In order to exclude the potential risk of a false positive test result for EPO, the Spanish laboratory in charge of the counter-analysis of Roberto Heras' positive A sample will collaborate with two other laboratories also accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). As Spanish Marca reported, the B sample taken after the Alcala de Henares time trial - one day prior to Heras' record-breaking fourth Vuelta a España win - will be examined not only by the Consejo Superior de Deportes (CSD) in Madrid, but also by the appointed facilities in Paris/Châtenay-Malabry, France, and Lausanne, Switzerland.
Earlier this year, doubts over the reliability of the Recombinant EPO urinary test have been raised, also leading to the clearing of a triathlete in August: Rutger Beke, whose alleged EPO abuse proved to be a false positive finding. In July 2005, WADA advised its laboratories that any adverse EPO test result was to be confirmed by another laboratory before being reported, so the A sample of the Liberty Seguros rider has probably received the same expertise. Regarding the much-discussed reliability of the EPO test (also thoroughly investigated by Cyclingnews' Chief Online Editor Jeff Jones), WADA is still certain of its efficiency.
"There is no risk of a false positive if the test is properly carried out," WADA Legal Director Olivier Niggli told French newspaper L'Equipe yesterday, who also reported that representatives of about 30 laboratories met last week in the offices of the LNDD laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry to discuss their experiences with the EPO detection method currently in use.
Meanwhile, German news agency dpa reported that Heras was being targeted for doping tests by the UCI at the Vuelta a España because he showed top form only a few weeks after his more than disappointing performances in the Tour de France.