July 01, 2004
Gonzalez: 'just a few tenths over' hematocrit limit
Eskaltel manager Miguel Madariaga claims Gorka Gonzalez' high hematocrit test resulted from extensive training in the Pyrenees in preparation for the Tour. Time spent at higher elevations can raise the level of red blood cells in your blood.
Madariaga further explained that Gonzalez, who was called into the Euskaltel Tour team when Mikel Artetxe injured an elbow, “had been in the Pyrenees training [when Artetxe got injured]. The UCI itself says that may have been the cause because if you have been at altitude you have to allow more than six or seven days before undergoing this kind of test.”
Earlier this season, Davide Extebarria, also of Euskaltel-Euskadi, also failed a hematocrit test, and couldn't race for two weeks.
Contrary to my initial assumption, the Euskaltels won't be allowed to replace Gonzalez, and so will line up with 8 riders come Saturday.
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