How Does USADA Ensure a Fair Playing Field for Amateurs?

USA Cycling is taking a firmer stand on amateur doping, while nothing new legally is taking place here it does appear that USA Cycling is going to attempt to take more action. In the past there has been much chatter about doping in the amateur ranks and while it was assumed that USADA was going bust many riders with the access they had to a large domestic list of consumers of banned substances but so far to date not much has come of this. It's been nearly 3 years since local rider Chuck Coyle was given 3 year suspension.

"Who can be tested and when?

Basically, if you’re an athlete in the sport of cycling, you are subject to both urine and blood tests, 365 days–a-year, at any time, and in any place."

Anti-doping measures aren’t just for elite athletes

In fact, ALL USA Cycling-licensed riders, from amateurs to the pros, are required to abide by the World Anti-Doping Code and can be tested by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), both in and out-of-competition. This includes masters and juniors.

All competitors are responsible for the integrity of his or her own body. It says so right on the back of your license:

“Using any form of dietary supplement may result in a positive test for prohibited substances leading to a suspension and/or other penalties. Vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and other dietary substances may contain prohibited or illegal substances that may or may not be listed on the label. Any athlete who takes a vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid or other dietary supplement does so at his or her own risk of committing a doping violation.”

Who can be tested and when?

Basically, if you’re an athlete in the sport of cycling, you are subject to both urine and blood tests, 365 days–a-year, at any time, and in any place.

IN-COMPETITION TESTING: USADA coordinates these in-competition tests with USA Cycling or the UCI, and athletes are usually selected for testing based on pre-established criteria, including random. An example would be selecting the top three finishers in a race for testing, as well as other randomly selected finishers. Keep in mind that in addition to pre-established criteria, USADA could also test additional athletes.

OUT-OF-COMPETITION TESTING: USADA establishes its plan for out-of-competition testing based on the number of cycling athletes in the USADA Registered Testing Pool. However, not being in the pool doesn’t mean you won’t be subject to out-of-competition testing. As is the case during competition, USADA can select additional athletes for testing.

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I Don't Pee for S.J.

Yea, the stupidity of Masters Nationals is an entire other thread. Only the "Gramps" in the Masters Categories take themselves take seriously that they need drug testing. Just charge them all $100 extra at nationals for a pee test. The other 99% of USAC racers don't care...

Hold on, whipper-snapper

Old folks want fair competition, too. Plus, drug testing isn't just about fairness. The threat of drug testing goes to the issue of keeping racers from hurting themselves as well. If the health issue wasn't important, why not let everyone dope to the gills and let the chips fall where they may?


With exception for kids, the health rationale for banning PEDs is a specious and frankly tired argument. The federal drug control policies of the past three decades have shown clearly that attempting to simply ban substances or practices that some people wish to consume does not work. It drives people and products underground, facilitates a black market, and actually makes these products more dangerous as they are no longer regulated. Perhaps legalizing and regulating (this includes medical supervision) some PEDs would make the practice safer. If people are truly concerned about the possible health risks related to PED use in sport they should consider the effects of current anti-doping policies.

No talking points, please

We're not talking about recreational drugs, but performance enhancing drugs to help cheat at a recreational activity. Are you suggesting if we just allowed for a certain level of drug use, that folks would comply and not dope beyond the allowable level? So naive. No matter what level is allowed (zero or any other level) there will always be someone who takes it a level further.

more talking points, please

Sorry but I am absolutely not arguing that simply legalizing PEDs will stop doping beyond allowable limits. What I'm trying to argue (drawing from relevant examples of other behaviors that people have historically engaged in) is that simply focusing on trying to stop people from doping by using a health rationale is largely futile.

People will always cheat in all aspects of life. Perhaps a better approach is to recognize this reality and do our best to limit these behaviors and the individual and social harm they may cause. Or we could just keep pouring money into enforcement...

Allowing no doping and

Allowing no doping and realizing it happens anyway is just as effective as allowing some doping and realizing folks are exceeding allowable limits, if not more effective, when it comes to limiting doping. Sorry, but you can't make a valid argument that the way to reduce doping in sports is to legalize it.