By Tom Degun

Alberto Contador_01-11-111November 1 - UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and the International Cycling Union (UCI) have signed an agreement to share Athlete Biological Passport data and other doping-related information to assist in the fight against drug cheats in sport.

Professional cycling has been continuously plagued by the problem of doping with some of the sport's biggest stars, including Spain's three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador (pictured), having tested positive for illegal substances.

The Athlete Biological Passport is designed to stop drug cheats, as it is a programme based on the monitoring of selected biological variables, which can reveal the effects of doping.

Athletes on the system are profiled over time and should show consistent levels of the variables so that any changes to the levels could suggest doping and will result in further investigation and target testing.

"The UCI is very pleased with this agreement which marks another important advancement for the fight against doping," said UCI President Pat McQuaid.

"By pooling knowhow and resources at national and international level, by efficiently using technological tools and the extensive Biological Passport data available, we are one step closer to permanently eradicating doping across the globe.

"The UCI is delighted to see its vision shared worldwide by important leading anti-doping bodies such as UK Anti-Doping."

As the country's national anti-doping organisation, UKAD uses information provided by the Athlete Biological Passport to monitor the levels in an athlete's profile.

The agreement signed with the UCI will allow both organisations to share this information and build their combined target testing capabilities.

"In the countdown to next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games, UK Anti-Doping is delighted to work with the UCI, who have led the way in maximising the benefits the biological passport offers," said UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson.

"Establishing this formal partnership is vital in our ability to tackle doping and crack down on those who insist on dishonestly enhancing their performance.

"It also reinforces our joint ambition to pool resources and expertise in the fight against doping, not just in this country, but globally."

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