Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts has requested for doping authorities to test him during lockdown in order to show his fellow pros that anti-doping are still working to catch any riders using prohibited substances.
“I asked if it was possible to come and test me,” Campenaerts told Het Nieuwsblad. “I would then be vocal about that test to show there are still checks during the lockdown.”
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The Belgian newspaper also reports that around 15 Belgian riders have said they haven’t been tested at all while the world has been in quarantine this past month, which has caused concern. One rider is reported to have said: “Hopefully they will visit the cowboys”.
The Belgian anti-doping authorities told the NTT Pro Cycling rider they could not accommodate his request. “I was told that an order check is not possible,” said Campenaerts.
Peter Van Eenoo, a researcher at the University of Ghent’s anti-doping lab, says he is sympathetic to Campenaerts request but told Campenaerts he could also not analyse private samples at his laboratory.
Doping authorities have been unable to carry out their normal testing, with people quarantined in their homes and travel bans imposed across a number of nations, sparking concerns that clean sport could take a hit during the coronavirus pandemic.
“In recent years I have had few tests anyway, but I haven’t been tested at all in recent months. I understand that there are now generally fewer checks. If the Tour de France gets closer, it will have to be resolved and checks will have to be made again.”
The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, an independent body established to run the anti-doping programme for the UCI, said it has modified its testing process, with an emphasis on testing riders in the UCI Registered Testing Pool and with tighter measures to protect the health of athletes.
But Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) has still raised concerns about the testing process, as he hasn’t been tested since October.
The Frenchman told L’Equipe: “That’s a long time ago and I hope that it will start up again because it’s not good news for riders who are trying to do things well. I hope that there will soon be controls again so that we can start up properly.”