Former US Postal rider David George tests positive for EPO
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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Former US Postal rider David George tests positive for EPO

by VeloNation Press at 6:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
South African suspended for out of competition result, Nedbank 360 Life team on hold

David GeorgeCycling South Africa today announced the provisional suspension of marathon mountain biker David George. The South African, who previously raced on the road and competed for Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service from 1999-2000, has returned an “adverse analytical finding in an out-of-competition test,” according to the statement from Cycling SA.

The test, which took place on 29 August 2012, was conducted by the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport. EPO was detected and George will be charged with doping at an independent tribunal.

George is currently part of the Nedbank 360 Life cycling team, whose main focus has been the ABSA Cape Epic. Along with racing partner Kevin Evans, the two men finished runners up in the event this year.

The 36 year old had made a successful transition from the road to mountain biking, winning the overall in the MTN Ultra Marathon series, Old Mutual Joberg2c and the BoE Sani2c stage race.

At the time the news was made public, fellow South African, Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Sharp) tweeted, “15 year time bomb just went bang,” in an apparent reference to the news.

South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport CEO Khalid Galant said that the August test immediately raised concerns. “The blood test showed suspicious activity with regard to possible manipulation of the blood profile and a subsequent urine test came back positive for the banned EPO drug,” he said.

“His biological passport, which analyses the athletes blood profile indicated suspicious activity and that triggered a targeted test for EPO. EPO testing gives us a window of between 6 and 12 hours for testing because that’s how long it will show up in a test.”

Galant added that a year ago, the SAIDS warned the South African sporting community that it would be ‘vigorous’ in its testing of the blood and urine of the country’s top athletes.

After turning pro with US Postal in 1999 and spending two years there, George moved to the Tacconi Sport Vini Caldirola team, then spent several months with the CCC Polsat squad. He competed with Team Barloworld between 2003 and 2005, but was initially without a pro team for 2006.

He secured a second chance in the European peloton when he won the Tour de Langkawi in February of that year and gained a place with the Relax Gam squad, but was left without a contract again in 2007.

George switched his focus to MTB racing and spent two years with MTN in 2008 and 2009. He moved to Nedbank 360 Life in 2011 and has been there since.

Unfortunately his positive test appears to have put that team’s future under question. Nedbank has said that the squad has been put on hold for now. “The suspension follows an adverse analytical finding in one of the samples taken during a random out of competition test of team rider David George. The suspension of the team will continue until further notice,” it stated.

“Nedbank has a zero tolerance towards the use of any banned substances or performance enhancing drugs and does not condone or support such use in any sport. Nedbank will support the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport, Cycling South Africa and Union Cycliste International in promoting clean conduct in the cycling fraternity.”

William Newman, President of Cycling South Africa, said that it will respect the outcome of the SAIDS process.

“Cycling SA further reiterates its zero-tolerance to doping in sport and confirms that there is no evidence of this being an endemic problem in the sport in South Africa,” he said.

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