The sweet victory at Vuelta de Espana, Tour of Spain, turned sour for winner Chris Horner, who became the oldest rider to win the cycle race, as the Spanish anti-doping agency failed to test him over a mix-up in hotels.
At nearly 42 years old, Horner is the oldest rider ever to have won a Grand Tour and his triumph appeared to be the kind of story to inspire 40-year-olds all over the world to take up their bikes once again and start enjoying the road rides, reports Xinhua.
But a story in the Spanish press that the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (AEA) working on behalf of the American Anti Doping Agency (USADA) had failed to locate the rider while attempting to carry out tests Monday morning, has tarnished Horner’s image.
Riders are obliged to make their whereabouts known at all times to anti-doping agencies in order for them to be able to carry out random drugs tests.
The AEA had to wait until the end of the three-week long Vuelta as all in-race testing is carried out by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
It was thought that Horner would be spending Sunday night in the same hotel as his Radioshack-Leopard Trek team in the town of Alcorcon close to Madrid and the Spanish testers duly went there.
Horner, meanwhile, was staying 30 minutes away with his wife in a different hotel, according to Radioshack team spokesman, Philippe Maertens.
“The guys from USADA were in the wrong hotel. Chris changed his hotel yesterday as he wanted to stay in the hotel of his wife prior to flying back to the US today,” explained Maertins in the Velonews website.
Radioshack-Leopard Trek also posted an official communique on the team website stating Horner had informed testers of a change of plans, giving details of his new hotel and even his room number.
“Horner updated his whereabouts with USADA before the start of the final stage, giving the agency the name of his hotel for the night, phone number and room number for his one hour window between 6 and 7 AM. This is all according to the rules and Chris Horner received a confirmation email,” states the team, posting copies of the E-mails as proof.
“The anti-doping inspectors from the Spanish Anti-doping Agency that were asked to do the test by the United States Anti-Doping Agency ) showed up at the wrong hotel in Madrid, where the team was staying but Horner was obviously not to be found,” continues the communique. USADA is clearly upset that the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency leaked to the press the news they were unable to find Horner without verifying the facts.
The team believes the communication between the Spanish Anti-doping Agency and the media is a violation of the privacy of Chris Horner, especially since it comes down to a clear mistake by the tester.