Bike Pure support clean cycling


World Cyclo-Cross Champion and current World Cup leader Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) is one of several riders who are calling for the introduction of increased out of competition drug testing in women's cycling.


Speaking to Bike Pure, Vos revealed that she had only received one out of competition doping control this year: "It is important that there are more out of competition controls (OOC). Of course I have controls in competition almost every week, but that depends on my results."


Marianne Vos for Bike Pure


Women's cycling hasn't suffered the same amount of doping positives as the men's but Bike Pure tell us that many other riders have contacted them about the lack of OOC testing, with many riders never being tested out of competition. Vos hopes that by highlighting the issue, it will hopefully make the UCI look into the problem, leading to more regular out of competition controls within the women's side of the sport.


Vos also expressed to Bike Pure some misgivings about the lack of anti-doping procedures at last weekends World Cup in Sweden: "In Sweden there was no doping control because the doctor was either ill, on holiday or there was some sort of miscommunication which can happen at times." It was only when Vos received no chaperone after the race that she realised there would be no anti-doping control.


"We really need to put effective barriers in place to prevent riders who are tempted to take drugs, and I think an increase in out of competition controls will raise a barricade," Vos added.


After speaking to Marianne Vos, Bike Pure contacted several other riders to obtain their opinion of out of competition controls. Current Australian time trial champion, and former Olympic rower Amber Halliday commented: "I am surprised at the lack of testing in cycling, especially considering the sports reputation and the push for cleanliness."


"As an international rower I was tested at least three times a year, with two of those being out of competition. Even in my year off after the Athens Olympics I was tested at least once! While most of these tests were through my national federation, FISA (rowing’s equivalent of the UCI) still carried out both in and out of competition testing."


Halliday continued: "I've been in cycling almost two years and can only recall being tested once with another blood test that I was told was to take some baseline levels."


Stefan Wyman is Director Sportif of Horizon Fitness Racing Team, a successful women's team based in the Europe and aligned with Bike Pure. Stefan has over seven years experience in women's racing at the highest level and isn't impressed by the lack of testing both in and out of competition. "It's something that never fails to surprise me. In fact when there is a test, it's somewhat shocking. It seems that at UCI races, the Anti Doping inspector has an empty role, talking at managers meetings, but rarely carrying out a test."


"Working at the Tour de L'aude this year, a ten day stage race, I do not recall a single test being carried out for our team. I've even been to one cyclo-cross race where the anti-doping inspector actually announced the day before there would be no doping control for women, just Elite and Juniors. A license to cheat if I ever saw one!” added Wyman.


It's not only the lack of testing that worries Wyman though.  He is concerned that some riders lack of understanding of anti-doping controls could easily lead to an honest rider's career and integrity being threatened. "I think the lack of testing will one day lead to riders being banned for missing a test. A lack of testing leads to some complacency for sure."


"Either the team, or the rider, will one day not bother to check the rider list at the finish and will go home. And there's no come missed a test, you are assumed guilty. Some professional riders have been riding for years and have never once been tested."


One of the most effective measures introduced in the fight against doping has been the implementation of out of competition testing across all sports. Women's cycling doesn't have the same salaries and financial investment as its male equivalent, although the temptation to dope still exists. Women's cycling is developing, particularly since the introduction of teams such as Horizon Fitness, Cérvelo and HTC Columbia and it is paramount that strict doping controls are implemented.


Bike Pure will be highlighting the lack of out of competition testing in women's cycling with the UCI and affiliated anti-doping bodies.



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