Sylvain Georges returns positive A sample for Heptaminol, out of Giro d’Italia
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sylvain Georges returns positive A sample for Heptaminol, out of Giro d’Italia

by Shane Stokes at 8:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Doping
French rider and his team yet to comment

Sylvain GeorgesThe Ag2r la Mondiale team has been hit by the news that one of its riders, Sylvain Georges, has provided a positive A sample for the stimulant Heptaminol during this year’s Giro d’Italia.

Georges, a 28 year old who moved to the team at the start of 2012 after a year with the BigMat Auber 93 squad, is perhaps best known for winning the Big Bear stage of last year’s Tour of California. This year he took second in Paris-Camembert and fourth in Les Boucles du Sud Ardèche.

His positive test came after a urine sample was taken from him five days ago on the seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia. He was 95th on the stage to Pescara, and two days later achieved his best stage placing in this year’s race of 28th.

Heptaminol is a vasodilator which is sometimes used in the treatment of low blood pressure. The Kazakh rider Dmitry Fofonov tested positive for the same substance during the 2008 Tour de France and was handed a three month ban. He said he took the product to avoid cramping.

Two years earlier, the Cofidis rider Tristan Valentin also tested positive for Heptaminol. He was given a six month ban but the team fired the doctor rather than the rider, saying the former was responsible.

It is deemed a ‘specified substance,’ which can lead to a less-severe sanction than other products. In addition to that, a provisional suspension is not given prior to the B sample analysis.

Announcing the news today, the UCI said that Georges’ sample was analysed at the WADA accredited lab in Rome, and that it had told the rider today about the matter.

He could in theory have continued in the Giro d’Italia prior to the analysis of the B sample but was a non-starter today. His Ag2r la Mondiale team is yet to comment.

Note: the following is WADA's definition of a specified substance, explaining why the sanctions can be lighter depending on the case.

A specified substance is a substance which allows, under defined conditions, for a greater reduction of a two-year sanction when an athlete tests positive for that particular substance.

The purpose is to recognize that it is possible for a substance to enter an athlete’s body inadvertently, and therefore allow a tribunal more flexibility when making a sanctioning decision.

Specified substances are not necessarily less serious agents for the purpose of doping than other prohibited substances, and nor do they relieve athletes of the strict liability rule that makes them responsible for all substances that enter his or her body.

However, there is a greater likelihood that these substances could be susceptible to a credible non-doping explanation, as outlined in section 10.4 of the World Anti-Doping Code.

This greater likelihood is simply not credible for certain substances – such as steroids and human growth hormone – and this is why these are not classified as specified.


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