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Police report reveals steroid use in Belgium

Spanish Guardia Cival holding drugs after dismanteling an alleged doping network in Valencia, November 24, 2009

Spanish Guardia Cival holding drugs after dismanteling an alleged doping network in Valencia, November 24, 2009 (Image credit: AFP)

A report by Belgian police has revealed an increase in the amount of steroids seized in 2010 and given details of two cycling-related incidents.

“In 2009 the use of anabolic steroids has overtaken that of all other illegal performance-enhancing drugs,” Francis Clarysse, the Ghent public prosecutor and coordinator of the special combined Hormones Unit investigative team said.

According to a 35-page report, the steroid market is expanding rapidly because it’s “more money-making than some other kinds of drug trafficking.”

The Hormones Unit investigated a wide range of drug related cases, including doping (both human and animal), livestock farming and the counterfeiting of medicines. The 2010 report lists cases in a large range of sports, including bodybuilding, kick-boxing and cycling.

Two cycling cases are detailed, revealing the vulnerability of young cyclists and the wide range of the drugs used.

The first story involved a non-identified young amateur rider whose vehicle and home were searched by Flemish police after a positive anti-doping test. The list of the drugs seized included 2271 ampoules of the combined testosterone drug Sustanon, 785 ampoules of Deca-durabolin (Nandrolone), 112 ampoules of Egyptian testosterone Cidoteston, nine boxes of the steroid Equigan and several insulin syringes. It was discovered that a vet had provided Clenbuterol to the young rider, who was also found with anti-depressants and sleeping pills.

A second case involved the discovery of Insulin, Actovegin and Efedrin at the Belgian base of a Russian amateur team. Last year four members of the team were given a one-year suspended sentence and fines of between €11,000 and €16,500. The name of the team is not specified in the report but in 2007 Belgian media identified it as Team Premier from St Petersburg, a 12-rider Continental squad.

The annual report of the Hormones Unit points out there were the “first cases of deaths” in Belgium due to anabolic steroid use.

“The supply and demand of the drugs keeps increasing and we have to urgently break it,” the Belgian report concluded, adding that the special Hormones Unit will use new techniques to fight the online trafficking of steroids and other doping products.