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Anti-doping body confirms 90-percent drop in out-of-competition testing

CADF prepares 'priority list' of athletes to be tested and is ready for return to in-competition controls.

The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) has confirmed that out-of-competition drug testing dropped by 90 percent during the coronavirus shutdown.

In a statement released Friday, CADF confirmed its output through the spring period, and outlined its plans for the resumption of pro racing this summer. Concern had been growing from voices inside the peloton over a lack of doping controls during the severe coronavirus quarantine protocol in place through Europe and South America, and CADF’s report echoed those doubts.

“Most of the riders in the UCI Registered Testing Pool (RTP) are located in countries and regions where mobility or physical contact restrictions were put in place by local authorities,” read the report. “As a result, a decrease of around 90 percent of out-of-competition tests has been reported for the two-month period following the outbreak of the pandemic compared to 2019.”

CADF confirmed that it has drawn up “a comprehensive plan in anticipation of the resumption of cycling competitions,” and that it will begin to implement a gradual return to regular testing in countries where local health regulations allow it.

As part of its return to full testing, the anti-doping body will be looking to test some riders before others.

“In its testing resumption plan, the CADF has established a priority list of athletes to be tested before racing recommences, using a thorough risk assessment and a specific set of criteria,” read the statement.

With the resumption of the WorldTour race calendar August 1 now just six weeks away, pro cycling’s stakeholders are making plans for their return to action. The UCI outlined its own set of health guidelines for the season to come on Friday. CADF confirmed it has prepared its “condensed in-competition testing program for the UCI’s road and mountain bike calendars,” and that it is working closely with the UCI to ensure that testing at competition venues will meet all necessary health protocols required.

Also, 2020 will mark the final year that the UCI works with CADF. It was confirmed earlier this month that the governing body will be passing its anti-doping duties onto the International Testing Agency (ITA) in 2021. The shift would mark an end to the 12-year relationship between the two groups.