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Dutch riders: doping controls for passport are too few and too far apart

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The Netherlands = gratuitous windmill shots.

The Netherlands = gratuitous windmill shots. (Image credit:
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Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare)

Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp)

Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Tom Leezer (Blanco) wins the 6th stage of the Tour de Langkawi

Tom Leezer (Blanco) wins the 6th stage of the Tour de Langkawi (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Robert Gesink (Blanco) gives his all

Robert Gesink (Blanco) gives his all (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Dutch riders have questioned the efficiency of the UCI's biological passport based on the inconsistency of testing. A number of riders stated they have gone for months without undergoing the out-of-competition controls used for the passport, which establishes a rider's basic blood values and then traces them over time. asked 27 Dutch riders when they were last tested, and how often the testers came. While 20 of them had undergone OOC controls this year, the other seven were last tested in November, September, and as long ago as July of 2012.

Equally troubling is the length of time between the controls. Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthCare) said that he was tested OOC only twice in 2012. “When I talk to colleagues about it, nobody is checked often. If you ask me, the system is not foolproof. There is too much time between the controls, there is room to cheat.”

Tom Leezer of Blanco said that he was tested 10 times in 2008, his first year with the Rabobank ProTour team, but has now not been checked since last November. “You may think they have enough data from me, but on the other hand, what if I would so something ...  the opportunity should not be there. You must keep on checking.”

Some riders fear that since so much time has passed since their last check that they have missed a control, which could eventually lead to a ban. Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp), who has already served two-years on doping charges, expressed his concerns. "The last time was in the second week of July, last year. That's not a good sign. I'm almost afraid I've missed a test. I was tested once by the USADA when I was training in America, but that is not a UCI control."

Lieuwe Westra of Vacansoleil-DCM is another who has waited a long time, as his last OOC test was in early October. “I find that very long ago, and I expect them every day – for nearly half a year! Time goes on and one, and the door bell still does not ring.”

Blanco's Robert Gesink is one of the more-often tested riders, with the most recent one being the end of February. He has a total of 54 OOC controls since 2008, he said, including 11 in 2012.

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