CADF confirms anti-doping tests return to normal levels during Tour de France after lockdown

TO WITH AFP STORY IN FRENCH BY STEPHANIE PERTUISETSwiss Laboratory for Doping Analysis Neil Robinson displays the results of a blood sample test in Epalinges near Lausanne on February 25 2009 The International Cycling Union UCI promises weeks ago the first sanctions related to the biological passport but to want to make its new anti doping weapon 100 per cent reliable before the Court of Arbitration for Sport CAS AFP PHOTO FABRICE COFFRINI Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINIAFP via Getty Images
Blood testing at the Epalinges laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) has announced that testing returned to normal levels before racing resumed in late July. 

Back in June, the organisation had confirmed that testing had fallen by approximately 90 per cent (opens in new tab) during the first two months of the COVID-19 lockdown. Between January and the end of August, the CADF only collected half the samples collected during the same period in 2019, the organisation said.

A number of riders complained about the lack of testing (opens in new tab) during the COVID-19 lockdown, with Tom Dumoulin, Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot all weighing in.

"From January 1 to August 31, 2020, more than 5,000 samples were collected," read a statement issued to the Reuters news agency by CADF. 

"This represents half the number of samples collected in 2019 for the same period, which is explained by the high number of UCI events cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Moreover, in 2020, 80 per cent of these samples were collected out-of-competition. In addition, for the period from May to August, the CADF reached the same level of testing in 2020 as 2019 despite the significant reduction in out-of-competition testing following the announcement of the pandemic.

"This shows that the CADF out-of-competition testing programme in cycling has returned to normal."

Back in April, Pinot said that he hadn't been tested since October 2019, while his brother and coach at Groupama-FDJ Julien told Reuters that he had since been tested the week after the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Dumoulin said that he hadn't been tested in months, despite filling whereabouts forms every day, while Bardet said it was "an eternity" since he was last tested.

UCI president David Lappartient revealed in May that the COVID-19 pandemic had meant that anti-doping testing in cycling had dropped by 95 per cent. In June, the CADF confirmed a 90 per cent drop in testing, adding that it had gathered a 'priority list' of riders to test as racing returned.

For 2021, the CADF will be absorbed (opens in new tab) into a new cycling unit of the multi-sport agency, the International Testing Agency (ITA), which was founded by the IOC. The move comes after a drawn-out political battle between CADF and Lappartient.

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