A leading Austrian cross country skier has been thrown out of the Sochi Olympics after testing positive for EPO, in the fifth doping case to hit these Winter Games, organisers and the Austrian team said today.

Johannes Duerr, who had been due to take part in the men’s 50km today – the final day of the Games – tested positive for EPO in a pre-competition test in Austria on Feb 16, organisers said in a statement.

Duerr is the fifth athlete to be excluded over a positive doping test from the Sochi Games, where the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are carrying out more tests than ever with a new emphasis on pre-competition tests.

However Duerr is the first case where an athlete has tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), a blood booster which became particularly notorious for its use amongst cyclists.

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