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UCI overhauls anti-doping rules in line with new WADA Code

Four-year bans for first-time serious offenders, governing body sets up tribunal to deal with international riders

The UCI has drawn up a new set of anti-doping rules that correspond to the provisions of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code, which came into effect on 1 January.

The new rules include a doubling of the suspension for riders guilty of an intentional first-time anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) in cases involving the “use, attempted use or possession of a prohibited substance or prohibited method” for substances such as steroids, growth hormone, EPO and for blood doping.

A four-year ban will also apply to riders “who intentionally refuse to provide a sample or evade or tamper with the sample collection process,” while the regime surrounding provisional suspensions has also been tightened up.

Riders testing positive as a result of contamination and who can show “no significant fault” – as was the case last year with Michael Rogers, who provided a sample containing clenbuterol after winning the Japan Cup – could receive shorter bans or even just a reprimand.

There will also be reduced sanctions for out of competition use of non-performance enhancing substances such as recreational drugs.

A new offence of “Prohibited Association” has also been introduced, under which riders can be punished for associating with a person who has been formally disqualified by an anti-doping organisation – one obvious example being the banned Italian doctor and trainer, Michele Ferrari.

If two riders from a team commit an ADRV within a 12-month period, the team will be suspended for between 15 days and 45 days, rising to between 15 days and 12 months should a third rider also be found guilty of one.

Had that sanction been in force last year, Astana would have faced a suspension following the positive tests for brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy.

As a member of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), Astana voluntarily suspended itself from the final WorldTour race of the year, the Tour of Beijing.

WorldTeams (formerly ProTeams, holding a WorldTour licence) and Professional Continental teams will also face a financial penalty in the case of two riders committing an ADRV inside a year, equivalent to 5 per cent of their budget – in some cases that could be as much as €1.5 million.

Samples held at WADA-accredited laboratories will be held for 10 years instead of eight, with the time within which samples can be retested, and allegations of doping investigated, extended accordingly.

The UCI also says it will overhaul procedures to enable “smarter testing” and make greater use of what it terms “surprise pop-up testing missions,” most of them performed by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF).

The governing bodies efforts will focus on international level riders belonging to the
.Registered Testing Pool (RTP), with national anti-doping agencies – which the UCI says it will continue to forge stronger links – focusing on those at national level.

Following a decision of its management committee last September, the UCI is also setting up an Anti-Doping Tribunal to hear cases involving international-level athletes.

Specialist anti-doping judges, operating independently of the governing body, will try the cases, which the UCI says is aimed at ensuring such riders have “the same consistent process and a clear, short timetable.”

Some countries have come under criticism in the past for what some perceive as a lax approach to their own riders – no Spanish cyclist, for example, was ever sanctioned by their national anti-doping body in connection with Operacion Puerto.

The UCI says that the tribunal “should ensure consistency and uniform quality in the decisions, significantly reduce the number of cases that go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on appeal and lift the operational burden from National Federations,” which currently deal with such cases.

It adds that most cases will be heard via video conferencing to ensure they are resolved with the minimum delay.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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millskid | 9 years ago

You could add the classics to that list. Every young up and coming rider has a dream of competing on the biggest stage. So they know if they choose to dope in the early stages of the career they will never fulfil their dream.

Every rider starts at a low level and works their way up. Its a good idea, the current system works so well!!!

Lungsofa74yearold | 9 years ago

About time too. All seems very sensible & love the guilt by association with dodgy doctors - all in all tailormade for Astana type teams. But what about bans on ever working in pro cycling after a ban - that would be a pretty powerful deterrent too (no more Riis's or Vinos)...?

millskid replied to Lungsofa74yearold | 9 years ago

One simple idea

If you get caught taking drugs you are banned from competing in any of the grand tours for the rest of their career.

crazy-legs replied to millskid | 9 years ago
millskid wrote:

One simple idea

If you get caught taking drugs you are banned from competing in any of the grand tours for the rest of their career.

Which won't affect any one-day Classics specialists, track riders, lower level domestiques at all. No offence but it's a rubbish idea, as it's completely irrelevant to the majority of the pro cyclists.

millskid replied to crazy-legs | 9 years ago

Ow yeah I forgot each cycling team at the TDF or any race for that matter is made up of just team captains. No need for domestiques.

manmachine | 9 years ago

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