- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2000

Tour de France to test urine for EPO later

Urine samples from cyclists in this year's Tour de France will be saved for testing for the banned hormone EPO once a new exam has received expert approval.

The International Cycling Union said the decision was made to ensure the race, which starts Saturday, runs smoothly.

The announcement, made late Saturday, came two days after the federation said two of three experts felt more analysis was needed for a proposed urine test for EPO developed by France's doping lab.

Hein Verbruggen, the federation president, voiced disappointment with the decision, saying he hoped a resolution could be reached before the Tour got under way.

In the later statement, the federation said it expected EPO tests "could finally be validated in the coming months," adding that, "If a later analysis shows the presence of EPO, rules and sanctions can still be applied."

EPO, or erythropoetin, enhances endurance by boosting the production of oxygen-rich, red blood cells in the body. It was at the center of the Tour de France drug scandal two years ago and is believed widely used in several sports.

There has been no reliable test to detect the artificial use of the hormone. Instead, the cycling federation has relied on a test to measure riders' red blood cell count.

Basketball

Doron Sheffer, who played for Connecticut in the 1990s and was drafted by the NBA, retired from basketball because he no longer enjoys the game. The 28-year-old player had two more years remaining on his contract with his Israeli club team, Maccabi Tel Aviv.

• Billie Moore, former U.S. Olympic and UCLA coach, has been elected president of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Track and field

Mike Marsh took winning the 100 meters in stride at the Oregon Track Classic in Portland. Marsh took the 100 despite a slow start, running a 10.18 in front of John Capel and Bryan Howard, who led the first half of the race. Several athletes doubled up in Oregon by running in the meet a day after competing at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, pacing themselves for a busy season leading up to the Olympic Games in Australia. Regina Jacobs broke out of a tight field in the final lap to take the 3,000-meter race in 8:42.55, breaking the previous meet record of 8:57.05. On Saturday, Jacobs placed second in the 800 at the Prefontaine Classic. Burke's Allen Johnson won the 110 hurdles for his fourth meet in a row by coasting to a 13.27-second finish, a hundredth of a second faster than Saturday.

• Germany's Dieter Baumann, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist at 5,000 meters, met the qualifying standard for the Sydney Games in a meet in Nuremberg, Germany, two days after his drug suspension was lifted. Baumann, who tested positive in October and November for the performance-enhancing drug nandrolone, ran the 5,000 in 13 minutes, 18.78 seconds. Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie won the race with a year's best of 13:01.07.

Short takes

Pepe Pearson scored from 1 yard out with 1:12 to play and the Rhein Fire went on to a 13-10 victory over the Scottish Claymores in World Bowl 2000 in Frankfurt, Germany. The victory wasn't assured until Roger Hart's 40-yard field goal attempt with four seconds to play went wide left.

• Michele Smith struck out 15 and Leah O'Brien-Amico drove in the only run as the U.S. team extended its unbeaten streak to 21 games with a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay FireStix of the Women's Pro Softball League in Plant City, Fla.

• Olympic champion Xeno Mueller of Switzerland won the single sculls Sunday at the Rowing World Cup in Vienna, Austria, for his first international victory since 1998.

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