With sweeping changes to the World Anti Doping Agency’s Anti-Doping Code, recreational riders will now only get a behind the scenes slap on the wrist for using recreational drugs such as cocaine, cannabis and heroine.
As part of the revised 2021 WADA anti-doping code, bans for non-performance enhancing substances abused in society outside of the context of sport (i.e. just partying for fun) will be reduced to a maximum of three months, rather than the existing automatic four-year sanction.
In addition, Recreational Athletes will see a significant reduction, or in many cases elimination, of penalties for performance enhancing doping violations (steroids, testosterone, HGH, etc.)
Going forward, if a Recreational Athlete returning a positive test result establishes No Significant Negligence (“My recovery powder bought on the internet was tainted” or “I meant to get a TUE”) then the penalty can range from just a slap-on-the-wrist reprimand with no ban to a maximum of a two year ban.
Recreational Athletes are defined as athletes within the last five years who have not: 1) been an International-Level or National-Level Athlete, 2) represented any country in an International Event in an open category, 3) been included within any Registered Testing Pool maintained by any Anti-Doping Organization.
Also, WADA has changed the Publicly Disclosure rule for Recreational Athletes, eliminating the requirement to publicly report athlete name, violation and case disposition. Thus, Anti-Doping Organizations will likely no longer publish details of doping violations committed by Recreational Athletes.
In total, these changes mean 99% of the world’s gran fondo, cyclosportive, sportive, radmarathon, century and gravel cyclists are now classified as Recreational Athletes who can use performance enhancing and recreational drugs without worrying about harsh penalties or public exposure.
Or, in other words, WADA is signaling it will not spend precious time and resource on non-elite amateur cyclists, instead leaving them to their own devices – or vices.