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WADA chief clarifies night time controls recommendation

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Director General of the WADA, David Howman

Director General of the WADA, David Howman (Image credit: AFP)
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WADA President John Fajey (l) and Director General David Howman earlier this year.

WADA President John Fajey (l) and Director General David Howman earlier this year. (Image credit: AFP)

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) director general David Howman has clarified that the night time controls recommended by independent observers of the Tour de France’s anti-doping programme would not take place in the middle of the night.

He also issued a reminder that WADA is an organisation that supervises anti-doping in sport, but ultimately is not responsible for conducting tests at the Tour.

Howman’s statement came in response to comments from Pascal Chanteur, the head of the French professional cyclists’ union (UNCP). Chanteur yesterday stated that night time controls would mean that riders were treated like “guinea pigs.”

“The remarks attributed to the UNCP are unfortunately founded on erroneous information,” Howman said in L’Équipe. “WADA is not an agency charged with carrying out anti-doping tests. WADA is an independent international organisation responsible for supervising the fight against doping in sport.”

Howman went on to explain that the report on drug testing at the 2010 Tour was made by independent observers and not by WADA itself. He also underlined that the observers’ recommendations had been misinterpreted in some quarters.

“It was the independent observers invited to the Tour by the UCI, and not WADA itself, who made a certain number of recommendations in relation to the anti-doping programme at the 2010 Tour,” he said.

“These observers published their report two weeks ago. One of their recommendations was to test the riders more often with controls early in the morning or late at night, at less predictable times, and not in the middle of the night as the UNCP claims."

“WADA always encourages and welcomes all comments and propositions that can improve the fight against doping," Howman continued. "We particularly welcome suggestions that come from sportspeople, as long as these comments are based on accurate information.”

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Barry Ryan

Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.