The organizers of the Tour of California announced Friday that they will include additional anti-doping testing protocols for the race, with the support of title sponsor Amgen and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
According to an announcement by AEG, the testing will include daily in-competition testing of stage winners, the current leader of the general classification and three other riders chosen from the field. The program also includes pre-race testing, which has already begun.
All participating teams are required to ensure that everyone on their staff — including not only riders but coaches, trainers and support staff — are clear of any pending doping investigations at the time of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. The roster of riders will be provided by the participating team and will then be submitted to USA Cycling and UCI to confirm that there are no open investigations prior to the race.
Samples of urine and/or blood will be tested for the presence of prohibited substances such as steroids, hormones (including EPO) and various masking agents as well as indications of blood manipulation. Some samples will also be tested for synthetic testosterone, CERA and HGH. Some samples will be stored for up to eight years, according to AEG, so samples can be reevaluated if need be in the future.
“We are grateful for our partnership with USADA and the UCI to ensure that we are doing all we can to guarantee a fair competition for the athletes,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, the race owner and organizer. “We are committed to continue to explore additional ways to ensure a clean race.”
In the race’s first year in 2006, the UCI handled testing. Messick said EPO was not part of the UCI screen at that time. Since then, AEG has stepped up to supplement the UCI’s testing. Screening for EPO is now also part of UCI’s standard test.
“USADA commends the Amgen Tour of California for taking a proactive and comprehensive approach to its anti-doping efforts at this event,” said Travis Tygart, USADA CEO. “We are committed to protecting clean athletes and preserving a level playing field for those who want to compete fairly and healthy, and are pleased to work with the event management to do our utmost to ensure this.”