After being rocked by Ivan Basso’s links to Operacion Puerto, Team CSC have officially announced their own in house anti-doping program that will see their riders undergo almost 800 out-of-competition and pre-competition anti-doping tests.
The project will begin this week in Denmark and is expected to be the most comprehensive test system in professional cycling, with first tests carried out in December at the team?s first training camp in South Africa. The testing will be supervised by Danish anti-doping expert Rasmus Damsgaard.
Team manager Bjarne Riis has often been put under pressure about doping but after dropping Basso from the 2007 CSC team, he seems determined to prove he runs a clean team.
?Our ambition is to be pioneers in the work against doping, so we are very proud to initiate this program,? Riis claimed in a team statement issued on Monday (November 13) afternoon.
?We have worked closely with Rasmus Damsgaard to develop the program and we think it gives us a unique possibility to do something for the future of cycling and maybe sport in general. I have no qualms about submitting our riders to the most rigorous tests out there, because we want cycling sport to be a clean sport. I have faith in the fact that our riders have the right attitude and I would like for them to be able to show this to the world.?
?I am hoping this initiative will pave the way for other teams to follow and as a result help rid our sport of doping altogether. We have taken a very big step towards this and it will help demonstrate how serious we are about anti-doping, and at the same time we firmly believe that given the right conditions professional cycling has a great future ahead of it.?
CSC is the second major team to announce extra testing and take a new stand against doping following the scandals of Operacion Puerto. T-Mobile have already announced a strict programme, cleaned up their team and ended their links with Jan Ullrich.
There is now pressure on other teams to follow T-Mobile and CSC. Now Discovery Channel and Astana who have signed riders involved in scandals will hopefully be the next to act in the fight against doping.