Testing times for tennis players, but cyclists have it worse

February 13, 2009

doping“Knock, knock on the door. Anti-doping control right now. This is #18.”

That’s Lance Armstrong’s Twitter feed on Feb 13, a few hours ago.

I bet if his mum doesn’t know where he is, the anti-doping authorities do.

Since he announced his return last September, the seven-times Tour de France champion has undergone 18 tests — that is, three or four a month.

With the big races coming, it will not get better for him and he might end the season having given his blood or urine 50 times or so.

In the light of those numbers, you might wonder why athletes from other sports, notably some tennis players, are complaining about having to give so much information on their whereabouts to the anti-doping people.

Cycling has been hit by a series of doping scandals and we can all recite the names of riders who have been caught cheating. But why does cycling have to take the blame for doping in SPORT?

Blood tests have been common in cycling since the end of 1999, yet in football, for example, UEFA did not introduce similar checks at the European Championship until 2008.

So you can see that cyclists are unlikely to have much sympathy for tennis players and their complaints over the system, even if to fans it may seem they have a point.

Anyway, the ADAMS software (Anti-Doping Administration & Management System) is quite easy to use. After all, it’s just like Twitter or Facebook. And your mum will get to know where you are.

PHOTO: An employee of Swiss Berlinger & Co. AG puts security caps on A and a B bottles, used for the collection of urine samples in doping tests, at the company’s plant in Ganterschwil east of Zurich August 15, 2008. Berlinger produces more than 150,000 kits of A and B bottles per year, each marked with an forgery-proof unique number and a security cap. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann


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I agree. Cyclists have to carry an in-depth diary at all times whether they are cycling or not, or in training or not. They have to report anytime they are called, at any time. They must be where they say they are and when at at what time. If you say you are in one place and you were elsewhere- God forbid. A red flag goes up. If other cyclists see you cycling where you shouldn’t be- double red flag. Cyclists are regularly tested- far more than any other athlete- and that is why you see more cheating. And I don’t hear them complaining. Although I am a tennis fan, I have always wondered why all of the “cheats” in tennis were almost always outside of the U.S. When was the last time that a top American was caught with anything more dangerous than a cough drop?

Posted by Ariel Bernsen | Report as abusive

“If other cyclists see you cycling where you shouldn’t be- double red flag.”

Damn right. See what happened to Michael Rasmussen in 2007. Harsh, although he had it coming.

Posted by julien pretot | Report as abusive

(1) Accept the fact that it is your profession. If I earn that much money I will be happy to be tested every hour. Can you say that all players are clean?
(2) The drug doping is so advanced that they can time for the use before the testing and the test will be negative. To test at the tournament only will not work. As we know Spanish doctors are good at this!!!
(3) So many drugs can be used to mask the banned drugs-testing must be very tight and be more advanced too.
(4) If you are clean – you should be happy to be tested for the sake of clean sport. Watch out for those who are against the testing.

Posted by nid starr | Report as abusive

Actually Nid, I’m against most invasive testing because I believe in freedom, you know the concept right, or are you European? It’s only a matter of time before every employer can test any employee anywhere, anytime. Not only will they find out when you are using drugs or god forbid smoking cigarettes. They will also find out if you have a propensity for a particularly costly disease that their insurance policy just may have to pay for. In the future perhaps athletes should just wear an attached device, a sort of chastity urine device and could be tested continually, even in their sleep,they would have to remove it when they had sex, but it would be nice to know how often they do that, right? Just remember that if this type of testing can be done in sports, any employer can test, anywhere, anytime. What’s to stop them? I value my constitutional rights over “purity” in sports.

Posted by Mark Anderson | Report as abusive