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Swiss skier Reto Burgermeister suspended for high hemoglobin count

Swiss skier Reto Burgermeister suspended for high hemoglobin count{mosimage}MUERI BEI BERN, Switzerland (AP) – World Cup cross-country skier Reto Burgermeister was suspended for five days for having elevated hemoglobin levels, the Swiss ski federation said Saturday.

The 30-year old was tested Friday morning after training in Val di Fiemme, Italy, and then suspended by the International Ski Federation in accordance with normal procedure.

All previous blood tests taken since Dec. 2005, showed normal levels, Swiss Ski said.

According to team doctor Beat Villiger, there could be many reasons for the Burgermeister’s elevated hemoglobin levels. The skier was scheduled to undergo tests in Davos, Switzerland, to discover why.

Hemoglobin is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen from the lungs to all cells. Illicit strategies such as the use of synthetic hemoglobin and blood transfusions have been used by some athletes to increase the oxygen in the muscles.

Burgermeister, who has two career World Cup podium results, has cracked the top 20 just once this season. He was 18th in a 15 kilometer race in Beitostoelen, Norway, in November.

-Associated Press

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