Tour of California gets tough on drugs

All riders in next month’s Amgen Tour of California will have blood samples collected prior to the race and be tested for indications of blood manipulation, race organizers announced Tuesday.

Tour officials called the steps the “most comprehensive anti-doping protocol in cycling history.”

Other new anti-doping measures include the screening of each day’s stage winner, the overall winner and three other riders each day for steroids, hormones, stimulants and other masking agents, said Andrew Messick, the president of AEG Sports, the presenter of the race. All teams participating in the Tour have agreed that all of their racers are clean entering the race. Rosters of those teams will be checked by the International Cycling Union, cycling’s governing body.

Messick was joined at the Los Angeles news conference by USA Cycling Chief Executive Officer Steve Johnson and Sean Petty, that organization’s chief operating officer, as race organizers attempt to clean up a sport that has been riddled by doping scandals in recent years.

The new measures implemented were praised by USADA CEO Travis Tygart. The Feb. 17-24 event is set to begin in Palo Alto.

Anti-doping measures

New steps being adopted by the Amgen Tour of California:

» All riders will submit pre-race blood samples as part of their “blood passport,” which is tracked by the International Cycling Union; 30 percent of riders will submit urine samples to be tested

» Each day, the stage winner, the overall leader and three other riders will be screened for steroids, hormones (including EPO), stimulants and masking agents

» All participating teams have agreed to guarantee all members — including coaches, trainers and support staff — are clear of any open doping investigations

Source: Amgen Tour of California

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