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It's Official: Eddy Hellebuyck a Drug Cheat
By Bob Ramsak
(c) Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

U.S. masters marathon record holder, Eddy Hellebuyck of Albuquerque, N.M., received a two-year suspension for the blood booster EPO, The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced today.

Hellebuyck, 43, tested positive for recombinant human Erythropoietin (r-EPO) during an out-of-competition test conducted by USADA in advance of the U.S. Olympic Trials for the marathon in February, where he finished eighth in 2:15:36.

In a press statement, USADA said that Hellebuyck's suspension followed a full evidentiary hearing before a three-member panel of the American Arbitration Association (AAA)/North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which reconfirmed the scientific validity of the r-EPO test and the UCLA laboratory's application of the test in the analysis of Hellebuyck's urine sample.  Further, the statement reads, the AAA/CAS Panel held that "No reasonable conclusion can be reached other than the [athlete] used r-EPO."

A naturalized citizen born in Belgium, he represented his native country in the 1996 Olympic Games. In 2003, he won the Twin City Marathon in a U.S. masters record of 2:12:46.

Hellebuyck was suspended for two years from all sanctioned competition beginning on January 31, 2004, the date of the test, and all of his competitive results were disqualified from that date, including his eighth place finish at the marathon trials in Birmingham, Ala.

A synthetic hormone, r-EPO stimulates the body's production of red blood cells, thereby, increasing oxygen transport and aerobic power. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the international federation for the sport of track and field, prohibits r-EPO at all times.

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