The upcoming 2008 Amgen Tour of California cycling road race will adopt a comprehensive anti-doping protocol, it was announced at a press conference in southern California Tuesday.
The anti-doping initiative, developed by race promoting company AEG Sports together with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), cycling’s global governing body and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), stipulates that:
* All riders will have blood samples collected prior to the race. All of the blood samples will be tested for indications of blood manipulation and 30 percent of riders will have urine samples collected before the race. Urine samples will be analyzed for the presence of banned substances such steroids, hormones (including EPO) and various masking agents.
The results of the blood tests will be incorporated into the UCI’s Biological Passport program. The “Biological Passport” is an individual electronic record for each rider, in which the results of all doping tests over a period of time are collated.
* Every day, the stage winner, current leader of the general classification and three other riders will be have a full screen for steroids, hormones (such as EPO), stimulants and various masking agents. In addition to the post-stage testing, there will be random or targeted full screen testing every day for three additional riders during evenings and mornings.
* All participating teams have agreed to guarantee that all members of their teams, including coaches, trainers and support staff, are clear of any open doping investigations.
The roster of riders will be provided by the participating team and will then be submitted to USA Cycling and UCI to confirm that there are no open investigations.
“This testing program represents a strong move toward creating an environment where drug cheats cannot flourish,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. “I want to commend AEG for being proactive and reaching out to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to ensure that best practices are included in this anti-doping initiative.”
Scheduled for February 17-24, 2008, the third annual Amgen Tour of California is a 650-mile, eight-day stage race from Palo Alto/Stanford University to Pasadena featuring 17 of the world’s top professional teams.