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Monday 17, Nov 2008

  Italian Cyclist Sella gets 1-year ban for blood doping

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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.

Saturday 18, Oct 2008

  Retroactive testing for CERA nets another rider

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Bernhard KohlClimbing expert Bernhard Kohl is the latest rider to test positive for CERA, a variant of the blood booster erythropoietin (EPO). The announcement was made by France’s anti-doping agency (AFLD). The Austrian rider took the best climber’s jersey and finished third overall.

All the blood samples taken during the 2008 Tour de France held this July will be tested for CERA. It has only been a few weeks ago that a new testing method was developed to detect  this third-generation blood booster thus the retroactive testing.

An AFLD statement issued Monday said that Kohl had been notified of the result.

“The AFLD confirms that it’s laboratory at Châtenay-Malabry has found two abnormal samples showing the presence of EPO CERA in blood samples taken on July 3 and 15, before and during the Tour de France, on Austrian cyclist Bernard Kohl,” the statement said. “The official notification to the athlete was done through the Austrian Anti-doping Agency (NADA Austria).

This means disciplinary proceedings can be taken against the athlete by the French and Austrian national disciplinary authorities, as the 2008 Tour de France was not included in the UCI (world cycling’s governing body) calendar.”