The United States Anti-Doping Agency will handle all of the drug testing at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah for 2013, just days after Travis Tygart, the agency's CEO, publicly criticized the UCI for not allowing his agency to test riders at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado later this month.
But USADA spokeswoman Annie Skinner told Cyclingnews that the US agency's presence in Utah is not related to the recent Colorado news. The UCI divides races into three categories, Skinner said, and becaus Utah is classified as a Category C event, the national agency conducts the testing rather than the sport's international governing body.
"The Tour of Utah has been classified by UCI this year as a C-level race, which in years past was not the situation," Skinner said. "That then leaves it up to the national organization from the country where the race is being hosted to conduct the testing if they want to do so, and if the event organizers and national governing for the sport in that country do so. Whereas in the Tour of California, for instance, the UCI will not allow us to do the testing at the race, because they want to do it at that level."
Part of Tygart's criticism of the UCI testing protocols was based on his suspicion that it would not be testing for some of the most prevalent PEDs in cycling. In an interview with VeloNation last week, Tygart said he was confident the UCI would not be testing for synthetic testosterone, human growth hormone or EPO at the Colorado race. But with USADA conducting the testing in Utah, Skinner said, the anti-doping controls will "definitely" include tests for those PEDs.
Chris Aronhalt, managing partner for Medalist Sports, the race's technical director, said USADA's presence at the race in place of the UCI was a bit of a surprise, but it wouldn't mean much change for the race organizers.
"Our assumption was, like the other races, that we start with the UCI, but they deferred to USADA," Aronhalt said. "From our standpoint, in terms of the environment we set up, our protocols and procedures are the same. So the only change for us is just that USADA is the main point of contact on behalf of the UCI, whereas usually it's a direct relationship with the UCI."
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