Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts has requested and been denied a doping test. The Belgian rider said he was keen to be tested in lockdown to show other riders that checks were still being carried out.
The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the non-profit organisation that manages the UCI’s anti-doping programme, has asked elite riders to continue submitting and updating their whereabouts information so that it can maintain an effective anti-doping programme during the coronavirus outbreak.
It said that priority would be given to riders in the UCI Registered Testing Pool (RTP), which comprises all professional male road riders from WorldTour teams and Pro Continental Teams, plus the best ranked athletes in all other cycling disciplines.
However, Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad contacted 15 top athletes, including cyclists, and found that none had been tested in the past month.
"Hopefully they will visit the cowboys," commented one.
Campanaerts is sufficiently concerned about the situation that he contacted Peter Van Eenoo, head of the anti-doping lab in Ghent, asking if he could be tested.
"I would then talk up that test a bit to show that there are still checks during the lockdown."
Van Eeno said the offer was "very kind" but declined explaining that he could not analyse private samples.
Nado Vlaanderen – the Flemish anti-doping body – was also unable to accommodate him.
Grand tour contenders Romain Bardet, Tom Dumoulin, and Thibaut Pinot have all expressed concern about the slowdown in testing in recent months.
“There are not many anti-doping controls, and that is worrying,” Bardet told Le Monde. “It has been a long time since I have been given a surprise test. I prefer not to say how long. Long before confinement.
“I am not making any judgment, because the controls are done in an intelligent and strategic way, and I imagine that this is also a reason. I just wish we could have some fairness in the controls from now until the start of the [Tour de France].”
Pinot told L’Equipe that he hadn’t been subjected to an out-of-competition control since October.
“That’s a long time ago and I hope that it will start up again because it’s not good news for riders who are trying to do things well. I hope that there will soon be controls again so that everything is done correctly.”
“I haven’t been tested at all in recent months,” Dumoulin told Sporza. “I understand that there are now generally a few checks. If the Tour de France gets closer, it will have to be resolved and checks will have to be made again.”