All professional cyclists will have to complete a new anti-doping education program or lose their right to race after the International Cycling Union (UCI) launched the "True Champion or Cheat?" project to complement extensive testing conducted on more than 1,000 registered racers across all disciplines.
Riders have until June 30 — one week before the 2010 Tour de France starts — to complete the education or lose their official registration.
The program, provided on DVD or online in five languages initially, will explain testing procedures and list substances banned in sports by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Cyclists will be taught how to apply for legitimate medications, inform testing teams where they are training and the potential dangers of using dietary supplements.
The project was revealed at the UCI's annual congress to national federations, who will share responsibility with teams for ensuring riders meet their deadline.
UCI president Pat McQuaid pledged to continue the fight against doping as he was starting his second four-year term leading the sport last week, saying: “It is an endless fight for the UCI, and one which I am determined that the UCI will continue - there is no place for cheats in our sport."
Mr McQuaid said 13,800 samples had been taken this year from 850 riders across all of cycling's disciplines. Around 7,500 were surprise, out-of-competition tests taken from riders in training, compared to 200 three years ago. The increased workload has produced 47 positive cases so far in 2009, while there were 36 cases three years ago.
He also said the anti-doping fight was improving, and praised race organisers singling out France's ASO and teams for helping fund the passport program. "Teams now offer more support to the riders in an environment where there is less pressure to dope.”