Full of adrenaline I’m standing next to the jury. The peloton passes at full speeds on my right. All the supporters are looking at me. This can’t be true. Thanks to the nice cobbles of the Tiel city centre, my bottle cage has come loose and is now dangerously hanging onto my frame. Abandon. We are not even halfway into the race and my race is over. Just when I want to make way to my car to go home I hear a member of the jury calling me: “Excuse me, but you are not allowed to go home. There is a doping control today and we don’t know the numbers yet.” With a doubtful glance I look at the friendly jury member. Doping control? That is for professionals and for the ladies who will manage to get on the podium. Oh well, I will wait for a couple of minutes before going home. I lean on my handlebars and look at the race I just abandoned.
Suddenly a lady with a red singlet steps out of the jury van. The large, white letters on her singlet tell me she is from the Dutch National Doping Authority. She walks strait to me. “Number 43 right? Walk along with me. Your number has been drawn and you have to go the doping controls.” You must be kidding me. I have never thought about this when I decided to race. I have applied Azaron because of the many mosquitos , that stung me during my last training ride. Is that allowed? And didn’t I take some Vitamin B pills ‘for stronger hair and nails’ following advice of my friends? Is that ok? And if something isn’t right, then what? No time to think about it. I slowly follow the lady to the area where I will get the next instructions. I feel the eyes of all the spectators pinning in my back. What is the reason this lady is following that rider? I am trying to remain calm and act as normal as possible.
The doping control is on the second floor, above the permanence, in a beautiful building. Everything is already in place for what has to been done the next couple of hours. I see the bottles of water for the riders, the jars and cups, papers and storage boxes. The lady behind the desk takes all the time necessary to explain the procedure to me. And that not only professional riders, but also juniors, espoirs and amateurs can get a doping control as well. I feel much more relaxed now, and I take place on the balcony from where I can follow the race in which I participated just 10 minutes ago.
After 45 minutes there are three empty bottles of water in front of me. I tried to drink as much as possible to speed up the procedure. With every attempt to “deliver” the 90ml as needed for this doping control, the nice lady walks with me to the toilet. There is no privacy whatsoever. After three attempts I am ready to go, having delivered enough to go home. I leave my number 43 behind and with a slightly confused feeling I go outside. The race is over and Anna van der Breggen has lapped the peloton twice. We both earned something today: Anne a victory, myself a new experience.
Marianne: can you remember the first time you had to undergo a doping procedure? And is there any difference between your first control and the controls there are now in place?