Organizers of the Gran Fondo New York are spending $15,000 on drug tests to deter dopers from competing in the 105-mile event on May 19. The winners collect a total of $50,000 in prizes, and the drug tests are drawing support from participants.
“The culture has just trickled down,” Andrew Tilin, who was banned for two years by USADA in 2011 for testosterone use as part of research for his book, “The Doper Next Door: My Strange and Scandalous Year on Performance-Enhancing Drugs,” told Bloomberg. “It’s pathetic, frankly. Who are we really impressing? We’re racing for PowerBars, tires and passes to amusement parks.”
First held in 2011, the Gran Fondo New York had two doping cases in 2012, its first year of testing. The winner of the 45-49 age group, David Anthony of the U.S., tested positive for EPO while the winner of the 50-54 category, Gabriele Guarini of Italy, was popped for oxygen-enhancing peptide hormone use.
Since 2011, 10 amateur cyclists have been cited for doping infractions. In response, race organizers have been testing non-elite athletes and holding them to same standards as the pros.
Read Andrew Tilin's story on being an amateur-doping guinea pig.