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UCI drops anti-doping group CADF for ITA in 2021

The UCI has finalized its decision to transfer anti-doping activities from the CADF to the ITA in 2021.

Following months of tension between the two bodies, the UCI has decided to drop its longtime anti-doping partner Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) for 2021. Instead, the UCI will transfer anti-doping duties to the International Testing Agency, a group with strong links to the International Olympic Committee.

The decision was made public on Friday after a two-day meeting of the UCI Management Committee.

“The UCI is confident that by collaborating with the ITA, cycling will remain at the forefront of the protection of clean athletes and will even reinforce the efficiency of its actions in this domain,” the UCI said in a release.

The CADF will continue performing in-competition tests at UCI races through the end of the year.

The decision ends several months of hinting that the UCI would abandon the CADF and end the 12-year relationship between the two groups. The CADF was launched in 2008 under the umbrella of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and it became an independent entity in 2013. Since then it has worked with the UCI to establish anti-doping tools like the biological passport and whereabouts programs.

But in recent years UCI President David Lappartient has questioned whether the cycling would be better served by an anti-doping agency that works across multiple sports. In an interview with French newspaper Le Monde, Lappartient pointed to the doping scandal Operation Aderlass, which involved cyclists and nordic skiers, as a situation that could be better served by an anti-doping agency that works outside of cycling.

Officials inside the CADF accused Lappartient of seeking greater influence over the anti-doping agency.

“Since David Lappartient came to the presidency, he has demanded more control in our activities,” Rune Andersen of Norway, chairman of the board of the CADF, told Le Monde in 2019.  “He has repeatedly called for power over this or that, and I have always said no. I think that surprised him, and he was unhappy about it. Since then, this little music of the ITA has been heard louder and louder, as a veiled threat.”

In its statement, the UCI said that the ITA has created a wing of anti-doping testing that is comprised largely of former CADF employees. According to the release, the unit will “take care of the implementation of the UCI’s anti-doping program, with the support and expertise of all departments of the ITA.”