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5 cyclists face UCI doping charges

FIVE cyclists face doping charges based on suspicious test results gathered in a pioneering blood profiling system.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) said it wants disciplinary cases opened against three Spaniards - Igor Astarloa, Ruben Lobato and Ricardo Serrano - and Italians Pietro Caucchioli and Francesco De Bonis.

All face a minimum two-year ban from their national federations which are responsible for prosecuting the cases. However, the UCI's anti-doping manager Anne Gripper said the global governing body will seek four-year suspensions.

Caucchioli's team Lampre said it had suspended the 33-year-old rider according to the terms of his contract.

The 33-year-old Astarloa was the world road race champion in 2003. The 30-year-old Lobato was a Saunier Duval teammate last year of Riccardo Ricco, the Italian who won two stages of the Tour de France before being thrown out of the race for doping.

They are the first riders facing charges based on evidence provided by the biological passport system which was launched 18 months ago by the UCI and WADA.

Gripper said she expects more cases to be brought against other riders when evidence that they doped is ready. She did not specify how many riders are being scrutinized.



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