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UCI steps up anti-doping measures for Worlds

In a press release issued on Tuesday, the UCI unveiled a series of new anti-doping measures for the upcoming World Road Championships in Stuttgart, including increased tests both in and out of competition and storage of blood samples for retrospective testing of growth hormone.

Over the eight weeks preceding the championships, which the UCI considers to be a rider's preparation period, the governing body says it will carry out 120 unannounced out-of-competition tests (compared to 27 last year) among riders competing at the Worlds, and 400 tests during competitions on the same riders.

During the championships themselves, the number of controls will be increased by 25 percent, with the first four riders in each event to be tested, along with four additional riders. These may be selected at random or based on the UCI's list of targeted riders - those suspected of using performance enhancing substances or methods.

Perhaps the most significant measure, however, is the storage of blood for growth hormone testing, when such a test becomes available. This, according to the UCI, is likely to be the end of 2007. Growth hormone has long been known as a drug used by cyclists, although its true performance enhancing effects (maintaining muscle mass and therefore increasing strength) have often been called into question scientifically. Still, the UCI will be hoping its latest measure acts as a deterrent while the test is being finalised.

Finally, the UCI will also conduct around 100 early morning blood tests before events, making it possible to prohibit riders from starting or improve the targeting of post-race testing.

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