Team Sky outlines anti-doping strategy
After Team Sky announced their first six riders for 2010, attention inevitably shifted to the team's anti-doping stance. The new British team will be working closely with both the UCI and UK Sport whilst also providing their strict internal testing procedures. British Cycling has already adopted the UK Anti-Doping Rules, which are compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.
"We have a clear anti-doping strategy," Dave Brailsford, the team's principal told Cyclingnews.
With Garmin-Slipstream and Columbia both spending recourses on internal testing, Sky look set to follow suit although the chances of them working with Don Catlin, the doping expert Garmin and Columbia both use as an independent tester, seem unlikely.
"It's one of the key things in team. Obviously there are things that we do here at British Cycling and we have our own blood testing protocols," Brailsford said.
"Independent testing has its merits but we have a programme that we are comfortable with. We've presented it to the UCI and they're comfortable with it too. They have recourse that we can use and we can work with them on target testing if we ever have any concerns. We'll work hand-in-hand."
Chris Froome, one of the riders who has signed told Cyclingnews that Sky's clean stance was vital in securing his signature. "To me it goes back to the moral and ethical side of riding. The whole doping side is killing the sport and the authenticity of the racing. How many times do you sit there, see a guy win a race and then see the real winner announced a few weeks later?" said Froome.
"It's hugely important that I'm with a team that has a stance against doping. From what I understand they're not picking up any riders who have a dodgy history in the sport or any reputation to have taken anything. I think they have also been thoroughly going through the biological passports and before I signed for them they looked at all my levels and fluctuations."
UCI President Pat McQuaid agreed with Brailsford, adding that in his eyes, British Cycling and Sky had the right attitude when it came to clean sport.
"There has been a lot of discussion between David and the anti-doping department at the UCI on the philosophy of the team. It's a similar to the British track team, who over the years and along with British Cycling, have been advocates of a clean sport. Any of the athletes they deal with, this philosophy is ingrained in them." McQuaid said.
Sky and the UCI have also discussed the possibility of the team being granted ProTour status next year, with McQuaid adding that the team presented to the UCI licensing commission at the tail-end of August. "It should be decided by the end of next week," McQuaid said on whether they would receive the license.
Team RadioShack and Skill-Shimano have also applied for ProTour status, with McQuaid adding that it was conceivable that all three teams could make the grade.