Belgian cyclist Kevin Van Impe was taken for a routine drugs test just as he was at the crematorium filling in papers following the death of his baby son, media reported Saturday.For those readers who are unfamiliar with the sport of cycling, the UCI monitors professional road cyclists in order to detect doping and to deter riders from participating in doping. While their program is rigorous and is considered one of the most comprehensive in the world, and while the riders agree to both in-competition and out-of-competition testing that is so random a drug tester can, literally, show up at any time (as evidenced by the above story), the regulatory body certainly shouldn’t have the ability to interfere so completely in the life of an athlete as to show up during a time of mourning. What’s next? Are drug enforcement officials going to interrupt an actual funeral?
The Quick Step rider was at Lochristi crematorium when a drugs tester turned up and demanded he provide a sample, warning that otherwise he could face a two-year suspension.
“He wouldn’t even come back later in the day. It was either do it right on the spot or it would be taken as if I had refused,” Van Impe told web site www.sport.be.
Van Impe was arranging the funeral of son Jayden, born prematurely on Monday and who died just six hours later.
Asked to comment on the incident Flemish minister for sport Bert Anciaux said authorities were to determine how better to organize random tests to avoid a repeat in such delicate circumstances.
“The law is the law but you must take a human perspective,” the Belgian news agency quoted Anciaux as saying.
“I can well understand the rider had other things on his mind at the time of the test.”
I think the UCI has finally overstepped the bounds of reason and gone beyond zealous in their pursuit of a clean sport. I, for one, hope their “more human perspective” involves some extensive training in socially appropriate behavior for their drug testers. Maybe they can take some direction from the English and use one of those Anti-Social Behavior Orders to stop their employees from being so incredibly insensitive.