Gianni Bugno, the president of the Cyclistes Professionnels Associes (CPA) riders association, has said he is favour of night-time anti-doping controls.
Current anti-doping controls are done between 6am and 11pm but the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) suggested some riders could still be taking micro-doses of EPO during the night to avoid detection, and called for the UCI and WADA to make more use of a 2015 WADA code rule that allows night-testing when “serious and specific suspicion that the rider may be engaged in doping”.
Recently retired rider and strong anti-doping advocate David Millar has said he is against night-time testing. He wrote in the Telegraph newspaper that the addition of night-testing to the current testing protocols “shows zero empathy for the current state of cycling." Millar argued that the professional peloton is far cleaner than the CIRC report portrayed.
Bugno told Cyclingnews he is in favour after Tirreno-Adriatico race leader Adriano Malori (Movistar) came out against night-testing. “It's already possible to do them. They (the UCI) do them when there are suspicious cases," Bugno told Cyclingnews, clearly aware of the 2015 WADA code.
"The CPA defends the riders who do the right thing. We can't defend riders who don't. If a rider doesn't have any problems, they won't have a problem during the night either. I understand there won't be controls on everyone, they'll be done on riders who have raised suspicions. Most riders have nothing to worry about. The ones who do have something to worry about are the ones who have a problem."
Bugno admitted that he has not yet read the full 228-page CIRC report. But he is also confident the peloton is much cleaner than when he raced in the 90s. "I think the situation regarding doping has changed, there are more controls and I think cycling is doing a lot to change. We've paid a high price for the past. It's also doing a lot compared to other sports.
"I don't think we can do much more. Of course some will always try to cheat, but in life not everybody is a thief. We've got to respect the people who are honest and improve things as much as possible."
"It'd be good to talk less about doping and more about cycling too," he added.
Working on an Extreme Weather Protocol
Bugno spoke to the media at Tirreno-Adriatico about the CPA's plans to work with the UCI to establish a Extreme Weather Protocol. David Millar has been asked to represent the CPA at the UCI Working Group that will look at the problem. Bugno confirmed that a CPA representative, often from national level rider associations, will also attend every WorldTour race to help resolve any problems affecting riders.
"At the moment races go on in any kind of weather, at the moment we're the only sport with such open race conditions. There are lots of variables to considers, so it's not easy but we need some limits," Bugno said.
"It's difficult to say now what the limits are but we need them. So far we've followed the good sense of the race judges, knowing that the last word goes to the race organisers, who own the race and who are legally responsible. We want to draw up a document that says exactly when we don't race. It could be about the wind, high temperatures, snow, rain and cold temperatures. They're problems for everyone. It's not only for the riders, the whole race caravan faces problems in extreme weather."
Bugno knows that a final Extreme Weather Protocol will almost certainly not be in place for this year's Giro d'Italia – where poor weather issues are most likely. He hopes that some kind informal outline agreement can be reached with RCS Sport.