italy_dopingEmanuel Sella is the latest cyclist to be found guilty of using CERA, the third generation EPO drug, it was reported.

The Societa CSF Gruppo Navigare rider has been banned for one year by the Italian Olympic Committee‘s (CONI) anti-doping office after being caught in an out-of-competition test taken on July 23.

A one-year ban was handed down, instead of two, after the rider admitted his guilt and -operated with the court during his trial in August, ANSA news agency reported.

Sella was the surprise package of the 2008 Giro d’Italia, winning three climbing stages and the time trial at Plan de Corones.

However, he is the latest rider to fail a test for CERA, which has also snared Tour de France third Bernard Kohl and Riccardo Ricco, Leonardo Piepoli and Stefan Schumacher.

In September, Tour de France officials announced they would be retesting samples for CERA, with the International Olympic Committee following suit in October.

CERA is new variation of exogenous erythropoietin, or EPO. EPO is anemia-fighting agent and works by promoting production of red blood cells. CERA has been approved for therapeutic use in 2007 and its illegal use as a performance-enhancing drug was first documented during the 2008 Tour de France in the incidents involving Kohl, Ricco, and Piepoli.

Testing for CERA via urine samples reportedly lack validity because the compound does not pass through the kidneys.

In September, however, French doping officials came up with a blood-based doping control, which is found to be more accurate in testing for this EPO variant. French sports officials later announced that they will implement retroactive testing for 2008 Tour de France participants. Subsequently, the International Olympic Committee declared they will also be retesting samples taken from the participants of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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