License article

Tour a casualty of costs

THE director of the cancelled Tour of New Zealand is under fire amid claims there had been minimal drug testing at what was the only women's stage race in Oceania.

Tour organiser Jorge Sandoval told Fairfax Media this week he would rather stage the major international women's event, which had been scheduled for February 2013, and cancel the men's race that will proceed as planned in January.

However, Sandoval said he had been forced to sacrifice the more poorly funded female competition due to a $60,000 cost that would have been required to meet new drug testing requirements at both events.

Drug Free Sport New Zealand said on Wednesday there had been minimal drug testing at the race for years - saying it had funded 6-8 drug tests per tour when, in fact, the requirement stated by cycling's world governing body, the UCI, was more like 20 tests per tour. This, according to the national anti-doping agency, is the reason the UCI is now insisting it run doping controls at the event next year.

Now required to cover the expense of sending a UCI anti-doping officer and a UCI-approved doctor or nurse to carry out the testing, Sandoval says drug testing will cost $30,000 per event, which has led to the scrapping of the women's race.

DFSNZ chief executive Graeme Steel said his organisation received email correspondence from the UCI ''that set out a number of what the UCI regarded as failings'' in drug testing at the competition.

''We did not see that they were our failings,'' he said.

''In terms of the volume of testing, I have heard that it [the UCI] expects more to be done than has occurred. I am not aware of any reason why they [the UCI] should have any doubt about the quality of the work that we do, unless somehow they are unhappy with him [Sandoval] and somehow we get bound up with that.''