World champion runner tests positive for EPO
Indoor record holder Jolanda Ceplak suspended pending a disciplinary hearing
Talk of doping offences shifted from cycling to track Thursday as world indoor record holder Jolanda Ceplak was barred after testing positive for EPO, or erythropoietin.
The world governing body stated on its website that the 800-metre indoor champion was tested out of competition on June 18 in Monaco, where she resides.
The B sample taken confirmed the result of the A test, the International Association of Athletics Federations said.
"I deny any connection with taking doping, illegal substances," Ceplak told Slovenian state-run news agency STA. "I will try to prove my innocence by all possible means."
Taken by injection, EPO stimulates the production of more red blood cells, which increases an athlete's aerobic capacity and muscle endurance.
In 1998, the rampant use of EPO tarnished the Tour de France, which continues to be fraught with doping allegations and offences.
Ceplak, 30, was prohibited from competitive running by the IAAF on Wednesday pending a disciplinary hearing by the Slovenian athletics federation.
She said she only found out she was suspended by checking the IAAF's website.
Ceplak had been training in Porec, Croatia, for Slovenia's national championships on Saturday.
If guilty, she faces a two-year suspension and would miss the 2008 Beijing Olympics.Ceplak won bronze at the 2004 Athens Games.
On Wednesday, Italian cyclist Cristian Moreni tested positive for abnormal levels of testosterone at the Tour de France.
That came on the heels of Team Astana pulling out of the event Tuesday after its lead rider, Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan, tested positive for a banned blood transfusion.
With files from the Associated Press