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  • CB

    ‘the science behind doping is both sophisticated and fascinating topic of human physiology’. Could not agree more after having read part 1 here. After all the condemnation of the endemic cheating that has plagued the sport, it’s ironic detailed examination of this area is such good reading.  Thanks.

    • jules

      the sad truth is that tyler’s book about the doping shenanigans that went on under our noses is a far more riveting read than lance’s self congratulatory auto/biography.

      • Jurgen

         Isnt it ironic…in 1990 “Rough ride” won the William Hill sports book of the year award. This year it went to Hamiltons book. In between there was another book about cycling who won, Armstrongs: Its not about the bike.I guess the circle has ended…

  • Anonymous

    (photo) Conconi is on the left, Ferrari on the right 

  • Robbo

    I have just figured out how to get through the Tour of Bright

  • Robbo

    I have just figured out how to get through the Tour of Bright

    • Andrew

      I am more worried by that nasty climb call the Col d Brighton on the Tour de Burbs

    • Andrew

      I am more worried by that nasty climb call the Col d Brighton on the Tour de Burbs

  • Ross

    Interesting article but how about something about what negative side effects each doping system can have?

    • jules

       you can see that CT has planned such an article. i read that a major factor in Pantani’s depression (and be extension, eventual death) was rumoured to be that his body’s natural red cell production characteristics were so confused/damaged by the time he retired, after years of EPO abuse, his health was seriously impacted. and lance got cancer – impossible to say for certain what the cause was, but easy to try and guess.

      • Nick

        As they say on Wikipedia: Citation Needed.

        I’ve never seen any evidence that EPO usage (or red blood cell production) is linked to depression. Cocaine use on the other hand…

        As for the Lance thing – lot so of people say that, but I’ve never seen a doctor claim it it writing.

        There are enough dangers of EPO usage without making stuff up. 

        • Anonymous

          Nick, you’re correct that LA’s drug use may not have given him cancer (though Strock & AN Other claim injections given by Carmichael caused serious health problems for them) but my understanding is that use of steroids and growth hormone would have accelerated tumour growth and may have been the reason his cancer was so advanced.

        • jules

          you misunderstood. the causes of depression are typically complex. however, the bit about Pantani’s poor health resulting from his EPO use is well documented. i recall reading an article suggesting he was distraught over that (wouldn’t you be?) the link seems perfectly plausible to me – i didn’t state it as fact though.

          as for Lance, he took a lot of stuff other than EPO. who knows if it was linked to his cancer? i just said i could guess. my impression is that if you screw with the normal operating parameters of your body enough, bad stuff often happens. and Lance certainly did that.

    • Hi Ross, I originally started researching this article with the sole intent on writing about the negative side efects and risks of blood doping. As you’ll have read I’ve split this into a series of 4 with 3 more articles to come:

      – How testers detect EPO and transfusions and how athletes beat the tests
      – Short term and long term risks of Blood Doping
      – The Future of Blood Doping – Gene Therapy 

      • Sean Doyle

         Might want to edit his name out if you intending to keep him anonymous.

      • jules

        i love these articles. very interesting. great stuff wade.

      • jules

        i love these articles. very interesting. great stuff wade.

  • Alex Bond

    Not sure I support posting thus type of content here. If people want to know how to dope, let them go look for it rather than providing an easy source and a starting point for their google searches. We all have a responsibility to make doping and the temptation of doping as unattractive as possible. Very disappointed in

    • jules

       there’s nothing in this article on how to dope, that seems to be in the next instalment.

    • Sean Doyle

       Knowing how to shoot someone with a gun and doing it are two different things. Same with doping. Maybe understanding what goes on will help a wider detection of it being used.

      • Anonymous

        I’m trained to shoot people, but it is the rules governing when and how I can do that, that restrict and have restricted me from ever having to do it.
        It’s the same in cycling, and I agree with Sean, be open about his issue, know what is involved, be educated about it, and maybe one day, if/when someone asked about, or you suspect someone is going to dope, you can tell them about the pitfalls in an educated way.
        It’s a persons moral compass, and a fear of the consequences of breaking rules, that stop people from doing something, not the not knowing how to do it.

    • Nick

      Seriously?

      Refusing to talk about doping was what got cycling in this position in the first place. If fans understand what is going on better then they will understand why things like no-needles policies are important, and why zero tolerance is a bad idea. 

      Sunlight is the best disinfectant. 

    • Alex, all I’m doing here is explaining the basic science behind blood doping. I’m not giving step by step instructions on how to do it. As you can see, I’ve left out dosage information, but that’s very easy to find. Just read Tyler Hamilton’s book and it’s all there.

    • SkewersJnr

      dont think this article advocates doping –  you might have missed the point.  people are smart enough these days to work out how to do a google search if they want to find out information – this article doesnt provide anything ‘hidden’.  You can always head down to my local gym which is nothing special (where I dont go but a work colleague does) and easily get EPO, HGH, Clenbuterol etc and get advice on how to use it.

      • Rasmussen

         If you want to avoid testing positive its all on google scholar too.

  • Alex Bond

    Not sure I support posting thus type of content here. If people want to know how to dope, let them go look for it rather than providing an easy source and a starting point for their google searches. We all have a responsibility to make doping and the temptation of doping as unattractive as possible. Very disappointed in

  • Cipo

    Bet The Cobra wishes he read your disclaimer before he tried it at home!

  • SLH

    “Your stroke volume is what you’re born with and cannot be manipulated past a certain point.”  This is not really a correct statement.  Enhanced stroke volume and the capacity to augment this during exercise is a primary difference between the trained and non trained individual.  Cardiac output is determined by the body’s requirement for oxygen.  An average 70kg individual will have a cardiac output of about 5L/min.  The trained athlete’s resting HR may be around 30 giving a stroke volume of around 150ml per heart beat.  The untrained person will have a resting HR of 80 and a stroke volume of about 60ml per beat.  

    • Rod

       That is exactly the issue, though – achieving the benefits from being a trained athlete gets you to where further manipulation is difficult. In other words, stroke-volume and Max HR changes are hard to effect in trained athletes. We are not talking about putting a couch potato on a bike and getting him to race next month.

      Which is why the methods to get faster have focused on blood doping, not heart enlarging. These do work on trained athletes, as we know too well.

      • SLH

        Sure.  I’m simply saying that the statement itself in isolation is not entirely correct.  Stroke volume is hugely affected by training, not solely a genetic determinant.  

        • I’ll have to follow up on this, but my understanding is that an athlete’s stroke volume can only be trained so far and has a genetic limit. The point is that doping cannot change this. Therefore it is not a variable in the equation that will be manipulated by dodgy doctors.

          • Anonymous

             On a related note, while ‘mitochondrial respiratory capacity’ can’t be affected by doping it is affected by intense training: I understand that intense intervals will cause the mitochondria to grow. Information from Gabe Mirkin’s newsletter: http://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/lactic_acid_intervals.html

            Loved the pic of Lance. Wall poster?!

            • blood_on_the_road

              these points are both true.  while some of ct’s statements in isolation are incorrect (especially to a pedant like myself!), read in the context of elite athletes and maximum exertion, they are true enough.

              an easier way to think of this is to split it into 2 components: oxygen delivery (lungs, heart, blood) & oxygen usage (muscles).

  • If you want to get some interesting analysis regarding doping/micro-doping/bio-passport, presented in an equally interesting dialect, follow @captaintbag1:twitter on twitter.

  • If you want to get some interesting analysis regarding doping/micro-doping/bio-passport, presented in an equally interesting dialect, follow @captaintbag1:twitter on twitter.

  • BeingPicky

    Interesting stuff & nicely done.
    (To be picky in one paragraph there is VO2Max, vo2max, VO2 Max, VO2 max, Vo2 Max, VO2 max and VO2max.) 

  • Nrs5000

    Reckon the first photo needs a PS disclaimer as well as I can’t fathom how Dr. Ferrari is sitting on a chair with that logo.

    • Oh no…now I’ve been implicated

      • Nrs5000

        I got a good chuckle out of it.

  • Akofkin

    What a tremendous article and I can’t wait to see the next three. As I grew up as a professional athlete in the late 80’s and early 90’s I can assure you that all types of doping were rife in all the sports I participated in…. And not really hidden either. Thanks for having the courage to write something like this CT

    • CB

      And what sports were they?

  • Pete

    I’m not entirely sure why I enjoyed reading this but I did…. I guess it was for the same reason that I “enjoyed” (if that word can be used) reading Tyler’s book.

  • Pete

    I’m not entirely sure why I enjoyed reading this but I did…. I guess it was for the same reason that I “enjoyed” (if that word can be used) reading Tyler’s book.

  • Pureroadie

    just like sex ed, now that you know how to do it….don’t.  Can we have an article on tax evasion, collusion, branch stacking, nepotism, insider trading….
    One day humans will accept their limitaions, but as long as money is involved( and what it brings) these practices will continue. Just Ride!

  • Hi Wade – love the blog and this article is no exception.  Have you ever heard of anyone using EPO at the amateur level?  I assume this would be relatively easy to do.  I recall seeing an internet article about a runner in the US doing this, he was running small races all over and using EPO to beat Kenyans!  He would get his EPO from Mexico by simply walking over the border.  I think USADA eventually caught up with him.  OK found the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/sports/runner-christian-hesch-describes-doping-with-epo.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=sports  Cheers, Willow

  • Dr Ferrari

    Great post Wade. If anybody would like to test any of this my clinic is available at very reasonable rates. I also have plenty of referees for my quality work. just email Dr.Ferrari@hotmail.com

    • Dr Ferrari

      If your readers mention “Cycling Tips” at the time of booking I will throw in a free box of horse tranquilizers and a tin of jelly beans. Hurry while stocks last

  • Pedro

    I remember reading in Tyler’s book that team ONCE got done for using perflourocarbons (among other things)… CT, perhaps you could ask the heamatologist what he knows about the effectiveness of PFCs? Interesting that PFCs and HBOCs (Haemoglobin Based Oxygen Carriers) would be banned if they weren’t effective. Of course they would be pretty easy to test for…

    • blood_on_the_road

      the concept of haemoglobin substitutes is a hot topic at the moment, as you would all recall the jehova’s witness at the alfred getting one last year. they are, however, rather fraught with side-effects, are not as good as the real thing, don’t last very long and would be easily detectable while there. but you’re absolutely correct that it is on the cards in the near future.

  •  Thanks CT, great post, especially just after finishing Hamilton’s book. (I recommend Millar’s too.)

  • JC

    Side effects…bicarbonate…pot plants?

  • C-Payne

    Conconi’s shorts deserve a  lifetime ban….on a serious note, great article.  

  • I live just above sea level, so the method I use for altitude training is a simulation using timed breath holds (apnea).
    It is a method known to those following Dr Buteyko’s asthma control and cure techniques, but has an application in sport as shown by Patrick McKeown in Ireland, and more recently, France.
    – By using breath holds as a part of my bike-based training I am able to naturally increase haematocrit without going to altitude. I use a pulse oximeter to measure my O2 levels and have found my own natural limits are well and truly pushed as the haematocrit levels become higher. Legal, and when done properly, safe and effective.

  • Pinarello413

    Great post. The word ‘kilogramo’ made me laugh thinking this info probs came from Italian sources.
    Doping seems such a big waste of time and money for a little glory and not much reward.
    Is that glory really worth risking your health or life?
    I’d rather spend my dough of some Enve 6.7’s built to Alchemy hubs thanks……….

  • Pinarello413

    Great post. The word ‘kilogramo’ made me laugh thinking this info probs came from Italian sources.
    Doping seems such a big waste of time and money for a little glory and not much reward.
    Is that glory really worth risking your health or life?
    I’d rather spend my dough of some Enve 6.7’s built to Alchemy hubs thanks……….

  • beaten_to_the_punch

    dammit! i was gonna right an article on this topic, the perfect alignment of my professional and personal lives. oh well, back to being a lazy bastard

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