17th January 2018

Whereabouts mix up denies young cyclist his debut

A mix up over whereabouts requirements forced the Lotto Soudal cycling team to withdraw Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht from the Tour Down Under, 13-21 January, where he was due to make his professional debut. The International Cycling Union (UCI) argued that by not informing the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) about Lambrecht’s intention to participate, it was impossible for him to meet a requirement to provide whereabouts information for six weeks prior to his first professional race. However, Lotto Soudal argues that it submitted its roster for the Tour Down Under on 2 November and not 11 December, which means that Lambrecht would have met the six week deadline.

‘To ensure a level playing field at the UCI WorldTour level, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) requires that all riders competing in the Series are subject to the Athlete Biological Passport programme run by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF)’, read a letter to the team. ‘Therefore, Article 2.1.005 of the UCI Regulations provides that a rider shall provide accurate and up to date whereabouts information to an Anti-Doping Organisation for a minimum of six weeks prior to his participation in a UCI WorldTour event. By informing the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) only on 11 December 2017 of its intention to register non-pro Bjorg Lambrecht for the 2018 season, the Lotto Soudal team had already exceeded the 6 week deadline for the 2018 Santos Tour of Down Under which was set on 5 December 2017.’

Lotto Soudal said that although it disagreed with the UCI decision, without confirmation from the UCI that Lambrecht can start, it was not prepared to take any risks. It argued that when he received his login for the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) – the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) system used to administer athlete whereabouts – he was told that he needed to fill in his whereabouts from 17 December. As this was just 30 days before the Tour Down Under, this conflicted with the UCI’s requirements for whereabouts requirements to be filed 42 days before his first professional race.

‘In December the UCI organised three webinars (one in French, English and Spanish) to teach the neo-pros how to use the ADAMS whereabouts system’, it explained in a statement. ‘One day later Bjorg Lambrecht received his login for the ADAMS whereabouts system. However, the English webinar only took place on December 14 (only 33 days before the start of Tour Down Under) and Bjorg received his login on December 15 with the message that he needed to fill in his whereabouts as of December 17 (30 days before the start of Tour Down Under) to be able to start at Tour Down Under. Conflicting with the regulations.

“This is a huge disappointment”, said Lambrecht in the statement. “We came to Australia a week ago, I felt good in the group, was looking forward to my first pro season and then it’s a huge disappointment when you hear you can’t start. But of course we can’t take any risk. I will stay here to train for a week and then I will head to Melbourne with the team.”

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