News24

SA to re-test 50 top cyclists

2013-01-24 14:14

Cape Town - Lance Armstrong's confession has pushed South Africa's anti-doping body to retroactively test blood samples from over 50 top cyclists for EPO, bringing all major road and mountain races in the country last year under fresh scrutiny.

The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport said on Thursday the re-testing would help it discover "if a major EPO doping problem exists in this country."

South Africa's doping body banned David George, one of the country's best riders and a former team-mate of Armstrong on the US Postal Service team, for two years last month for EPO use - South Africa's first sanction for the blood-boosting substance, according to the body.

"Cycling is being damaged by these high-profile doping cases with a high sense of cynicism existing," SAIDS chief executive Khalid Galant said in a statement announcing the sweeping retroactive tests. "These scandals have made it clear that we need to do our own due diligence to establish whether EPO doping is happening (in South Africa)."

Galant said Armstrong's admission to leading a sophisticated doping programme, and George's positive result from an out-of-competition test last August, led SAIDS to re-test many of its "clear" samples from 2012.

"We need to clean up cycling. The excuse that 'everyone is doing it' does not wash," Galant said. "Cyclists need to question their own values and not get dragged down by a culture of doping."

SAIDS would focus on EPO testing, and the process had already begun using samples stored in a laboratory in Bloemfontein. Results would be out "in a few weeks," Galant said.

Cyclists who doped also had an opportunity to come forward and confess and may receive reduced sanctions or be able to enter into plea bargains.

The positive test for EPO of two-time Commonwealth Games medalist and former Olympic cyclist George last year shook South African cycling. He rode with the disgraced Armstrong in 1999-2000.

Armstrong confessed in a television interview last week to doping during all of his seven Tour de France victories after years of denials and cover-ups. He has been banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and stripped of his Tour titles and Olympic medal.

AP

Comments
  • johan.giliomee - 2013-01-24 14:33

    Nice!

  • marc.a.webb.14 - 2013-01-24 15:07

    Many cyclists have been robbed of Provincial and National titles worldwide by dishonest competitors.At junior level some cyclists became men overnight finishing so far ahead at provincial races they had time to clean up and change before the rest of the field finished.

  • johan.blertsie.cilliers - 2013-01-24 15:10

    Now hopefully rugby, cricket, athletics etc will follow suit

      geoff.liddiard - 2013-01-24 15:34

      And maybe some of these 100kg plus schoolboys will get caught before they destroy their lives!!!!

  • nettie.potgieter.5 - 2013-01-24 15:31

    They might as well test the ANC goverment leaders as it seams the there is a cloud of smoke of so sorts hanging over them.

  • roy.wadhams.1 - 2013-01-24 15:42

    Wonder how many "Armstrong's" will be found in South Africa. Can't believe there aren't any?

      Bertverlinde - 2013-01-24 17:37

      SA has the youngest ever positive EPO test in cycling. The guy was 16...

  • she.is.here.777 - 2013-01-24 15:59

    Can't wait for the Dr. Fuentes trial in Spain to start. Rumor has it he helped athletes across the board from swimmers to tennis players not only cyclists..

  • Kiss123 - 2013-01-24 16:48

    four f ...sakes what a bunch of idiots, how difficult is it going forward and to have a zero tolerancy policy looking FORWARD !!!!

  • Kiss123 - 2013-01-24 16:53

    catch the current guys, guess you cannot !! it hasnt changed in all my time as a bike rider fighting the drug thing............the sports admin is full of idiots. This applies to Europe as well . The UCI is at fault.

  • deshmook - 2013-01-24 17:14

    why only cycling. The same may have occured in other sports as well.

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