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 believe that's the policy

I believe that's the policy as it stands, no?

You can "use" a certain amount of over-the-counter drugs (caffeine, pseudoephedrine, etc.) to a predetermined legal limit.

When you speak of the costs of enforcing the existing policy, it's not like USADA is going to institute a longitudinal passport system like for the pros, or start knocking at the door of the local Cat 4 in the predawn hours.

Seems as if the plan as is serves as a simple deterrent to PED use in the amateur ranks. Pros get away with doping because they use sophisticated medical regimens to stay one step ahead of the testers.

So you're telling a cat 5 in

So you're telling a cat 5 in their first race or a cat 4 in their second season could be randomly tested..... What if these people are just getting into the sport for fitness and are taking a caffeine pill or some other supplement they can buy at their local store to help control their appetite and lose the extra 20 lbs they're carrying around? What sense does this make? Driving people away from participating should not be the goal of USada. I know some will flame this but taking epo or steroids is very different then taking dexatrim to try to keep yourself at a healthy weight or a caffeine pill because you don't like coffee.

Holding people at the bottom end of the sport to the same standards as professionals is ridiculous. The guy that is 30lbs over weight and just wants to try out racing for motivation is supposed to watch every place he eats for fear he may be tested? And get a TUE if he takes a sudafed for a cold? Interested what other people's thoughts are.....

USADA Wallet Card
(Bring this with you every time you go shopping. :-)

Sudafed products containing pseudoephedrine are PROHIBITED in-competition

Many dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, homeopathics,
herbs, energy drinks), which are sold over the counter or through the Internet,
may contain substances that are prohibited by the Prohibited List. Since antidoping rules make the presence of a prohibited substance in an athlete’s urine a doping offense regardless of how the substance got there, any athlete who takes a dietary supplement does so at his or her own risk of an adverse analytical finding and a doping violation.

From WADA Code: S6.

From WADA Code:
S6. Stimulants

All stimulants are prohibited except for imidazole derivatives for topical use, and those stimulants on the 2012 Monitoring Program (buproprion, caffeine, nicotine, phenylephrine, phenylpropanolamine, pipradrol, and synephrine).

3. Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient in several over-the-counter cold and flu medications. WADA has issued an advisory to athletes that they should discontinue taking medications containing pseudoephedrine AT LEAST 24 hours prior to the time defined as “in-competition.” However, in some cases this may not be enough time for the substance to clear from the body. Athletes who intend to compete in the near future, or who are currently in-competition should examine the ingredient list of any medication they are using to ensure it does NOT contain pseudoephedrine.

4. Nicotine and caffeine are not prohibited. They are simply part of WADAs monitoring program.


Each of ephedrine and methylephedrine is prohibited when its concentration in urine is greater than 10 micrograms per milliliter.
***** Pseudoephedrine is prohibited when its concentration in urine is greater than 150 micrograms per milliliter.

personally I could care less.

personally I could care less. If you want to dope go ahead. That's not the reason I participate in this sport. I like to be competitive, but at the end of the day it's a hobby. If it's that important for someone to beat a group of racers on the weekend, then more power to you. Likely, there's a lot of other stuff wrong in your life that you're trying to make up for.

If by chance I get randomly tested and get suspended due to some random trace amount of something I never heard of that was found in my health supplement, then so be it. I'll continue to ride my bike and I'll find something else to fill that need for competition. but that is what I signed up for and I'm ok with that.

Granted, I have no trust in the supplement companies that are out there and stick with a multi and fish oils. Here's a good read if you'd like a bit more information:

Amateur cyclists take all of this WAY too seriously. The equipment, the training, the competition. In reality, no one except for you is going to remember which races you won.

I get the notion of

I get the notion of in-competition & out-of-competition for a registered pro. What does out of competition really mean for an amateur who only does a few races a year? You can't take a banned substance in February because it might affect your performance in July? Seems a big extreme.