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Leading Anti-Doping Expert Quits Over Gag

A top sports doping expert accuses the anti-doping movement of "silencing" him, and resigns.

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Doping is widespread in pro cycling. Photo via

By May Wilkerson

04/03/12

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One of the world's leading sports doping experts has accused the anti-doping movement of "omertà"–referring to the Mafia's code of silence–for "silencing him" with an unfair new contractual requirement. Dr Michael Ashenden has just resigned from his position on the International Cycling Union's (UCI) panel of doping experts, because of a new clause in his contract that would prevent him from giving personal opinions on any of his cases. Dr Ashenden has been reviewing blood profiles since 2008 and is considered a leading authority in blood doping and the Athlete's Biologial Passport (ABP)—an electronic record of blood and urine samples taken over a pro athlete's career. He's worked on many high profile cases including those of Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador—but isn't willing to have to ask permission before speaking to the media about his role as a reviewer of blood profiles. "It seems to me that too much emphasis is being placed on controlling what the media are told," Ashenden tells the BBC. "There should be nothing to hide, so why stop the experts from talking?" The UCI has thanked Ashenden for his contributions, but declines further comment.

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