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Leading GB cyclist tests positive (yikes)!

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Benotti69 said:
These athletes don't have asthma!

If they did they would never have got to the elite level of their sport.

Asthma medication is part of a plethora of PEDs to enhance performance.
No and yes. I personally know two former Div2/Pro Conti riders (one was a stagiare for a Div 1 team for a season) who are genuine asthmatics and still carry inhalers. But both have also said that the medications are abused.
 
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42x16ss said:
Benotti69 said:
These athletes don't have asthma!

If they did they would never have got to the elite level of their sport.

Asthma medication is part of a plethora of PEDs to enhance performance.
No and yes. I personally know two former Div2/Pro Conti riders (one was a stagiare for a Div 1 team for a season) who are genuine asthmatics and still carry inhalers. But both have also said that the medications are abused.
What do you define as genuine asthma?
 
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More Strides than Rides said:
42x16ss said:
Benotti69 said:
These athletes don't have asthma!

If they did they would never have got to the elite level of their sport.

Asthma medication is part of a plethora of PEDs to enhance performance.
No and yes. I personally know two former Div2/Pro Conti riders (one was a stagiare for a Div 1 team for a season) who are genuine asthmatics and still carry inhalers. But both have also said that the medications are abused.
What do you define as genuine asthma?
Restrictions of the airways. For both of them it is predominantly environmental.
 
Aug 5, 2014
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Caused by them (the italians) training too much?
It's like all those cross country skiers who are asthmatic because they're skiing in the cold and my thinking to that is that perhaps they should chose a different sport then. Or rest until it goes over. Never should any athlete be allowed to use any performance enhancing medicine while they're performing.
 
Feb 28, 2010
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Dr.Guess said:
Caused by them (the italians) training too much?
It's like all those cross country skiers who are asthmatic because they're skiing in the cold and my thinking to that is that perhaps they should chose a different sport then. Or rest until it goes over. Never should any athlete be allowed to use any performance enhancing medicine while they're performing.
If you're asthmatic the `performance enhancing medicine' might bring your lung function close to normal, but then it might not. For asthmatics a huge performance enhancer would be not being asthmatic.
 
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Hawkwood said:
Dr.Guess said:
Caused by them (the italians) training too much?
It's like all those cross country skiers who are asthmatic because they're skiing in the cold and my thinking to that is that perhaps they should chose a different sport then. Or rest until it goes over. Never should any athlete be allowed to use any performance enhancing medicine while they're performing.
If you're asthmatic the `performance enhancing medicine' might bring your lung function close to normal, but then it might not. For asthmatics a huge performance enhancer would be not being asthmatic.
But is there any data that shows non asthmatics perform better than asthmatics?

An asthmatic won the TDF last year, would he prefer to be non asthmatic with the hope that he could perform better?
 
I think Kimmage nailed it:

CF: I eat breakfast before a long race. Is that not doing something to boost my performance? If I don’t eat I won’t have any energy; if I don’t have my inhaler before a really big effort I’m probably not going to be able to breathe very well. I know I’m not going to be able to breathe very well.

PK: But is that (health) not the essence of competition?

I am amused that Froome implies drugs are just as essential to his performance/life as food. EPO is orange juice.
 
Feb 10, 2010
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42x16ss said:
Benotti69 said:
These athletes don't have asthma!

If they did they would never have got to the elite level of their sport.

Asthma medication is part of a plethora of PEDs to enhance performance.
No and yes. I personally know two former Div2/Pro Conti riders (one was a stagiare for a Div 1 team for a season) who are genuine asthmatics and still carry inhalers. But both have also said that the medications are abused.
Abused for weight loss. Phil Gaimon talks about it in his book apparently. He didn't know he was asthmatic either.

Some elite athlete riding a bike somewhere probably really, actually does have some kind of asthma. Maybe even this poor fellow on the WT. MANY elite cyclists? Probably not.

Enough talk about who does/doesn't have asthma. Asthma is part of the IOC's safe doping program and has been for decades.
 
Jul 16, 2013
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I've had asthma since my early teans - not exercised induced, but brought on by environmental factors beyond my control - pollution etc. I run distance races moderately competitively. Sometimes I can run without my inhaler when things are good - so I have a sense of what my normal lung function feels like uninhibited. To a great extent I think the salbutamol discussion is a red herring. If I need to use it, all it does is return me to my normal level. I can keep puffing on it forever after that and there is no discernible change. It doesn't stop me getting out of breath when exerted. On the other hand inhaled corticosteroids which most asthmatics also take as a controller, I suspect have much more potential to be abused. My sense is that the more you take the stronger your lungs get. Modern asthma control has most 'proper' asthmatics using the inhaled steroids rather than salbutamol as it is considered better practice. So anyone that uses salbutamol you would normally expect to be on inhaled steroids too. They need a TUE for this i suspect - which then gives the potential for abuse. I think this is where the real story lies - not salbutamol use.
 
Jul 16, 2013
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To add a couple of points on this issue. I tend to try and avoid using my steroid inhalor as much as possible because of the side effects - most significantly loss of voice and coughing, which reminds me of a couple of riders post race interviews.

The other point about Asthma is that there are millions of kids with genuine asthma. One of the roles of sport I think is to encourage kids to get off the sofa and do some sport. The message to those asthmatic kids can't be - 'sorry you can't compete in top level sport because you have to use an inhalor'. We can't simply say that asthmatics have no place in top level sport. As usual the drug testing has to be better so that we can tell the difference between a performance enhancing level of the drug in the body and a level which is justifiable based on a documented condition.

Athletes who fabricate this condition to get access to certain medication should realise they are harming people with a genuine condition because of the associated backlash.

And yes, its very possible to compete at a top level in sport with Asthma. Asthma does not imply damaged or substandard lungs. It implies that under some circumstances they contract to below their normal capacity, which is very much different to being out of breath. When not suffering an asthmatic reaction I have, and always have had well above average lung capacity.
 
Jul 16, 2013
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tantocomo said:
yaco said:
zigmeister said:
Ok guys, take the tinfoil hats off. They put on the doping control form, at the time of the test, he was taking the stuff. Yeah, really trying to hide something when you willfully put on the form at the time of the test you are taking something that doesn't allow you to compete without a TUE?!?!?!

With that said, we could go on and on about justification of taking certain drugs/treatment for "accepted conditions". Why in quotes? Asthma...oh, must be a legitimate issue. He breathed into a plastic container and the little floating ball didn't stay up very long, he must have "asthma", give him drugs.

But, we can show that abnormally/malfunctioning testis that lead to a lower Testosterone level with blood test, MRIs of the pituitary and other testing will show a person could/should take Testosterone as a treatment.

What's the difference? Both benefit the rider from an abnormal health condition, which the drugs clearly help them to compete.

Either they can't breathe, and don't race...or they take this magical drug, and can breathe, and are allowed to compete. How hypocritical is the entire drug/doping situation?
Excellent post - Hit the nail on the head.
Let's say I have a physical disability such as a loss of limb, motor neurone disease or blindness, but I want to compete at an elite level. What do I do? I compete in disabled sport. Why should asthma be any different?
Really ? You actually meant this ? You realise that people with a physical disability are allowed to compete in non-disabled sports too? Or should they be banned on the basis of their disability? We should discriminate against the disabled? Nice thought process.
 
furtherfaster said:
To add a couple of points on this issue. I tend to try and avoid using my steroid inhalor as much as possible because of the side effects - most significantly loss of voice and coughing, which reminds me of a couple of riders post race interviews.
I think you've thrown a bit of a hail mary in there! I compete at national (formerly international) level in distance running. After a race its not uncommon for me to be in the sort of state you describe for quite a while afterwards.

I'm certainly not saying that these sort of medications aren't abused but a few riders coughing and struggling to speak after a race isn't any sort of evidence.
 
Feb 28, 2010
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Irondan said:
Hawkwood said:
Dr.Guess said:
Caused by them (the italians) training too much?
It's like all those cross country skiers who are asthmatic because they're skiing in the cold and my thinking to that is that perhaps they should chose a different sport then. Or rest until it goes over. Never should any athlete be allowed to use any performance enhancing medicine while they're performing.
If you're asthmatic the `performance enhancing medicine' might bring your lung function close to normal, but then it might not. For asthmatics a huge performance enhancer would be not being asthmatic.
But is there any data that shows non asthmatics perform better than asthmatics?

An asthmatic won the TDF last year, would he prefer to be non asthmatic with the hope that he could perform better?
I don't know about data, my opinion is that if you have two people equally talented and trained the non-asthmatic will tend to perform better. Asthmatics often have other problems such as hay fever (me) and sinusitis (me again). And the asthma triggers can include air pollution, temperature, cigarette smoke, air-conditioning, mold, dust mites, bronchial infections etc. The effects of asthma can range from mild discomfort to death. So it's not a disease I'd recommend to anyone, and in my case I would have won more races without it. If Froome has asthma then it's undoubtedly being very well controlled, but I would guess he'd prefer not to have it.
 
Jan 15, 2013
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furtherfaster said:
To a great extent I think the salbutamol discussion is a red herring. If I need to use it, all it does is return me to my normal level. I can keep puffing on it forever after that and there is no discernible change. It doesn't stop me getting out of breath when exerted.
That is pretty much exactly my experience.

furtherfaster said:
So anyone that uses salbutamol you would normally expect to be on inhaled steroids too. They need a TUE for this i suspect - which then gives the potential for abuse. I think this is where the real story lies - not salbutamol use.
You don't need a TUE for the steroid inhalers either in standard doses - the inhaled dose is tiny because it goes straight to where it's needed. If you wanted to get the sort of systemic effects that people use cortisone etc. for you'd have to take a very large dose well over the allowed threshold and that'd be a positive test and a ban.

furtherfaster said:
The other point about Asthma is that there are millions of kids with genuine asthma. One of the roles of sport I think is to encourage kids to get off the sofa and do some sport. The message to those asthmatic kids can't be - 'sorry you can't compete in top level sport because you have to use an inhalor'. We can't simply say that asthmatics have no place in top level sport. As usual the drug testing has to be better so that we can tell the difference between a performance enhancing level of the drug in the body and a level which is justifiable based on a documented condition.
Again, fully agree with this. There's enough weird lazy stereotyping of kids with asthma as there is. For a long time when I was a kid, my asthma wasn't being treated properly and I used to come home wheezing every day. We had cross-country races with 60-70 people and I'd finish last behind all the fat kids. If you told me that I'd be doing even crappy Cat 4 cycling races as an adult I wouldn't have believed it.
 
Let's say I have a physical disability such as a loss of limb, motor neurone disease or blindness, but I want to compete at an elite level. What do I do? I compete in disabled sport. Why should asthma be any different?



LOL
 
The issue with asthma is that there is no clear "has it" and "doesn't have it" line. The severity of the disorder is different for everyone, and brought on by many factors: genetic, environmental, and lifestyle.

Comparing it to a physical disability is creating a false dichotomy; it is very obvious when an athlete does or doesn't have legs.

But there a few possibilities with asthma, legitimate, illegitimate, and in between:
-A person has asthma from a young age and pursues athletics.
- A person has asthma but it is never diagnosed
-A person is at risk and through the course of their life, turns asthmatic
-A person is at risk and through the stress of athletics, turns asthmatic
-A person is healthy, and through intense lifestyle and environmental stressors, develops asthma (exercise induced type)
-A person is healthy, and through lifestyle and environment, thinks they have the symptoms of asthma, and then confirmed by a doctor, without actually being asthmatic
-A person is healthy, knows they are not asthmatic, but wants to cheat with steroids

Those last two cases are problematic, because they're both cheating but only one of them is purposeful.

As has been explained above, it may be the case for one person that a dose may just get them back to normal. But it doesn't matter if one person doesn't get an effect, if one other person could get an effect. I don't know asthma or its medications well enough to say it does or doesn't, but no one here has any proof of the "back to normal and nothing more" hypothesis. But given the individual nature of responses, the different circumstances of asthma, I think it is fair to say that it could be more or less than a return to "baseline". And again, if it could be more (an improvement of the baseline), that is a problem.
 
Feb 28, 2010
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More Strides than Rides said:
The issue with asthma is that there is no clear "has it" and "doesn't have it" line. The severity of the disorder is different for everyone, and brought on by many factors: genetic, environmental, and lifestyle.

Comparing it to a physical disability is creating a false dichotomy; it is very obvious when an athlete does or doesn't have legs.

But there a few possibilities with asthma, legitimate, illegitimate, and in between:
-A person has asthma from a young age and pursues athletics.
- A person has asthma but it is never diagnosed
-A person is at risk and through the course of their life, turns asthmatic
-A person is at risk and through the stress of athletics, turns asthmatic
-A person is healthy, and through intense lifestyle and environmental stressors, develops asthma (exercise induced type)
-A person is healthy, and through lifestyle and environment, thinks they have the symptoms of asthma, and then confirmed by a doctor, without actually being asthmatic
-A person is healthy, knows they are not asthmatic, but wants to cheat with steroids

Those last two cases are problematic, because they're both cheating but only one of them is purposeful.

As has been explained above, it may be the case for one person that a dose may just get them back to normal. But it doesn't matter if one person doesn't get an effect, if one other person could get an effect. I don't know asthma or its medications well enough to say it does or doesn't, but no one here has any proof of the "back to normal and nothing more" hypothesis. But given the individual nature of responses, the different circumstances of asthma, I think it is fair to say that it could be more or less than a return to "baseline". And again, if it could be more (an improvement of the baseline), that is a problem.
Lots of points, and I won't attempt to answer all of them. I have been asthmatic since at least the age of 5 based on some early memories, but I wasn't diagnosed as being asthmatic until I was 29 and about to be operated on. There followed a number of medical check-ups, and I was asked to monitor my peak flow with a meter. On asthma drugs I thought my peak flow was very good, but was then told by a doctor that it was just about okay for my height and fitness. I was also told that the asthma might have a progressive negative impact on my lung function. And over the last 25 years different doctors have expressed some concern that my peak flow has been declining rather faster than they would like. In my case I think the drugs have got me to reasonably close to normal when I was younger, but I'm not so sure now. The main benefit of the drugs for me is not having that awful feeling during an asthma attack that someone's standing on my chest. I don't think the drugs could give you more lung function than you've already theoretically got.
 
Re: Re:

Hawkwood said:
More Strides than Rides said:
Lots of points, and I won't attempt to answer all of them. I have been asthmatic since at least the age of 5 based on some early memories, but I wasn't diagnosed as being asthmatic until I was 29 and about to be operated on. There followed a number of medical check-ups, and I was asked to monitor my peak flow with a meter. On asthma drugs I thought my peak flow was very good, but was then told by a doctor that it was just about okay for my height and fitness. I was also told that the asthma might have a progressive negative impact on my lung function. And over the last 25 years different doctors have expressed some concern that my peak flow has been declining rather faster than they would like. In my case I think the drugs have got me to reasonably close to normal when I was younger, but I'm not so sure now. The main benefit of the drugs for me is not having that awful feeling during an asthma attack that someone's standing on my chest. I don't think the drugs could give you more lung function than you've already theoretically got.
Thanks for the perspective. It's hard to tell on the internet, but I'm asking out of curiosity and not snark: What about the loss limitation, rather than improving lung function? Such as a non-asthmatic on medication on a sunny day in France or on a high mountain stage during a cold, white-out at Tirreno Adriatico? Or a 2700m mountain at the Giro? Or even during training at high altitude? (Is there any relationship between asthma, medication, and altitude? I don't know...).

Actually, if anybody has a good source of information on what asthma medication actually does, that would help me. Things like "air flow" have the illusion of simplicity, but trying to understand the mechanisms of a medication, a baseline level, and improvement make it hard for me to conceptualize the difference between an absolute "improvement" compared to "improving but not beyond what you've theoretically already got"
 
vedrafjord said:
You don't need a TUE for the steroid inhalers either in standard doses - the inhaled dose is tiny because it goes straight to where it's needed. If you wanted to get the sort of systemic effects that people use cortisone etc. for you'd have to take a very large dose well over the allowed threshold and that'd be a positive test and a ban.
If you want to take a large dose, you just take the relevant precautions to avoid going positive as per normal doping practice. e.g. avoid glowing on race day when most testing is done.
 
Jan 15, 2013
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More Strides than Rides said:
Actually, if anybody has a good source of information on what asthma medication actually does, that would help me.
There are two types: a reliever (like salbutamol) to take if you're having symptoms or an attack, and a preventer (inhaled corticosteroids) to make future symptoms less likely by telling your immune system to calm down a bit.

The immune system(s) is (are) complicated and can easily go wrong - the super simple version of one part is your body makes a load of white blood cells and they undergo a series of trials before graduating to full service - both underactive (which miss harmful things) and overactive (which go crazy and attack their own cells) cells are supposed to be culled before maturity.

Imagine some overactive cells make it through - they could be near your lungs and see something completely harmless like pollen and freak out, starting an inflammatory cascade that brings in other white blood cells and cuts off blood flow and constricts the lungs and does all kinds of counterproductive emergency things. Incidentally if your body doesn't see enough germs growing up this is more likely to happen.

Salbutamol (ventolin) etc are the quick fix that opens up the airways - it targets a specific receptor that's one of many receptors that adrenaline targets, that causes the blood vessels to open up and stop the swelling.

Corticosteroids basically signal to the white blood cells to calm down a bit - that's why large doses are given to organ transplant recipients to avoid rejection. This prevents them going crazy next time round.

My personal experience is the same as other asthmatics in this thread - if I'm having issues then inhalers bring me mostly up to my normal level, but they don't help beyond that - if I'm already fine then they make no difference.
 
Feb 28, 2010
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More Strides than Rides said:
Hawkwood said:
More Strides than Rides said:
Lots of points, and I won't attempt to answer all of them. I have been asthmatic since at least the age of 5 based on some early memories, but I wasn't diagnosed as being asthmatic until I was 29 and about to be operated on. There followed a number of medical check-ups, and I was asked to monitor my peak flow with a meter. On asthma drugs I thought my peak flow was very good, but was then told by a doctor that it was just about okay for my height and fitness. I was also told that the asthma might have a progressive negative impact on my lung function. And over the last 25 years different doctors have expressed some concern that my peak flow has been declining rather faster than they would like. In my case I think the drugs have got me to reasonably close to normal when I was younger, but I'm not so sure now. The main benefit of the drugs for me is not having that awful feeling during an asthma attack that someone's standing on my chest. I don't think the drugs could give you more lung function than you've already theoretically got.
Thanks for the perspective. It's hard to tell on the internet, but I'm asking out of curiosity and not snark: What about the loss limitation, rather than improving lung function? Such as a non-asthmatic on medication on a sunny day in France or on a high mountain stage during a cold, white-out at Tirreno Adriatico? Or a 2700m mountain at the Giro? Or even during training at high altitude? (Is there any relationship between asthma, medication, and altitude? I don't know...).

Actually, if anybody has a good source of information on what asthma medication actually does, that would help me. Things like "air flow" have the illusion of simplicity, but trying to understand the mechanisms of a medication, a baseline level, and improvement make it hard for me to conceptualize the difference between an absolute "improvement" compared to "improving but not beyond what you've theoretically already got"
See vedrafjord's post for what the drugs actually do. In my case the reliever inhaler (Ventolin) never did a good job of actually relieving attacks. The cold dry air found at altitude can be a major problem for an asthmatic. But my worst ever experience was having a combined hay fever and asthma attack while driving through Italy on a very hot May day. Peak flow is a very rough and ready guideline, however for me when I was pretty fit my PF was 700-750 (I think they've changed the scale since then), and an asthma attack resulted in a drop of about 10% or more in the PF. At around 600 things were very unpleasant and I'd be breathing hard to drag in air. For other people their PF might be 500 and they feel fine with that. I understand that long-term asthma can impact on the oxygenation of the blood, and this was raised as an issue at my last asthma check-up.
 
Aug 3, 2010
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if I'm already fine then they make no difference.[/quote said:
That it not the same as saying it will do nothing for you if you did not need it in the first place. :confused:
 
Jul 16, 2013
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spetsa said:
if I'm already fine then they make no difference.[/quote said:
That it not the same as saying it will do nothing for you if you did not need it in the first place. :confused:
Salbutamol acts to prevent spasm in the alveoli. It doesn't increase lung capacity. No spasm = no action. Try it if you like - borrow a salbutamol and puff away. I guarantee it won't do a thing!
 
Dec 7, 2010
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Salbutamol acts to prevent spasm in the alveoli. It doesn't increase lung capacity. No spasm = no action. Try it if you like - borrow a salbutamol and puff away. I guarantee it won't do a thing!
Yeah that is why it is on the banned substance list because it won't do a thing.
 

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