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Tests confirm Austrian skier used EPO in fifth doping case

SOCHI, Russia -- A leading Austrian cross country skier has been thrown out of the Sochi Olympics after testing positive for EPO, in the fifth doping case to hit these Winter Games, organizers and the Austrian team said Sunday.

Johannes Duerr, who had been due to take part in the men's 50km Sunday on the final day of the Games, tested positive for EPO in a pre-competition test in Austria on Feb. 16, organizers said in a statement.

Duerr is the fifth athlete to be excluded over a positive doping test from the Sochi Games, where the International Olympic Committee is carrying out more tests than ever with a new emphasis on pre-competition tests.

However Duerr is the first case where an athlete has tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), a blood booster which became particularly notorious for its use amongst cyclists.

The Austrian took part on Feb. 9 in the first cross country event of Sochi 2014, the skiathlon, finishing eighth.

But he tested positive for EPO a week later in a pre-competition doping control in Obertilliach, Austria, on Feb. 16.

Between the skiathlon and his planned start in the 50km, he had entered no more races in the Games.

“The IOC disciplinary commission decided on 22 February, 2014 that Johannes Duerr is suspended from competing in the men's 50km mass start,” said the statement on the Sochi organizers' official news service.

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