CPA criticises anti-doping testers for 'intolerable' timing of tests

The professional riders' association, the CPA, has criticised anti-doping testers for what it deems the disrespect of riders' privacy. A statement issued by the CPA on Wednesday afternoon called the timing of some recent anti-doping controls 'intolerable'.

The statement comes after Quick-Step Floors rider Pieter Serry was tested during Het Nieuwsblad's Flandrien Gala on Tuesday evening. WADA's whereabouts system, ADAMS, requires athletes to supply their location for all times of the day, every day, and denote an hour in the day when they are guaranteed to be at home.

Despite Serry specifying between 7-8 a.m., testers turned up to his house in the evening before driving to Ostend after contacting Serry on the phone. In the end, Serry had to undergo the anti-doping control in the bathroom of the event's venue and missed half of the ceremony. He reportedly quipped to the testers, "You're spoiling my evening."

The CPA said that while it respects the anti-doping process, it must also show respect to the riders in return.

"There have been cases reported where the riders were checked on their wedding day, during a funeral or on their child's first day of school," CPA President Gianni Bugno said in the statement sent to media. "Now we read about the case of Pieter Serry, controlled in the off-season, out of the hour scheduled, while at the Flemish cycling festival.

"At the time of entering to the long-awaited Gala, he had to abandon the party to go under the controls," Bugno's statement read. "We can no longer stay to watch this modus operandi that does not take into account the rights of the person, such as his private life. The riders pay two per cent of their prizes to make these controls possible. They are the only athletes in the world who pay the anti-doping from their own pockets. The riders respect the measures required for the fight against doping, but at least they ask for the respect of their private life in return."

In its statement, the CPA said that it had already spoken to the UCI and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) to voice its concerns. It added that it would investigate which organisation ordered the testing of Serry, whether it was the Belgian Federation, the UCI or the CADF. It also said that it would look into the possibility of setting up a code of conduct for anti-doping testers in order to protect a rider's right to privacy.

"The CPA has always supported the fight against doping and has always deployed in defence of clean cycling," Bugno's statement read. "We have invited the CADF director to our last assembly to work on common goals. In many countries, we organize meetings between the riders and the members of the CADF to make the ADAMS geolocation system more comprehensible and inform the riders about their duties towards the doping controls. But now I think it is time to take stock of certain riders' rights too."

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