In what appears to be yet another chunk of evidence that Italians take their cycling extremely seriously, a division of the Italian Military has announced that they are going to take a larger role in dope testing professional cyclists. You may have noticed that I said ‘a larger role’. Well spotted. In Italy the NAS (Nuclei Antisofisticazione e Sanità), which is a police force that is technically a part of the military, has previous experience when it comes to investigating allegations of drug taking in pro pedallers. The NAS played an important role in the somewhat attritional campaign to to get to the bottom of doping in the US Postal Service team (including Mr Lance Armstrong).
Previously the NAS has had what could be considered a passive ‘after the event’ investigatory involvement in doping scandals, but by increasing their involvement with CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee), they have made another step closer to meeting the demands of some Italian politicians who want to see an entirely independent anti-doping agency formed.
If you consider this development alongside the news that WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) are paying close attention to the increased involvement of CONI and NAS, then EPO users should start fearing the increasingly number of acronyms getting involved.