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

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identity of the previously undetectable performance-enhancing drug is currently unknown but is believed to be a product originally made in America.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.