February 26 - Anne Gripper (pictured), the head of the International Cycling Union's (UCI) Anti-Doping Department, has resigned to return home to Australia, it has been reported.

She will be replaced by Francesco Rossi, who joins the UCI from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), when she officially steps down next Friday (March 5).

Gripper, who previously worked for the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and Australian Anti-Doping Agency (ASDA), has been at the UCI since 2006 and overseen the creation of the biological passport.

Her decision to return home follows the death last year of her partner in an accident.

"I decided I want to be back in Australia with family and friends," Gripper told Cyclingnews.
"It's purely personal reasons.

"I need to do something a bit gentler on my soul for the time being.

"I'm going to do something completely different.

"My partner left a moderately sized estate and what she wanted was for it to be used as a foundation to support projects in sport, education and medical issues and focus on Africa to start.

"She was raising funds for Tanzania when she died so I'll continue to support that and some other projects as well.

"I've got a lot of learning to do and I don't have a strong financial background and make sure it's set up in the best practical way."

Gripper had overseen the creation and first cases of the biological passport, a programme that has taken two years to get off the ground.

"In some ways I'm disappointed that I won't be able to see the journey through," she told Cyclingnews..

"I think we've done the hard work and that it will become easier now.

"We have begun the difficult part of changing the culture of the sport as well as doing more testing.

"A lot of the teams really understand they have to play a major part in encouraging their riders that they can do well without doping and that's the real difference for me in the last year.

"For me that's the best message to give young riders, that you can ride and win without doping."