At track cycling championships, two banned for test 'anomalies'

Updated: March 26, 2008, 8:14 PM ET
Associated Press

MANCHESTER, England -- Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins retained his title in the individual pursuit at the world track championships Wednesday, and France broke the world record twice in the team sprint.

Jenning Huizenga of the Netherlands edged Wiggins, a Briton, in the qualifying heats earlier in the day, but had to settle for silver in the final. Wiggins' winning time was 4 minutes, 18.519 seconds, giving him a margin of nearly 5 seconds over Huizenga. The bronze medal went to Alexei Markov of Russia.

Lisandra Guerra of Cuba took gold in the women's 500-meter time trial in 34.021 seconds. Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania was second and Sandie Clair of France was third.

Guerra took silver a year ago, behind a world record performance by Anna Meares of Australia. Meares withdrew Monday because she has not fully recovered from a serious crash in January.

The French team of Gregory Bauge, Kevin Sireau and Arnaud Tournant set a world record of 43.271 seconds while winning the men's team sprint. The French team broke the record of 43.514 it had set in the qualifying heats earlier in the day.

Britain was second and the Netherlands beat Germany for the bronze medal. It was Tournant's 13th world championship gold medal. French riders have taken gold in the team sprint in nine of the past 12 years.

Former world champion Rob Hayles of Britain and Dutch rider Pim Ligthart were banned from the championships when "anomalies" were found in their blood tests. The International Cycling Union said it will stop the riders from competing for 14 days after testing their hematocrit levels.

Hayles was due to compete in the individual pursuit.

"I am disappointed and frustrated to have to wait for further tests over the next two weeks before I can compete again," Hayles said. "I accept the process is in place for good reason and I agree with it."

Ligthart was expected to compete in the men's points race after winning the last World Cup race of the season last month. He said he had been feeling ill for the past week and was taking medication.

"I was dizzy and shaking with headaches," the 19-year-old Dutchman said. "I don't know what happened with this test. I hope the investigation shows what is wrong."

High hematocrit levels can be an indicator of use of the blood booster EPO. Riders who fail the tests automatically are given a two-week suspension on health grounds.

The UCI said it had carried out 66 tests by early Wednesday on the American, Australian, Dutch and British teams.

"These anomalies have happened to others across the world, and after two weeks they have been resolved," Hayles said.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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