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Spanish Olympic Cyclist Moreno Fails Drug Test

Spanish cyclist Maria Isabel Moreno has tested for the endurance-boosting EPO drug, making her the first doping case at the Beijing Olympic Games. Moreno, 27, faces a two-year ban if a further test confirms the doping.

Maria Isabel Moreno

Moreno has already returned home to Spain

Moreno's test results, which became public on Monday, Aug. 8, made her the first athlete to fail a drug test at the 2008 Olympics. The test was conducted on July 31 in the Olympic village, according to IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies. Moreno flew home the same night, before the test results were officially reported.

Moreno could face further sanctions from the cycling body UCI. If the examination of the B-sample confirms the original result, she will face a two-year ban. She could also be prohibited from competing in the 2012 Olympics in London. EPO boosts the body's capacity to use oxygen.

The IOC focuses on testing

The International Olympic Committee is carrying out a record 4,500 tests in Beijing during the Olympics.

"The IOC means business in stamping out those who are not playing by the rules," Davies said.

The Spanish Olympic Committee (SOC) said that it had not been aware of the test results.

"We got this news for breakfast," Jose Maria Bellon, SOC Director of Communications, told Reuters.

Spanish cyclists under scrutiny

Moreno's Web site said that the athlete had returned home where she was recovering from "a strong anxiety attack suffered in the athletes' village."

The post said that she was in a good state of health, but "does not feel ready to justify or explain her reasons for leaving the village."

Moreno was expected to hold a press conference in the northern Spanish city of Zaragoza on Monday.

Spanish cycling has been under intense scrutiny because of recent doping cases. Two Spanish cyclists tested positive for EPO during the Tour de France last month.

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