September 20, 2020

Steroids and Cycling

Articles about the use of anabolic steroids, erythropoeitin (EPO), other performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and blood doping in professional cycling

You Can Be Healthier Doing the Tour de France on Steroids

Former professional cyclist Christophe Bassons describes a doping philosophy where sometimes it is “healthier doing the Tour de France on drugs than without anything.” In an interview with CyclingNews.com, Bassons attempts to explain the larger perspective in which doping occurs in the sport of professional cycling. Bassons characterizes the doping issue as much more complicated than the usual contexts in which it is discussed e.g. healthy vs. unhealthy, good vs. bad, right vs. wrong. [Read more…]

Lance Armstrong vs. Anti-Doping Movement: Who Is Really Defrauding the Government?

The United States government wants to charge seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong with “conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, racketeering, drug trafficking and defrauding the U.S. government” according to Sports Illustrated.

Everyone in the world knows that the goal of this exercise is simply to prove that Lance Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and make a moral statement that steroid use is bad. [Read more…]

Alberto Contador Clenbuterol Case Highlights Problems with Zero-Tolerance Policy

Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador may have used performance-enhancing drugs en route to a victory at the 2010 Tour de France. One doesn’t need to believe Contador is “innocent” to recognize significant problems with the anti-doping rules regarding clenbuterol. [Read more…]

Floyd Landis Advocates Medically-Supervised Doping

American cylist Floyd Landis advocated medically-supervised doping in a recent interview with CyclingNews.com. Landis was caught using the anabolic steroid testosterone after he won the 2006 Tour de France and was stripped of his title. He has since admitted to using testosterone, human growth hormone, erythropoietin (EPO), insulin and frequent blood transfusions throughout most of his professional cycling career. He thinks that anti-doping agencies have lost the cat-and-mouse game with most athletes using performance-enhancing drugs and still avoiding detection. He feels the only rational solution is to legalize doping and allow athletes to be monitored for health. [Read more…]

Patrick Arnold: Prosecuting Lance Armstrong Doesn’t Change Reality of Doping in Cycling

Patrick Arnold criticizes the government’s prosecution of famous athletes such as Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong in a new article on his website. Patrick is the organic chemist who introduced previously undetectable designer steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) to the world of competitive sports. He discusses the public apathy towards steroids use in sports, the use of taxpayer money to fund the steroid witch-hunt, and the relevance of the steroid-related doping investigations. Among other things, he states that prosecuting Lance Armstrong doesn’t change the reality of doping in cycling. [Read more…]

Cyclist Marta Bastianelli Uses Benfluorex Unaware of Similarities to Banned Substance

Italian cyclist Marta Bastianelli tested positive for a banned stimulant. She tested positive for the diet drug fenfluramine in a doping control conducted by the International Cycling Union (UCI) at the “Under-23 World Championships” in Verbania, Italy on July 5, 2008.

Bastianelli claims she never knowingly ingested a banned substance. She admitted to her obsession with weight control stating “I wanted to lose weight, like any girl.” She consulted with her doctor to find weight loss products that were not on the WADA banned substance list. Her doctor prescribed the drug Benfluorex. Benfluorex is an anti-diabetic drug that improves insulin sensitivity and glycemic control; as such it is often prescribed for weight loss. Benfluorex is not on the WADA banned substance list but it is structurally similar to Fenfluramine (which is listed) [Read more…]

Roche Spokesperson Denies Planting Secret Molecule in Mircera

Roche Pharmaceuticals quickly rejected claims that Roche planted secret molecule in Mircera which allowed for detection of the CERA class drug at the 2008 Tour de France. John Fahey, WADA president, told the Australian Broadcasting Company about the addition of the molecule that made it easy for drug testers to detect use of the performance enhancing drug.

Roche Pharmaceuticals spokesperson, Martina Rupp, strongly denied the addition of any special molecule to Mircera in an email response made within hours of Fahey statements.

“The information that a special molecule has been added to Mircera is wrong,” Rupp said in an e-mail. [Read more…]

WADA Claims Roche Pharmaceuticals Adds Molecule to Drugs in Anti-Doping Effort

John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has revealed they are cooperating with Roche Pharmaceuticals to secretly add a “traceable molecule” to drugs likely to have performance enhancing effects in athletes. This was how AFLD was able to detect the previously-undetectable Mircera (CERA) in Riccardo Ricco’s sample at the 2008 Tour de France. Roche manufacures at least two PEDs used by cyclists – Mircera and NeoRecormon. Drug-tested athletes have been given notice to avoid using products manufactured by Roche Pharmaceuticals. [Read more…]

Blood Booster EPO Only the Tip of the Iceberg in Cycling

Widespread doping continues in cycling despite recent proclamations by Olivier Rabin, the science director for World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and Pierre Bordry, the head of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD), that they are practically on the verge of eliminating doping from cycling.

The testosterone doping test is flawed. The EPO test is flawed in more ways than one. Peptide hormones such as human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) are currently undetectable. And this does not begin to address other current and emerging synthetic blood boosting techniques being used by cyclists.

It seems that anti-doping agencies are happy to assert that they are winning the war on doping while neglecting issues such as biogeneric/biosimilar erythropoietin (EPO) stimulating proteins (ESPs); blood oxygen carriers: perfluorocarbon emulsions (PFCEs) and hemoglobin based oxygen carriers (HBOCs); hydroxyethylstarch (HES/HAES); and before long, if not already, EPO-mimetic peptide (EMPs). [Read more…]

Use of Biosimilar EPO Agents Widespread at 2008 Tour de France

A BBC investigation suggests that most athletes who use recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) continue to get away with it. The investigative article reveals several reasons why the EPO test is failing. But the BBC revealed that the biggest problem is not the ineffectiveness of the existing EPO tests used by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It is a lack of testing for variants of EPO.

Athletes are using various “biosimilar” EPO agents for which WADA has not yet developed a detection method. WADA’s ballyhooed test for the previously undetectable Mircera (pegylated EPO) was an admission that the already flawed existing EPO test was unable to detect variants of EPO; the announcement of the new CERA (Mircera) test at the 2008 Tour de France was considered a major victory.

There are also dozens of “copycat” or “biosimilar” versions of EPO. These are variants of EPO that are produced by different methods or exist as slightly different biological forms of EPO e.g. darbepoetin alfa, epoetin alfa, epoetin beta, epoetin gamma, epoetin delta, epoetin epsilon, epoetin zeta, epoetin theta, epoetin kappa, epoetin omega. The existence of biosimilar versions of EPO is a major problem for drug testers [Read more…]