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Cycling - 29. October 2008.

British cyclists among the most drugs tested in the country new figures show

BRITAIN'S record-breaking cyclists, who won 14 medals, including eight gold,  at the Beijing Olympics were among the most drugs tested sportsman in the country, new figures published by anti-doping chiefs proved today.


Cycling is currently embroiled in another doping scandal that has led to new doubts being cast over its continued participation in the Olympics.

UK Sport, who conduct anti-doping in this country, hope that the latest figures will demonstrate to the world that they can have confidence that British athletes, who won more Olympic medals than any other team from this country that has competed in a Games abroad, achieved their success fairly.

British Cycling carried out 312 drugs tests in the run-up to Beijing, more than any other governing body in Britain apart from the Football Association and UK Athletics, who conducted 645 and 366 respectively.

All British Olympic medallists in rowing, cycling and athletics - sports considered to carry out a "high-risk" of competitors using drugs - were tested at least three times.

Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committe (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ordered a review of all 5,000 samples taken during the Beijing Games after traces of CERA(Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator), an advanced version of the blood booster EPO (Erythropoietin), were discovered during the Tour de France, where four riders have been caught using it.

The results are expected to be announced within the next few days.

UK Sport carried out over 1,300 drug tests on Britain’s 523 Olympic and Paralympic athletes in the run-up to the Games, the figures revealed.

Over 400 tests were conducted on the 151 British athletes who took home medals as part of the most comprehensive pre-Games testing programme ever conducted in the UK .

Of the 523 athletes who went to Beijing , 21 per cent were tested four or more times, 22 per cent were tested three times, and 35 per cent were tested twice.

In contrast, a report published earlier this month by independent observers for the WADA said 102 of 205 countries represented in the Chinese capital did not provide Olympic officials with information about their athletes' whereabouts.

Andy Parksion, the acting director of Drug Free Sport at UK Sport, claimed that they were determined to sent out a clear message to the rest of the world that sucess could be achieved without using drugs and that they could continue to have confidence in Britain's anti-doping system in the build-up to London 2012.

He said: “This highlights the commitment there is within high performance sport in the UK to make a stance against doping and show the rest of the world that we are doing everything within our powers to compete cleanly and fairly.

"It should also act as sign of the effort and determination that will at the heart of our work ahead of London 2012.”

The comprehensive pre-Games testing programme was backed up by a dedicated education campaign designed specifically for Beijing-bound athletes.

This included a microsite, a 24-hour a day Games time phoneline, and face-to-face information sessions with more than 20 sports.

Parkinson said: “We have a duty to ensure all our athletes are equipped with the knowledge and support to help them compete drug-free.

"Getting the right messages out at the right time is key to ensuring athletes don’t make any silly mistakes and, as during the pre-Games period, this will remain an essential element of our anti-doping programme going forward.”

The statistics from the pre-Games programme were released on the day UK Sport issued the latest set of results from its national anti-doping programme.

Covering the period from June-September, these showed that 1,815 "missions" were carried out across 38 sports.

This has taken the total number of missions for the year to date [April-September] to over 4,000.

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