Last week it became public information that Belgian triathlete Rutger Beke tested positive for EPO. Beke finished second at Ironman Hawaii in 2003 and fifth in 2004. He was reported to have tested positive for EPO with his A and B samples at a triathlon in Belgium on September 1. Belgian news reports indicated that Beke, 27, was notified of the positive test on September 20. Further stories on his positive test mentioned his high hematocrit level, however there was no indication that his hematocrit levels were 50% or higher, which is the level that would trigger sanctions. A positive EPO test is unrelated to hematocrit levels.
Chris McCrary, a US based representative for Beke, said in an interview that Beke’s positive test was leaked to the press and that it should not have been made public until further steps had been taken in the judicial process. It is unknown who leaked the information. Because the case was still in process, Beke was not prohibited from racing at Ironman Hawaii even though he was aware of his positive test. If the positive test holds up Beke will not be awarded, or will have to return, his $12,500 prize money from this year’s Ironman Hawaii and will be disqualified from the race. Beke was also drug tested after Ironman Hawaii.
According to McCrary, the next step in the process for Beke is to meet with the Belgian authority handling the case, which should take place within the next 8 weeks.