Dope Testing in the Tour of Missouri
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Dope Testing in the Tour of Missouri

Date: September 10, 2007
By: Bria Scudder
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY- This week over a hundred cyclists from around the world will be traveling across Missouri and will be subject to drug testing.

 Fifteen teams are included in the 600 mile race with six stages that begins in Kansas City and ends in St. Louis.

Testing will take place after every stage of the race, according to lieutenant governor's office which is coordinating the event for the state. The leader of each stage along with two random cyclist will be tested. 

The race is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste International. Riders, whose protocols will be used for the drug tests. The U.S. Anti-doping Agency (USADA) also is scheduled to be at the race to assist with the dope tests. Kate Mittelstadt of USADA said that "As with all events, there are selection criteria that allows USADA the flexibility to to test athletes at their discretion."

Race organizers also requested the UCI to perform the test for erythropoietin on each sample taken.

In recent years, several international cyclists have faced doping allegations, including Tour de France winner Alberto Contador who will participate in the Missouri rate.

Contandor was pulled from the 2006 Tour de France, although he was eventually cleared of those charges and won the 2007 Tour de France. Contador will be on the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team in the race.  The Discovery Channel team -- the racing home for seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong -- will be disbanded later this year.

UCI also conducted testing in the 2006 Tour de France. Winner Floyd Landis has tested positive for testosterone, but is appealing the drug-test findings.. Landis will not be participating in the Tour of Missouri competition. 

Organizations have questioned UCI's testing. In a July article in cycling news.com, Patrice Clerc of the Amuri Sport Organization accused UCI of holding on to information about another doping scandal. Cyclist Michael Rasmussen missed an anti-doping test during the 2007 Tour de France, and Clerc said that she questioned their timing.

 Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said "If Bary Bonds had been in cycling he would have been found out years ago." He said he is confident that doping will not be an issue for the race this week.

Gary Bennett of Kinder's office said that "No rider with any history of doping will be allowed to participate in the race." If at any point a cyclist is proven guilty of blood doping they will be taken out of the race.

Cyclists that test positive for doping will be thrown out of the race and face a two year suspension.