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IOC reveal the existence of a dozen suspect samples

The International Olympic Committee announced that around a dozen urine samples from the Beijing Olympic Games are suspect and will be re-tested before being considered as doping cases.

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A dozen urine samples from the Beijing Games are suspect but they cannot be considered doping cases as they do not correspond to WADA guidelines, IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch said on Thursday.

"The answer is yes," Schamasch told AFP when asked whether the Beijing laboratory had produced results suggesting the presence of banned substances but failing to provide concrete proof.

As the tests do not correspond to the strictly-defined doping terms of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) they will officially be classed as negative.

"There aren't thousands - there are around a dozen," said Schamasch.

"It's certain that the samples which have been returned to us as suspect or inconclusive will probably be samples which will be retested, among others," Schamasch said.

The International Olympic Committee announced last week it was going to undertake fresh analyses of samples from certain athletes who competed in Beijing to seek out evidence most notably of CERA (Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator), the new generation of banned blood booster EPO.

CERA was first detected in July in the urine sample of Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco. Though difficult to detect in urine it can now be found more rapidly thanks to a new test which led to three other cyclists, including Austria's third place Tour de France finisher Bernard Kohl, being found out.

"The athletes who don't have a good conscience need to come out and say so straight away," Schamasch, noting that a new doping code of conduct would allow a lesser punishment for those who confess of their own volition.

Over 1,000 blood samples were taken at the Beijing Games as part of over 5,000 anti-doping controls.

The Games were held up by the IOC as proof that they were winning the war on drugs with only nine positive cases compared to 26 at Athens in 2004, but Schamasch the list could increase following the follow-up tests.

"We're not in a rush," he said. "We want to carry out intelligent, realistic and the most efficient complementary tests possible."

Cycling was hit hard again on Thursday when organisers and the German Cycling Federation (BDR) cancelled the Tour of Germany after recent failed doping tests.

The move came just hours afer German media giants ARD, the number-one broadcasters, and fellow national television channel ZDF announced that they would not cover the Tour de France again because of recent cases of failed drugs testing.

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