Posted by Editor on 09/19/97
Pierre Hutsebault at the Canadian Cycling Association has confirmed that Canadian cross-country racer Seamus McGrath has been suspended by the UCI at the Mountain Bike World's after failing a test for excessive haemocrit levels (above 50%). We have no further details at this time (including whether an appeal will be lodged). Blood testing was instituted earlier this year (first for road racing), to combat the use of EPO - a 'blood thickening' agent that increases the red blood cell count, thus assisting in endurance. EPO has also been linked to a number of young riders' deaths. The test does not detect the drug, instead, it basically determines the red blood cell level, and if the count is above a certain point (set at 50% by the UCI), then the rider is suspended. It appears that the initial suspensions will be for 2 weeks.
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