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16 year-old positive for EPO

A 16 year-old South African cyclist has tested positive for EPO, becoming the youngest rider ever to test positive for the banned blood boosting substance. The rider in question was Michael van Staden (ACIZ CPPA), who was tested during the South African U16 tour in Ermelo in September 2004, where he finished fifth. Both his A and B samples were positive.

Van Staden's case was heard last December by the national governing body, Cycling South Africa, which banned him for a year. However, his sentence was suspended for two years as CSA accepted Van Staden's defence that he did not take EPO intentionally. Rather, he believed that a doctor or a team manager could have injected him with the substance without him knowing what it was.

There is a possibility that the World Anti-Doping Agency and the UCI will appeal CSA's decision in order to determine who was actually responsible.