MPCC: Fewer anti-doping tests due to coronavirus 'a great source of worry'

The entrance to the anti-doping vehicle at the Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The MPCC – the Movement for a Credible Cycling (Mouvement pour un Cyclisme Crédible) – has expressed its concerns about the smaller number of anti-doping tests carried out in 2020 as a result of the limitations created by the coronavirus pandemic. It said that the 12 doping cases this year across all disciplines of men's and women's cycling are close to the data of the past five years with normal levels of testing – implying that instances of undetected doping may be higher than in previous years.

According to the MPCC, cycling's 12 positive doping cases – nine on the road (including two in WorldTeams), one in BMX, one in mountain biking and one on the track – were logged between January 1, 2020, and October 1, 2020.

The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), it said, had reported a 90 per cent decrease in out-of-competition testing in the first two months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the same period in 2019.

In May, UCI president David Lappartient had put that number as high as 95 per cent: "We've seen that the situation for anti-doping was quite challenging, [and] with the lockdown in many countries, it was quite difficult to continue the programming of the tests.

"It was less than five per cent that were able to be delivered compared to normal," Lappartient told media, including Cyclingnews.

However, the CADF said in September that testing had returned to normal levels before racing resumed in late July following the coronavirus 'closedown'.

"The global coronavirus pandemic was a serious obstacle to the anti-doping fight this year," read an MPCC press release at the end of last week. "The World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA], through its General Director Olivier Niggli, conceded a few days ago that the pandemic may have created some 'holes' in the anti-doping programs in several countries.

"Across all sports, we logically account for a lower number of cases than during the previous years," it continued. "There is one notable exception: track and field, where almost 100 cases have been revealed throughout the first three quarters of the year 2020 (as against 81 cases during the whole year 2019).

"Within the same period, cycling had to deal with a dozen of cases (two within WorldTeams) – a lower figure than last year at the same time, but still very close to the data of the last five years. This last observation is a great source of worry for the MPCC, given the lower number of tests in 2020," the organisation wrote.

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