Two key changes to the world anti-doping code came into play on 1 January, including four-year bans for athletes who have doped.
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

Driven by The World-Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and implemented by organisations like the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), the ban for specified substances, like EPO (Erythropoietin), is doubled to four years.

This doubling has been called for by fans and stakeholders within cycling for many years.

It would be difficult to return to the top level of cycling after a four-year layoff so this measure would in all likelihood have the effect of removing a rider from the sport permanently.

However it's the new additions of "conspiring" and prohibited association" to the code which should have the effect of combating institutional doping in cycling.

The word "conspiring" is added in order to capture the role support personnel can play in deliberate doping situations while "prohibited association" prevents an athlete from working with coaches who have been banned or with individuals who have been criminally convicted for providing performance enhancing drugs.

Riders are later free to work with coaches and doctors who have finished serving out a sanction. In cycling this has caused some discomfort with many professional teams staffed by ex-dopers, often in key coaching and support roles.

Other changes to the code include a reduced time frame of from 18 months to 12 months for missed tests and flexibility allowing WADA to remove a sanction where an athlete or rider has co-operated effectively in an investigation.

The use of Pseudoephedrine has also attracted the interest of WADA with its use now limited a maximum concentration in urine of no more than 150 micrograms per milliliter.

ASADA recommends that athletes should not take the stimulant 24-hours prior to or during competition.