Florida race director refuses drug testing

A well respected race promoter in Florida refuses to allow WADA drug testers to do their job at a Florida mountain bike race.

When WADA drug testers showed up unannounced at the 2012-13 Florida State Championship Series last weekend, race promoter Dave Bergen refused to allow the technicians to collect samples because “he had no prior warning or notification” and he had “never seen dope testing conducted” for a local amateur event.

There’s a lot of he said / she said regarding the matter, and people who were there said there was some unprofessionalism on both sides as tempers flared and police eventually had to be called. Although drug testing for local events is historically unusual, the increased visits by USADA to these events has been well publicized. Florida probably leads the nation in drug testing at amateur events through the efforts of the Florida Clean Ride Fund.

Bike racing is a pretty small world. The dope control lead, Arnold Thomas, is pretty well known to those who compete regularly in Florida as the Southern Region representative for USADA, so I’m dumbfounded by Bergen’s claim that he has no idea who Thomas is, but whatever. The unannounced testing and failure to communicate their visit with Bergen ahead of time is unusual and probably got Bergen’s goat.

Event release forms and licenses contain clear statements that participants are subject to doping control. Part of the text of the USAC release form you sign includes this:

I understand that drug testing may be conducted for athletes registered for this event and that the use of blood boosting or substances prohibited by Releasees’ rules would make me subject to penalties including, but not limited to, disqualification and suspension. I agree to be subject to drug testing if selected, and its penalties if I fail to comply with the testing or am found positive for the use of a banned substance.

5 Comments

  • bikesgonewild
    September 13, 2012 - 3:55 am | Permalink

    …that’s a bit of a dichotomy, ya ???…

    …on one hand, while the promoter sees this as “…a local amateur event…”, the name of the series, whether he runs the other races or not, is “the florida state championship series” which denotes riders of a certain caliber…
    …how would he not expect testers to show up ???…

    …on the other hand, being a race promoter has gotta be a thankless task, so it’s a shame the gentleman ended up getting upset…next year, he may be less inclined to invest his time & skills…

  • September 13, 2012 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    True about race promotion and headaches. They do it because they love it, that’s for sure.

    Do mountain bikers dope with performance enhancing substances?

  • follower
    September 13, 2012 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    They can request to test any athlete with a license. What’s the real issue? Who is being protected?

  • bikesgonewild
    September 13, 2012 - 11:58 am | Permalink

    …i can’t answer that directly but it seems human nature is such that we, all of us are willing to “enhance” whatever we’re doing in life, even if it’s with a cup of coffee…
    …pour moi, it’s yerba mate’…
    …but to go ‘farther & faster’, especially when money is involved, there are those willing to set aside morality…

  • bikesgonewild
    September 13, 2012 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    …could be as simple as the promoters cycling pals we’re partying the night before & somebody passed a spliff around & suddenly, the next morning it’s “…oh, shit, really – drug testing !?!?!?”
    …pure speculation on my part to create a scenario that’s basically innocent but wherein the results could cause problems…

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