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· Grey Manrod
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I haven't followed professional cycling all that closely up until the last couple of years. This whole doping scandal is pretty fascinating to me. It's got me wondering if doping really makes that much of a difference in light of the fact that so many are doing it. There are some very mediocre (by professional standards) on the list. If they're doping, why aren't they winning? Would they otherwise be out of the sport? Would they be stuck in the back of the pack? Is it possible to win a single stage without doping?

In other words, if we assume that those on the list are dirty and those off the list are clean (a huge assumption, I know), where do the dopers stack up against the non-dopers? Can some luck and a good team nullify the advantage others may have gained from doping? Can EPO make a mediocre rider better than one that is natuarally gifted or trains harder?

I'm not trying to stick my head in the sand here. But with so many people doping, it seems to me that the perfomance benefits have become obscured. Who does EPO help the most? And how much?

Anyone have some hard data here?

Am I making any sense?
 

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Cause I'm just a girl, but...

Brick Tamland said:
I haven't followed professional cycling all that closely up until the last couple of years. This whole doping scandal is pretty fascinating to me. It's got me wondering if doping really makes that much of a difference in light of the fact that so many are doing it. There are some very mediocre (by professional standards) on the list. If they're doping, why aren't they winning? Would they otherwise be out of the sport? Would they be stuck in the back of the pack? Is it possible to win a single stage without doping?

In other words, if we assume that those on the list are dirty and those off the list are clean (a huge assumption, I know), where do the dopers stack up against the non-dopers? Can some luck and a good team nullify the advantage others may have gained from doping? Can EPO make a mediocre rider better than one that is natuarally gifted or trains harder?

I'm not trying to stick my head in the sand here. But with so many people doping, it seems to me that the perfomance benefits have become obscured. Who does EPO help the most? And how much?

Anyone have some hard data here?

Am I making any sense?
With apologies to Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa...
I have little knowledge on this because I'm just a girl,
but, compare these world class cyclists to major league baseball players:
It's not the Willie Mays, Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantles you have to be concerned with. It's the .220 hitters that are doing everything just to stay in the majors collecting the multi-million dollar guaranteed salaries and the $500/day meal money and the trips between cities on chartered jets staying in 5 Star hotels rather than the $800/month minor league pay, and the $10/day meal money and the 15 hour rides on worn out 30 year old busses between St. Paul and Fargo to spend 3 hours at a Motel 6 before heading to a run-down ballpark to play before 700 fans. (The groupies are even minor league).
Look at the journeyman and young turk lieutenants that are the 8, 9 and 10 members of CSC, Rabobank and Phonak teams for your urine samples.
 

· Not Banned
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all of the blood doping

whether by 'packing' chemical increase (EPO) altitude tents, whatever all riders (except those with special natural exemptions) have to have a H-Crit count under 50. So doping/packing helps those most with naturally low RBC counts. Anyhow they still have to operate around 50 H - Crit, so if that is the baseline, still some guys are faster.
either through genetics, training or other dope (growth hormones)
 

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Based on what happened when EPO first came on the scene I would say the performance benefits are quite significant.

Everything I have ever read indicates doping has always existed in professional cycling and probably was pretty much endemic even before EPO came on the scene. Riders were probably primarily taking amphetamines and anabolic steroids. I'm not sure when HGH and corticosteroids came into vogue.

But EPO shows up in the early to mid-90s and suddenly unheralded riders are winning big races. Gewiss is widely recognized as the team that got the jump on everyone. TVM and Festina get busted. The French Federation cracks down long before any other federation, some still don't really try to prevent doping. Leading to the supposed "two speeds" in the peloton, the French non-doping speed and the doped everyone else speed (although somewhat restricted, as the 50% hematocrit rule was instituted around the same time).

It's hard to but numbers on performance gains because such a study is somewhat unethical and really unnecessary. The docs who would be privy to such information aren't about to share it:)
 

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it's not only performance in the obvious sense of increased times, but also if your body is less stressed over the course of a long stage, recovery is easier, training can be harder, etc. Prior to EPO, some riders were taking steroids primarily as a recovery aid; Delgado was busted for a masking agent, and there were rumors-- I believe -- that Hinault took steoids. That was back in the day when cyclists often suffered knee injuries (Hinault and FIgnon both missed seasons due to them) and one suspicion was that it was due to steroids
 

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I actually brought this up in another thread...

but it speaks to your question:

A 1972 study on straight blood doping concluded that there was, on average, an overnight increase of 23% in time to exhaustion and 9% in V02max (read: ability to process oxygen.)

Huge numbers when you're talking about races that are won by tenths of a second.

I would imagine that combinations of EPO, HGH, steroids, etc. etc. would be more effective.
 

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wyomingclimber said:
but it speaks to your question:

A 1972 study on straight blood doping concluded that there was, on average, an overnight increase of 23% in time to exhaustion and 9% in V02max (read: ability to process oxygen.)

Huge numbers when you're talking about races that are won by tenths of a second.

I would imagine that combinations of EPO, HGH, steroids, etc. etc. would be more effective.
Not to be rude but I wouldn't put alot of stock in a study from '72 without reading it. By what definition did they mean 'doping'. Link please.

With HCT capped at 50, a number you can get close to
in an altitude tent.....hell, my last blood workup had me at 46, so HCT is not the end all
parameter, the differences in the peloton are not just from packing.
 

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svend said:
Not to be rude but I wouldn't put alot of stock in a study from '72
Is this because they wore leisure suits?


svend said:
without reading it.
Did I say I didn't read it?

svend said:
By what definition did they mean 'doping'. Link please.
“Response to exercise after blood loss and reinfusion” by Ekblom, Goldbarg, Gullbring,
Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol. 33, No 2, Aug 1972.

Their main finding was:

“Reinfusion of the packed red cells in group I increased total Hb (hematocrit) 16%, increasing both RCV and Hb concentration. This was followed by a dramatic “overnight” increase in maximal work time of 23% and a parallel increase in VO2 max of 9%. “

svend said:
With HCT capped at 50, a number you can get close to
in an altitude tent.....hell, my last blood workup had me at 46, so HCT is not the end all
parameter, the differences in the peloton are not just from packing.
Interestingly, I once posed nearly this exact argument to a friend of mine (former olympian, XC skiing who shall remain nameless.) His response:

So, if you assume that all

riders are enhancing there hematocrit levels by either blood doping in

the "old style" (removing blood, freezing it and reinjecting same), or

using EPO or analogous stimulants, then they elevate hematocrit that

will place them in the 50-60% range. Anything above 50% is illegal

according to UCI limits. Now, one can then titrate those levels down to

legal limits by using volume expanders that dilute hematocrit down to

legal limits. The Finnish Cross-country team did this for years (and the

Italians). This is how they were busted at worlds in 2001. They threw

out empty bags of volume expander which were found and they were

confronted. Sometimes they test for volume expanders and sometimes they

don't. All internal governing bodies test for hematocrit levels. All a

rider/skier/runner has to do is pass the test. Good trainers test

athletes repeatedly to monitor hematocrit and adjust it using dilution

techniques. Very few elite athletes have natural hematocrit values that

exceed 50%.

Oh, yes. He's a sly one that boy...
 

· Grey Manrod
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dwayne Barry said:
Based on what happened when EPO first came on the scene I would say the performance benefits are quite significant.
I wonder, though, if those huge benefits were seen because riders were using as much as they could tolerate (and hence, dropping dead in the middle of the night). Nowadays, it seems the use of EPO is curtailed to meet the hematocrit levels and to minimize any risk to the riders health.

Dwayne Barry said:
Everything I have ever read indicates doping has always existed in professional cycling and probably was pretty much endemic even before EPO came on the scene. Riders were probably primarily taking amphetamines and anabolic steroids. I'm not sure when HGH and corticosteroids came into vogue.
Sorry, I what I meant by "doping" is the EPO and/or transfusions.

Dwayne Barry said:
But EPO shows up in the early to mid-90s and suddenly unheralded riders are winning big races.
I'm not sure how to put this....were they using it differently than they are now? (i.e. dosage, frequency, etc. etc.)


Dwayne Barry said:
It's hard to but numbers on performance gains because such a study is somewhat unethical and really unnecessary. The docs who would be privy to such information aren't about to share it:)
Yeah, but whatabout wild internet message board speculation? :D
 

· Grey Manrod
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
atpjunkie said:
whether by 'packing' chemical increase (EPO) altitude tents, whatever all riders (except those with special natural exemptions) have to have a H-Crit count under 50. So doping/packing helps those most with naturally low RBC counts. Anyhow they still have to operate around 50 H - Crit, so if that is the baseline, still some guys are faster.
either through genetics, training or other dope (growth hormones)
This was what I was orginally getting at...that perhaps EPO "levels" what should be naturally and genetically unlevel. Sort of an averaging out, if you will....:idea:
 

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wyomingclimber said:
“Response to exercise after blood loss and reinfusion” by Ekblom, Goldbarg, Gullbring,
Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol. 33, No 2, Aug 1972.

Their main finding was:

“Reinfusion of the packed red cells in group I increased total Hb (hematocrit) 16%, increasing both RCV and Hb concentration. This was followed by a dramatic “overnight” increase in maximal work time of 23% and a parallel increase in VO2 max of 9%. “
Without tracking that down and reading it, the title strongly implies that the blood loss was in close proximity to the reinfusion which would make the results both totally unsurprising and completely invalid as a measure of performance increases in the doping context.
 
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I've read (quite a while ago and hence w/o a reference link) that elite endurance athletes can see anywhere from a 3-8% increase in O2 capacity. I think this translated into 1-3% performance increases. Obviously, if an athlete wasn't concerned about his/her health, they could boost their hematocrit much higher (I think Pantani had some pretty high hematocrit levels b/4 the 50% cut off was instituted, IIRC).
 

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terzo rene said:
Without tracking that down and reading it, the title strongly implies that the blood loss was in close proximity to the reinfusion which would make the results both totally unsurprising and completely invalid as a measure of performance increases in the doping context.


On the contrary. Performance gains after a quick reinfusion would be extremely surprising. There would be a significant decrease in total blood volume that would mimic dehydration, which has been shown to reduce performance. In the case of this study, the reinfusions were done 3-4 weeks(ish) after blood loss.

As for the performance and VO2max gains being 'unsurprising,' you're a lot smarter than me. I would have put performance gains lower and V02max gains higher.

The poster wanted "hard numbers" and as near as I can tell, this is as hard as they get. Imperfect? Sure, the sample size was small and made up of non-athletes, it wasn't double blind, and there was no undoped control group. But still more instructive than wild guesses I think.
 

· Windrider (Stubborn)
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The responses to this thread........

so far have primarily concentrated on blood dopings effects during a race. While important, I don't think they are the whole story.

One of Blood dopings biggest benefits is that it allows for quicker recovery from hard efforts. This allows the most disciplined trainers to build more strength training by training with more intensity more frequently. This is one of the reasons that everyone on the list didn't win races. There are three components to winning.........natural genetic presipositions, Hard as hell work, the correct application of available chemistry. Since the difference between winning and losing is so small, very small gains in any of these is significant, gains in all of them increase the odds of winning dramaticially. In a large field of dopers, the best riders who work the hardest will win most of the time. PED's don't suddenly make you a winner......they make it easier for you to train hard enough to win.......in addition to the endurance boost they give you in competition.

In addition, those exposed by the Spanish mess were not only blood doping but using steroids, HGH, EPO etc in a mix with blood doping.......basicially, anything they could to give them that 1 or 2 % advantage.

As to Lance, the more dopers that he beat that are identified, the higher the probability that he had at least as good if not better doctors.

Len
 

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atpjunkie said:
whether by 'packing' chemical increase (EPO) altitude tents, whatever all riders (except those with special natural exemptions) have to have a H-Crit count under 50. So doping/packing helps those most with naturally low RBC counts. Anyhow they still have to operate around 50 H - Crit, so if that is the baseline, still some guys are faster.
either through genetics, training or other dope (growth hormones)

What is wrong with altitude tents? Not everyone can live in Denver or SLC.
 
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