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Cyclist Meier banned for eight months

Roland Meier will have to wait nearly a year before competing again Keystone Archive

Swiss professional cyclist Roland Meier has been suspended from competition for eight months by the national cycling federation after testing positive for a banned substance.

A test after the Flèche Wallonne one-day classic in Belgium in April revealed the presence of EPO (erythropein). Blood and urine samples confirmed the results, as did a follow-up test in June.

Taking EPO helps build endurance by boosting the production of red blood cells. Although found naturally in the human body, sports authorities have set limits above which a competitor is considered to be using a banned substance.

Meier was one of the first riders to fail a new EPO test introduced by the International Cycling Union in April. He was temporarily suspended a week ago.

The 34-year-old’s suspension will last until next July, as it is not effective during the off-season, or winter break. He has 30 days to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports.

Meier was less fortunate than his teammate Bo Hamburger. The Dane, who was tested a day after the Swiss rider, convinced his national federation there was no scientific basis for the EPO test.

Meier is the fifth Swiss professional cyclist convicted of doping and suspended since 1998.

Alex Zülle, Laurent Dufaux and Armin Meier were banned from racing for nine months after the Festina scandal during the Tour de France in 1998. Stefan Rüttimann was suspended a few weeks ago for seven months.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR