IOC will weed out drug cheats: Rogge

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee will use a number of measures to weed out doping offenders at next month's Vancouver winter Olympics, IOC president Jacques Rogge said on Thursday.

"We are going to continue our policy of unannounced out-of-competition testing, which is our major weapon to trace the cheats," Rogge told reporters.

He said the IOC would store samples for eight years like it is doing with those taken during the 2008 Beijing summer Games.

"This is going to be our strategy, targeted testing. That means we target according to information we get at grass roots level, very crucial information," said Rogge.

"If we see that an athlete is out of competition for a long period, we try to know why.

"If at a certain moment we see that an athlete is improving his or her performance in a manner which we think is not very natural, if in the blood controls we see something suspicious in the profile, again we are going to target this or that athlete."

Rogge said the IOC could also enlist government help as it did in Turin four years ago, when police conducted raids on facilities housing members of the Austrian biathlon and cross-country ski teams and seized doping products and equipment after acting on a tip from Olympic officials.

"Six athletes were disqualified and a number of coaches were disqualified for life," said Rogge.

Rogge said he was confident the February 12-28 Vancouver Games would be a success.

"We're very optimistic at the IOC for the success of the upcoming Games, mainly because the fundamentals are so good," he said.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Sonia Oxley)