BeijingOlympicsSteroidsThe International Olympic Committee plans to take the same track Tour de France has taken. IOC says blood samples taken at the Beijing Olympics are to be reanalyzed for the EPO (erythropoietin) variant CERA, or Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator.

Oh, we can almost hear Beijing Olympic dopers singing, “Que sera, sera (whatever will be, will be),” as their fates now rest on the hands of the anti-doping officials. From ABS-CBN:

The IOC’s announcement comes 48 hours after reanalyzed samples from the Tour de France using the latest technology unearthed two drug cheats – Germany’s Stefan Schumacher, a double stage winner on this year’s race, and Italian Leonardo Piepoli.

IOC spokesman Emmanuelle Moreau told AFP: “This is part of our normal procedure. We keep the samples for eight years and whenever a new test arrives we carry out new tests.”

The CERA form of EPO was detected for the first time at this year’s Tour in the sample of Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco with a full test developed to combat it by the French laboratory at Chatenay-Malabry.

The laboratory is currently retroactively checking 15 samples from this year’s Tour with two of those producing Schumacher and Piepoli’s positive tests.

It was that double success that “prompted the IOC to retest samples from Beijing,” explained Moreau.

The IOC is now in the process of moving all the Beijing samples to its headquarters in Lausanne before finalizing the conditions and timing of the new tests.

“A joint IOC/WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) commission is going to decide the procedure,” Moreau said.

At the recently concluded Summer Olympics in Beijing, over 1,000 blood samples were taken from participants as part of over 5,000 anti-doping screenings. Testing for CERA is found more effective using blood samples than urine samples.

Over 1,000 blood samples were taken at the Games as part of over 5,000 anti-doping controls. IOC officials bannered the 2008 Beijing Games as one of the ‘cleanest’ in the history of modern Olympics.

Although more than a dozen athletes were tested positive for illegal substances in the months leading up to the Beijing Olympics, only six athletes tested positive for banned compounds when the Beijing Olympics went underway. Spanish cyclist Maria Isobel Moreno was the first athlete to be ejected from the Games when she tested positive for EPO. The other athletes tested positive either for anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.

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