Doping case rocks Austrian team

By Hedwig Kröner and Susan Westemeyer

The Austrian federation, host of the Salzburg World Championships, is is deep turmoil after the anti-doping test of one of its U23 riders, Marco Oreggia, returned positive on Thursday morning. The A probe of the 20 year-old contained traces of Erythropoietin (EPO).

Oreggia had to undergo heart surgery after suffering a stroke in 2004, and "is therefore not stupid enough to take forbidden substances," according to his father Gianni Oreggia. "He has to take a drug for his heart; maybe that is the reason for this positive result."

The young Austrian rider, who finished fifth recently in the Trofeo Bianchin in Italy, will now be replaced by Georg Hausbacher, and has one week to ask for the opening of the B sample.

Moreover, the two other Austrian U23 riders, Markus Eibegger and Christian Ebner, who missed out-of-competition controls only a few days ago and were therefore excluded of the World's team, may also return abnormal blood values.

"The use of EPO cannot be excluded [in these cases]," said the general secretary of the Austrian federation (ÖRV), Rudolf Massak. The two riders took the doping tests later, so their results will be known only in the beginning of next week.

Tests conducted on pro riders Bernhard Kohl and Rene Haselbacher as well as three other U-23 riders came back negative.

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