Riders on Team Sunweb will be subject to additional anti-doping tests after the team’s title sponsor invested in a new independent anti-doping programme for the 2018 season.
Announced at the team presentation in Germany, the new programme will be funded by Sunweb (the travel company which sponsors the cycling team) but carried out independently by Dopingautoriteit, the national anti-doping agency of The Netherlands.
Riders on the men’s, women’s and development teams will all be subject to additional blood and urine tests carried out to WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and CADF (Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation) standards, with the results of the tests being available to both organisations, and the possibility of riders facing sanctions if they fail the tests.
“For a company investing in professional sports there are only two options in regards to anti-doping,” said Tim Van den Bergh, Sunweb Group’s chief commercial officer.
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“One chooses to benefit from the beauty and great impact of the sport and abandons the team on the day there’s a doping case. The other chooses not to ignore that a sport is not better or worse than society. This means that alongside all of those with good intentions, there are always a few individuals that choose to do the wrong thing.
“A company that takes responsibility for the sport and for the team, means that they must put efforts into protecting those who choose to do the right thing by participating clean in sports. The best protection is to increase the efforts that go into detecting those who perform their sport with undesirable morals in terms of anti-doping.”
The extra testing will be carried out in addition to the ones that riders already face both in and out of competition, with the results also being included in riders’ biological passports.
Team Sunweb are not the first team to have subjected their riders to additional anti-doping tests, with T-Mobile and the then Team Slipstream (now EF Education First-Drapac) having begun internal testing programmes more than 10 years ago.