The anti-doping controls performed by the Flemish Community at this weekend's Gent Six-Day have sparked further criticism by the organisers. Six-Day track rider Michael Mørkøv was the first to denounce the controllers' work, as they asked for urine samples to be provided during the race and in unusual conditions. Race organiser Rob Discart has now spoken of "disconcerting, fundamental mistakes" and "pure intimidation".
Mørkøv found himself forced to provide his urine sample "in front of 6000 people" in a small cabin in the track centre, shielded only by a small curtain. Belgian Sportwereld reported that the chaperons waited in front of Iljo Keisse's cabin at the side of the track for several hours, wearing fluorescent "doping control" vests, when in fact the Gent velodrome offers closed anti-doping premises in the catacombs of the track.
The insistance with which anti-doping controllers proceded left many observers baffled. The Gent Commissioner for Sports, Christophe Peeters, even told Sportwereld, "It was as if they were rolling up an Al Quaida cell. I will definitely talk about it with the Flemish minister of sports Philippe Muyters."
Race organsier Discart meanwhile explained that he knew of the control before the event, and had told Dr. Hans Cooman, who conducted the controls for the Flemish Community, that it would be difficult to realise the sample taking during the event.
"Doctor Cooman said that he did not understand," Discart said. "Even if we told him beforehand that his comparison with a team training camp didn't add up. During a Sixday, there are no long pauses between the events. The international jury chairman confirmed this to him. Controls: of course. But not only the riders and the organisers have to respect the rules. This showing was simply below all levels."
Belgian cycling federation chairman Tom Van Damme, who also witnessed the controls, and the organisers now intend to report the incidents.
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