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August 11/04 2:36 am - Oscar Camenzind Retires After Positive Drug Test

Posted by Editoress on 08/11/04

Swiss ex-world champ retires after test

Former world cycling champion Oscar Camenzind of Switzerland said on Tuesday he had quit the sport after testing positive for a banned drug.

"The first half of the 2004 season was ... not to my satisfaction," Camenzind said in a statement on his website. "Now I had put my hopes in Athens and the races in autumn and chose the stupidest of all methods to get good results."

Camenzind apologised to his team, young racers who idolised him, and his fans.

It is likely he would have been suspended from all competition by cycling authorities in any case.

The 1998 world road race champion, who tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug Erythropoietin (EPO) was notified of the results of his test on Monday, prompting him to withdraw from the Olympics, which start in Greece on Friday.

He was also fired by his professional team Phonak.

The Swiss Olympic Association said it had nominated Gregory Rast to replace Camenzind in the Swiss team, pending approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) board. Rast had already arrived in Athens, it added.

Traces of EPO, a blood-boosting drug popular in endurance sports, were found in the 32-year-old Camenzind's urine after a test conducted in training on July 22.

Camenzind's case was one of six drug scandals to hit the Games even before the opening ceremony.

Athletes who fail a drugs test can expect to be banned for at least two years. The Athens Games is the first Olympics following the introduction of a global anti-doping code.


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