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Older Riders and Doping

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joe_papp said:
I can't speak for the European peloton but I know from direct admission by several riders from that era that blood doping was used in Argentina and Chile in the 1970's.

Endurance athletes have long been known to be prone to anemia. How long ago that became apparent I don't know. Blood transfusion go back to WWII if not earlier. When I moved back here in 1986, I first heard rumors about national level riders here who where doing it. Since there we're more than a few, I naming any names. I had only been racing a couple of years, but my thought is if the idea was out there here and then, it could possibly go back much further than people think.
 
BroDeal said:
We had that discussion here once. No one was able to show that any road cyclist was using blood doping in the 70s nor through the bulk of the 80s. The most people came up with is runners who were rumored to have used it.

Wasn't Moser's hour record supposed to been conducted with the aid of blood doping and the US cycling team at the 84 Olympics?
 

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Mrs John Murphy said:
Wasn't Moser's hour record supposed to been conducted with the aid of blood doping and the US cycling team at the 84 Olympics?
Moser admitted it in 1999.

BroDeal said:
We had that discussion here once. No one was able to show that any road cyclist was using blood doping in the 70s nor through the bulk of the 80s. The most people came up with is runners who were rumored to have used it.

I have little doubt that blood doping was experimented with pre Moser 84 - but that Hour record appears to have been the first time that it was actually scientifically studied.

The Italians, who were employed by the Italian Olympic Committtee went on to other sports, so it is unlikely that it was continually used in Road racing.
Of course the Moser data meant that the Italians had the jump on the correct use of EPO when it came on the black market.
 
Dr. Maserati said:
Moser admitted it in 1999.

I have little doubt that blood doping was experimented with pre Moser 84 - but that Hour record appears to have been the first time that it was actually scientifically studied.

The Italians, who were employed by the Italian Olympic Committtee went on to other sports, so it is unlikely that it was continually used in Road racing.
Of course the Moser data meant that the Italians had the jump on the correct use of EPO when it came on the black market.

Moser used it on the track, not the road. His use brings up a few questions. If blood doping was being used by top road cyclists in the 70s then why did Moser need Dr. Conconi in the mid 80s? Why did Conconi coincidently start his investigation of blood doping after the American team was discovered to have used it in 1984 if this was a well known and used technique for years prior? Why was the '84 American Olympic team able to gain an advantage if it was standard practice dating back for at least a decade? Without EPO to rapidly bring blood values back to normal after a donation, homologous blood doping would have been the norm. How many riders developed AIDs and other blood borne diseases?
 
Maxiton said:
:D:D Now there's a colorful turn of words. :D But I think that if anything the difference is even more pronounced: drinking coffee versus taking LSD. I'd urge the OP to use the search function, as this has been discussed at some length on this forum. The drugs they used in the old days were palliatives against exhaustion and pain. They did little or nothing to enhance actual performance. You could call this the propeller era of cycling.

Then along comes new technology, namely EPO and other oxygen vector drugs, as well as human growth hormone and other things we know not of. This is cycling's jet age, where big men and fat asses are being propelled up mountains at speeds formerly reserved for true mountain goats, and with much less apparent effort. Here, cycling has turned a qualitative corner, or rather drugs have, and the character of the game, and its winners, has changed.

This is most of the reason why drugs were formerly (tacitly) accepted and are now seen as the total corruption of the sport. Also, though, through at least the seventies society saw drugs as not only the solution for every ill, but also as the avenue to improvement. (In this regard the so-called counter-culture was counter nothing.) Today, in contrast, we've lost this idea and tend to see drugs as a necessary evil, or worse. Personally I find that this rather obscene.

He was open about it in several interviews, and he wasn't the only one. But it meant something different then, and it didn't mean as much (see above). Without the amphetamines Coppi was still Coppi, with all the same capabilities.

This is what is meant by "progress" in sport. ;)

Unfortunately the qualitative increase in the effects of peds on athletic performance, has also been accompanied by a quantitative lowering of character among the riders. This seems to just come with the turf. I mean if you want to be a top cyclist today, how can you avoid being deceptive and unscrupulous? I'd say this wasn't as much the case when doping was less sophisticated and the arms race hadn't really begun in earnest until afterwards. Things have obviously changed. As the drugs and money have taken over, the human aspect of sport has diminished and this can't but be accompanied by its moral debasement.

For me this is what Armstrong and his cronies imbibed and what this last generation of athletes have come to represent, the ones that told Simeoni to shut-up and not to spit on the plate from which one eats. Imagine what's vilified is speaking the truth about the doctored up food that was on that plate, which is the criminal thing to do, and not its happy defense. Omertà has always existed in the sport, however, the stakes were never so high, nor was the game so sophisticated. Either society will change and give up its ethical expectations, or the sport will, or the sport will die. I don't know, today, which one of the three scenarious is the more likely outcome.

In many ways I see this as rather typical of the present age in which, and not only in sport, the more unscrupulous and energetic one is in climbing to the top, the more brazen one is in taking recourse to every kind of illicit practice - so long as the end goal is achieved - the more he will be viewed by the public as an example of success and hence a positive role model.

The media is much to blame in this and so is our hyper-consumer and ultra-commercial, market driven culture, for which the former is naturally a reflection of the latter. Every age creates its heros (and villans) and interestingly the one is usually the opposite reflection of the other in the mirror.

The obscenity and hypocrisy is thereby overlooked today in finding praise in one's fanatical drive and zeal, because in the end there's a big fat pot of gold and, that real drug and ultimate "virtue" of our society, Fame. While the ruthlessness and depravity isn't even considered at all, since that would ruin the whole myth. In fact the extent to which today's sports heroes are applauded and idolized is also in direct proportion to their financial earnings, which is the ultimate barometer of success. In short, the more money's at stake the more corrupt it becomes and the more incorrigible are the protagonists' characters.

But years ago the athletes made much, much, less and there was an almost neighborhood familiarity between the public and the athletes, who were not celebrities, but heros of the working class. Nowadays they are viewed as real aristocrats, princes of the talk shows like actors and commercial musicians. I don't know if this natural law can be applied to the human personality here (and not only), but it seems that whenever the quantity grows exponentially ($) then the quality of moral character drops precipitously among the earners.

The fact that today a media generated cycling celebrity could actually have sat down and talked business and politics with businessmen and politicians, instead of sport (like Bono talking these things rather than music), says much about what commercial success and celebritydom is worth in our world.

Personally I find this rather obscene.
 

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BroDeal said:
Moser used it on the track, not the road. His use brings up a few questions. If blood doping was being used by top road cyclists in the 70s then why did Moser need Dr. Conconi in the mid 80s? Why did Conconi coincidently start his investigation of blood doping after the American team was discovered to have used it in 1984 if this was a well known and used technique for years prior? Why was the '84 American Olympic team able to gain an advantage if it was standard practice dating back for at least a decade? Without EPO to rapidly bring blood values back to normal after a donation, homologous blood doping would have been the norm. How many riders developed AIDs and other blood borne diseases?

Good questions - my thoughts have been that they (Conconi, Fearrari & the Italians) sought Moser, not the other way around.

A goal like the 1 hour record was perfect - a controlled environment and a consistent distance.
It was known that there may be an advantage to blood doping - but the benefits vs extraction/timing made it unlikely for the road.
That is why the Moser Hour was used by the Italians - to scientifically consider its benefits in a controlled environment.

Before that it was guesswork- the American Olympic saga was a completely amateur setup.
 
Conconi was paid by CONI to do the first EPO studies on Italian olympic athletes, but also cyclists.

I've always thought that EPO could actually put more O2 in the blood than conventional blood transfusions without it. This would explain the advantages over traditional methods and why it gave the US team the "head-start" it did over the other teams at the 84 Games since it appears that the Americans had it.

This would also explain why the latest generation of EPO is still being spiked in the mix, why the athletes are still bothering with it at all. But I'm just speculating.
 

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rhubroma said:
This is what is meant by "progress" in sport. ;)

Unfortunately the qualitative increase in the effects of peds on athletic performance, has also been accompanied by a quantitative lowering of character among the riders. This seems to just come with the turf. I mean if you want to be a top cyclist today, how can you avoid being deceptive and unscrupulous? I'd say this wasn't as much the case when doping was less sophisticated and the arms race hadn't really begun afterwards. Things have obviously changed. As the drugs and money have taken over, the human aspect of sport has diminished and this can't but be accompanied by its moral debasement.

<snipped to point>..

I understand what you are trying to say but I don't believe there has been a "lowering of character among the riders".

My view is it has always remained the same. However when the system is corrupt or complicit, then the rogue characters rise at the cost of good ones.

There was always doping going on - but it wasn't viewed as doping, or at times even illegal. It was an evolving situation - a confused situation, unfortunately it had had long down the road before it started to be addressed.
 
rhubroma said:
Conconi was paid by CONI to do the first EPO studies on Italian olympic athletes, but also cyclists.

I've always thought that EPO could actually put more O2 in the blood than conventional blood transfusions without it. This would explain the advantages over traditional methods and why it gave the US team the "head-start" it did over the other teams at the 84 Games since it appears that the Americans had it.

Say what? I am not sure that clinical trials of recombinant EPO had even started in 1984.
 
Dr. Maserati said:
I understand what you are trying to say but I don't believe there has been a "lowering of character among the riders".

My view is it has always remained the same. However when the system is corrupt or complicit, then the rogue characters rise at the cost of good ones.

There was always doping going on - but it wasn't viewed as doping, or at times even illegal. It was an evolving situation - a confused situation, unfortunately it had had long down the road before it started to be addressed.

That's a good point, however, as the records keep getting broken, I think there's at least some merit to my thoughts in this regard too.

And precisely because of how it is no longer viewed as not being illegal, the greater the lack of compunction must be to behave a certain way, which is in direct proportion to the shamelessness required to chalk it up in the media to an infinite amount of hard work and admirable constancy and dedication. As long as the myth sells, we daren't think of deconstructing it and when it no longer has any power, we find a way to rebuild it.

Not in all athletes, mind you, but among far too many of them a whole new level of excellence has been achieved in this art. Like the present generation of stock brokers compared to those 40 years ago. The art of corruption and amorality has reached unprecedented levels of accomplishment in today's generation, who are egged on and abetted by a system that's just as fetid and a media that only want's the next story to sell. In this sense there has been a monstrous equivocation generated by the mass media civilization.

And I mean athletes fraternizing with heads of state!

Or even if human character is a constant, the means of mass destruction have become far greater.
 
BroDeal said:
Say what? I am not sure that clinical trials of recombinant EPO had even started in 1984.

Well, BroDeal, I've been told that that's precisely what Conconi was paid to do.

Now that could be wrong, but this is what I heard through the grape-vine, by which I mean a noted Italian cycling journalist.
 
Echoes said:
Lombardy 1973, he was caught for ... syrup. He raced the Coppa Agostoni, a few days before and it rained cats and dogs. Consequently, he had a start of bronchitis and took syrup. Mucantyl is part of syrup. You'd tell me he should have asked for a TUE but again, I don't know anybody who has disputed that version 40 years after. Mucantyl is by the way no longer on the list of banned substance today.

I had a look at Wielerachieven.be and I realized I made a mistake.

Merckx DID have a doctor attest before Lombardy 1973. So his victory has been stolen (not the only case I know either). And he should have another great classic to his palmarès. Too bad for the skeptics. :cool:


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There's little doubt in my mind that Moser only discovered blood tranfusion in 1984. But saying he only used it for the track is kidding. When he won Milan-Sanremo, he stopped tranfusion ??

Soccer player Franz Beckenbauer admitted to using it in 1977.
 
rhubroma said:
Well, BroDeal, I've been told that that's precisely what Conconi was paid to do.

Now that could be wrong, but this is what I heard through the grape-vine, by which I mean a noted Italian cycling journalist.

At what time? As I remember it Conconi did blood transfusion research in the mid 80s and he and his proteges experimented with EPO in the late 80s and early 90s.

I don't recall anyone from the U.S. Olympic team saying they used EPO. EPO was not approved by the FDA until 1989.
 

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Echoes said:
<snipped for brevity>

There's little doubt in my mind that Moser only discovered blood tranfusion in 1984. But saying he only used it for the track is kidding. When he won Milan-Sanremo, he stopped tranfusion ??

Soccer player Franz Beckenbauer admitted to using it in 1977.

Well, yes & no.
His Hour record was in January - so he would already have been at a very high level when he started the 84 season - with the effects of blood doping.

Did he transfuse again before or for MSR? I really would doubt it.

PS - thats interesting about Beckenbauer.
 
BroDeal said:
At what time? As I remember it Conconi did blood transfusion research in the mid 80s and he and his proteges experimented with EPO in the late 80s and early 90s.

I don't recall anyone from the U.S. Olympic team saying they used EPO. EPO was not approved by the FDA until 1989.

Well, I think the date when Conconi began experimenting with EPO was somewhat earlier, but I can only go on memory.

I don't know where US athletes where with this at that time, but, again from memory, I think I read something about the 84 olympic team being on a most sophisticated program.

The question you brought up thus begs to be investigated.
 

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rhubroma said:
Well, I think the date when Conconi began experimenting with EPO was somewhat earlier, but I can only go on memory.

I don't know where US athletes where with this at that time, but, again from memory, I think I read something about the 84 olympic team being on a most sophisticated program.

The question you brought up thus begs to be investigated.

We discussed this before - it seems clear that EPO was not available until at best 1988.
There is no way that either Conconi or USA would have bothered with blood doping if EPO was available.

The USA team doping was far from sophisticated - it was done in a motel.
 
Dr. Maserati said:
We discussed this before - it seems clear that EPO was not available until at best 1988.
There is no way that either Conconi or USA would have bothered with blood doping if EPO was available.

The USA team doping was far from sophisticated - it was done in a motel.

Alright, well, all I can say is that in Italy among the cycling congnoscenti it is widely accepted that Moser, who was followed by Conconi at the time, was on EPO when he broke the hour record in 84.

And I have always admitted to mere speculation about the US team, but their dominance does pose a question.
 
rhubroma said:
Alright, well, all I can say is that in Italy among the cycling congnoscenti it is widely accepted that Moser, who was followed by Conconi at the time, was on EPO when he broke the hour record in 84.

And I have always admitted to mere speculation about the US team, but their dominance does pose a question.

I think you have your dates mixed up. In 1984 Moser used blood transfusions. He and Conconi have admitted that. In 1994 he attempted to retake the hour record. He used a bunch of aero advances and, presumably, EPO. He failed to set the record, but he did ride farther than he did in '84 despite being ten years older.

Interestingly, Moser's first record was in January of 1984, before the '84 Olympics.
 
Jul 2, 2009
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rhubroma said:
Alright, well, all I can say is that in Italy among the cycling congnoscenti it is widely accepted that Moser, who was followed by Conconi at the time, was on EPO when he broke the hour record in 84.

And I have always admitted to mere speculation about the US team, but their dominance does pose a question.

The patent application for rEPO wasn't even filed until December 1983, so there's no way that anyone was using in 1984.
 
BroDeal said:
I think you have your dates mixed up. In 1984 Moser used blood transfusions. He and Conconi have admitted that. In 1994 he attempted to retake the hour record. He used a bunch of aero advances and, presumably, EPO. He failed to set the record, but he did ride farther than he did in '84 despite being ten years older.

Interestingly, Moser's first record was in January of 1984, before the '84 Olympics.

Thanks for the correction. Ok, in any case, that's what was admitted. I still maintain that CONI hired Conconi to do experiments with EPO at the earlier date. Also because in Rome there is/was cutting edge blood science being done. In fact, there was, if not there still is, an anual convention of blood science held by international medicine at La Sapienza. I know this because I once knew an ederly patient who suffered from a blood disorder where he produced too much hematocrit. What a kick-a$$ cyclist he would have made!