Triple Olympic gold medallist Johann Muehlegg has tested positive for a new blood-boosting drug with similar properties to EPO, IOC medical committee member Jordi Segura said today. Segura told reporters the substance detected in a urine sample taken from the German-born skier, who was competing for Spain at the Salt Lake Games, was darbepoetin. He said the substance was not specifically named on the IOC's list of banned substances.

"This substance from the pharmacological point of view has the same effects as EPO," Segura told Spanish state Radio Nacional. "It has been developed recently and is very similar to EPO but lasts much longer in the body and its effects are delayed. Many people believed that it could not be detected in laboratories but it can."

Segura also said that an "adverse" report affecting three athletes, one of whom was Muehlegg, was in the hands of the IOC. He refused to name the other athletes.

Filed by Sinéad Kissane