Unipublic, organizers of the Vuelta a España announced Wednesday a comprehensive plan to fight doping during their race. The move comes after various doping scandals during the Tour de France that saw several riders, and in some cases their entire teams, withdraw from the race.
Organizers said in a statement that they would "carry out as many controls as are considered necessary," although they kept the exact number confidential. The total budget for the anti-doping program will exceed 180,000 Euros or 30 million pesetas.
Before the Vuelta, during the month of August, the UCI, in conjunction with WADA, local officials, and various federations, will carry out a minimum of 80 surprise controls, with at least half being tests for EPO. During the morning of August 30 in Vigo, where all racers will be assembled, a team of 27 officials from the UCI will take samples from all participating riders for two controls: one to look at 30 parameters to determine the riders' physical states and fitness for the race, and another to check for doping. Those samples will be transported by private plane to ensure speedy testing at the University of Lausanne.
Surprise blood samples will be drawn and analyzed in situ by special teams of doctors and analysts during the Vuelta. Urine samples will also be done daily on some riders, including the leader of the overall classification. Doping inspectors, including the UCI, will have the right to approach any rider during the Tour, even during rest days to ask for samples for analysis.
The measures come as Vuelta organizers said they hope to improve the credibility of the sport and offer participants a level of testing that does not occur in sports outside of pro cycling.
The Vuelta will run from September 1 through 23.