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Apparent admin blunder makes testers look silly

Spanish drug testing officials acting for the US Anti-Doping Agency went looking for Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner this morning to administer an out-of-competition test, but were unable to find him, according to reports from Spain.

However, Horner’s Radio Shack-Leopard team claims that he had updated his whereabouts on the Anti-Doping and Management System (ADAMS) system the previous day and the testers were simply looking in the wrong place.

Horner was not at the Hotel Princesa in Madrid, where the rest of the team were staying. The testers apparently went to another hotel in search of Horner, but did not find him there either.

A team spokesman told cyclingnews.com: "There is no problem. They went to the team hotel but he is in another hotel. He had mentioned this in his ADAMS. They should do their administration more correctly than they did. They need to check their whereabouts, too."

RadioShack-Leopard press officer Tim Vanderjeugd subsequently tweeted: "The second hotel they went to was a randomly picked Ibis where they thought he could be."

The team later issued the following statement, accompanied by a screenshot of an automated email from USADA acknowledging Horner’s registered whereabouts at 6am to 7am this morning.

The management of RadioShack Leopard Trek wants to clarify the situation about the alleged missed out of competition anti-doping test of Chris Horner.

Chris Horner updated his whereabouts with USADA before the start of the final stage, giving the agency the name of his hotel for the night, phone number and room number for his one hour window between 6 and 7 AM. This is all according to the rules and Chris Horner received a confirmation email.

The anti-doping inspectors from the Spanish Anti-doping Agency that were asked to do the test by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) showed up at the wrong hotel in Madrid, where the team was staying but Horner was obviously not to be found.

The team believes the communication between the Spanish Anti-doping Agency and the media is a violation of the privacy of Chris Horner, especially since it comes down to a clear mistake by the tester.

The team asks the media to report correctly on this matter and will seek compensation for this matter with the responsible anti-doping agencies.

Horner was sought for testing under World Anti-Doping Agency rules that apply to top-level athletes. Athletes in the program must register their whereabouts for a one-hour period each day between 6 am and 11 pm.

If an athlete cannot be found three times in 18 months at his or her specified locations, and cannot satisfactorily explain those absences, then they are subject to a disciplinary proceeding by the relevant anti-doping agency. Sanctions range between one and two years.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

63 comments

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Colin Peyresourde [1820 posts] 4 years ago
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White wash, or dark lies. Are the Spanish doping authorities really that incompetent?

It really doesn't make Radioshack look any good considering they could have cleared things up by directing him to the correct hotel or ADAM. What a joke.

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Nick T [1099 posts] 4 years ago
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And so it begins...

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farrell [1946 posts] 4 years ago
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It's odd that Mrs Horner has to book her own separate hotel room. You'd have thought the team would have booked her a room.

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The Good Shepherd [47 posts] 4 years ago
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So....has he been tested?

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Meaulnes [70 posts] 4 years ago
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Man, you win the Vuelta and end up staying in an Ibis for your troubles… Were the rest of the team staying in a youth hostel?

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Colin Peyresourde [1820 posts] 4 years ago
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farrell wrote:

It's odd that Mrs Horner has to book her own separate hotel room. You'd have thought the team would have booked her a room.

Quite - although Radioshack/Horner have concocted a story of excuses it certainly isn't one that is water tight. I don't even care if Radioshack booked her hotel - why didn't they call him and get him to turn up asap, or at least put him in contact with him.

The more plausible narrative is that they try to screen the testers to give Horner enough time to make his escape to places unknown.

Another plausible explanation is that the Spanish anti-doping agency is politically weak and there is no will to actually catch dopers. Testing is tokenism there. "Mr Horner are you at home?"
"NO!"
"OK. See you later."
It's effectively what they did with Armstrong/Hamilton and Co.

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Gkam84 [9111 posts] 4 years ago
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Bit of a nothing story really, fuelling the fire of.....people

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daddyELVIS [654 posts] 4 years ago
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More interesting to me are 2 points:

1) USADA requested the test as soon as possible after a UCI sanctioned test would have surely been done, i.e. the automatic testing of the GC leader after a stage is completed. This can only mean that USADA are target-testing Horner for some reason, and also signifies that they have no faith in the current UCI when it comes to catching dopers (for reasons we are all too well aware of).

2) The email gives a 1 hour window each day at the where-abouts address. Does this mean that out-of-competition testing could be sprung on any day, but only ever within that 1 hour window given by the rider? If so, I can understand the practicality of this, but it surely makes managing a micro-dosing programme that bit easier. Or is my understanding of the 1 hour window wrong? Anybody have any knowledge in this area?

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mattsccm [361 posts] 4 years ago
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Usual crap. some one wins there he is doping.  41

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Colin Peyresourde [1820 posts] 4 years ago
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My (probably incorrect) understanding is that have to make themselves available at some address within 1 hour. So you put your home address down as the place you will be, they call you to say that they will be arriving there and then you need to get back to that address within one hour.

There are so many things amiss in this. It is clear that USADA do not believe that Horner is clean, or to put it Gkam's way, would like to verify he is clean. And, after the Tour and Vuelta go on without doping being picked up, I think I agree with your assessment of the UCIs policy. I certainly think that after Armstrong the TdF did not need another dope story and it is unlikely that they were going to try to find another scandal this year. Personally I don't blame them.

But what were Radioshack and Horner doing. The story they put out has so many holes it apparent he absconded, and got on a flight to avoid any issues.

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Pondo [19 posts] 4 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

It really doesn't make Radioshack look any good considering they could have cleared things up by directing him to the correct hotel or ADAM. What a joke.

I don't find it totally unrealistic that the team would not know where he was staying, other than with his wife at another Madrid hotel. I don't know how ADAMS works, but it's also possible that, whilst USADA had the updated information, maybe the Spanish testers didn't?

I'm not making any excuses or statements - I just think it's a bit harsh to throw him under the bus on the basis of this one missed test.

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vasgko2 [23 posts] 4 years ago
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Judging from the confirmation e-mail, only USADA (the administrator of ADAMS) knew where Horner was. So they gave a wrong/not updated information to the Spanish DA and eventually they failed to find him. Was it a foolish mistake? Was it deliberate? Who knows. Probably WADA should operate ADAMS but as it seems they only set the rules...

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Flying Heron [54 posts] 4 years ago
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Ruins what could of been a fairy tale ending.... Where have I seen that before, let me think!!!!

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JonD [493 posts] 4 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

It is clear that USADA do not believe that Horner is clean

Testing is just part of the procedure. To say 'it is clear' is just rubbish.

Colin Peyresourde wrote:

The story they put out has so many holes it apparent he absconded, and got on a flight to avoid any issues.

Holes ? Like 'he notified them in advance, as he's required/allowed to do'

'apparent he absconded' ? - again, based on what ?

But carry on making stuff up, I'm sure it'll make you feel happier..  41

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pepita1 [176 posts] 4 years ago
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farrell wrote:

It's odd that Mrs Horner has to book her own separate hotel room. You'd have thought the team would have booked her a room.

Huh? Where is there a reference to Mrs Horner in the article? And why would the team have booked her a room? She isn't a paid employee is she? Does the team management book rooms for the partners of other team members? Has it been done for other race winners?

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pepita1 [176 posts] 4 years ago
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JonD wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:

It is clear that USADA do not believe that Horner is clean

Testing is just part of the procedure. To say 'it is clear' is just rubbish.

Colin Peyresourde wrote:

The story they put out has so many holes it apparent he absconded, and got on a flight to avoid any issues.

Holes ? Like 'he notified them in advance, as he's required/allowed to do'

'apparent he absconded' ? - again, based on what ?

But carry on making stuff up, I'm sure it'll make you feel happier..
 41

I'm with you, JonD.

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pwake [428 posts] 4 years ago
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pepita1 wrote:
JonD wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:

It is clear that USADA do not believe that Horner is clean

Testing is just part of the procedure. To say 'it is clear' is just rubbish.

Colin Peyresourde wrote:

The story they put out has so many holes it apparent he absconded, and got on a flight to avoid any issues.

Holes ? Like 'he notified them in advance, as he's required/allowed to do'

'apparent he absconded' ? - again, based on what ?

But carry on making stuff up, I'm sure it'll make you feel happier..
 41

I'm with you, JonD.

+1

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notfastenough [3728 posts] 4 years ago
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I can't help but feel suspicious at a 41-year-old GT winner smiling his way up an endless series of painful (judging by the expressions on other top riders faces) climbs. However, that cynicism also makes me feel sorry for him if he's clean.

This, however, is a non-story. He updated ADAMS at fairly short notice, but he's permitted to do so. That info didn't reach the guy with the clipboard and the pisspot.

Let's face it, if he's doping, then he knew full well he was on some batshit-crazy undetectable shit.

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atlaz [255 posts] 4 years ago
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His email seems quite clear... I mean far be it from me to look at the flight timetables back to the US to see the flights leave relatively early so if they didn't test him in the window that he was there, he'd be on a plane.

In any case, what about tests every other day?

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pwake [428 posts] 4 years ago
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Perhaps if he spent the night with his wife he was worried of a Viagra positive?  39 I think you might need some help in that department at the end if a three week GT!!

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enrique [2386 posts] 4 years ago
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I hope the testers are forced to either admit they were wrong and (or) were ill-informed. The story's too cool for it not to be true!  1 And Chris has talked so much about his kids watching it and how it's so unique that I hope he's not lying! If the team do get a correction of the story by the media and seek compensation and get it, well, I hope the money goes to a charity of Horner's choice just to show goodwill... I do hope they're wrong and have to issue an apology  1

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daddyELVIS [654 posts] 4 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

My (probably incorrect) understanding is that have to make themselves available at some address within 1 hour. So you put your home address down as the place you will be, they call you to say that they will be arriving there and then you need to get back to that address within one hour.

but the email gives an actual time, it states that while residing at his US address the 1 hour window is between 6am and 7am (i think - I've not re-read the article). So if a rider knew they could only receive an out-of-competition test during that particular hour of any day, then managing a 'programme' is (relatively) easy.

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farrell [1946 posts] 4 years ago
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pepita1 wrote:

Huh? Where is there a reference to Mrs Horner in the article? And why would the team have booked her a room? She isn't a paid employee is she? Does the team management book rooms for the partners of other team members? Has it been done for other race winners?

There are other articles on this story that reference the fact he had swapped hotels to be in the one his wife was in.

I've read about and seen photos of other riders wives staying at the same hotels as the teams. I would have thought that at the end of 3 weeks of hard riding all the riders would stay together to celebrate a win, did all the riders wives book into different hotels? Or did many of the riders book into different hotels to be with their other halves?

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farrell [1946 posts] 4 years ago
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atlaz wrote:

His email seems quite clear... I mean far be it from me to look at the flight timetables back to the US to see the flights leave relatively early so if they didn't test him in the window that he was there, he'd be on a plane.

In any case, what about tests every other day?

I recall reading or hearing an interview with a rider who said they give stupidly early times as they will be at home in bed. So whilst it's a ball ache to get knocked up out of bed by a tester it's preferable to having them turn up when you've just nipped out the shops or dropping the kids off at school etc.

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MinardiM189 [110 posts] 4 years ago
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If my time zones are correct.

The e-mail was received at USADA at 11.01 (GMT +2) ie. Spanish time, which is 03:01 in Colorado (USADA headquarters)on SUNDAY morning.

Assuming USADA work normal office hours on a Sunday (9-5), it would have been dealt with at earliest 09:01 Colorado time, which is 17:01 Spanish time.

Assuming Spanish Drug Agency work normal hours on a Sunday their office will have been closed.

It shouldn't be a surprise the testers went to the wrong hotel.

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Colin Peyresourde [1820 posts] 4 years ago
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JonD wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:

It is clear that USADA do not believe that Horner is clean

Testing is just part of the procedure. To say 'it is clear' is just rubbish.

Colin Peyresourde wrote:

The story they put out has so many holes it apparent he absconded, and got on a flight to avoid any issues.

Holes ? Like 'he notified them in advance, as he's required/allowed to do'

'apparent he absconded' ? - again, based on what ?

But carry on making stuff up, I'm sure it'll make you feel happier..  41

I don't have to make anything up. RadioShack and Horner are the ones thinking on their feet. Out of competition testing can take place at any time, but its not done a lot. Jeff Novitsky (USADA) is not a retard either, so the timing of this adds up to say that they are suspicious. Why not leave it 2 weeks, 3 weeks or a month later? Well by that time Horner has his feet up and is no where near a PED. Better to test now as the likelihood he's taken one is higher.

But if there was no suspicion then why test now when he's just been tested.

Holes you ask? If didn't want the suspicion of guilt to hang over your team you would be very helpful in locating your new champion. So why is it that they have not named the hotel to the tester? Why did they not call him to make him available? Why is there a mystery about this fact? For both the testers and the media? I would also like to know the timings for when he posted the team hotel and then 'changed it'.

To me there are two narratives:
1. 41 year old cyclist out does himself and everyone to win a GT with no previous for coming even close to that (improving even on the time for climbs in previous years) clean. And then the fact he coincidentally and unfortunately misses a doping test just after he wins - unfortunate because it draws more accusations of doping, which is exactly what he was hoping to avoid as that is what a lot of people have been saying.
2. 41 year old closing out his career takes a chance to out dope his fellow pros and does better than previous bests for himself and others. Then when they go to test him after he wins he absconds to avoid being caught, and he and his team spin a web of lies (and threaten legal action - does that sound familiar to you?!?)

I didn't make up the missed test now did I.....as Judge Judy says, 'if it doesn't sound right it probably isn't true'.

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wifwaf [20 posts] 4 years ago
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Some of the above comments make me sick. People are so quick to condemn. If you actually look at what has happened here, Horner has done nothing wrong. Whatever other reasons people have for suspecting something is amiss, jumping to conclusions about Horner because the testers cant follow the information he gave them is downright unfair.

And please, don't make excuses like 'they don't work Sundays so wouldn't see the email'...for goodness sake, if they are serious about making out of competition tests, they must check the database before testing someone.

There is gullibility in believing someone must be innocent in the face of incriminating evidence, but its equally credulous to jump to an assumption of guilt when there is no reason to do so.

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daddyELVIS [654 posts] 4 years ago
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wifwaf wrote:

Some of the above comments make me sick. People are so quick to condemn. If you actually look at what has happened here, Horner has done nothing wrong. Whatever other reasons people have for suspecting something is amiss, jumping to conclusions about Horner because the testers cant get their act together is downright unfair.

That depends on whether protocol has been followed to the letter in terms of timing and procedure for updating his whereabouts. Does anybody know enough about the system to comment on this?

As I said before, the most interesting aspect of this is the obvious target-testing of Horner by USADA - why?

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John Stevenson [304 posts] 4 years ago
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"Out of competition testing can take place at any time. "

No, it can't. The last couple of pars of the story are a very close paraphrase of the regs. A rider eligible for out of competition testing has to tell the anti-doping agency whose remit covers them where they will be for just one hour per day.

As farrell observes, the 6am location means that you might be dragged out of bed, but then you can go about your business for the rest of the day.

I don't know enough about doping techniques, to know if that facilitates microdosing or not, but it seems like a reasonable compromise between the right to have a normal life without having to provide your location all the time, and the enforcement of the rules of a sport.

People are dismissing this story, but there is a reason or three, to my mind, why it's not totally inconsequential:

1) Someone leaked Horner's absence to the Spanish press before the reasons for it could be explained or even explored.

ii) It points up yet another significant weakness in the anti-doping system. A rider can change his ADAMS location any time he likes. Time zone delays can mean that by the time a message has bounced around the world, the location that testers are using is stale. I'm not suggesting for a moment this was Horner's intention here; I think Occam's Razor suggests cock-up rather than conspiracy. But an ADAMS location change with very little notice would be a great way to avoid a test if you knew you were glowing.

c) And as daddyELVIS says, it certainly suggests USADA isn't confident in the Vuelta's testing.

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Colin Peyresourde [1820 posts] 4 years ago
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daddyELVIS wrote:

That depends on whether protocol has been followed to the letter in terms of timing and procedure for updating his whereabouts. Does anybody know enough about the system to comment on this?

As I said before, the most interesting aspect of this is the obvious target-testing of Horner by USADA - why?

I checked out his email and the USADA whereabouts policy. I am curious about the difference between the time he sent his email and the response from the automated system, but that maybe down to servers etc. There is a 6hr difference, which seems a little weird because the email is sent on a time of 05:01 Spanish time, and then email shows 11:01 (GMT +2). I don't really understand that, but I'm fairly sure it is an IT issue.

Athletes are supposed to give a contact number and update whereabouts every quarter. For updates they can use email/text/login. A call can be made to the athlete 5 mins before the end of the 60 minutes window, so why he still couldn't be located seems odd. - this is a non-story if Radio-shack give the testers the right address, or they call him and he tells them where he is.....but that is not what happened. He can appeal.

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