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French riders' union opposed to night time testing

The French professional cyclists’ union (UNCP) has voiced its opposition to the introduction of night time anti-doping testing during races and called for an end to riders being treated as “guinea pigs.”

A recently released report by independent observers from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on drug testing at the 2010 Tour de France recommended night time controls as a possible improvement to current testing procedures. The UNCP has announced that it is firmly opposed to such a measure.

“While reaffirming our agreement with anti-doping policy, we also ask you to leave us in peace a little, if only to sleep at night,” UNCP president Pascal Chanteur said. “If WADA were to persevere in its intention to have random tests at night, it would meet the resistance of riders. There is a limit to everything, especially to indecency.”

Former professional Chanteur explained that his organisation felt that night time testing would be a step too far, given that riders already “voluntarily submit themselves to strict medical monitoring, a biological passport and unannounced tests which mean they must be available at any times.”

“The riders are fed up of being considered as highwaymen who are presumed guilty,” he continued. “They are above all men and not just guinea pigs.”

The touted night time tests have met opposition from a number of professional riders, including Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck, who labelled the idea as “ridiculous.” However, Mark Cavendish last week said that he was willing to undergo such testing. “We have to do anything we can to eliminate doping in cycling, so I'm ok with it,” he explained.


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Barry Ryan

Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.