Ahead of today's queen stage of the Tour de France, Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates received an extra visit from doping inspectors who blood tested riders in their respective team buses.
The news, broken by Dutch cycling website Wielerflits, comes the day after Jonas Vingegaard's stage 16 time trial-winning performance stunned the cycling world, both the Dane and second-placed Tadej Pogačar distancing the entire field by impressive margins.
Both UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma have welcomed the extra tests, Vingegaard's team manager Richard Plugge pointing out that his rider has undergone four blood tests in the past 48 hours. Likewise, a UAE Team Emirates spokesperson said the extra checks can be "only good for cycling" and stressed "we have no problem with this".
"I applaud this," Jumbo-Visma's Plugge added. "In fact, I also worked hard for this. In this way we are taking another step in the fight against doping. Jonas Vingegaard has had no less than four blood tests in the last 48 hours. We are happy to participate in this."
It is reported the visit of doping control came around an hour before the start of today's 165km stage from Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc to Courchevel via the wickedly steep Col de la Loze and saw the riders of both teams undergo an extra blood test.
"These are not unfounded questions about those suspicions"
Speaking to France Info on Wednesday, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said "there are many checks" at the race but "these are not unfounded questions about those suspicions".
"Vingegaard and Pogačar also said that during the rest day on Monday," he said, referencing the rest day press conferences of both the top two riders on GC.
When questioned about public suspicion and the rapid climbing times seen during this year's race, Vingegaard accepted he could "fully understand the questions we're getting".
"All I can say is I'm not taking anything but yes to be honest there is scepticism about us going fast and yes I think it's a good thing," he said. "And also something else, there is the food, the material, the training (that have improved) but again it's always good to be sceptical or think about it at least.
Addressing the same questions, Pogačar echoed his great rival, saying his answer is no different to "every year at the Tour" and that he "understands people asking questions because of what happened in the past".
"We ride fast, every stage, we go full," he said. "I understand people asking questions because of what happened in the past, people are worried and I completely understand."
However, race director Prudhomme was also keen to add that there are many tests throughout the three weeks. "These doping tests are carried out by the independent ITA, which carries out controls in about 50 different sports. For example, the yellow jersey wearer is tested every day and the bicycles are also tested.
"And for about ten years now it has been forbidden in cycling to give yourself an injection. If you do that, you're off the race. In other sports we saw that winners could still win after treatment, but that doesn't happen in cycling. We are leading the way in that regard.
"Since then [the era of Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani] a lot of progress has been made, especially in the field of equipment. So much progress has been made that we also look at safety, because sometimes things go really fast in the descents.
"And the cyclists are monks today. They allow themselves little freedom, not even in December. That partly explains their performance."
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.