Likely false positive test before Bretagne Classic: Ralph Denk expresses doubts about the UCI COVID test strategy
Following a positive result returned by one rider today after a COVID test, the entire BORA - hansgrohe team was withdrawn ahead of the start of the Bretagne Classic. This rider was since tested again during the day and (as was the case with his 6-day test) it came back negative. All other riders and staff were also immediately tested again, and all results were negative. It is reasonable to conclude that this was a false positive test result.
"It looks like my concerns are being confirmed. It is known that PCR tests have a certain rate of error and thus produce false positive results. This in itself would not be a problem, if there were the possibility to check the results immediately in the case of a positive finding. In the anti-doping regulations, an A Sample and a B Sample are provided, precisely for this reason. If the A Sample is positive, the result is checked with the B Sample. In the UCI’s current testing strategy, this verification is not present. Anti-doping labs are also accredited, which means that certain standards are set and checked. That would be one approach. A central lab or certain certified labs. We are talking about athletes who have prepared for a race for weeks or months and then might not be allowed to start the event due to a false finding. Today we withdrew our entire team from a WordTour race. It's all about points, but it's also about presence in the media, in other words, the advertising value upon which the commitments of our sponsors are based. Today, these benefits were unable to be gained. Of course, the health of everyone involved should and must always take priority, however, it is still unsatisfactory that consideration is not given to all other aspects. I think adjustments must be immediately made here. We also require certainty regarding testing procedures and strategy. If we don't have this, we will soon have serious issues, because who wants to invest in a lottery game as a serious company?” - Ralph Denk, Team Manager