USADA: All athletes subject to testing in and out of competition

Comardo case a warning shot for amateurs

The United States Anti-doping Agency issued a somewhat surprising press release on Tuesday, stating that it had suspended an amateur racer after he tested positive out of competition. For many amateur American racers, the fact that they can be tested out-of-competition might come as a shock.

Yet on August 24, 2009, Texan Mitchell Comardo, a category 1 racer who competed at the elite level in both road and mountain bike events, was located and subjected to an out-of-competition control. Lab analysis found five different banned substances in his sample.

USADA communications director Erin Hannan clarified to Cyclingnews that out-of-competition testing is not just for those who race at the professional level or volunteer to be part of the testing pool. "All those who are members of their sport’s governing body, regardless of their level, make a commitment to compete clean and are subject to both in-competition and out-of-competition testing," Hannan stated.

She did not specify the circumstances surrounding USADA's decision to test Comardo, but indicated that he may not have been chosen at random.

"We use our limited resources as efficiently and effectively as possible, and where we believe it is an effective use of those resources we will execute tests in an effort to detect instances of doping, and let those who think they may not regularly be tested know that the possibility is always there," said Hannan.

Comardo, 22, accepted a two-year suspension, which began September 24, 2009.

"It is positive that he has admitted his violation, accepted the results, taken responsibility, and can now serve his sanction and move forward, hopefully learning from the experience. This is a good outcome for the anti-doping movement and for the clean athletes who work so hard to do it right," said Hannan.

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