CADF update on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on its anti-doping operations and the resumption of its testing plan

Jun 19, 2020

On 27 May, the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) held its Funding Committee meeting in the presence of representatives from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and professional road cycling’s stakeholders – teams (AIGCP), riders (CPA) and organisers (AIOCC). On this occasion, it presented the effects of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) on the anti-doping programme during March and April, and its plan to resume its activities with the return of cycling competitions for the 2020 season, as well as its 2019 business report.

Following the CADF announcement of 26 March 2020 concerning the significant impact of Covid-19 on its programmes, the CADF confirms that over the last months it has had to significantly reduce its doping control activities. This has been necessary in order to comply with the restrictive measures adopted by governments and authorities worldwide due to the health crisis, to follow guidance issued by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), and to protect the health of riders.

Most of the riders in the UCI Registered Testing Pool (RTP) are located in countries and regions where mobility or physical contact restrictions were put in place by local authorities. As a result, a decrease of around 90-percent of out-of-competition tests has been reported for the two-month period following the outbreak of the pandemic compared to 2019. With that said, during this period, the CADF collected almost as many samples from cyclists as all National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) combined.

It is also important to note that more than 2,200 samples were collected between the beginning of the year and the outbreak of the pandemic, of which more than 1,250 were collected out-of-competition.

During this difficult time, the CADF has allocated time and resources to key activities and projects, including: specific support to WADA on key investigations, intelligence-gathering, reanalysis programmes, among others. In addition, the CADF has drawn up a comprehensive plan in anticipation of the resumption of cycling competitions.

Today the CADF can confirm that a gradual return to regular out-of-competition testing continues in countries where confinement measures have been lifted, while the situation in other territories is closely monitored. In this respect, the CADF is in permanent contact with National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) to receive detailed situation reports of each country, and to determine when and how normal testing can be reintroduced.

In its testing resumption plan, the CADF has established a priority list of athletes to be tested before racing recommences, using a thorough risk assessment and a specific set of criteria. Going forward, the CADF will continue to abide by local laws and restrictions and collaborate closely with NADOs, subcontracting them when applicable, to ensure that testing is carried out efficiently and effectively, in compliance with the latest WADA guidance. Throughout the procedure, the protection of the health of riders and all concerned will remain top priorities.

A condensed in-competition testing programme has been prepared for implementation when events resume, based on the modified UCI International Road and Mountain Bike Calendars, released on 5 and 19 May respectively. The CADF pool of Sample Collection Personnel will play a key role in enabling this in-competition testing programme to be successfully implemented. The CADF is working closely with the UCI, and more specifically with the dedicated UCI Steering Group, and all cycling stakeholders to ensure that testing at competition venues will meet the necessary measures established by the UCI and its partners under the agreed health protocol instructions.

The CADF, the UCI, the AIGCP, the AIOCC and the CPA fully agree when it comes to the importance of resuming regular out-of-competition testing as soon as possible. In this respect, the CADF is convinced that the testing plan currently in place, which is evolving as the health situation develops, responds to the need to make every effort to ensure the credibility of the sport performances when races resume. The CADF welcomes the support from all cycling’s families and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the protection of clean athletes in these unprecedented times.

Finally, the CADF has released its 2019 Business Report that was presented at the meeting of its Funding Committee, along with the 2019 financial statement and details of the operational financial impact of Covid-19. Further Funding Committee meetings will be held later this year to assess the situation according to the developments of the health situation worldwide.

For more information on the CADF 2019 Business Report, please consult the full report here.