Efficacy of EPO test defended

Friday, November 25, 2005 12.00am
With criticism growing over the urine test for EPO, one of Spain's leading anti-doping figures defen

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With Roberto Heras and his legal team pushing for the nullification of the testing of his counter-analysis from the Vuelta on the grounds that the test on the Ba sample was initially inconclusive, the president of Spain's anti-doping commission has defended the urine test for the blood-booster EPO.

Speaking to Marca Radio, Rafael Blanco, who is also the director-general of sport at the Spanish Commission for Sport, insisted that the validity of the methodology employed in the test is correct and the legality of the process is guaranteed. Speaking partly in response to critical comments about the test made by Heras and his legal team, Blanco said "that legal process is being adhered to at every moment".

Referring to the delay in the announcement of Heras's test result, which was expected on Wednesday but has been delayed until Friday afternoon because more testing was required, Blanco stated that if it had been clear that there was no evidence of the presence of exogenous (externally provided) EPO "logically the director of the laboratory would have immediately declared the analysis as negative.

"However it would seem there was [evidence], but not without sufficient clarity laid down to declare it a positive test. Consequently, the testing of the control has continued, and it is not the case as the defence as been saying that a new analysis has begun."

While this explanation does not appear to be good news for Heras, Blanco did add that "if there are doubts after the next test it will be declared non-conclusive and effectively the final result will be one of not positive".

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