Cape Town - Leading South African mountain biker Rourke Croeser
has been charged with an anti-doping rule violation due to a positive test for
Erythropoietin (EPO). The athlete’s B-sample also confirmed the presence of
Synthetic EPO is banned in sport.
It drastically improves oxygen delivery to muscles and is used illegally by
endurance athletes. Lance Armstrong admitted to using synthetic EPO during his
Tour de France successes.
In the lead up to Mountain Bike
Cross Country World Championships in Vallnord, Andorra, at the end of August
2015, SAIDS authorised its Spanish counterparts to conduct drug testing on the
South African cycling team preparing for the international competition. Of the
South African athletes tested in Andorra, only Croeser’s sample was found to
contain Recombinant EPO.
The 2015 anti-doping rules only
permit the public disclosure of the athlete’s name after the administrative
period of confirmation and the opportunity to contest the charge has elapsed,
hence the long period between the test result and the public disclosure.
The same anti-doping rules
stipulate that a minimum of a four-year sanction for EPO be imposed in the
absence of any mitigating circumstances which could influence a reduction in
Croeser’s hearing will be
conducted in the new year.