Tadej Valjavec is a world class cyclist from Slovenia and he’s been suspended for two years by the Union Cycliste Internationale.
The Court said:
The CAS found that anti-doping tests performed in April and August 2009 revealed abnormalities in the context of the athlete’s biological passport to a degree which was entirely consistent with blood manipulation. The CAS has therefore confirmed the reliability of the indirect method of detection based on the blood profile of athletes and already established in previous CAS decisions concerning the Italian cyclists Pietro Caucchioli and Franco Pellizotti.
Fascinating. First, the Olympic committee for a country can be overruled by a court of sports. Second, there is something called a biological passport. This raised a few questions for me:
What is a biological passport? Since 2002 the World Anti-Doping Agency has used the term to describe a baseline set of blood tests for elite athletes. The idea behind the passport is to create a set of markers to draw from as more and more drugs are banned. Since the baseline physiological passport exists for an athlete, you can easily see the changes from the baseline in the future. If there are substantial changes then you are flagged as taking performance enhancing substances.
Can you cheat a biological passport? It is very, very tough since the test shows changes over time based on the baseline. It looks at your base, inherit physiology, so it is practically impossible to beat unless you were cheating when the passport was made and continue to cheat.