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Tour of California organizers promise beefed up anti-doping program for 2011 event

Organizers of the Tour of California said Wednesday that athletes in this year's race will be subject to a rigorous anti-doping program that it says goes far beyond the programs at other races.

Organizers of the Tour of California said Wednesday that athletes in this year’s race will be subject to a rigorous anti-doping program that it says goes far beyond the programs at other races.

The program is funded by the race organization at a cost in the six figures and conducted by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. It subjects riders to targeted anti-doping tests starting three months prior to the May 15-22 event. Before and during the event, USADA will target suspicious riders, said USADA CEO Travis Tygart.

“We have discretion … that’s part of the benefit of an independent program, is you are not locked in to predetermined stage winner and overall leader (tests), which historically has been some of the concerns,” Tygart said. “We’ve got the discretion and we are going to use the available information that we have to target tests. We are going to review data that we receive form the testing to also incorporate the scientific intelligence to do further target testing to the extent that’s necessary … our sole mission is to protect clean athletes .. and we are going to do everything possible to deter and as well as detect anyone that makes the unfortunate decision to attempt to cheat with drugs at the Tour of California.”

Pro Continental and WorldTour athletes already are subject to year-round random testing, but the Tour of California pre-race test requirements will also extend to riders on the five Continental squads that will be invited to the race.

Teams will be required to submit preliminary 12-man rosters to the race in the coming weeks. Teams must select the eight riders who will start from among the twelve.

Elements of the testing program:

Pre-race testing

  • Pre-race testing will begin February 15, 2011. All race participants may be subject to no-advance notice sample collections during this 90-day period leading up to the start of the race.
  • International riders will be subject to no-advance-notice, out-of-competition testing prior to competition in accordance with their international federation and national anti-doping organization testing pools.
    In-competition testing
  • Testing will be conducted throughout the Amgen Tour of California in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code in-competition criteria. This will include daily doping controls following a strategic test distribution plan.

Testing protocol

  • All riders will be subject to either urine or blood collections, or both.
  • Samples will be screened for substances and methods included on the WADA Prohibited List, such as steroids, hormones (e.g. EPO), stimulants and various masking agents. For a full list of the substances and methods listed on the WADA Prohibited List please visit, www.usada.org/prohibited-list/.
  • Targeted samples will be subject to special analysis, such as the CIR test for synthetic testosterone and tests for CERA and hGH.

Sample Storage

  • All samples collected will be subject to the USADA sample storage and re-testing policy.

Whereabouts requirements

  • All participants must be in a registered testing pool during the 90-day lead-up to the race, including the provision of whereabouts information, informing and updating as to details of their whereabouts so they may be located for testing at any location and at any time, without advance notice.

Education

  • Athletes who are not already in a registered testing pool will be required to take mandatory education programming, including comprehensive information on the anti-doping rules and responsibilities, as well as information on the merits and benefits of clean competition.
  • Additional education programming opportunities will be made accessible to all riders, teams and support personnel during the 90-day race lead-up to ensure maximum understanding of the specific anti-doping rules.