Later today, the UCI – cycling’s governing body – will announce a new test it has designed to detect EPO (erythropoietin), the drug illegally used to artificially boost oxygen levels in the blood.
The test will use a combination of blood testng to check high haematocrit levels and a new French urine test that detects artificial EPO. Previously high haematocrit levels could only be taken as a possible sign that a rider used EPO (some riders have naturally high levels even without doping) and would be advised to take a 15 day rest on “health grounds”.
Now, with a more definitive test available, sentencing can be more certain and much harsher. The test is expected to be first used at the Tour of Flanders on April 8th.