Tour of New Zealand organiser unhappy with UCI response over costlier doping controls
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tour of New Zealand organiser unhappy with UCI response over costlier doping controls

by VeloNation Press at 7:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Says he made it clear women’s race would be unable to continue with demands that UCI must do testing

Evie StevensThe race director of the Tour of New Zealand has spoken of his frustration with the forced cancellation of the women’s event, saying that he made it clear to the UCI that alternative doping testing demands would cause the race to stop, yet the governing body didn’t relent.

Earlier this week race director Jorge Sandoval announced that he was forced to scratch the 2013 race from the programme, and explained the reason. “The UCI won't allow Drug Free Sport New Zealand [DFSNZ] to conduct tests in UCI events in New Zealand,” he said then. “This means they will sent a UCI drugs inspector to New Zealand, we will have to import all testing devices from overseas, do at least 20 tests during the five days of racing, get a license to export human samples overseas, send all samples to a laboratory in Sydney to be tested all at our cost. This is approximately $30,000 per event.”

The race previously had doping controls, but with these being carried out by the more local Drug Free Sport New Zealand, costs were far lower.

The UCI has been criticised by fans for imposing the new, costlier regime, which will essentially see 25 tests working out as costing over $1,000 each.

Sandoval said that he told the UCI clearly that its demands would mean that the women’s race would not be able to go ahead. However he said that there was no meaningful dialogue about those consequences.

“'They don't talk to us, they just send us documents by email,” he told Fairfax Media.

The loss of the event means that aside from the national and continental championships, there will be no UCI-ranked women’s races throughout Oceania in 2013. It’s a big blow for that region, and does little to reassure people that the UCI are focussed on developing this wing of the sport.

Sandoval made it clear that he would prefer to focus on the womens’ race, which has boasted winners of the calibre of Judith Arndt, Kristin Armstrong, Shelley Olds and the 2012 champion Evie Stevens [pictured]. “'If I got my way, I would do a women's event, because the quality of the field is so much higher,” he said.

“The reason why the men's race is going on is because it has been going on for 26 years and it has financial support that has been set for the last two years, and for the next four years.”

Former Australian road race champion Bridie O'Donnell told the Sydney Morning Herald that she was very frustrated by the situation.

“The UCI have made a couple of public statements about wanting to increase the professionalism and depth and support for the women's pro peloton,” said O’Donnell, who has written to Pat McQuaid in the past over her concerns that women’s cycling was not being treated as seriously as men’s.

“But so far all I've seen of that are those three statements written on a piece of paper. There have been no actions to back that up, which is really, really disappointing.”

Kristy Scrymgeour, manager of the Specialized lululemon women’s team, told VeloNation this week that the news about the women’s event was frustrating. “Evie [Stevens] won it last year with the US National team,” she said. “She wasn’t due to go back this year due to having a different racing programme but it’s clearly bad news for women’s cycling.”

Stevens said that the Drug Free Sport New Zealand testing was very complete last year, with many controls being carried out.

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