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EPO is apparently useless

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Re:

31 Jul 2017 02:35

Lyon wrote:Just wait until a Norwegian study surfaces that state EPO does indeed work but only during summer months.


Indeed :lol: .
User avatar lartiste
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Re: Re:

12 Oct 2017 07:54

Even when there was very little discussion on the Mont Ventoux - study conducted by the Dutch research team (Heuberger et al.) when the news broke a few months ago, The Lancet has now published six letters where the conduct of the study has been criticized on various grounds such as uncontrolled conditions during the time trial, questionable Vo2MAX testing protocol, whether the results can be extrapolated to elites and that fifteen-year-old epic climbing records remain unbroken etc.

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhae/article/PIIS2352-3026(17)30105-9/fulltext
(copy-paste that if the link doesn't work or google "erythropoietin on cycling performance" and you should find the material)

The letters are easily readable, short, informative and pretty interesting to read particularly when authors include well-known physiologists such as Michael Joyner, Carsten Lundby and Michael N. Sawka.

As usual, Heuberger and his colleagues have published their response and (among other things) pointed out that many people had misunderstood their intentions, that people thought that they would've wanted to take rEPO away from the doping list, when their primary motive was to discourage its use. They can also refer to the (thus far) un-debunked Dutch research on the time improvements of rEPO vs. pre-rEPO eras where no miraculous 1990 can be seen.
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Re: Re:

30 Dec 2018 18:17

There is a brand new paper by the Dutch rHuEPO-skeptic researchers focusing this time on the speed trends of one day classics. Unsurprisingly Hein Lodewijkx concludes that there was nothing totally out of the ordinary in the speed trends of the 1990's:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329707998_No_Faster_Performances_in_the_'Epo_Years'_in_Classic_One-Day_Cycle_Races_and_World_Championships
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Re: Re:

30 Dec 2018 18:46

Aragon wrote:There is a brand new paper by the Dutch rHuEPO-skeptic researchers focusing this time on the speed trends of one day classics. Unsurprisingly Hein Lodewijkx concludes that there was nothing totally out of the ordinary in the speed trends of the 1990's:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329707998_No_Faster_Performances_in_the_'Epo_Years'_in_Classic_One-Day_Cycle_Races_and_World_Championships
I would have said there is insufficient data to be able to spot a pattern, bearing in mind all the variables. It's difficult enough with Grand Tours, where you have twenty-odd stages each race to bulk the data out.

Once, amused by someone trying to use stats to claim the Classics were cleaner, I pulled this together, and proved whatever I wanted.
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Re: Re:

30 Dec 2018 19:12

I think the work of these Dutch guys would be also appear more trustworthy if they could show us what a "doped era" would look like in their analysis. I think it would interesting if someone provided them with a series of data where one time period speeds have been altered 2-3 % above the real values and to see if they see a red flag there after their Bayesian approach with all the CANOVAs and ANOVAs.

On the other hand, if even a 10-15 % artificial boost would vanish among the other noise in their linear regressions, I think it could be a good moment to conclude that their material isn't worth pretty much anything.
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Re: Re:

30 Dec 2018 19:35

Aragon wrote:I think the work of these Dutch guys would be also appear more trustworthy if they could show us what a "doped era" would look like in their analysis.
This would be useful. Given the role of tactics it's hard to know how doping should be visible in speed.
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30 Dec 2018 21:40

It's interesting viewing club amateur road racing speeds and TT records where one assumes at least EPO & Blood is not used, yet all average speeds are 4-7% faster. Even local weekly crit races, what we used to race at around 24-25mph average are today 27-28mph and that's same 1 hour + 3 laps, same time each evening, probably about the same numbers. Always amazes me looking back even 10 years the difference.
Where am I going with it, not sure, just I'm not convinced club mates in the area are doping more today than 10 years ago, so is it simply improvement in the bikes, training, training with power, better nutrition and recover understanding etc. Not sure, but it gradually increases it seems anyway and I would highly doubt there's much PED abuse going on at such a low level to significantly allow everyone to improve.
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30 Dec 2018 23:02

It's more or less agreed upon that today's athletes in general are bigger and faster than they were 2 or so decades ago? Some of this is due to better understanding of nutrition as well as training. Is all of it, who knows, but a portion you would think actually would be. On the other hand, the NFL seems to also have more serious non contact injuries than were common just a couple of decades ago as well.

However, for this study, knowing what they would consider a "doped era" would be useful and helpful.
Last edited by Koronin on 31 Dec 2018 23:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: EPO is apparently useless

30 Dec 2018 23:44

It's hard to judge with cycling because it's not a simple fixed event like say a 200m sprint. The rules, regulations and consistency changes yearly, incentives for the riders change such as jersey competitions over time and technology continually improves in every corner of the sport rapidly too. Add crashes, weather and general randomness of even the course not being the same each year or where rest days are placed, i'm not sure it's much to talk about. I mean team sizes have changed, so how do you compare a GC rider who had 11% more team support over the race in 2017 than another in 2018 who didn't and stuff like that. How does that affect things like average speed for a GC leading team on the front the whole day. Effectively they are having to do more work and so will be slightly slower over a stage, but their watts and stress scores are probably higher than the previous year with 11% more team to share the load. Does that mean the GC leader is just as fresh, or did he work more with one less riders slipstream and stuff like that.
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Re:

31 Dec 2018 07:18

samhocking wrote:It's interesting viewing club amateur road racing speeds and TT records where one assumes at least EPO & Blood is not used, yet all average speeds are 4-7% faster. Even local weekly crit races, what we used to race at around 24-25mph average are today 27-28mph and that's same 1 hour + 3 laps, same time each evening, probably about the same numbers. Always amazes me looking back even 10 years the difference.
Where am I going with it, not sure, just I'm not convinced club mates in the area are doping more today than 10 years ago, so is it simply improvement in the bikes, training, training with power, better nutrition and recover understanding etc. Not sure, but it gradually increases it seems anyway and I would highly doubt there's much PED abuse going on at such a low level to significantly allow everyone to improve.


Are you in the UK? Given the growth of cycling there, a lot could be put down to an increased talent pool. My local crits, given the decline in road cycling in North America, seem about the same.
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31 Dec 2018 09:54

It might be, but there's always been Pro riders come out of the local area over the 20 years who were part of the crit training. I think it's just everyone knows how to train properly today and the bikes and clothing are so much more aero. I guess it's just the modernisation of amateur cycle racing.
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Re: EPO is apparently useless

01 Jan 2019 13:35

I happened to obtain a copy of the 350+ page PhD of Dutch reseacher Bram Brouwer, published also as a book De mythe van de rode bloedcel in which he goes through the material about the efficacy of rHuEPO and (thinks that he) debunks them.

While I don't read Dutch, the abridged 20 page English summary of the thesis is a very interesting to read, because it is an interesting look into the way the rHuEPO-skeptics think and it is simultaneously superficially convincing even when there are a few strawmans and objections that have been addressed elsewhere such as these:

- Very weak or no correlation between intraindividual Hb concentration and performance/Vo2Max.
- Viscosity counteracts the benefit of extra oxygen carrying capacity of "doped" blood.
- Training doesn't increase hematocrit but absolute the contrary, so lower diluted Hct is beneficial from performance viewpoint.

I've never quite figured out what is the "Dutch" recommendation for anti-doping policy (if there is one uniform approach), but Brouwer doesn't outrule even taking blood doping out of the banned list:
One may even question whether RBC doping should be considered to be doping. After all, altitude training and low-altitude tents (or hotel rooms) give almost the same effects (more red blood cells) and are not classified as doping. That seems arbitrary.
...
We advise an anti-doping policy based on compliance, where the goal is to convince the cyclists with objective information that the use of doping is not only unwise, but even stupid. Indeed, doping seems to harm aerobic performances rather than enhancing them, similar to classical doping. Such a policy may be more productive and will very likely cost a fraction of the current expenses.
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Re: EPO is apparently useless

01 Jan 2019 15:07

Aragon wrote:I happened to obtain a copy of the 350+ page PhD of Dutch reseacher Bram Brouwer, published also as a book De mythe van de rode bloedcel in which he goes through the material about the efficacy of rHuEPO and (thinks that he) debunks them.

While I don't read Dutch, the abridged 20 page English summary of the thesis is a very interesting to read, because it is an interesting look into the way the rHuEPO-skeptics think and it is simultaneously superficially convincing even when there are a few strawmans and objections that have been addressed elsewhere such as these:

- Very weak or no correlation between intraindividual Hb concentration and performance/Vo2Max.
- Viscosity counteracts the benefit of extra oxygen carrying capacity of "doped" blood.
- Training doesn't increase hematocrit but absolute the contrary, so lower diluted Hct is beneficial from performance viewpoint.

I've never quite figured out what is the "Dutch" recommendation for anti-doping policy (if there is one uniform approach), but Brouwer doesn't outrule even taking blood doping out of the banned list:
One may even question whether RBC doping should be considered to be doping. After all, altitude training and low-altitude tents (or hotel rooms) give almost the same effects (more red blood cells) and are not classified as doping. That seems arbitrary.
...
We advise an anti-doping policy based on compliance, where the goal is to convince the cyclists with objective information that the use of doping is not only unwise, but even stupid. Indeed, doping seems to harm aerobic performances rather than enhancing them, similar to classical doping. Such a policy may be more productive and will very likely cost a fraction of the current expenses.
WRT should RBC doping be allowed.

First, and foremost, performance enhancing is - as we all know - only one of three criteria used to ban substances / methods. The other two are danger and image. Recent research says that blood transfusions were banned primarily on health grounds, contaminated blood. You could argue that might have been a problem in the 80s, when other people's blood was being used, but not so today, when athletes use their own. But anecdotal evidence, from Hamilton to Riccò, might suggest there is still a danger with blood bags, a danger one does not associate with altitude training or oxygen tents.

The image issue: in the 1970s, there was clearly an image problem. In the 1980s, there was clearly an image problem. That image problem is still there today.

Brouwer's argument seems like a lot of the nonsense put forward by critics of the current anti-doping system: it is not based on the current anti-doping system, it is based on what Brouwer thinks an anti-doping system should be doing.
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Re: Re:

04 Jan 2019 23:53

hulkgogan wrote:
samhocking wrote:It's interesting viewing club amateur road racing speeds and TT records where one assumes at least EPO & Blood is not used, yet all average speeds are 4-7% faster. Even local weekly crit races, what we used to race at around 24-25mph average are today 27-28mph and that's same 1 hour + 3 laps, same time each evening, probably about the same numbers. Always amazes me looking back even 10 years the difference.
Where am I going with it, not sure, just I'm not convinced club mates in the area are doping more today than 10 years ago, so is it simply improvement in the bikes, training, training with power, better nutrition and recover understanding etc. Not sure, but it gradually increases it seems anyway and I would highly doubt there's much PED abuse going on at such a low level to significantly allow everyone to improve.


Are you in the UK? Given the growth of cycling there, a lot could be put down to an increased talent pool. My local crits, given the decline in road cycling in North America, seem about the same.


I believe all the aero equipment really does add up to something, especially the clothing. I look at pictures of myself and friends from 10 years ago and laugh at the parachutes we wore. I also suspect that amateurs train more now because of social media pressuring them to always be riding.
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