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Cycling to set up medical profiles

GENEVA — Cycling's governing body wants to set up medical profiles for riders as soon as next year, a step toward cleaning up a sport that has been rocked by doping in recent years.

Blood and urine samples would be collected from all professional riders to create a "biological passport" that could be used in analyzing results from subsequent doping tests, the International Cycling Union said Wednesday.

"The rider becomes his own reference point," said Anne Gripper, the UCI's anti-doping chief. "We look for variations in a rider's individual profile to determine whether there may be some indication of using a prohibited method or a prohibited substance."

The program is to begin in early 2008, with details released at a meeting in Paris on Monday and Tuesday. The profiles will not be limited to Tour de France riders but cover all the cyclists in UCI Pro teams.

"What we're looking for is indirect evidence of the fact that cyclists may be doing something to increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of their blood either through blood doping or through small doses of EPO or something like that," Gripper said.

World Ant-Doping Agency president Dick Pound said Tuesday he thinks anti-doping passports will be widespread within three years, but not in time for next year's Beijing Olympics.