Cyclist, 59, suspended for refusing drug test outside race. Are we next?

USA Cycling appears to be targeting older athlete for out-of-competition testing.USA Cycling appears to be targeting older athlete for out-of-competition testing. Image via

Two months ago, I wrote about M50 thrower David Burrell in Britain, who is suspended until October 2021 for refusing a drug test, possibly at home. Now comes news that an M55 cyclist — Scott Gross of Orange Park, Florida — has accepted a 4-year suspension for refusing an out-of-competition drug test May 3. This hits close to home. So I wrote USATF national masters chair Rex Harvey whether masters tracksters could get a knock on the door.

He replied: “All USATF athletes are liable for testing at any time and any place.” While conceding that MTF has no formal out-of-competition testing program, he said: “That does not preclude occasional testing. Certain aspects of testing Masters T&F athletes are more developed than others, but we have all aspects of testing available to us to assure a clean sport giving a fair chance to everyone.”

This left me slack-jawed. I had no clue USATF masters were subject to drug-testing at home (or anywhere away from the track). My question: Who would pay for this? But I did further research and found an FAQ for USATF elite athletes, which said:

Out-of-competition testing occurs outside competitions and may be conducted by testing representatives from USADA, IAAF and WADA. If you are ranked among the top 50 in the World or one of the top 15 performers in your respective event domestically, you are subject to out-of-competition drug testing.

The rankings are provided by the IAAF, Track & Field News and the Road Running Information Center. If you are subject to out-of-competition testing, you may be responsible for keeping USADA, the IAAF and USATF informed of your most current address as well as your daily 60-minute window.

Athletes must submit information electronically by emailing or texting and finally athletes may use their unique login to access the USADA system at to submit their quarterly whereabouts.

I don’t see any reference to WMA or age-group elites, so I’m assuming top 15 domestically or top 50 worldwide applies only to the kiddies (my word for open elites).

Further, I found this page on our own site:

Doping is the use of prohibited performance enhancing substances and athletes who commit doping offenses may be declared ineligible, face suspensions, or lose medals won and records set subsequent to the offense. Master athletes who compete in national and international championships may be subjected to drug testing.

No mention of out-of-competition testing.

I rather doubt USATF Masters (at any level) will pony up the cash to pay for out-of-competition testing. But it’s not helpful to suggest that it’s a theoretical possibility. Who thinks they’ll see a USADA doping officer at their door?

Here’s the USADA press release on cyclist Gross:

U.S. Cycling Athlete Scott Gross Accepts Sanction for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

Colorado Springs, Colo. (May 22, 2018) – USADA announced today that Scott Gross, of Orange Park, Fla., an athlete in the sport of cycling, has accepted a four-year sanction for an anti-doping rule violation due to his refusal to provide a urine sample.

Gross, 59, refused to provide a sample as requested by a doping control officer during an out-of-competition test on May 3, 2018. Evading sample collection, or refusing or failing to submit to sample collection, without compelling justification, is a doping violation under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and the International Cycling Union Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

Gross’ four-year period of ineligibility began on May 3, 2018, the date he refused to provide a urine sample. In addition, Gross has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to May 3, 2018, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, USADA manages a drug reference hotline, Global Drug Reference Online (, conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.

Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at, by phone at 1-877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253) or by mail.

USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.

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About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at or Story tips always welcome!

11 Comments on "Cyclist, 59, suspended for refusing drug test outside race. Are we next?"

  1. Milan Jamrich | May 23, 2018 at 8:02 am | Reply

    Why would anybody refuse a drug test?

  2. Pete Magill | May 23, 2018 at 8:23 am | Reply

    If USADA had decided to crack down on athletes who were winning races while consistently cutting 5-10% off the race distance (i.e., starting the 100 meters from the 10-meter mark or lining up a quarter mile ahead of everyone else in a 5K), I doubt anyone would be outraged. The truth is that doping takes place long before the competition, with athletes timing their doping to avoid getting caught through testing at actual competitions. The only way to catch most PED users is through out of competition testing. Yes, it’s expensive. But it’s not sport when we accept that some athletes get to cheat while others follow the rules. And it makes me furious (and despondent) to have to answer to this emerging idea that it’s athletes who don’t want to get beaten by cheaters who are the problem (and who have a bad attitude), rather than the cheaters themselves.

  3. Weia Reinboud | May 23, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Reply

    As Milan said.

  4. Why would anyone refuse a test? Because they know they won’t pass. There are more masters athletes than one may think who are in the shadows, still competing but crossing their fingers they won’t be chosen for a test. Many of them are due to prescription meds that won’t earn them a TUE. I’d venture to guess the biggest ones are TRT for the men and HRT for the ladies. It’s unfortunate these have to be on the doping list when they are adding a huge amount to quality of life but the flip side is true, these meds are enhancing athletic ability and performance. Personally I would avoid all supplements except for my Centrum Silver but that is just me.

  5. Michael Walker | May 23, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Reply

    I also agree with Milan.

  6. Maybe he was wearing his girlfriend’s underwear.

  7. Who would refuse a test? Anyone who believes that an organization like USADA or USATF must operate under clear and transparent rules. If Masters athletes are to be subject to without notice, out of competition testing, clearly state so in the adopted rules. If you read the rules as currently written, anyone who is a USATF member must abide by the anti-doping rules. Therefore, a parent, coach, or official, who is not competing, but is taking any banned substance under a legal prescription from a licensed physician, is in violation. Don’t believe me? Read up, there is no exemption for non-competitors. So anyone in these categories undergoing any hormone treatment is in violation. You might say, “Well, that is not the intent!” Fine, then rewrite the rules to say what you mean. And that goes for out-of-competition testing. As for me, until the rules are clear, if this were to occur to me, I would provide the sample, but note in writing that it was being provided under protest because the rules do not make clear that this is a legally obtained sample. Then let it run the course. NOTE: I am not condoning doping. What I am against is organizations like USADA and USATF not being clear with their rules.

  8. I agree with Pete. Cheating is cheating. I started as a runner, then added cycling to my resume back in the 1980’s. The amount of doping in masters cycling is unbelievable. I have been racing the same guys since we were all in our 20’s. When testosterone patches became popular all these guys who had been skinny 130lb cyclists all their lives, almost overnight,became rock hard 180 pound sprinters. The roid rage was apparent too, guys became much more aggressive and surly. I pretty much left cycling because of the doping.
    And to Tom, competitors can “retire” and unretire at will. If you did not have out of competition testing for people who are not current competitors people would just”retire” in the off season and then “unretire”. “Oh i am only coaching now”. So what exactly are YOU protesting. If you are a member of an organization follow the rules. If you want to take your meds get a tue. If you cannot get one end your membership. As was mentioned the costs are quite high to test, so pretty much the test is restricted to competitors who have raised suspicion from a pattern of uncharacteristic performances. Cyclists have known the rules for quite some time and i have yet to hear anyone refuse a test for the reasons you cite.

  9. To Ken and others. All US Olympic sports no matter what level, are under the jurisdiction of USADA as far as drug use and testing. You better know the rules.

  10. In response to Bob Johnson. If a competitor who is subject to testing officially files for retirement, there is a period of time (I think 6 months maybe, I’d have to look at the rules) after they un-retire that they have to be subject to testing before they become eligible to compete. That solves your concern. As far as coaches and parents who are USATF members … the way the rules are written a mom undergoing hormonal treatment for cancer is doping. The male coach of the youth club who is undertaking hormone replacement treatment, under a doctors supervision, to deal with medical problems is likewise doping under the current rules. That is my issue. Read this and think real hard.

  11. Michael Jaqua | June 24, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Reply

    I agree with Milan also…but Anonymous makes a great point…

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