As I predicted, the WADA observer report on the UCI’s doping controls in last summer’s Tour de France has turned into a story about night time tests. Mark Cavendish says yes, the association of French pros, the UNCP lead by ex-pro Pascal Chanteur, says non. Most riders haven’t gone public but the vibe is that most want a good night’s sleep.
|Chanteur says “non” to night time tests|
Only this shouldn’t be the issue grabbing the headlines. First there’s a public perception that most riders dope, the “tous dopés” refrain is common in France, your average bloke in the street thinks all riders are doping. Saying no to more controls can make riders look shifty, even if riders are just after a decent rest. So perhaps it’s fine to reject night time calls or at least to regulate them a bit, so riders are not woken every night. What really matters is surprise, if you want to catch a rider then getting them by surprise at 23:30 or 06:30 can work just as well as the middle of the night.
There are more serious concerns, the WADA report showed several suspicious riders were not tested very often and that random controls were not that random nor really a surprise. In short, most of the recommendations are useful and need implementation. Riders and their representatives should be seen to recommend the WADA suggestions, not to dump on them.