|Tech Features Road MTB Cyclocross Track News Photos Feedback|
- Drug testing
Olympic news for September 11
Officials unhappy with EPO test
Apparently, the new EPO blood/urine test being used at the Olympics is not being met with widespread approval. In tonight's Four Corners program on ABC TV (8:30 pm, already shown in some states), the efficacy of the test is questioned by Dr Peter Larkin, an official on the Sydney Games doping committee.
The issue at stake is the 72 hour detection limit for the urine test - not nearly long enough considering that the effects of EPO last for weeks. "I mean basically you'd have to be the silliest athlete in the world to get caught on these tests in the 72-hour period," says Larkin on the program.
An important point to note is that while an athlete may not be banned from the Olympics if they give abnormal blood values but a negative urine test, their names will be placed on a register with the possibility of followup tests. Some abnormalities in the blood can be detected for many weeks after the last rhEPO injection. This was stated by the chairman of the IOC Medial Commission, Prince Alexandre Merode, at the press conference held in Lausanne last month and should be a strong deterrent to any athlete who seeks to use EPO for the Games.
The other deterrent is that the Olympics is likely to be the most drug tested competition ever, and the Australian Government have put in $1.5 million in funding for the large number of tests that have been, and will be carried out. The government is putting in an independent observer to ensure that any abnormal blood tests will be examined further and not be ignored.
In Sydney recently, several cyclists have already been tested using the EPO test, although the results have not yet been fully analysed.
More information on the subject of drug testing during the games may be found here.
Campbell denies doping
British track rider, Neil Campbell, who was banned for a year after testing positive twice to drugs tests recently, has denied that he took performance enhancing drugs.
He told the BBC website that "I still maintain these anomalies are from a medical condition," after he officially received his suspension on Friday.
"Investigations are on-going. The hearing was scheduled too quickly, allowing insufficient time for me to carry out further medical investigations," he added saying that legal restraints prevented him from further comment.
Campbell tested positive for higher than allowed concentrations of human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), a protein hormone, before and during the British track championships in July.
No IP for Dutch men
The Netherlands men's track team will not put a rider in the individual pursuit. Coach Peter Pieters made the decision after talking with the riders whilst they prepare in Sydney. The Dutch team will now concentrate on the team pursuit, while saving themselves for the points and madison races.
Pieters is scared to ask too much of his top riders, Wilco Zuijderwijk and Robert Slippens. They'll be riding all three races, and the individual pursuit would mean four. "It's a pity that I can't start. The individual pursuit is a beautiful race, but three starts is already too much," said Slippens.
The keirin will be one of several Olympic disciplines making its debut in Sydney this year. The event originates in Japan where it is extremely popular and people are allowed to bet on the races. There are 4,000 keirin racers in Japan, and each compete in an average of 10 races a year. It is estimated (source: AFP) that $US 3 billion per year is gambled on the events. As a result, it is extremely lucrative for the riders, and foreigners are allowed to compete in the Japanese keirin circuit for just two months of the year in spring.
Of course, riders are kept under strict conditions before each event, not being allowed any contact with outsiders in order to prevent rigging. The sport used to be quite popular amongst Japanese gangsters, although it now has a somewhat more respectable image.
It is one of the sprint events, but is the only motorpaced track race at the Olympics. A derny bike paces six riders from 25 km/h to 45 km/h for for the early laps, pulling off with two and a half 250 m laps to go. The final sprint therefore can be quite long, and positioning is all in this rough and tumble event.
Dual world champion, Frederic Magné, says however that it's not a "free for all. I don't go in for contact but I am still often in front. There are many disqualifications...last year, the judges were strict with any irregularities."
Japanese favourite at Sydney is Yuichiro Kamiyama, who has earned some $US 15 million in his career as a keirin racer. However, Japan is, strangely enough, not a world power when it comes to its native art. Magné, Nothstein, Fiedler Hill and Neiwand are all probably considered top guns for the event in Sydney.