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In Blood Stepped: The History Of Blood Doping In Sport

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Re: Re:

10 Sep 2017 18:43

Aragon wrote:Here is the English translation of the Mikko Ala-Leppilampi blood doping essay I promised, if anyone is interested.
Appreciate you sharing all of this - thanks.
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Re:

10 Sep 2017 18:55

fmk_RoI wrote:Peter Janssen's story, in summary.

- reads an article about Conconi and Moser ("I thought hello, if I was a cyclist myself, I'd like to try it sometime, that's at least something. Instead of all this nonsense. '")
- in November (1987?) he's watching the ten o'clock news and sees a story about a blood bank in Velp ("I called them right away the next day, that was the beginning.")
- he practices on himself first and then introduces the procedure to PDM
- in 1988 it was one bag in Nantes (end of stage two or start of stage three?) and two bags in Strasbourg (end of stage nine). He only names Rooks and Theunisse (Bertus Fok's diary also showed Jörg Müller received one bag of blood in Strasbourg)
- the blood bank in Velp was charging 1,500 Guilders per blood bag (that's GBP 400 or USD 750)
- PDM again used blood bags in 1989, one bag on the Thursday before the start in Luxembourg, two bags in Bordeaux (at the end of stage seven)
- Janssen left PDM in 1990 and joined Panasonic where blood bags were also used
- when the blood bank in Velp went bust Janssen was able to make arrangement with a German supplier
- he left Panasonic pretty quickly
- in 1993 former Panasonic rider Eddy Bouwmans (Novemail - Histor) approached him directly and two bags of blood were taken out and stored in the German facility

What's new? We now have Panasonic using blood transfusions in 1990. We have one rider from Novemail - Histor turning to transfusions as late as 1993. We have an actual cost for the procedure. We have a picture of one of the ways knowledge of the procedure was spreading indirectly.

Have I missed anything important?


Why no blood bags after the first week? It's when they'd be most effective
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Re: Re:

10 Sep 2017 19:06

GuyIncognito wrote:Why no blood bags after the first week? It's when they'd be most effective
Good question. His dates don't really fit with current understanding of rest-day oil changes. If we discount knowledge - while he is somewhat self-thought on the application of transfusions to sport, he's clearly intelligent and this isn't quite the amateur hour at teh five-and-dime the LA 84 thing was - maybe there is a logistical issue in terms of getting enough bags out and storing them for long enough? I don't know. Any ideas, Aragon?
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Re: Re:

10 Sep 2017 21:03

fmk_RoI wrote:
GuyIncognito wrote:Why no blood bags after the first week? It's when they'd be most effective
Good question. His dates don't really fit with current understanding of rest-day oil changes. If we discount knowledge - while he is somewhat self-thought on the application of transfusions to sport, he's clearly intelligent and this isn't quite the amateur hour at teh five-and-dime the LA 84 thing was - maybe there is a logistical issue in terms of getting enough bags out and storing them for long enough? I don't know. Any ideas, Aragon?


I would've thought rest days were more than a blood bag, but a whole cocktail of recovery and performance enhancements. Might all be contained in a BB of course.
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Re: Re:

11 Sep 2017 02:09

GuyIncognito wrote:
Why no blood bags after the first week? It's when they'd be most effective


If this was frozen autologous blood, there's a limit on how much a rider can produce. You would expect the withdrawals to take place in the off season, spaced several weeks apart at least, and if the riders were training at that time, this would interfere with the training.

Several other relevant factors: 1) While I just said they probably withdrew blood during the offseason, maybe they did it during the season. This would leave them in a weakened condition, and since not much was known at this time about how long it would take for full recovery, they might want to transfuse before a race to make certain they were strong going into it. 2) At this time, not much was known about how long the effects of transfusion, or any other means of blood doping, lasted. They might have thought that a bag before the start of a stage race would last throughout the race. A second transfusion would be regarded as a booster, rather than as necessary because the effects of the first had disappeared. 3) If they had never done this before, and didn't know what to expect, they might want to transfuse early, to give themselves time to get used to it on stages that weren't critical. I take it there's no indication they practiced this before the season began, out of competition, probably at least partly because of the limited amount of blood available.

Also worth noting that while Janssen may have become aware of freezing blood (more precisely, separating RBC from plasma, and freezing them) in the late 1980s, the technique had been developed nearly forty years earlier. I can't remember now if Sniper in his, shall we say, speculations about Lemond, suggested that he may have taken advantage of the technique back in the late 70s.
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Re: Re:

11 Sep 2017 05:05

Merckx index wrote:2) At this time, not much was known about how long the effects of transfusion, or any other means of blood doping, lasted.

On the un-orthodox timings of blood infusions, my wild guess would be this even when there could have been some logistical limitations involved. The RBCs are frozen in glycerol solution and they must be thawed and washed before reinfusion, so one would assume that it takes some know-how and equipment where and when it can be done.

It really wasn't that well-known how long the effect lasted, and as the 1984 Los Angeles blood dopers, had Janssen read the literature on the subject, he had encountered the breakthrough study published in 1980 (Buick, Spriet, Gledhill et all) in which after the reinfusion of two blood bags (900 ml), hemoglobin concentration was elevated some 10 % and returned linearly from polycythemia to normal levels in 15 weeks.
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Re:

11 Sep 2017 08:16

I've looked it up, and the commercial blood bank in Velp went bust in July '88. They had fewer than 40 customers. I can't find any other references to a blood bank in Velp around that time, so I assume that must've been the one.

Here's an article announcing the opening of the blood bank in October '87 with some more info (dutch). They ran incredibly subtle ads.
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Re: Re:

11 Sep 2017 15:29

El_ojo_del_Tigre wrote:I've looked it up, and the commercial blood bank in Velp went bust in July '88. They had fewer than 40 customers. I can't find any other references to a blood bank in Velp around that time, so I assume that must've been the one.

Here's an article announcing the opening of the blood bank in October '87 with some more info (dutch). They ran incredibly subtle ads.
Appreciate you digging those stories out.
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Re: Re:

12 Sep 2017 17:23

While there isn't anything strikingly sensational in the recollections of Janssen, if one wants to put this episode in historical context, this could be the first time when a doctor has confessed voluntarily having been involved in blood doping activities, and I mean praxis and not scientific research and even during a time when it was specifically banned.

Yes, there are some doctors such as Eufemiano Fuentes in 2000s and Francesco Conconi, Herman Falsetti and a handful of Finns describing their practices two decades earlier, but they should be read more as damage control when the programs were already revealed rather than "real" confessions (e.g. Alberto Cova confessed transfusions already in 1982). The only even somewhat similar instance I can recall was when one Finnish team doctor in 1985 admitted in passing having administered transfusions to four athletes "all who can be proven to have been very anemic", both the confession and operations taking place when the method was not banned.

It is another question whether Janssen would've been so open without the revelations from the PDM-diaries, but the fallout more or less was already a few years ago. I don't know what is the moral code among the team doctors of 1980s, but I wouldn't be totally surprised if there would be more confessions now that everyone knows that he is not the only one being implicated.

That having been written, when the first confessions about the Finnish blood doping program came into light in 1982, there was similar hope among journalists that everyone could now confess everything and "the truth" about the "secret program" would finally be revealed in public. That was 35 years ago and even today we know next-to-nothing about "secret program", there has essentially been no new material at all.
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26 Sep 2017 16:54

LA 84's American blood doping programme is the subject of a new film, Tainted Blood - The Untold Story of the 1984 Olympic Blood Doping Scandal. It's up on Amazon. Their answer to Icarus, I guess.
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Re: Re:

08 Oct 2017 14:45

pmcg76 wrote:Ok, dug it up with another interesting anecodte, the first is from a book that was published annually in the UK about the Giro and Tour, it was simply titled Tour 86 published by Kennedy Bros. This refers to the success of Guido Bontempi winning 5 stages at the Giro in 86.This was to be Bontempi's best season winning Ghent-Wevelgem and 3 stages at the Tour. Bontempi did test positive at the Tour in 87.

".....but it was again Bontempi who surged over the line for his third victory of the race, paying tribute afterward to the team doctor, transferred from Mosers entourage and the same doctor who advised Moser on the preparation for his hour record preparation"

The Visentini bit is from Winning magazine review of the 86 Giro.
i][/i]

Visentini rebuffed the cynics who said he owed his Giro victory to the training regime imposed on his squad by a doctor from the team formed by Professor Conconi to help Moser break the World Hour record in 1984.Visentini said at a press conference after receiving his final pink jersey, "I am one of the few riders who doesnt follow all this advice. For one thing, I would never volunteer to undergo a blood transfusion"
.


Carrera did have a fantastic season in 86, Bontempi, Visentini and Urs Zimmermann all had super years in 86. In neither example does it mention who the doctor was, clearly not Conconi himself, was it Ferrari?? I know Ferrari worked with Mosers team in 87 so did he possibly jumps ship for a season or was it someone else? Roche did have his super season in 87, but then Zimmerman was rubbish that same season whilst Bontempi was nowhere near as good.
A bit more on Roberto Visentini, the Carrera doc Giovanni Grazzi, and blood transfusions, this from Barry Ryan's new book about the rise of Irish cycling - Kelly and Roche, Kimmage, Walsh and McQuaid - The Ascent:
There were the faintest murmurs, too, about the part Giovanni Grazzi, Carrera's team doctor, had played in Visentini's success [in 1986]. Grazzi was a close associate of Dr Francesco Conconi who, from his base at the University of Ferrara, had built a reputation as a guru by masterminding Francesco Moser's startling late-career renaissance that saw him smash the Hour Record and win the Giro in 1984. It was heavily suspected - and later confirmed by the rider himself - that Moser had been given blood transfusions to boost performance, a practice that was not illegal at the time. By 1986, however, the IOC had outlawed blood doping, and Visentini was careful when explaining his and Grazzi's links to Conconi immediately after his [1986] Giro victory. 'Conconi? Yes, he's given us a hand, but I don't practice blood transfusions. I'd rather lose an extra race,' Visentini said at the time.

'Grazzi was the doctor for everybody on the team, Visentini says now. 'He wasn't a personal doctor, he was there for everybody, Roche included. Regardless of whether you were one of the stronger riders or one of the weaker, he was the doctor.'
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08 Oct 2017 15:01

Wasn't Roche' name on Conconi files.

Roche admitted giving blood, but alleged it was for testing.

I have no doubt Roche doped.
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Re:

08 Oct 2017 15:06

Benotti69 wrote:Wasn't Roche' name on Conconi files.

Roche admitted giving blood, but alleged it was for testing.

I have no doubt Roche doped.
We're talking different years and different products. Post 92 is well known. 1987 isn't.

And - TBH - you having no doubt Roche doped hardly means much - you have no doubt everyone doped, all the time.
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Re: In Blood Stepped: The History Of Blood Doping In Sport

10 Oct 2017 10:27

If they haven't already been mentioned upthread, here are a couple of other names:

Ilario Casoni, who was another Ferrara academic working with Conconi on the Moser Hour Record and active with Italian pro teams throughout the nineties. He drops out of sources around the time the haematocrit test was introduced.

Also a Ferrara academic and still teaching today, Fabio Manfredini is a bit more mysterious. He was certainly around in the nineties but I don't know much about him before that. Has worked in cycling but his alumni page suggests he might have been more on the skiing / winter sports side.
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Re: In Blood Stepped: The History Of Blood Doping In Sport

10 Oct 2017 10:49

L'arriviste wrote:If they haven't already been mentioned upthread, here are a couple of other names:

Ilario Casoni, who was another Ferrara academic working with Conconi on the Moser Hour Record and active with Italian pro teams throughout the nineties. He drops out of sources around the time the haematocrit test was introduced.

Also a Ferrara academic and still teaching today, Fabio Manfredini is a bit more mysterious. He was certainly around in the nineties but I don't know much about him before that. Has worked in cycling but his alumni page suggests he might have been more on the skiing / winter sports side.
Casoni is well known, from the Ferrara trial (and from Banesto, who named him as a possible successor after Padilla left). That, however, is all EPO. This is blood transfusions.
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Re: In Blood Stepped: The History Of Blood Doping In Sport

10 Oct 2017 12:12

fmk_RoI wrote:
L'arriviste wrote:If they haven't already been mentioned upthread, here are a couple of other names:

Ilario Casoni, who was another Ferrara academic working with Conconi on the Moser Hour Record and active with Italian pro teams throughout the nineties. He drops out of sources around the time the haematocrit test was introduced.

Also a Ferrara academic and still teaching today, Fabio Manfredini is a bit more mysterious. He was certainly around in the nineties but I don't know much about him before that. Has worked in cycling but his alumni page suggests he might have been more on the skiing / winter sports side.
Casoni is well known, from the Ferrara trial (and from Banesto, who named him as a possible successor after Padilla left). That, however, is all EPO. This is blood transfusions.


To be fair, I did say that Casoni was known to have worked with Conconi on the Moser Hour Record. Manfredini I didn't know, but it is possible if he too was around that far back. So that was pertinent to blood transfusions.
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Re: In Blood Stepped: The History Of Blood Doping In Sport

10 Oct 2017 13:00

L'arriviste wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:
L'arriviste wrote:If they haven't already been mentioned upthread, here are a couple of other names:

Ilario Casoni, who was another Ferrara academic working with Conconi on the Moser Hour Record and active with Italian pro teams throughout the nineties. He drops out of sources around the time the haematocrit test was introduced.

Also a Ferrara academic and still teaching today, Fabio Manfredini is a bit more mysterious. He was certainly around in the nineties but I don't know much about him before that. Has worked in cycling but his alumni page suggests he might have been more on the skiing / winter sports side.
Casoni is well known, from the Ferrara trial (and from Banesto, who named him as a possible successor after Padilla left). That, however, is all EPO. This is blood transfusions.


To be fair, I did say that Casoni was known to have worked with Conconi on the Moser Hour Record. Manfredini I didn't know, but it is possible if he too was around that far back. So that was pertinent to blood transfusions.
Casoni, he was in Ferrara, and we know Indurain visited Ferrara in the 80s, At the moment, though, we have no evidence linking this to blood transfusions.

And IIRC you are right in saying Casoni was part of the Hour team, and I've already noted that, at some stage, we should probably identify who else was there, move it beyond the Holy Trinity (Conconi, Ferrari, Sassi) we've reduced it to. Even PDM's blood programme, ultimately, came out of the Hour programme (the seed of the idea having been planted when Janssen read about it).
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Re: In Blood Stepped: The History Of Blood Doping In Sport

10 Oct 2017 13:11

I don't know how deeply involved Ilario Casoni was in the "autoemotrasfusione" practices of the Ferrara Lab, but if we are to believe the Italian cross-country skier Silvano Barco, Casoni was involved with blood transfusions at least occasionally. He was the doctor who carried out the transfusion operation of Barco shortly before the 1988 Winter Olympics when (Barco's estimation) close to 90 % of the Italian team underwent the procedure.

As far as I know, Barco discussed the matter first time publicly in 1997.

http://ricerca.repubblica.it/repubblica/archivio/repubblica/1997/01/15/pescante-conconi-risponda-sul-doping.html?ref=search
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