By Susan Westemeyer
As of August 1, the UCI had conducted only 20 of 500 planned out-of-competition blood controls. Now Anne Gripper, the UCI's Anti-Doping Services Manager, has told the Neue Züricher Zeitung the reason. "The cyclists are in competition practically the whole time from spring to fall. That's why we planned from the beginning to make most of the controls between the end of October and Christmas."
However, those that take place during the season have been carefully planned, she said. Gripper cited the positive control of Astana's Andrey Kashechkin as evidence.
Barbara Walther, who is responsible for doping controls at Swiss Cycling, the national federation, did not agree with the UCI's approach, and said, "We observe endurance athletes the whole year. There is no phase in which they are not controlled."
Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer was also surprised by the lack of testing. "I was taken aback when I saw how few controls were being made," he said.
Gerolsteiner is one of the teams belonging to the "Movement for a Credible Cycling" (MPCC), which Holczer says calls for every rider to be tested out-of-competition 15 times a year. Gripper, too, called for "substantially more" controls in the coming season.