David George handed two year ban as a result of EPO positive
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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

David George handed two year ban as a result of EPO positive

by Shane Stokes at 1:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
South African rider said he acted alone, undertakes to help plan SAIDS testing

David GeorgeFormer US Postal Service rider David George has been handed a two year ban from cycling as a result of the positive out of competition test sample he provided on August 29th.

The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) announced on November 6th that the 36 year old had tested positive for EPO. Its CEO Khalid Galant said that longitudinal monitoring of George had thrown up suspicious blood values and that he was target tested as a result.

George promptly admitted taking the banned substance and indicated that he would not contest the result. “I will not be asking for a B sample to be tested as I know the result will ultimately be the same,” he said then. “I fully understand the consequences of my admission and will bear the results of this.”

Galant said today that the rider had waived his right to attend the hearing, which took place on December 1st. “He admitted guilt prior to the hearing and preferred the sanction to be determined as soon as possible,” he said. “The athlete has the right to waive his participation in a hearing without prejudice.”

George was invited to provide further information which can, under WADA rules, lead to a reduction in the sanction. However he insisted that he worked alone in obtaining the banned substance and therefore is eligible for the full two year suspension.

Galant explained that there are also other penalties. “In addition to the ban, any points or prize money obtained after the August 29 is forfeited and monies have to be repaid.”

George and his racing partner Kevin Evans won a total of 125, 000 Rand during this year’s Cape Pioneer Trek; this will now have to be returned to the race organiser.

Long history in the sport:

George initially turned pro with the US Postal Service team back in 1999, and also raced with Tacconi Sport Vini Caldirola, CCC Polsat and Barloworld. He was initially left without a contract for 2006 but won the Tour de Langkawi and secured a ride with Relax Gam for that year.

However he was unable to secure another European deal for 2007 and switched his focus to mountainbike racing. He had two years with MTN in 2008 and 2009, and raced with Nedbank 360 Life from 2011.

George first ran into trouble in 2004 when the-then Barloworld rider was prevented from starting the Tre Valli Varesine race due to a high haematocrit. He was also suspended for two weeks. Passing the 50% limit is indicative of likely EPO use, but not definitive.

However after George tested positive this year, several of his peers intimated that the news was not a surprise. Fellow South African Robbie Hunter (Garmin – Sharp) was one of those. “15 year time bomb just went bang,” he tweeted.

While George didn't provide any information to SAIDS, Galant said that he has agreed to help the institute plan its testing.

“As a former professional cyclist he provides a unique lens into how our test distribution planning can mitigate against high doping risk periods and what is going through the minds of athletes when they attempt to beat the system,” he stated. “We welcome this commitment from George as part of attempt to atone for the doping offense to the cycling community.”

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