"Prohibitive" anti-doping costs force cancellation of Women's Tour of New Zealand

The UCI 2.2 Women's Tour of New Zealand has been scrapped for 2013 due to what the organiser calls the "prohibitive new drug-testing regulations" while the corresponding men's event, the NZCT Cycle Classic, will still go ahead.

The Women's Tour of New Zealand was slated for February 20-24 but according to race organiser Jorge Sandoval, the costs associated with toughened anti-doping procedures imposed by the UCI which he says is around $60,000 for both events, would result in him presenting two inferior events.

Auckland-based Drug Free Sport New Zealand can no longer handle anti-doping procedures at UCI events in New Zealand, explained Sandoval, with samples now needing to be sent to Sydney, Australia for processing.

The decision to allow the men's event to survive, according to Sandoval, came down the existing sponsorships arrangements.

"The naming-rights sponsor for the NZCT Cycle Classic has been secured for the last 12 months," Sandoval told Cyclingnews.

"The calibre of riders we get for the Women's Tour of New Zealand is 10-times better than any men's field we'll ever have... it's unfortunate."

Other costs add up from having a UCI anti-doping inspector, import duties on testing devices and then export duties on the transport of human samples to Australia. Sandoval explained that several months of attempts to raise the added funds came to nothing, forcing the decision.

"The only way we're going to get around this is if BikeNZ, and if they're still around the Oceania Cycling Federation, talk to the UCI," Sandoval pleaded.

"They [the UCI] cannot treat events in this part of the world like Spain and Italy. There needs to be a compromise."

Sandoval is hopeful that the Women's Tour of New Zealand will return in 2014.


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