One of Belize's premier cyclists is under scrutiny tonight after he tested positive for a performance enhancing substance in the sample he gave at the end of this year's Valentine's tour. 7News has confirmed that Brandon Cattouse has come up with a positive test for EPO - which is the blood boosting agent used in cycling scandals all across Europe. It increases the number of oxygen-carrying cells in the blood is purported to give cyclists more power and endurance.
An hour ago, the National Anti-Doping Organization sent out a release saying, quote, "Results received from UCLA reference lab for Anti-Doping have revealed an Adverse Analytical result for sample from Brandon Cattouse tested during the Valentine's Day race, 11 February 2018�.(he)tested positive for recombinant human erythropoietin."
The NADO Representative in Belize, Dr. Michael Pitts told us that Cattouse has requested that the B Sample be tested. Late this evening Cattouse told us via phone that he did not use any banned substance, and he expects that the B-Sample will straighten up what he believes is some kind of error.
As we understand it, sending a B Sample to test costs the athlete, or his team about $1,300 Belize Dollars - and it has to be paid within a week.
Dr. Pitts says that if there are any penalties this will be decided by the Regional Anti-Doping Organization - which would have a hearing for Cattouse. Again, that's if it gets there- Cattouse has expressed his confidence that the B Sample will vindicate him. Because of this test, Dr. Pitts confirmed that he has been placed on a provisional suspension until the B Sample result comes back.
He was tested as the second place finisher in the the Digicell Valentine's Tour. Bans for prohibited substances are usually for two years, but EPO use is more seriously frowned upon and the duration of the ban can increase.