UCI looks into Chris Froome's claims about lack of drug testing on Tenerife

Tour de France champion says neither he, Vincenzo Nibali or Alberto Contador have been tested while on island

by Simon_MacMichael   May 30, 2014  

05 Chris Froome at the TDF 2013 launch © Simon MacMichael

World cycling’s governing body, the UCI, is looking into claims by Tour de France champion Chris Froome that neither he nor two of his chief rivals for this year’s race have been tested for drugs while training on Tenerife.

Froome has been on the island for two weeks with Team Sky for a high-altitude training camp at Mount Tiede in preparation for the 101st edition of the Tour, and Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador and Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali have also been training there.

On Wednesday, Froome said on Twitter: "Three major TDF contenders staying on Mount Teide and no out of competition tests for the past two weeks."

Later, he added: "To clarify, I am one of those three and I think it's in all our best interests to be able to prove we are clean no matter where we train."

Yesterday, a UCI spokesman told BBC Sport: "The UCI has seen the comment by Tour de France winner Chris Froome regarding a lack of out of competition testing at Mount Teide, Tenerife.

"Out-of-competition testing is clearly an essential component of any effective anti-doping programme and we are looking into the matter with the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, which is responsible for planning and executing anti-doping tests in cycling."

As happened to Sir Bradley Wiggins when he won the Tour de France in 2012, on his way to winning the race last year Froome had to regularly answer questions about doping.

He expanded on his tweets in an interview with CyclingNews.com, confirming that Contador and Nibali were the other two riders to whom he was referring.

Froome said: "I've asked around with other teams just out of interest, because we've been up here before and not been tested.

"So, I just wanted to see if it was the same case for everyone, but none of them, from what I could gather, had been tested either.

"Alberto, Vincenzo, we're all up here with our respective teams and at the end of the day we're the ones that have to stand in front of the television cameras in July and justify performances.

“All three of us are GC contenders and the probability is that whoever is in the yellow jersey in July is going to have to answer questions and if we're not getting tested that doesn't look good on any of us."

Referring to his visits to Tenerife, he added: "I've been tested once and I've been up here maybe four or five times."

Froome is now in the UK to carry out a reconnaissance of the opening two stages of this year’s Tour de France in Yorkshire.

Team Sky today cut down a media session with Froome, due to be held Saturday morning in Harrogate, limiting it to just interviews he is obliged to do.

17 user comments

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Sounds like the other 2 have been whooping Froomey on Strava!

posted by pmr [168 posts]
30th May 2014 - 12:54

18 Likes

Overreaction for Nibbles taking his KoM up Teide!

glynr36's picture

posted by glynr36 [374 posts]
30th May 2014 - 13:00

13 Likes

I just watched the Armstrong Lie last night and I'm struck with the contrast from ten years ago!

We never saw that Texan guy, who didn't win the tour, ever calling for a test.

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [144 posts]
30th May 2014 - 13:38

22 Likes

I get very bored of the "Froome must be doping" stuff but a large part of me is wondering why he didn't decide to point this out at the start of his trip?

posted by farrell [1415 posts]
30th May 2014 - 15:57

8 Likes

How would he have known at the start of the trip that he wasn't going to get tested?

posted by nellybuck@msn.com [156 posts]
30th May 2014 - 16:23

34 Likes

nellybuck@msn.com wrote:
How would he have known at the start of the trip that he wasn't going to get tested?

Perhaps a hunch from the four or five times he had been there previously and only been tested once?

I suppose he could have suddenly had his epiphany about testing at the end of his two weeks, I just think if he really did care that much he could have tweeted at the start.

Again, I don't want to be seeming like I'm accusing him of doping as I don't think he is, I just find his timing a little odd.

(Although I wouldn't be shocked if he was doping, but that's not a Froome/Sky thing, just a 'watching cycling for years' thing.)

posted by farrell [1415 posts]
30th May 2014 - 16:30

10 Likes

It's been known for a while that the testers aren't great at out of competition tests in remote locations. A cynic might argue that in addition to the easy access to altitude, that's half the appeal of training at mount teide.

posted by giobox [279 posts]
30th May 2014 - 16:35

11 Likes

Mount teide is hardly out of the way though is it, major tourist island, plenty of planes, doesnt seem beyond the whit of man to get a tester there.

And Im no fan of froome (mostly cos I cant stand his gobby fiancee and hes not s team player) but Im struggling with how the cynics out there have managed to turn Froome commenting about a lack of testing into a bluff by a doper

posted by keirik [30 posts]
30th May 2014 - 18:02

10 Likes

You can't blame him for commenting. Remember how he was persecuted at the Tour last year. If the authorities are "failing" to live up to their testing promises how does a rider defend himself.

And again one can be cynical about choosing Tenerife but as said it's hardly that out of the way. And if the UCI were serious you would make sure competitors using a location like this would be at the top of the out of competition testing lists.

We're all jaded by the past but give the guy a break. Seems now you're dammed whatever you do or say.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [390 posts]
30th May 2014 - 18:22

11 Likes

Mount Teide is hardly remote. It's sitting on a small island that is such a popular tourist destination for Europeans that it has *2* airports. Hotel Parador isn't much more than an hour's drive from *either* airport. Again, being a popular tourist destination, it is well served with flights from across Europe, and it's only about a 2 hour flight from Madrid.

A tester could *easily* get from any major western capital with blood testing facilities to Hotel Parador and back within a day, with the blood samples spending no more than 12 hours in transit.

This "remote island away from the testers" stuff is utter rubbish, even given the lack of testing facilities on Tenerife.

posted by Paul J [609 posts]
30th May 2014 - 18:27

11 Likes

We were promised that under the new regime everything would change for the better. The scandals of the past would and could not happen again.

Chris Froom has just shown this to be empty rhetoric. For once a big name has stuck his head above the parapet and all you can do is snipe at him and his girlfriend (Why you've dragged her into this God only knows). Because it's the current TdF Champion saying this he has forced the UCI's hand and made them react. They couldn't afford to ignore his comments.

Well done Chris! Applause

posted by levermonkey [362 posts]
30th May 2014 - 19:26

10 Likes

Paul J wrote:
Mount Teide is hardly remote. It's sitting on a small island that is such a popular tourist destination for Europeans that it has *2* airports. Hotel Parador isn't much more than an hour's drive from *either* airport. Again, being a popular tourist destination, it is well served with flights from across Europe, and it's only about a 2 hour flight from Madrid.

A tester could *easily* get from any major western capital with blood testing facilities to Hotel Parador and back within a day, with the blood samples spending no more than 12 hours in transit.

This "remote island away from the testers" stuff is utter rubbish, even given the lack of testing facilities on Tenerife.

I don't disagree with any of this, of course Tenerife is easy to get to. The reality however has been testers don't make there way out there often. Therefore from a testing perspective, it is a remote location, and not "utter rubbish".

posted by giobox [279 posts]
30th May 2014 - 19:29

5 Likes

Surely Tenefife, Majorca, The Dolomites and a few other locations are such stalwarts of the cycling training schedules that the UCI could invest in testing facilites at those locations?

Is it likely that these locations have university labs that could be hired for certain periods during the cycling season?

Teams have been going to the same locations for training camps for decades.

If the UCI are really committed to proving the riders are clean in this modern age then the investment would be well worth it. After all the commercial stability with sponsors may outweigh any investment required.

posted by Martyn_K [34 posts]
30th May 2014 - 21:02

8 Likes

Drug testing is not a great way to catch drug cheats, unless you have a BALCO type situation where a designer steroid was given to the testers by a malcontent.
A few athletes caught occasionally by a testing regime gives the impression that the scale of the problem is fairly minimal and under control.

posted by Geoffroid [17 posts]
30th May 2014 - 21:42

8 Likes

And then you look at how often they test in other sports...

posted by dottigirl [13 posts]
30th May 2014 - 23:04

8 Likes

Does it really matter one hoot if they are tested or not...the guy with the goat is going to win anyway Wink

posted by CheshireCat [4 posts]
30th May 2014 - 23:48

6 Likes

Giobox: That doesn't make it a remote location, that makes the testing bodies look incompetent for not organising testing.

posted by Paul J [609 posts]
31st May 2014 - 9:57

7 Likes