PARIS (AP) — Tour de France cyclists often say they are drug-tested more rigorously than athletes in other sports. Here's a quick look at how cycling's anti-doping policies compare to other sports and leagues, based on data provided by the relevant organizations:
9,296 tests in 2012 on male professional road cyclists, including 3,395 urine tests for blood-boosting hormone EPO. In all, that makes an average of nearly 10 tests, both blood and urine, for each of the 952 riders from 40 professional teams. Some 61 percent of those tests conducted out of competition, when cheats might dope as part of pre-race preparations. Riders also subject to "biological passport" screening that scrutinizes their blood for tell-tale signs of doping. Pro teams, cycling's governing body, race organizers and riders themselves foot the bill for anti-doping in the sport, paying $7.6 million in 2012. Punishments in accordance with World Anti-Doping Agency code, which generally requires 2-year ban from competition for first violation.
NFL: Roughly 15,000 tests on some 2,000 players — an average of 7.5 tests per player per year. Includes one pre-season test per player. All 15,000 tests are urine and all samples screened for EPO, according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. No blood tests. No biological passport. Aiello said NFL's anti-doping program costs "several million dollars a year." He wouldn't give specifics. Four-game suspension (25 percent of season) for first violation; 8 games for second; one year for third.
NBA: Players subject to up to six urine tests, four in-season and two in off-season. No blood tests. No biological passport. First failed test for performance-enhancers: 20 game-suspension; 45 games for second; at least two years for third. Spokesman Tim Frank wouldn't discuss costs of the NBA's anti-drug program.
MLB: 5,136 tests over 12 months from Nov. 2011 through Oct. 2012 conducted on pool of up to 1,200 players — an average of 4.3 tests per player. Included 3,955 urine tests and 1,181 blood. Major league samples not tested for EPO. Introduced off-season and spring training blood tests for human growth hormone last year and, this year, during regular season, too. MLB also introduced program in the 2013 season for the WADA-accredited lab in Montreal, Canada, to scrutinize players' testosterone readings for signs of abuse of that banned hormone and testosterone-related steroids. Lab director Christiane Ayotte told the AP this MLB program is "unprecedented" for the "very high number of athletes" it monitors. Suspensions of 50 games without pay for first PED offense (equivalent to just under one-third of a regular season of 162 games); 100 games for second offense; lifetime ban for third offense.
TENNIS: 2,185 tests by the International Tennis Federation in 2012 on total of 632 players — an average of 3.5 tests per player. Just 334 were out of competition and only 63 of those were blood tests. No biological passport. But ITF says it plans to introduce passport program from this year and do more blood and out of competition tests. ITF does test for EPO but its anti-doping manager, Stuart Miller, wouldn't give details and also wouldn't disclose size of his anti-doping budget. In line with WADA code, tennis' rules generally call for 2-year ban for first offense.