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Wednesday 19, Dec 2012

  Lifetime Bans For Doping Imposed By Cape Epic

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Lifetime Bans For Doping Imposed By Cape Epic

In the wake of the first high-profile doping case in South African mountain biking, the Absa Cape Epic is tightening its rules regarding anti-doping by introducing a lifetime ban for future offenders.

Race founder Kevin Vermaak said any athlete (professional or amateur) as of January 1, 2013 caught using performance enhancing substances, whether at another event or out of competition, will be banned for life from participating in the Cape Epic. Vermaak added that the athletes found doping will not only be stopped from participating (as an amateur rider or UCI-licensed elite), but the individual will also be banned from being involved on any level including as a team manager. He went on to add that this is harsher than what is required currently by any federation, but is our considered opinion of what should be enforced even on a wider scale with regards to event participation of convicted dope cheats.

The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) in November made an announcement that top cyclist and Cape Epic contender, David George, had tested positive for the banned drug, EPO (Erythropoietin) and would face a charge of doping at an independent tribunal. The cyclist was officially given a ban of two years and he has been prohibited from cycling professionally for this time period. It was indicated by the SAIDS that only results dating back to August 29 this year can be erased, which means that the 2012 Cape Epic results of David George will remain unaffected. George has finished in second place overall in this year’s Cape Epic with his riding partner Kevin Evans that was George’s best performance in the event to date. The South African cyclist has also won the African Jersey at the Cape Epic three times (2008, 2009, and 2012) and, together with Evans, was a strong contender to be the first all South African team to win the race next year.

The race founder of the Absa Cape Epic also remarked that we have chosen not to apply this retrospectively because we believe that would be naive. He said cycling has a dark past as has been exposed in the recent months and many riders from the previous era has rediscovered the joy associated with cycling as mountain bikers and participate in the Cape Epic as their expression of riding clean. Vermaak further added that previous offenders, who have served their suspension term, may ride future Cape Epics and we want to a part of the new era of cleaner cycling, and therefore only future offenders will receive the lifetime bans. He also remarked that the Cape Epic has invested more than R800,000 into its anti-doping program at the race since it was awarded UCI HC status and to date have only recorded one positive in-competition test at the event by an amateur. The positive test delivered came from amateur cyclist Wayne Collin, who tested positive for the anabolic agent Boldenone and a diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide in the most recent edition. The cyclist is set to appear before the SAIDS tribunal on January 24, 2013.

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Wednesday 07, Nov 2012

  South Africa’s Foremost Cyclist Delivers Positive Test

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South Africa’s Foremost Cyclist Delivers Positive Test

David George, one of South Africa’s foremost cyclists, has tested positive for the banned drug Erythropoietin (EPO) and will now face a charge of doping.

The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) chief executive, Khalid Galant said the blood test of George showed suspicious activity with regard to possible manipulation of the blood profile and and a subsequent urine test came back positive for EPO. Gallant added that EPO testing gives a window of between six and 12 hours for testing and George’s biological passport, which analyses the athlete’s blood profile, indicated suspicious activity.

EPO artificially increases the red blood cell count and therefore increases the oxygen carrying capacity of the body and enhances performance and is extremely useful in endurance sports where athletes are competing over long distances in sports like cycling, running, and triathlon.

The cyclist admitted to doping and said he would not challenge the test by asking for the B sample to be tested. The cyclist, as a result of the finding, received a provisional suspension with immediate effect from competing in any event and the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport will subject him to an independent tribunal to investigate the doping charge. The South African cyclist has a long record of achievement in local cycling circles after competing in three Olympics and finishing on the podium at the 2012 Absa Cape Epic.

William Newman, president of Cycling South Africa said the independence of the SAIDS process is respected by Cycling South Africa and the outcome will be respected and added that Cycling South Africa further reiterates its zero tolerance to doping in sport and confirms that there is no evidence of this being a problem in the sport in South Africa.

The suspension of George prompted  Nedbank to immediately announce the suspension of Team 360Life – its sponsored professional cycling team. Tabby Tsengiwe of the bank’s group communications said Nedbank has a zero tolerance towards the use of any banned substances or performance enhancing drugs and does not condone or support such use in any sport.

The cyclist teamed up with disgraced cycling icon Lance Armstrong when he competed for the US Postal Service cycling team between 1999 and 2000.

After the admission by George, Supplement supplier USN, one of SA’s biggest cycling sponsors, announced that they had terminated their relationship with David George. The sponsor said USN has a zero tolerance policy on doping in sport and the commitment of the company can be measured from the fact that it only supplies its elite and professional ambassadors with products that have been certified as being free of prohibited substances on the World Anti-doping Association (WADA) list by HFL Sport Science in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, organizers of the ABSA Cape Epic have confirmed that that they will be consulting their lawyers and stakeholders to find out what steps to take against the top SA rider and former African Jersey winner, David George. Race founder Kevin Vermaak said the Absa Cape Epic will determine the appropriate steps to take with regards to George’s titles and prize money that amounted to R142 500.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: South Africa’s Foremost Cyclist Delivers Positive Test