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Did EPO use really kill some riders?

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Mar 13, 2009
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DirtyWorks said:
The opposite side of that observation is JV1973 made a comment about testing potential Garmin riders in a very specific time after a good result.
but we need to accept JV1973 tells the truth and is not above telling a fictional tale. He has proven time before he will lie for expediency's sake.
 
Feb 10, 2010
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blackcat said:
but we need to accept JV1973 tells the truth and is not above telling a fictional tale. He has proven time before he will lie for expediency's sake.
I absolutely agree. Keep an open mind regarding JV1973's claims. They might be true, might be false, or true and false at the same time.
 
Jul 29, 2010
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My magazines go back a fair way so I had a flick through the period. Winning Jan/Feb 1991 (so would have been written end-1990) has an editorial by Rich Carlson. I won’t type out the whole thing, but here is the first section. From this I guess it can be confirmed that EPO and the deaths were being seen, at least by some, as potentially linked pretty early on in the piece; and that at that time, for at least some, the link was seen as no more than potential. The story headline is ‘Fatal Attraction’:

“I went to a symposium on drug-use in sports recently. It was called ‘EPO and Athletics: playing a dangerous game’ and it was sponsored by Amgen, Inc., the company that manufactures Erythropoietin. The Amgen folks are concerned these days because it appears that the miracle drug they thought they’d developed for the good of mankind has also become the latest turbo-charger-in-a-bottle for some athletes, apparently with deadly consequences. EPO’s ability to increase red blood cell production is supposed to alleviate some of the suffering experienced by kidney-failure patients. And it does. But when misused, EPO can dangerously thicken the blood, leading to heart attack or stroke; and Amgen and a lot of other people, including the Dutch government, are alarmed because during the past three years more than a dozen Dutch cyclists have dropped dead, and there have been rumors that EPO may have been involved in at least some instances. Amgen is quick to point out there’s no proof to link any of these deaths with the use of EPO, but they obviously have their suspicions.” (Winning Bicycling Illustrated, No 87)
 
ohiwa nz said:
There were articles in Canadian and Dutch papers as early as 88 talking about the potential sporting applications of EPO. It was well whispered about. Even as late as 1993, it was named to David Walsh in his Inside The Tour book (but he then believed in sports doctors and the good they could do). And then, post 94 and Gewiss's orange juice, it was public.

The deaths - real or not I'm not sure really matters. Fact is, they happened at a time when something was changing and some used that as a spur to bring about positive change, same way some used death of the Rome Olympian as a reason to fight doping, even if he didn't really dope.

The new millennium cluster - I think that is interesting, but also a lot of coincidences, and should point to how we should really understand the early 90s cluster. We only notice because they were clustered.
 
Apr 13, 2011
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DirtyWorks said:
Except he, like most dopers, are on a cornucopia of drugs. Drugs to carry more oxygen, drugs to thin blood, drugs, drugs, drugs. Was it Willy Voet's book that listed what was found in the car? And now the latest disclosures from John Hendershot. It was, and probably is still a rolling pharmacy.

There was a veiled point that Joe Papp made somewhere about seeing doctors. Your doctor would get blood test results, they'd be off the charts crazy, and they would have to be good enough to come up with a safe therapy for some other health issue. The opposite side of that observation is JV1973 made a comment about testing potential Garmin riders in a very specific time after a good result. It suggests he knows enough about the blood test metrics to know what is not doping.

In that context, you should not be surprised at whatever strange conditions affect some elite athletes.
Thank you Mr. Expert.

Please list the "cornucopia" of drugs, and how they will negatively affect your health when used.
 
Feb 10, 2010
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ohiwa nz said:
My magazines go back a fair way so I had a flick through the period. Winning Jan/Feb 1991 (so would have been written end-1990) has an editorial by Rich Carlson. I won’t type out the whole thing, but here is the first section. From this I guess it can be confirmed that EPO and the deaths were being seen, at least by some, as potentially linked pretty early on in the piece; and that at that time, for at least some, the link was seen as no more than potential. The story headline is ‘Fatal Attraction’:
Fantastic, thank you for posting. This fits my recollection. This is one of the problems of pre-Internet history of smaller sports.
 
May 27, 2010
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ohiwa nz said:
My magazines go back a fair way so I had a flick through the period. .... The story headline is ‘Fatal Attraction’:

“... Amgen is quick to point out there’s no proof to link any of these deaths with the use of EPO, but they obviously have their suspicions.” (Winning Bicycling Illustrated, No 87)
Thanks for providing this.

What Amgen does know now is what its sales of EPO are by country and region, by date.

So, if there is a spike in Andorran purchases in May/June (building up inventory) or July/August (replacing inventory) that could make you suspicious.

Moreover, if the per capita EPO sales in Andorra, Switzerland, Canary Islands, etc. are many multiples of nearby states, that might also be interesting.

They should be able to trace shipments down to the pharmacy level.

Of course, they will never release that information. But, they will have it.

Dave.
 
Dec 24, 2012
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Michel Zanoli, please tread carefully.

This must be one of the most interesting and "heartbreaking" topics over here, and although my knowledge of stuff is very limited, I might have some small insight.

A couple of pages back, Michel Zanoli was listed as being one of the possible 'victims' of a EPO-induced death. Keep in mind though, that Zanoli might well have died from suicide. He was held responsible for a collision with an American cyclist in a criterium, and his career went downhill from that moment on. He supposedly never recovered psychologically after he had to say pro-cycling goodbye.

There's some articles written in Dutch about it;

http://hetiskoers.nl/2013/de-eenzaamheid-van-michel-zanoli/

http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/2698/Sport/article/detail/676952/2005/10/31/Wanhopige-zoektocht-naar-het-gareel.dhtml

And his wiki-page (in Dutch as well, sorry);

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Zanoli

I am not saying that he either took/didn't took PED's, but his death doesn't seem to have anything to do with EPO.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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One thing no one has mentioned that i could see, is that EPO and similar drugs have seen their use curtailed here in the US because of so many heart attacks in patients.
My father was getting EPO periodically during his chemo. He had been getting chemo for quite awhile when they told us that the drug was only prescribed when absolutely neccessary. Just for reference my father would do chemo three weeks on one week off for the body to recover. Part of that recovery was usually an EPO injection to get his numbers back up before starting the chemo. In the beginning it was no big deal.In later treatments they could not get approval for the EPO unless the numbers were dangerously low due to the heart attack risk.

Also in Kathy Lemonds piece which lays out the aftermath of Johannes' death his widow is totally shocked and never mentions her claim(now) that a heart defect was found weeks before. Even when she came back from the autopsy she never mentions that as a factor.

June 24, 2011 -- New data show that the way Procrit, Epogen, and Aranesp are used in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) may put them at risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, the FDA today warned.

My father had a stroke about two hours after he received treatment and passed away a week later.
 
Jul 17, 2012
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Merckx index said:
They may have also believed the stories of EPO deaths. I did, they sounded quite plausible to me at the time. It's only recently, when I have read of people, and animals, with natural HTs in the 60s, that I have wondered if the viscosity argument was overblown.
Is the argument (i) that there wasn't actually a spike in deaths amongst young cyclists as claimed or (ii) that it was due to something other than EPO?

If (i) then did the deaths not happen or is the mortality rate amongst young cyclists at that level normally?

If (ii) what is the suggested alternative cause of death?

Re the point about normal Hct levels in the 60s, I guess that's OK if that's how you were born. If you Hct is normally around 40 and you spike it up to 60 with EPO then it stands to reason that you're in an abnormal situation with unpredictable outcomes.
 
May 27, 2010
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runninboy said:
...

Also in Kathy Lemonds piece which lays out the aftermath of Johannes' death his widow is totally shocked and never mentions her claim(now) that a heart defect was found weeks before. Even when she came back from the autopsy she never mentions that as a factor.

..r.
Very sorry about your father - very relevant to this thread, even though I clipped it.

If you were a cycling spouse/family member where the cyclist may have died from complications related to (illegally obtained, and abused for cheating purposes) EPO, what do you have to gain by acknowledging that?

Don't you have more to lose?

You have to carry the tattered reputation of the doper after their death. Moreover, not sure how insurance settlements deal with self-inflicted death in various jurisdictions.

Not saying that was the case here, but it is important to consider the motivation of the family members.

Dave.
 
Nov 10, 2009
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D-Queued said:
Very sorry about your father - very relevant to this thread, even though I clipped it.

If you were a cycling spouse/family member where the cyclist may have died from complications related to (illegally obtained, and abused for cheating purposes) EPO, what do you have to gain by acknowledging that?

Don't you have more to lose?

You have to carry the tattered reputation of the doper after their death. Moreover, not sure how insurance settlements deal with self-inflicted death in various jurisdictions.

Not saying that was the case here, but it is important to consider the motivation of the family members.

Dave.
Here is what Wiki has to say
Johannes Draaijer
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Johannes Draaijer in 1987
Personal information
Born 8 March 1963
Nijemirdum, the Netherlands
Died 27 February 1990 (aged 26)
Hoeven, the Netherlands
Sport
Sport Cycling
Club PDM – Concorde
Johannes Draaijer (8 March 1963 – 27 February 1990) was a Dutch cyclist. He won two stages of the Peace Race in 1987 and one stage of the Vuelta a Murcia in 1989. The same year he finished 130th in the Tour de France and was part of the team that won the race.[1]
On 27 February 1990 Draaijer died in his sleep of a heart blockage, just a few days after a race. It is widely presumed, though not proven, that his death was caused by the use of the performance-enhancing drug erythropoietin (EPO). The autopsy did not specify the cause of death, but Draaijer's wife later told the German news magazine, Der Spiegel, that her husband became sick after using EPO.[2][3][4] This was the second death of a Dutch cyclist that was attributed to EPO, after demise of Bert Oosterbosch in 1989.[5]
 
Feb 8, 2013
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Wont comment on any specific riders, autopsies are the only way to be sure, and even they might be inconclusive in many cases like this, but I think its worth pointing out that solid research into blood viscosity and Hct as risk factors for Coronary disease predates EPO by a long way. Concluding that using EPO to raise Hct may be dangerous and cause death is definitely reasonable.

Obviously its a matter of degree though, raising from 44-49 is probably in reality not an immediate big deal, going into the high 50s and even 60s is a completely different matter.
 
Jun 16, 2010
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zigmeister said:
Thank you Mr. Expert.

Please list the "cornucopia" of drugs, and how they will negatively affect your health when used.
Pullease! If you are not aware of the plethora of drugs used by riders over the last 30 years you have been living in a cave. And if you think riders stick to one drug you have not been reading the literature, the confessions or the posts in the Clinic

Lets take the Armstrong hospital incident as an example. Betsy says, that Lance says, in response to a doctors question about the use of Peds, in her sworn affidavit to USADA,

14. The doctors began by asking Lance some banal questions. Among the questions asked by the doctor with dark hair and glasses was whether Lance had used performance enhancing drugs. Lance responded that he had taken EPO, testosterone, growth hormone, cortisone and steroids.

That my friend is a cornucopia of drugs. Taking a cornucopia of drugs was or perhaps continues to be commonplace in the peloton. If you question how they affect the health of a human being go to the USADA or WADA websites.
 
Dec 7, 2010
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RobbieCanuck said:
Pullease! If you are not aware of the plethora of drugs used by riders over the last 30 years you have been living in a cave.
You realize that you don't have to respond to him, correct?

The Ignore Feature is your friend. :)
 
Apr 13, 2011
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I would venture to say EPO has saved/extended more people's lives, than it has harmed, even when abused by some athlete.

Discuss.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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like to see the deaths from Spain/Italy/France.

the way they managed to ringfence this to the lowlands was genius
 
Mar 31, 2010
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runninboy said:
One thing no one has mentioned that i could see, is that EPO and similar drugs have seen their use curtailed here in the US because of so many heart attacks in patients.
My father was getting EPO periodically during his chemo. He had been getting chemo for quite awhile when they told us that the drug was only prescribed when absolutely neccessary. Just for reference my father would do chemo three weeks on one week off for the body to recover. Part of that recovery was usually an EPO injection to get his numbers back up before starting the chemo. In the beginning it was no big deal.In later treatments they could not get approval for the EPO unless the numbers were dangerously low due to the heart attack risk.

Also in Kathy Lemonds piece which lays out the aftermath of Johannes' death his widow is totally shocked and never mentions her claim(now) that a heart defect was found weeks before. Even when she came back from the autopsy she never mentions that as a factor.

June 24, 2011 -- New data show that the way Procrit, Epogen, and Aranesp are used in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) may put them at risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, the FDA today warned.

My father had a stroke about two hours after he received treatment and passed away a week later.
yeah so your father proves how epo is terrible for your health yet hundreds of 90s pro cyclists juiced to the moon are still alive :rolleyes:
 
Nov 10, 2009
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blackcat said:
like to see the deaths from Spain/Italy/France.

the way they managed to ringfence this to the lowlands was genius
When I read this

like to see the deaths from Spain/Italy/France.

the way they managed to ringfence this to the lowlands was genius


totally without context, I don't have the slightest idea what you are trying to say.
All I can do is hypothesise :
may be he means this, maybe he means that.

I certainly hope my own posts are more understandable and I do hope people will tell me when they are not.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Le breton said:
When I read this

like to see the deaths from Spain/Italy/France.

the way they managed to ringfence this to the lowlands was genius


totally without context, I don't have the slightest idea what you are trying to say.
All I can do is hypothesise :
may be he means this, maybe he means that.

I certainly hope my own posts are more understandable and I do hope people will tell me when they are not.
pretty easy to work it out.

I was just saying "why the cluster in the lowlands, and not elsewhere? Why only cycling?"

I was pointing out it was confined to a geographic boundary (ringfence), and discreet sport. Why? or was it potentially just BS.
 
The first three parts of a relevant series of articles from Paul Kimmage:

Who's afraid of Johannes Draaijer?

Unfinished stone for an unfinished love

Mystery mixed with truth on the road to Paris

Kimmage quoting Pat McQuaid, recalling Draaijer in the Nissan, McQuaid speaking in 2012:

"Stage one was a 135-mile trek straight across the country, finishing in Eyre Square. A young Dutch rider, Johannes Draaijer, took off out of the bunch coming out of Lucan, in an orange jersey on his own, and built up a lead of 12, 13 and then 14 minutes by Athlone. He was in my rear-view mirror the whole day because I was driving the car out front and I was delighted for him, to see an amateur beating all the pros — some of the best in the world. As a sports fan you love the underdog. He didn’t win the stage but he got a pro contract out of it. But a year or so later, he was found dead in his bed, at 23. That’s EPO ... I know how Draaijer died, he died because of EPO."
 
Mar 6, 2009
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fmk_RoI said:
The first three parts of a relevant series of articles from Paul Kimmage:

Who's afraid of Johannes Draaijer?

Unfinished stone for an unfinished love

Mystery mixed with truth on the road to Paris

Kimmage quoting Pat McQuaid, recalling Draaijer in the Nissan, McQuaid speaking in 2012:
Excellent articles from Kimmage as always, I found the stuff about the doctor Peter Janssen very interesting. Primarily because it reaffirms what I had previously read about him in Allan Peipers book, A Peipers Tale:

"At Panasonic, we worked with a Dutch doctor, Dr.Janssen, and it was his theory that there had to be some common ground between what was doping and what was the theraputic care of the riders. For example, there came a time when the artifical administration of testosterone was banned, but it's a medical fact that when testosterone levels fall the body is damaged by racing. He thought that keeping the body levels of some substances within a safe band was beneficial to a riders health, given that his profession demands that he cant just go home when he feels tired.

Dr.Janssen viewed everything from a health perspective, rather than just giving you stuff to boost your performance. For instance when he first examined me, my vitamin B12 levels were sky high, so he stopped me getting any extra B12 until they came down. And as my levels came down I began to go better. My legs got more supple, I got faster and faster, an it culminated with a stage win in the Tour of Italy(1990)"

This more or less confirms that Janssen was an advocate of "Hormonal Equilibrium" which was I think first promoted by French doctor Bellocq. I think this was also a view held by many on the Duch teams and the riders obviously didn't view it as doping even though they were clearly gaining an advantage over their rivals, you would imagine even more so in a 3 week Tour.

The Kimmage articles also give the impression that the soigneurs had a slightly different mindest than Janssen and were probably more interested in pushing PEDs.

Still no mention of EPO unless that is being saved for the next part of the series.
 

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