Anti-doping - Testing

Home » Insight Zone » Training

Knowledge Level: Beginner

‘Drug testing’ (known as doping control) plays a key role in the fight against doping. Riders should adopt a positive approach to testing. Not only is it representative of their level of performance, but it is also an opportunity to underline their achievements as a clean rider.

Riders can be selected for urine and/or blood sample collection. For the majority of British riders testing will generally be conducted by UK Anti-Doping or the UCI. Testing may be conducted by another organisation when competing in an event overseas.

Who can be tested and when? 

A British Cycling race licence holder is bound by the UK Anti-doping Rules as detailed in the British Cycling handbook. Depending on the location of the event they may be bound by the rules of the UCI, NADO or NGB as applicable.

An eligible rider can be tested at any time, both in- and out-of-competition regardless of their age or level of competition. 

If a rider is notified that they have been selected for doping control they must provide a sample. Refusing to do so may constitute an Anti-doping Rule Violation and lead to the rider being banned. Excuses such as needing to get home urgently or needing to get to work are not generally considered valid justification for refusing a test. A British Cycling race licence holder has previously been banned from competition for 18 months for refusing to submit to testing.

In-competition testing is testing conducted in relation to a sporting event. WADA defines in-competition as ‘the period commencing twelve hours before competition…through to the end of such competition and the sample collection process related to such competition’ unless it is stated otherwise by the rules of an IF or other relevant Anti-Doping Organisation.

Out-of-competition testing is regarded as any other time.

Doping Control Personnel

A rider may be notified that they have been selected for doping control by either a chaperone or a Doping Control Officer (DCO). A chaperone can notify a rider and can chaperone and observe them both on the way and whilst inside the Doping Control Station (DCS). They may be used as a second observer for sample collection when the rider is a minor or has a disability. A DCO can carry out all of the above responsibilities and:

• will be of the same gender as the rider

• will also carry out urine sample collection duties

• will not handle the sample collection vessels or A and B bottles before the sample is sealed, unless requested to do so by the rider for specific reasons.

Where a team of DCOs are present, there will be a Lead DCO, who will manage the whole sample collection session. A rider can request to speak to that individual should they wish to.

Riders’ rights 

Throughout doping control riders have the right to:

• see the DCO’s official identification and evidence of their authority to carry out the test

• be accompanied by a representative of their choice

• request a delay in reporting to the DCS (see below)  

• be observed during the provision of their urine sample by a DCO of the same gender

• ask for additional information about the sample collection procedures

• comment on the sample collection procedures

• receive a copy of the Doping Control Form (DCF) after the test

• confidentiality – no name should be on any documentation to be sent to the laboratory

• request modifications if they are a minor or have a disability.

Riders’ responsibilities

Riders have a responsibility to:

• remain within direct observation of the DCO/chaperone at all times from the point of notification

• produce photographic identification (your race licence is usually sufficient)

• comply with sample collection procedures

• always check whether they are required for doping control at the end of a race, particularly in road races where selected rider numbers will be displayed close to the finish line

• report immediately for a test, unless there are valid reasons for a delay such as the following activities:

For in-competition testing:

a) Participating in a victory ceremony

b) Fulfilling media commitments

c) Competing in further competitions

d) Performing a warm down

e) Obtaining necessary medical treatment

f) Locating a representative and/or interpreter

g) Obtaining photo identification, or

h) Any other exceptional circumstances which may be justified, and which shall be documented.

For out-of-competition testing:

a) Locating a representative

b) Completing a training session

c) Receiving necessary medical treatment

d) Obtaining photo identification

e) Any other exceptional circumstances which can be justified, and which shall be documented.

Any requests for delaying reporting to the DCS should be made to the chaperone or DCO that notifies the rider.

The rider must be continuously chaperoned and kept under direct observation during any of the above activities. Once notified it is advisable for riders to dismount from their bikes to ensure they remain in observation.

The sample provided by the rider must be the first urine passed by the rider following notification, so they will not usually be allowed to shower. Ice baths are sometimes permitted if they are viewed as medical treatment.

Riders can only leave a DCS under continuous observation by a DCO or chaperone. The reason for doing so must meet those set out above and must be approved by a DCO.

Stages of sample collection

This video shows urine and blood sample collection procedures.

The basic stages of a test are:

1. Notification of selection for doping control

2. Reporting for doping control

3. Selecting a collection vessel

4. Providing the sample under supervision

5. Selecting the A and B bottles

6. Dividing and sealing the sample

7. Testing the suitability of the sample

8. Recording and certifying the information.

Key message:

The doping control process can seem a complicated and daunting experience. Do not panic. Familiarise yourself with the video above and additional useful information is included within the Insight Zone. If you have any queries please contact the Anti-doping Officer on 0161 274 2082.

For further information visit


About this section