By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The International Tour de 'Toona, one of the two highest rated, non-championship races on USA Cycling's NRC calendar, had no US Antidoping Agency (USADA) testing for the entire seven stages. Instead, the USADA testers were on location at Superweek, though not for the NRC rated races the week before the Tour de 'Toona, but the non-NRC races the same week as 'Toona. This fact did not sit well with many of the team managers at the race in Pennsylvania, with the general consensus being that the top races deserve the most scrutiny -- particularly in light of what happened in the Tour de France.
"I was a bit shocked and surprised honestly," said Navigators Insurance director sportif Ed Beamon. "I thought it was a little odd that they would target a race that does not have near as much money at stake. That should be a cue to them, it makes sense to prioritise the events.
"I think the more testing they can do, to an extent, the better off we are," said Beamon. "It's obvious they need to pick and choose which events, so to me it makes more sense to target events with higher prize money. From my perspective, they are not as educated as to what is going on in the sport. They need to be more educated, and if they were they wouldn't come out with the comments they say, targeting our sport."
Jonas Carney, a former racer and now director of the Kelly Benefits/Medifast team was also frustrated. "I understand that it is not possible for USADA to be at all of the NRC races," he said. "I do believe however that USADA does not test nearly enough. They rarely show up at NRC events, never do any blood testing, and their out of competition testing covers only a very small pool of US cyclists."
"As someone who never doped, and someone who works very hard to have a clean team, it is frustrating. The doping problem is not isolated to ProTour racing in Europe and steps should be taken here in the states. I for one would be thrilled if USADA would offer no advance notice out of competition testing for pro teams in America. We would be the first to sign up."