90 per cent drop in out-of-competition doping tests during coronavirus pandemic

The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation was forced to drastically reduce testing during the crisis

Doping control (Pascal Guyot/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

There has been a 90 per cent drop in out-of-competition doping tests due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation has said.

CADF was forced to drastically reduce its operations as countries closed borders around the world in attempts to thwart the spread of the virus, with recommendations from the World Anti-Doping Agency to limit contact with athletes in order to avoid risking their health.

"In order to comply with the restrictive measures adopted by the authorities around the world, to follow the recommendations of the World Anti-Doping Agency and to preserve the health of the riders, it was necessary to significantly reduce our control activities," CADF said in a press release.

The 90 per cent drop in out-of-competition testing relates to the two months following the start of the pandemic in the spring and compared with the same period last year. Meanwhile, no in-competition testing occurred due to the lack of races.

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Since the start of the year, CADF carried out 2,200 doping tests, of which 1,250 were out-of-competition, while the foundation has used lockdown to "carry out re-analyses and develop a comprehensive programme of controls in anticipation of the resumption of competition".

CADF has also drawn up a list of riders to be checked as a priority, as it begins to return its operations to normal in countries where lockdown measures have starting being lifted.

In May, CADF announced they would be re-testing samples from the 2017 Tour de France after a previously undetectable performance-enhancing drug was uncovered by Operation Aderlass.

The identity of the previously undetectable performance-enhancing drug is currently unknown but is believed to be a product originally made in America. They also say the doping labs in Seibersdorf, Austria, and Cologne, Germany, which is also the largest WADA-accredited laboratory in the world, are undertaking the re-testing.

Jonny Long

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.


Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).


I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.