ACE Clean Cycling Intiative
The ACE Clean Cycling Initiative is a multi-pronged approach to the goal of 100% drug free competitive cycling. The core of this initiative is the ACE Volunteer Drug Testing Program – an innovative and comprehensive approach to performance enhancing drug use prevention. In addition to its testing program, the ACE Clean Cycling Initiative combines education, counseling and public promotion of clean cycling in a community based environment essential to fostering an atmosphere where everyone – sponsors, teams, riders and fans – demands 100% clean cycling.
ACE Volunteer Drug Testing Program
The ACE Volunteer Drug Testing Program is the core of the ACE Clean Cycling Initiative. It is a comprehensive program designed not only to detect the use of banned performance enhancing drugs through standard WADA-quality testing but to also ensure that athletes are drug free even when conventional testing doesn’t work.
ACE’s program involves extensive monitoring of bio-stable markers in urine and blood during an athlete’s first month with the program. During this time, an athlete is tested once every three days. His or her steroid profile, blood profile and several other relevant performance enhancing drug reactive markers are tracked. These profiles, while variable between individuals, are stable over time for any one person. The use of performance enhancing drugs, even when not detectable by conventional means, can be detected if these profiles change. ACE has the expertise needed to interpret these profiles and ensure that an athlete in the ACE community remains clean.
Among the reasons standard drug testing fails to prevent most doping is that it occurs infrequently. ACE’s program is aggressive and comprehensive. As you can see from the schedule below, a typical athlete will be tested over 20 times each year in addition to testing during competition.
Standard Collection Schedule
In addition to the above scheduled testing, urine, and occasionally blood, is collected at every event. This event testing expands the testing menu to include certain stimulants and other performance enhancing drugs that are short acting. These drugs do not last in the body long nor do they leave lasting changes to body parameters. Such drugs are used not for training, but are used instead to provide an immediate performance enhancement during a competition.
In addition to vastly more frequent testing, the ACE Volunteer Drug Testing Program expands the scope of analysis when compared to traditional anti-doping techniques. The high frequency of testing allows ACE to establish a profile of bio-markers for each athlete. These bio-markers, which include, for example, a person’s testosterone and human growth hormone concentrations, are stable within a small, normal range. Substantial variation in these markers indicates a possible problem and suggests that the athlete may be using performance enhancing drugs.
What happens when someone has a “problem” in their profile? Analyzing profile data is not simple. A person’s profile is stable when healthy; however, things other than performance enhancing drugs can cause temporary changes in an individual’s profile, including but not limited to disease and environmental changes. When an athlete shows a spike in a profile marker, the first step is additional testing. The athlete is also interviewed and additional tests may be performed to rule out illness. It is important to ensure athletes are not using performance enhancing drugs but it is equally important to not unfairly label an athlete as a potential cheater. ACE has the expertise needed to know the difference and we know how to best proceed to protect the interests of the team and its riders while guarding the interest of 100% clean cycling.
The ACE education program is the second core element of our Clean Cycling Initiative. We bring proactive resources to professional teams to educate athletes about the medial and ethics issues of the use of illegal use of performance enhancing drugs. In a relaxed, non-accusatory atmosphere we address the short term benefits for the individual athlete and the catastrophic consequence of failed testing by the sanctioning bodies. We also talk abut the more global ramifications of the image of cycling, public perception, and economic impact.
One of the benefits of the ACE drug testing program is that with our longitudinal analysis, we can report abnormal lab results and trends that are suggestive but not conclusive of illegal use of performance enhancing drugs. This is a very powerful tool and supports our proactive methodology. It truly allows teams to be responsible for there athletes and promotes teams and athletes working together in a cooperative environment. Individual sessions with athletes suspected of using performance enhancing drugs or have suggestive tests results undergo individual and confidential sessions with our ACE counselors. This again enforces and promotes our Clean Cycling Initiative