ITA’s first report: smooth transition of cycling’s anti-doping activities and return to normal testing

Jun 7, 2021, 14:02 PM

On 21 May 2021, the Funding Committee of the UCI’s anti-doping programme held its first meeting since the transfer of the operational activities from the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation to the International Testing Agency (ITA), which took place on 1st January 2021.

The Funding Committee is composed of representatives of teams (AIGCP), organisers (AIOCC), riders (CPA) and the UCI, the main financial contributors to the UCI Anti-Doping Programme. During this meeting, its members were addressed by Benjamin Cohen, ITA Director General, and Olivier Banuls, Head of the new ITA Cycling Unit. They were updated on the activities conducted by the ITA Cycling Unit, the operational challenges of integrating such a vast anti-doping programme, the synergies implemented, as well as the additional tools and expertise that the ITA has made available from its Cycling Unit.

The Funding Committee was also pleased to note that the anti-doping activities, especially testing and intelligence and investigations, went ahead unimpeded during the transition to the ITA and that out-of-competition testing has returned to normal levels despite the Covid-19 pandemic. This return to normal has been possible thanks, in particular, to the rigorous sanitary protocol in place for testing, which saw absolute priority going to the protection the health of riders and all involved in the testing operations.

After a 13.5% reduction in out-of-competition sample collection in 2020 compared to 2019, the level of out-of-competition samples collected in the first quarter of this year (1,809) is slightly higher than in 2019 (1,715) for the same period.

It is without surprise that the number of samples collected in-competition was significantly affected by the pandemic in 2020, a year which saw the cancellation of over 50% of events on the UCI International Calendar. These cancellations resulted in a decrease of 56% of in-competition samples collected compared to 2019 (6,704 samples in 2019 versus 2,935 samples in 2020). This significant reduction of in-competition samples collection in 2020 is the main explanation for the decrease of 33.5% of the total number of in- and out-of-competition samples collected in 2020 (9,524) compared to 2019 (14,333).

The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) 2020 Business Report can be accessed here. When studying the latest statistics of worldwide testing published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on 6 May 2021 it can be seen that the UCI remains one of the most active anti-doping organisations in the world, as shown in the figures below. The Funding Committee is confident that in collaborating with the ITA, the UCI will conserve and reinforce its leading role in the fight against doping.

The Funding Committee will meet again later this year.

Number of Samples collected Out-of-Competition (OOC Samples)

Number of Samples collected Out-of-Competition (OOC Samples)

Number of Samples collected (blood, urine and ABP)

List of abbreviations:
-  ABP: sample collected as part of athlete’s Biological Passport
-  OOC: Out-of-Competition.

1. Figures published by WADA in its communication of 6 May 2021.
2. Figures published by WADA in its communication of 6 May 2021.