Forget Night Time Tests

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 dop├ęs” 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.

5 thoughts on “Forget Night Time Tests”

  1. Yeah, agreed that the 'random' testing and targeting of riders with suspicious blood values needs to be increased and improved. On the face of it, the whole paradigm of intense/intrusive testing and automatic distrust of riders does seem like a bit of a police state, but the results of it – clean racing – seem popular with fans and riders alike. I say do what it takes to break the back of the culture of doping now, and in the future we will reap the rewards. As they say, good fences make good neighbors. Strictly and harshly enforcing the rules now will help the sport, period.

  2. Funny that riders seem to be able to handle garmins night testing OK.
    Why not do it very occasional and targeted testing- the deterrent would be enormous.

  3. Gadi, yes that's what I mean.

    Jay T, good fences mean good neighbours but I suppose I'm concerned about the access points, the gate on the fence if you like. I don't want riders forced on the defensive and rejecting WADA ideas.

    Anonymous, that is my point: it needs to be part of a bigger package. And cyclists shouldn't get worried about the tests and use these as something to say "enough is enough".

  4. You're very right, it does need to be part of a bigger package, and I do feel for the clean riders. Their lives are already hard enough, I'm sure, without being woken up late at night and tested so frequently. It just seems like somewhat of a culture of doping and secrecy does still exist in the sport, as Thomas Frei's case and the slew of recent Spanish positives illustrate. It seems like getting rid of that last group of guys who are still 'specially preparing' can only help the rest of the peloton. Teams like Garmin, HTC, and others which have taken the initiative to work with, rather than against, their riders seem to have the right mentality.

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