South African anti-drug body says country’s cyclists still doping

Updated: Mar 05, 2013, 16:30 PM IST

Johannesburg: The SA Institute for Drug-free Sport (SAIDS) has revealed that retroactive EPO (Erythropoietin) testing of 50 cyclists from events in 2012 indicate continued doping in cycling in the country. The doping control samples of some cyclists were classified as suspicious but not conclusive to elicit doping charges.

SAIDS CEO Khalid Galant said in a statement in light of these results they will be changing up their strategy so that cyclists are aware that they are very serious about cleaning up sport. Galant added their aggressive testing strategy will hopefully serve as a deterrent to those that have been engaging in doping practices and to those who believe they can still beat the doping control system. The samples, taken from athletes who competed in major mountain and road races in 2012 and stored in a laboratory in Bloemfontein, were sent to the SAIDS peer lab in Austria for confirmation analyses.

The analyses were inconclusive. The window for detecting EPO was between four and six hours. Galant further said the lesson learnt from the Armstrong affair is that cyclists who micro-dose with EPO are often able to beat the anti-doping authorities, adding it is, however, much more difficult to beat the system when blood samples are analysed over a series of tests.