The recent CRCA Lou Maltese Memorial was a highly successful event with perhaps the most competitive field seen in Central Park in many years. The race also broke new ground with USADA conducting anti-doping testing as part of the NYSBRA RaceClean program. CRCA is pleased to both support this anti-doping program and to have worked closely with USADA in implementing testing procedures for the race. Given the interest expressed by members in learning more about the testing process, we asked CRCA Director of Open Racing Matthew Vandivort to walk through it from start to finish.
Initial USADA notification and planning
Approximately 3 weeks prior to the race, USADA e-mailed me (as race promotor) that they would be conducting testing at the race. We had anticipated the possibility of testing at a CRCA Open Race given the high competition level associated with these races and CRCA's participation in, and support for, the NYSBRA RaceClean program.
In the weeks following initial notification, we maintained absolute secrecy regarding USADA's testing - outside of USADA, only three people were aware that USADA would be in attendance on race day - myself, CRCA President Rod Millot and NYSBRA President/CRCA Lou Maltese Chief Ref Jeff Poulin.
During that time, we worked closely with USADA to understand the testing procedures and develop race day plans. Given the venue of the race (Central Park) there were some initial logistical hurdles related to the testing - we explored various venues for the actual testing before settling on using a hotel just outside of the park to ensure privacy during the testing process.
We also worked to find chaperones, who are a vital piece of the testing process, and developed an initial timeline for the athlete notification and testing process. Throughout this stage we were in regular communication with USADA officials - who insured that our planning followed all required procedures and policies - while also continuing to maintain secrecy regarding their planned presence on race day.
Immediately prior to race day
The evening prior to the race, I met with the USADA officials to finalize our plans for the testing process and to review notification and testing procedures. Thankfully, our USADA officials were very experienced and highly qualified, having worked a number of significantly larger scale events in New York City, making this last phase of planning was relatively straightforward.
We also discussed whether to announce the presence of USADA officials on the start line of the race. Ultimately after assessing our options, we decided that notification would be completed at the conclusion of the race, without racers receiving any prior notice that testing would be completed at the end of the race.
On race morning we conducted registration just like all of our other races and sent the first riders off at approximately 5:50AM. Following the timeline we developed, the USADA officials met our chaperones at the finish line shortly after the race start and completed the required training and paperwork necessary to prepare them for the task.
When racing concluded, the USADA officials assigned the chaperones to the racers that each would be responsible for monitoring, with the racers being notified that they would be tested immediately after the podium presentation. In accordance with USADA procedures, the testing process was explained to those riders and the necessary paperwork was completed.
All of the riders were cooperative throughout the process and shortly thereafter, the chaperones and riders headed to the hotel to begin testing. The testing process took approximately two hours, after which the samples were dispatched for analysis.
Once the testing was complete the samples were dispatched for analysis. While there were some initial logistical hurdles associated with our race venue in Central Park, the USADA officials were extremely helpful throughout and the testing procedures were executed precisely according to plan.
Many thanks are due to our chaperones, who gave of their time on a Sunday morning to ensure that the USADA procedures were completed as directed.
Having completed the process for the first time, we now have testing procedures in place which can be replicated for prospective events. We look forward to working with USADA in the future.
For more information
For more information on the NYSBRA RaceClean program please visit the NYSBRA website at: http://www.nysbra.com/about/anti-doping/
We will be also supplementing this article with FAQs which will provide further detail into the testing process - please check back soon.
CRCA is please to join the following organizations and individuals in supporting the NYSBRA RaceClean program:
- ChampionSystem pb Stan’s NoTubes
- Rod Millott
- Capital Bicycle Racing Club (CBRC – Albany)
- Foundation New York Cycling
- Tioga Velo Club (TVC – Binghamton)
- Tarmac Cycling