Quit Moaning!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Twitter is an interesting way to keep up with riders. You can get first hand insights in their racing, plus things outside their life.

One thing many riders tweet about is the out of competition antidoping controls. Last night HTC-Columbia’s promising Aussie sprinter Leigh Howard wrote:

9PM at night, just sitting down to eat dinner and no other then doping control shows up!!!!

I’m not going to single out Howard. Other riders complain quite a lot more.

Yes it must be annoying, enjoying a moment of calm at home and then someone knocks at the door at a strange hour and a bizarre procedure begins. There’s paperwork and above all, they must piss into a pot. The athlete can’t run into the bathroom, it has to take place in front of the controller and the athlete has to pull their trousers right down and lift the shirt right up, to ensure they aren’t using a “reservoir” of someone else’s urine. All told, it’s humiliating and can eat up 30 minutes.

But it’s essential. Any healthy sport needs anti-doping controls and so when I hear riders complain, I get frustrated. It’s part of the job and above all it’s part of the commitment to keep the sport clean.

Note riders choose the slot, they nominate a time of day when they will be at home under the ADAMS scheme that sees riders give there whereabouts details. So this doesn’t come out of the blue, the rider has consented to the time slot.

The next time a rider complains, perhaps they’d prefer a job without testing, spending their hours in an office or factory instead?

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{ 3 comments }

Ronan June 11, 2010 at 10:36 am

I follow Nicholas Roche (AG2R) on Twitter. I have never seen him complain about this or any other aspect of his professional life. He seems to appreciate the chance he has to do something the rest of us could only hope to be able to do.

Anonymous June 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

But aren't these riders human? (okay some may be superhuman and that's the problem here…) Should they not be allowed to live a somewhat normal life? I've read stories of guys being woken in the middle of the night or out in public with family/friends and testers show up.
Perhaps if the testing were only allowed during a certain window of the day like 9am-9pm or 8-8? Surely that would still leave enough unpredictability in the situation.

TheInnerRing June 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Anon, the riders specify the timing. Using the "whereabouts" system, you specify an hour long slot each day where you can be found. Most people pick early morning or late at night so they can come and go in the day.

Yes it is a constraint but it's essential and part of the job. I'm sure most riders don't mean it but complaints are not good, they chip away at the system. Testing is something that's part of the job and part of trying to make the sport cleaner.

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