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Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Friday, 11 April 2008 17:12 UK

Hayles gets racing licence back

Rob Hayles
Hayles won two golds at the 2005 World Championships

British cyclist Rob Hayles has been cleared to race again after an anomaly showed up in a routine blood test before the World Track Championships.

Hayles was withdrawn from competition on the first day of the event in Manchester last month.

Performance director Dave Brailsford said: "British Cycling is very pleased that Rob has regained his licence and can continue his racing programme.

"We can now continue to concentrate on preparation for the Olympics."

Olympic silver medallist Hayles, 35, was suspended after giving a haematocrit reading 0.3% over the permitted 50% in the test.

The procedure was introduced by cycling's world governing body, the UCI, in 1997 as a safety measure.

Riders with levels over 50% are deemed not fit to race on health grounds, as blood which is too rich in oxygen-carrying red cells brings the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.

606: DEBATE

Critics, however, suggest that the 50% limit is a way of detecting the illegal use of the blood booster EPO.

An elevated haematocrit reading can be an indication the drug has been used, but it is not proof.

Hayles has voluntarily put himself forward to undergo two more weeks of screening to seek a dispensation certificate from the UCI to confirm that he has a naturally high haematocrit level.

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