Top SA cyclist tests positive

2012-11-06 13:11

Cape Town - Cycling champion David George has tested positive for the banned drug EPO (Erythropoietin), the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) said on Tuesday.

"George will face a charge of doping at an independent tribunal," the SAIDS said in a statement.

One of South Africa's top cyclists, he is a former Olympian, a podium finisher in the Cape Epic, and a former Lance Armstrong team-mate on the United States Postal Service Cycling team 1999-2000.

He tested positive in an out-of-competition test conducted by the SAIDS on August 29.

"The blood test showed suspicious activity with regard to possible manipulation of the blood profile, and a subsequent urine test came back positive for the banned EPO drug," said the SAIDS' CEO Khalid Galant.

"His biological passport, which analyses the athlete's blood profile, indicated suspicious activity and that triggered a targeted test for EPO."

Galant said EPO testing had a window period of between six and 12 hours, as that was the length of time during which it would show up in a test.

EPO is a hormone which artificially increases the red blood cell count, thereby increasing the athlete's oxygen-carrying capacity and enhancing performance.

"The drug is especially beneficial in endurance sports where athletes are competing over long distances in sports like cycling, running and triathlon," Galant said.

"We had warned the sports community a year ago that we would be vigorous in our testing of both blood and urine of our top athletes. We will continue to aggressively target EPO dopers."

George was provisionally suspended with immediate effect from competing in any event while the SAIDS process took its course, said Cycling SA.

"We respect the independence of the SAIDS process and will respect the outcome," said William Newman, the president of Cycling SA.

"Cycling SA further reiterates its zero-tolerance to doping in sport, and confirms that there is no evidence of this being an endemic problem in the sport in South Africa."

Meanwhile, Nedbank reacted to the news of George's positive doping test, by immediately suspending its sponsored professional cycling team, Team 360Life, for which he rode.

"The suspension of the team will continue until further notice," spokesperson Tabby Tsengiwe said in a statement.

She said Nedbank had a zero-tolerance towards the use of any banned substances or performance enhancing drugs and supported the SAIDS, Cycling SA and Union Cycliste International in promoting clean conduct in the cycling fraternity.


  • TheRealWarrenB - 2012-11-06 13:19

    He also raced for US Postal team along with Lance Armstrong. Anybody associated with US Postal or a team mate of Lance is a doper!

      terrylee.heuer - 2012-11-06 13:26

      Not such great athletes after all!!

      sheamus.drager - 2012-11-06 13:40

      David George rode for US Postal in 1999 and 2000.

      edwin.i.jay - 2012-11-06 13:41

      Everybody in the pro cycling sphere dopes. The athletes that test clean are just not caught. It's a harsh reality but unfortunately the truth.

      classwar.trotsky - 2012-11-06 14:14

      This dude has just lanced his reputation and future in the 'sport'.

      johan.blertsie.cilliers - 2012-11-06 14:45

      No Patrick, we just ride on the shoulder. In 2011 there were 3314 out of competition blood tests for international cycling, in tennis there were 21.

      chez.kri - 2012-11-06 15:22

      @Johanblertsie. It makes me so angry when people go on and on about the drugs in cycling when it is the only sport that is properly tested in the world. And people say that its because it deserves to be but how do we know about the other sports when there is no testing? Andy murray (not my favourite player by a country mile) says that tennis doping is huge and I believe him.

      patrick.mbense - 2012-11-06 15:58

      Cyclists are knob heads. Full Stop!

      patrick.mbense - 2012-11-06 16:04

      Cyclists are such tools! All think they cool but do you not realise most people talk what idiots you are!!

      donovan.jackson.37 - 2012-11-06 22:16

      I'm a cyclist and I thumbs-upped Patrick Mbense.

  • fishycraig - 2012-11-06 13:30

    Now what would be news is if a cyclist returned a negative result.

  • tamlin.vanheerver - 2012-11-06 13:35

    Is there anybody who is NOT a cheat in cycling? Oh wait, those are the people who finish last, but at least they have dignity!

      harold.parsons.37 - 2012-11-06 17:39

      Tamlin you are ignorant to what the sport of cycling is about. To accuse all top cyclist of doping is dangerous there are many clean cyclists who make it to the podium but have to now recieve the same insults from people like you because yuor heros are found to be dope heads because they could not take a secound place

      tamlin.vanheerver - 2012-11-06 18:04

      Lance finished 2nd once.... he just doped more than the others, do you not read or watch tv? Almost ALL the top cylists were / are doing it, and as the notion goes, if you cant beat em, join em. P.S. We not talking about your casual sunday afternoon 94.7 race here with your spandex pants.

      harold.parsons.37 - 2012-11-06 21:23

      There is more to cycling than just the tour de France. Olympic track cycling has a very high friquency of dope testing. Day stage racing and i am not talking about your silly Argus or whats that one in gauteng connected to some number I am talking about the weekly races held through out the country where good athletes compete with out drugs. Everybody knows that the Tour and the giro are all too long and for cyclists to survive the three weeks and perform they have to dope and the organisers are aware of it even though the cyclists have asked for shorter stages for years.

      donovan.jackson.37 - 2012-11-06 22:17

      Don't be wilfully ignorant Harold. Tamlin's observation is quite valid given all the nonsense going on. Anyone who knows even a little bit about cycling knows that what she says is true: the pro peloton is doped to the gills, to this day.

  • tom.theunissen.12 - 2012-11-06 13:37

    Bwahahahahaha This is the tip of the ice berg. Glad Nedbank took quick and decisive action

  • flynn.govender - 2012-11-06 13:45

    Professional cycling is a drug sport - these guys should be banned indefinitely from the sport and given jail sentence

      brett.scheepers - 2012-11-06 13:51

      So is Rugby.......even soccer stars use drugs.Should they ban all sports where money is involved?

      thebicycleguy - 2012-11-06 14:21

      Yes Flynn you are correct by saying cycling is a drug sport but so are all professional sport codes. The only reason why cycling is in the frying pan is because of the strict measures put in place by the UCI to rid the sport of dopers via their "biological passport" system. Most rugby players are on steroids and soccer players take acting classes (which in itself should be considered a criminal offence) cause nobody in their right minds would act like they do.

  • rodney.louis.7 - 2012-11-06 13:46

    are there any "clean" cyclist ?

      johan.blertsie.cilliers - 2012-11-06 14:18

      I want to say I am, but then again, you are referring to pro's probably...?!

      harold.parsons.37 - 2012-11-06 21:28

      There are only about 2000 registered professionel in Europe the other 10000 are registered amateurs who have other jobs.

  • neutedop.opinie - 2012-11-06 13:49

    How can you still take a chance, after all the others being caught.....oh yes, you thought they would not test you in the off season, and it will be out of your blood in 12 hours! Cheat, and fraud. Cheat in the off season, and look good in season.....what a role model.

  • boltonbarry - 2012-11-06 13:49

    These guys are either really stoopid or really desperate

      johan.blertsie.cilliers - 2012-11-06 14:24

      you don't cheat to finish, you cheat to win

  • mshiniboys - 2012-11-06 13:51

    Their traditional medicine...they claim to be hard workers

  • andre.krige - 2012-11-06 13:54

    Haha @Rodney , at least we exercise and aren't fat and look like an idiot all the time .

      pfsteyn - 2012-11-06 14:17

      But you don't deny that you are doping right?

  • ben.louw.5 - 2012-11-06 13:56


  • quinton.clemen - 2012-11-06 14:03

    Sad Day For yet another Phenominal Cyclist !!

  • jaco.brand.14 - 2012-11-06 14:09

    I think this is true for almost all sport. You wont be able to compete on such a high level if you did not use drugs. Those were the words of the US postal team interviews. Drugs are derivatized/masked and modified so they wont show up in the official tests. These chemists or athletes are always two steps ahead of the testing authorities. They know exactly what drugs will be test for and modify accordingly. Most of these tests involve mass spectral analysis where the mass of the molecule are recorded. The asses of the fragmented molecule are also recorded. They simply derivatize the drug so that the mass and fragments are different and it wont be tested for. Only the masses of known drugs are scanned for using validated methods, and these methods are known or obtained by the fraudsters. There are also indirect tests where other metabolites are monitored, but they are also known to the 'chemists' and a strategy will be invented to pass those tests also.

  • donovan.kalamdien.1 - 2012-11-06 14:12

    I dont condone using drugs at all!!!!!! However, i feel that if you are unable to prove a person is using the drugs before an event or race than rather leave it. The excitement of being awarded first, or which ever place, after five years of an event is definately not the same as being awarded first place when the event ends. Stop working back with drag testing and try and find ways of stopping people who uses these drugs from competing in the first place.

  • botha.fourie - 2012-11-06 14:17

    Stupid is as stupid does - hope he never cycles again. Idiot!!!

  • wildwoody62 - 2012-11-06 14:27

    He tested positive while @ US Postal, and that's why he came back to SA, he has never been clean just stayed under the radar (Daddy is a medical doctor) If the peloton knew , Cycling SA also knew

  • my10cent - 2012-11-06 14:42

    If they punish him, then why not punish the cricketers who has been caught using marijuana (also a drug) in the past?

      chez.kri - 2012-11-06 15:25

      @my10cent. They did

      rob.blonski - 2012-11-06 15:42

      How is marijuana a performance enhancing drug. Please use your brain. EPO enhances a cyclists performance whilst marijuana is a recreational drug which I'm pretty sure doesn't enable a bowler to suddenly bowl at 170km/h. Big difference between the two

  • Bertverlinde - 2012-11-06 15:03

    He is an arrogant prick anyways.

  • joy.termorshuizen - 2012-11-06 15:38

    Must be why they behave so badly on the roads!!!!

      andre.krige - 2012-11-06 15:51

      @joy, so a drunk motorist kills someone, now all motorists are killers?

  • patrick.mbense - 2012-11-06 15:57

    Cyclists are knob heads! Full Stop!

  • guy.decafmeyer.9 - 2012-11-06 17:24

    ban him for life if he is guilty

  • gerrit.viljoen.16 - 2012-11-07 15:15

    Don't forget Discovery channel...

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