EPO is apparently useless

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You can think what you like about the Gewiss guys but at least they looked normal instead of completely anorexic like the current crop of top cyclists (I know, I know, they were wearing several layers of clothing and protective gear there due to the weather, but still).
Oct 16, 2010
Everything clear.
Herman Ram was a driving force behind this research. :rolleyes:
Ram involved = nuff said.
One Jules Heuberger previously worked with Adam Cohen is in charge of this investigation. Prominent member of the research team is Herman Ram CEO of the Dutch Doping Authority, our national speed camera to keep the sport doping-free
For those who don't know who Ram is and why his involvement means this 'research' is disposable crap, part of an ongoing doping whitewash campaign in Dutch Olympic topsport, please be referred to this thread:
Jan 30, 2016
Herman Ram Quoted:
We know from research that about 4% of top athletes uses doping consciously.
video @5:30

The research was done by the university of Utrecht commisioned by dopingautoriteit. They asked the athletes if and what doping they used. It was anonymous and before you answer each question the athletes had to throw two dices. When you throw 2 till 4 you have to answer yes and 10 till 12 you have to answer no. 5 to 9 requires a honest answer. I'm sure the results are verry accurate.
The report and the questions:
Aug 31, 2012
They asked the athletes if and what doping they used. It was anonymous and before you answer each question the athletes had to throw two dices. When you throw 2 till 4 you have to answer yes and 10 till 12 you have to answer no. 5 to 9 requires a honest answer. I'm sure the results are verry accurate.
This procedure can actually give a better estimator of the true incidence of doping, provided that athletes are more likely to reveal if they dope when their response is elicited this way than if you ask them directly, and that's a reasonable assumption.

With this setup, if they say yes, there was a 1/6 chance the dice made them do it, enough for deniability. Adding noise to their answers increases the variance of the estimator, but if the improvement in truth telling is large enough, it's still worth it. For larger sample sizes, the variance becomes less important and then even small improvements in truth telling propensity would be worth it
Re: New research on EPO: No effect (!)

Let's doping test the placebo group. Also before joining the research as "trained but clean".

Did some total morons design and carry out the tests?
Pharmaceuticals have sent out live bird flu as vaccin, so not entirely possible they just got it wrong.

Isn't the EPO effect, properly doses, so great that you just KNOW?
It would be good to see performance plotted against the advancing blood values and cumulative (say 3 week) dosage received.
Oct 16, 2010
Re: New research on EPO: No effect (!)

Cloxxki said:
Let's doping test the placebo group. Also before joining the research as "trained but clean".
seriously though, if that wasn't done or taken into account, it's more evidence that we're dealing with psuedo-science.

Did some total morons design and carry out the tests?
In any case the people involved suffer from conflicts of interest, so it's not farfetched to assume the results were biased.
It certainly seems so.

as for Ram's 4% study, that's only contradicted by practically every single other similar study/enquete.
Ram is a fraud taking the piss with science. Par for the course for *sports* science, though. That whole branch is crowded with quacks.
Apr 3, 2011

sniper said:
It's funny this 'research' comes from the Netherlands.
There was a Dutch PhD Bram Brouwer who quite recently published similar results in his PhD titled "the Myth of the Red Blood Cell", claiming EPO doesn't work. https://www.ou.nl/web/persberichten/home/-/asset_publisher/6fwK/content/promotie%3A-%E2%80%98geen-wetenschappelijk-bewijs-dat-epo-op-hoog-sportief-niveau-werkt%E2%80%99
However, Bram Brouwer has been a professional ice-skating and cycling coach for over 35 years, and his PhD was carried out at a rather dubious (practically unknown) university.
So basically this was the work of a compromised quack with clear conflicts of interest.
Let's better wait for the truly unbiased article from Dr. Lamborghini: On the orange juice effect of PlacEPO.

One group got EPO, the other one orange juice, but used high cadence. The second group won TdF seven times, and is winning to this day (trimmed down the juice to microdosing, but increased the cadence toseated 200 rpm attacks).
real curious once the full details come out on this research. Because we are dealing with actual research i wouldn't be surprised if the EPO dosage they administered is very low. The possible health risks associated with high dosages (high hematocrit levels and stories of pros getting up at night to raise the heart rate somewhat) could lead them to dosages that indeed do not register an effect.
Sep 13, 2010
Re: New research on EPO: No effect (!)

I wonder how Joe P. feels about being downgraded from a drug dealer to a snake oil salesman. :lol:
Sep 12, 2015
EPO doesn't improve isolated ITT times up the Ventoux, no *** sherlock! Time again after a month under physiological conditions where hematocrit/hemoglobin levels would normally be dropping .6% a day.
Their arguments against an EPO effect can be summarized as:

1) EPO, by increasing red blood cells and Hb, can increase V02max, but V02max is only one of three key components in performance, and the others—lactate threshold and efficiency—may be more important for elite athletes.
2) Most studies of EPO have not been carried out on elite professional athletes, for obvious reasons
3) Elite athletes spend only a small fraction of the time in most races at high exercise intensity, e.g., in mountain top finishes in GT stages.

Wrt 1), so what? If V02max is increased by EPO without any change in LT or efficiency, then obviously performance will be enhanced. The fact that V02max may not be a great predictor of performance is largely irrelevant. It certainly contributes to performance, and anything that increases it without negatively impacting the other important factors can be expected to be beneficial.

Wrt 2), while it’s true it’s been hard to study EPO effects in elite, currently active professional athletes, the evidence of the 1990s shows very clearly—if not rigorously scientifically—that it does benefit pro cyclists. There have also been some more precise measurements, e.g., note this quote from the book about LA, Cycle of Lies, for which we had a thread several years ago:

Vaughters could raise his hematocrit with EPO to about 52— an improvement of 4 points at most— then he would temporarily lower it for UCI’s health check by infusing a bag of saline into his blood— a common practice among riders manipulating their blood with EPO. After using the drug, Vaughters saw the numbers tick upward on his power meter, the electronic machine affixed to his bike’s handlebars that measured a rider’s power output.

Vaughters noticed that many times EPO would give him a 4 to 6 percent increase in power. That translated into a few percentage points of speed. That translated into better finishes.

Wrt 3), yes, GTs usually come down to a relatively small fraction of the total race times, i.e., 20-40 minute climbs at the end of a mountain stage, or an ITT. The fact that EPO wouldn’t benefit riders during most of the rest of the race doesn’t really matter.

There are a lot of irrelevancies discussed here, too, e.g.:

An increase in Hct could lead to an increase in oxygen-carrying capacity, but does this enhance performance? Haematocrit is not a good marker of performance, because endurance athletes usually have lower Hct values than untrained subjects owing to plasma volume expansion [119]. Additionally, it is a very variable measure and is affected by different circumstances [120]. Increases of Hct cause an increase in viscosity of the blood [121, 122], which might hamper performance owing to reductions in blood flow and increased cardiac work. Decreased plasma volume during exercise exaggerates increased Hct [120], as may dehydration, hyperthermia and altitude, so it is not obvious what effects a rise in Hct will have in professional cyclists. The rHuEPO treatment not only increases haemoglobin concentration and Hct, but at the same time decreases plasma volume, thereby resulting in almost no effect on, or a slight decrease in, blood volume [123]. Recombinant human erythropoietin could therefore counteract the plasma volume expansion of endurance training [56].
It’s true plasma expansion decreases HT, but it doesn’t decrease total red blood cell mass or Hb, whereas EPO definitely does increase both of these parameters. So the issue of what the actual HT is is largely irrelevant. With regard to viscosity, studies that I discussed here some years ago showed that viscosity increase accompanying HT increase does not generally become a problem until well over 50% HT.

I understand the authors are trying to address the performance effects of EPO from a rigorous scientific point of view, and I can’t disagree with them that we lack studies doing this, but to imply, as they seem to do at the end, that what we do know isn’t sufficient reason to ban the drug is ludicrous.

In the first study of its kind, scientists challenged a group of 48 cyclists to tackle a series of challenges, including the infamous Mont Ventoux ascent, which often forms part of the Tour.

Half had been given eight weekly injections of EPO, a drug that promotes red blood cell production with the aim of increasing delivery of oxygen to the muscles, while the other half took a dummy.

But after the gruelling 21.5km climb - which was preceded by a 110km cycle for good measure - the average results of the two groups showed no difference whatsoever.

The scientists behind the trial, which is published in the Lancet, say athletes are “naive” about the benefits of illicit substances such as EPO, but that myths about their effectiveness go unchallenged in the murky world of doping.
Michele Ferrari...Snake Oil salesman? Based on this study a lot of cyclists ruined there careers for absolutely no reason.
Re: Re:

MatParker117 said:
Escarabajo said:
Here we go again!!!
The study actually showed that while EPO is a benefit when used in shorter events such as the 4 or 800 meters after a 130km plus bike ride the riders that received EPO were on average seventeen seconds slower than those who didn't.
Pantani, Riis, Armstrong, Virenque. All of them were wrong!!!

StryderHells said:
This has already been discussed in The Clinic when the studies first results came out last year http://forum.cyclingnews.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=31030&hilit=epo maybe we could merge the thread?

I do have to ask that if EPO has no effect then why were the climbing times EPO era so much faster?
Yes, I made some criticisms of the study in the last post in that thread. They were based on the following article, which is still the only one by these authors that I can find:


The latest article is described as a study of two dozen cyclists on EPO vs. two dozen controls. They were not pro cyclists, ironic because one of the main criticisms made by researchers who believe EPO has no PE is that no studies have been done on pros. Beyond that, demonstrating that there was no difference in climbing times between the two groups prior to EPO would be critical, but how this was assured is not mentioned in the media reports. I assume all the riders climbed ADH before any EPO administration, and then were divided into two groups such that the average climbing time of each group was the same. But if that was the case, there could still be individual differences in response to EPO that would be significant even if the overall average was unchanged. This kind of effect, e.g., was reported in some of the studies with beetroot juice. Some riders experienced a highly significant decrease in time in a standard time trial, while others did not improve at all.

Also, I recall seeing some studies indicating that some individuals get more of a physiological enhancement from EPO than others, so it would be quite possible for major differences in performance enhancement to exist as well. Perhaps the authors did look at effects on individual riders, but without seeing the actual study, I can't comment on that.

Also note that another Dutch group has been trying to support a revisionist line on EPO:


This was discussed in the Clinic before, too.