the right steps and give a full update.

Team Sky’s move was supported by the UCI that said we as a matter of principle are supportive of teams pursuing a policy of closely monitoring their athletes. A UCI spokesperson said this is something that has been monitored by the team and this is Team Sky’s own program and that’s very important.

This is the second blood anomaly involving Team Sky after anti-doping disciplinary action was faced by Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, the 2012 Tour of Britain winner, after his blood passport data was found to contain anomalies.

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