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High-tech development caught Riccò

Riccò didn't make his calculations with the clever detector in the drug he was using

Riccò didn't make his calculations with the clever detector in the drug he was using (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Riccardo Riccò was caught by a special molecule placed in the banned substance he is said to have taken, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio today. John Fahey said that Roche Pharmaceuticals had placed a special molecule in the product CERA when it developed the drug, which would help the anti-doping authorities to detect its illegal use.

"I can't tell you the details of how he was detected," Fahey said. "I can indicate the particular substance is called CERA … which is a perfectly legitimate substance to deal with anaemia. In the development of that substance close cooperation occurred between WADA and the pharmaceutical company Roche Pharmaceuticals so that there was a molecule placed in the substance well in advance that was always going to be able to be detected once a test was undertaken."

Fahey noted that there was increased cooperation between sports authorities and drug manufacturers. "There's more and more of this occurring," he said. "The more cooperation the scientists can have with the drug companies in the detection of performance-enhancing drugs the greater the likelihood is they will be detected when tests are undertaken."

Riccò tested positive for EPO after winning two stages in the Tour. He was expelled from the Tour and fired by Team Saunier Duval-Scott. (SW)

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