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EPO, or Erythropoietin, increases the red blood cell count and increases an athlete's oxygen carrying capacity.
"His biological passport indicated suspicious activity and that triggered a targeted test for EPO," SAIDS chief executive Khalid Galant said in announcing the positive test Tuesday. "A subsequent urine test came back positive for the banned EPO drug."
George apologized to his sponsors. But Nedbank, the backer of his current 360Life team, said it was immediately withdrawing its sponsorship.
"Nedbank has a zero tolerance towards the use of any banned substances or performance enhancing drugs and does not condone or support such use in any sport," the South African bank said.
William Newman, the president of Cycling South Africa, said doping was "not endemic" in South African cycling despite the sport's battered international image.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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