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    Allegheny Mtns of WV Paco97's Avatar
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    How does EPO Work?

    Kinda what I'm looking for is how long it stays in your system? Do these guys need to take it everyday to "replenish" or is it like other drugs that stays in your system for a month and you take it once and you continue to experience it's effects?
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    The effects can remain for weeks after it's totally cleared from the body.
    What drugs stay in the system for a month? I don't know doping products, but most drugs in general have biological half lives of less than 12 hours, as far as I know (meaning they're basically gone within a few days)
    EPO is a hormone that controls red blood cell production. It acts as a doping product in basically the same way that blood doping works. Gives a higher percentage of red blood cells in the blood stream. Red blood cells transport oxygen to tissues. AFAIK, too high of a red blood cell concentration puts strain on the cardiovascular system, and can cause cardiac arrest. So theoretically, the more performance gain a rider goes for, the closer they are to risking death.

    some neat information

    very interesting
    Last edited by Dolomiti; 07-25-09 at 09:29 PM.

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    How does EPO work?

    AC: Proxima pregunta (next question, in spanish).

    Just kidding!!!

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    From what I've heard, EPO achieves the same result (more red blood cells) as high altitude training. I know that the benefit you receive from living at high altitude goes away after a few days, so I would imagine that EPO wouldn't last for much longer than that without taking it again. But that's not scientific in any way, and trace amounts may linger.

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    afaik epo is produced by the kidneys so its in everyones body normally and we use it to stimulate red blood cell production. its an on-going process. rbcs are worn out and recycled and more are made to take their place. red blood cells carry oxygen, which we use to move our muscles etc. cyclists and other sports people use it to increase their red blood cells so they can carry more oxygen and therefore do more work. it does put more strain on the cardiovascular system and is quite dangerous as regards strokes etc.

    technically you could use epo in training to make yourself stronger and then quit before the season starts but the professional cyclists have to do test all year round. well should do!

    i'm sure there is a certain acceptable level that testers use to determine whether epo was increased artificially or not but can't say for sure.
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythropoietin

    https://secure1.securewebexchange.co...m/www/id43.htm

    A quote from the second link:

    he main danger with elevated haematocrit is the increased viscosity of the blood. This condition could be amplified by dehydration which is quite common during endurance competition and training. During this time, a life threatening hypovolemic hyperviscosity (low water content of blood that makes it sticky) condition could occur and create extraordinary demand on the heart and lungs. The athlete could go into cardiac arrest, have a pulmonary embolism, develop clots in any small vessel in the body, and experience seizures with hypertensive encephalopathy (inflammation of the brain causing disorientation, drowsiness, delirium, and possibly coma) that could be fatal. It was suspected, but not proven, that the deaths of 18 Belgium and Dutch world-class cyclists may have been linked to erythropoietin-induced RBC growth.
    These deaths occurred in the late eighties and early nineties. Since that time, methods have been developed to lower the acute risks of EPO use, but the long term effects are still unknown.

    Clearly EPO use can boost performance but the risk to the user is just too great. Any method that may safely avert athletes away from this hazardous avenue of performance enhancement should be considered. One deterrent may be to suggest an alternative because if athletes have come to a decision to use such substances then the only way to deflect them away from use may be to give a legitimate alternative that works and of course is safe

    Hyper hydration is used to minimize some of the blood thickening symptoms of EPO use. Hyper hydration with glycerol ingestion may be used (without EPO) to safely improve an athletes performance by aiding in thermoregulation. Glycerol attracts water and creates a hyper hydrated state within the body. Glycerol appears to be a safe and effective way to hyper hydrate and improve performance particularly in hot conditions.

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    1. inject
    2. get fast
    3. ????
    4. PROFIT
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    Manzano said in 2004:
    EPO is detectable in an athlete's urine up to three days after its administration, but Manzano claims it is taken in training before major events. He added that the blood thickness tests intended to limit the drug's use are still easily circumvented, thanks to the half-hour gap between the cyclists being notified and the blood tests being carried out.

    According to Manzano, the practice of injecting cyclists with plasma to reduce blood thickness - described by the former Festina soigneur Willy Voet in 1999 - is still in vogue, as is the use of albumin, a substance that draws liquid from the body into the bloodstream. He also describes the use of aspirin - taken every two hours - to reduce his blood thickness.
    from http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2004...ycling.cycling

    Quote Originally Posted by eb314 View Post
    From what I've heard, EPO achieves the same result (more red blood cells) as high altitude training. I know that the benefit you receive from living at high altitude goes away after a few days, so I would imagine that EPO wouldn't last for much longer than that without taking it again. But that's not scientific in any way, and trace amounts may linger.
    Altitude training shows evidence of benefits for at least a couple weeks after returning to sea level. Though training at altitude is harder on the body. A rider can't train as hard as they would if they took EPO instead at sea level.

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    LTJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolomiti View Post
    Altitude training shows evidence of benefits for at least a couple weeks after returning to sea level. Though training at altitude is harder on the body. A rider can't train as hard as they would if they took EPO instead at sea level.
    Hence the "sleep high, train low" theory. Also, hypobaric chambers. I think given these two methods of boosting RBC numbers, and the hematocrit tests you mentioned, EPO isn't really the most beneficial doping method. There are better safer ways they are enhancing their performance. The TdF is also uniquely long and grueling and riders might be more interested in storing calories or speeding recovery time, something steroids would help with. Overall I don't think EPO is as popular in the TdF as people think.

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    Pokes On Spokes JPradun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LTJ View Post
    Hence the "sleep high, train low" theory. Also, hypobaric chambers. I think given these two methods of boosting RBC numbers, and the hematocrit tests you mentioned, EPO isn't really the most beneficial doping method. There are better safer ways they are enhancing their performance. The TdF is also uniquely long and grueling and riders might be more interested in storing calories or speeding recovery time, something steroids would help with. Overall I don't think EPO is as popular in the TdF as people think.
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    don't feel so bad about being slow and about not being able to basically race a very difficult century (and then some) basically every day for three weeks. These guys are clearly great athletes, but cycling also has a long and noble history of doping. I don't think I believe that they've suddenly stopped. You just have to stay one step ahead of detection abilities.

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    AC had to be taking it

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    I have heard that the guys that don't get caught have special formulations made for them, so they don't get popped. It is the dumb ones or the ones that can't afford their own special formulations that get popped.
    I have a hard time believing that these guys can maintain their performance day after day during such grueling races. Plus if you can gain a 10 to 15 percent advantage by blood doping, how can you compete against that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by julian View Post
    I have heard that the guys that don't get caught have special formulations made for them, so they don't get popped. It is the dumb ones or the ones that can't afford their own special formulations that get popped.
    I have a hard time believing that these guys can maintain their performance day after day during such grueling races. Plus if you can gain a 10 to 15 percent advantage by blood doping, how can you compete against that?
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/afld...ugs-in-peloton

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paco97 View Post
    Kinda what I'm looking for is how long it stays in your system? Do these guys need to take it everyday to "replenish" or is it like other drugs that stays in your system for a month and you take it once and you continue to experience it's effects?
    For technical details on how EPO works, a simple type into google will provide more than enough info.

    With cycling, a different dynamics here are a few thoughts.

    EPO is regarded by many pros in the peleton as "healthy"
    Yes, healthy.
    Why?
    Well simple. At an average of 45km/h for 3 weeks, potatoes, peas and carrots, washed down by water isnt going to leave your body in any good shape. Your career will be shortened and you will be a leathery old man by the time you are 35. Some riders consider EPO as a "strengthener". A tonic that merely helps you recover to go race for weeks on end.

    Honestly, I agree with this sentiment. See, when you train and race daily, your natural himatocrit levels go down. If you are racing at Grand Tour level, they (red blood cells) will deplete until you are in hospital. Unless you are allowed some weeks to do nothing to recoop (which you wont, because if you do, they will give your contract to someone else), you will get sick and over train. This is science. It is simply what it is.

    The simple rule of 50% in my opinion was a safety measure to keep the riders from over doing it, and was enough to allow riders to race year-round without becoming ill or over tiring their bodies. Unless we all decide that the Tour should only have 120km stages, it is simply unhealthy for any human to do the Tour at the distance and intensity required these days. The 50% rule was fair, healthy and safe.

    The biggest blunder that the UCI could have done is getting a test for EPO. Now riders resort to blood transfusion. A FAR, FAR more dangerous activity. Its such a pity.

    In addition, training at altitude is the same as taking EPO. Sleeping in an altitude tent is the same thing. So are both of those illegal? Why not? Further more, there are people like myself, born, raised and trained at 2000m above sea-level. My parents, grandparent all grew up at 2000m above sea-level. Look up Kenya and other such countries (im from Zimbabwe).This means that my blood will have different characteristics from those born and raised at sea-level.
    In fact, the UCI had special exemptions for such events. Some riders were allowed a 52 or 53% rule.

    Ultimately, unless a rider was on 65%, there was no real benefit for a test other than the 50% rule. The only difference is that in some instances, like the columbians, and other ethnic races have larger red blood platelets by nature. This means they may have a naturally lower level (red-blood cell count) while living at altitude, but when you boost it up to 50%, you have a greater advantage than Caucasian athletes for example. This has been attributed to some of the success that the Kenyans have had.
    Of course since cycling is an endurance sport, you will never get ride of blood manipulation. The best thing you can do is CONTROL it. Thinking you can eradicate it is arrogantly stupid.

    Even now, they think they have a test for EPO. What fools. The test can only detect EPO that has been injected over the last week or so as far as I know. EPO takes almost a month to take full effect or to boost you up to where you want to be. (One injection every week). One can easily boost their himatocrit in winter, give yourself 2 weeks, after the last injection, then draw blood packets to store. Use them during the season, and you cannot detect EPO. This puts the riders in far greater danger than the mere 50% rule. Where riders only have to take EPO and avoid the whole blood storage, transportation and re-infusion of blood.

    The issue of EPO is far more complex than one might initially think. But those are a few things to think about.
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    Junior Member 10MTCocoa's Avatar
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    I think they take blood when they are doing their altitude training, then have it tested out and come race time they change the oil with the good stuff, post race, swap it back so their blood levels become normal. only thing if this were the case, they'd look like junkies from all the track marks?

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    We need to ask Dr. Michele Ferrari this. The man is an expert in how EPO works, especially in the high level cyclist winning multiple Tours de France.

    EPO is an hormone, produced naturally by the kidneys and also available synthetically via injection form. It stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.

    The bad thing about EPO is that it thickens the blood. You know, all those good new red blood cells that carry oxygen? Well, that stuff is like sludge and can cause a clot. This usually occurs in the major organs, like brain, kidneys, heart, etc. You can get a stroke. You can get a heart attack. You can die!!!!!!!!!!

    ...so enter saline infusions. Saline infusions are commonly used for patients who are dehydrated. Hook up an IV bad and voila! You know what else saline infusions are for? Yep. That's right. They are used to decrease the hematocrit in the blood. And hematocrit is really just the % of red blood cells that make up the entire blood. So long as you get your hematocrit to less than 50%, then you test negative! That means you don't get kicked out of the race, even though you are a dirty, lying cheat making millions off of tricking people into thinking you are the big cancer donor who gives a rat's ass about anybody other than himself.

    Like I said, we should really ask Dr. Michele Ferrari about this. He is the real expert in EPO.
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    The bad thing about EPO is that it thickens the blood. You know, all those good new red blood cells that carry oxygen? Well, that stuff is like sludge and can cause a clot. This usually occurs in the major organs, like brain, kidneys, heart, etc. You can get a stroke. You can get a heart attack. You can die!!!!!!!!!!
    Exactly.
    Big Migs resting heart rate in some circles was reported to be something like 28 when he slept, you can easily slip into cardiac arrest. (Im not saying anything about Big Mig or a connection to EPO, just saying resting heart rates can become even lower with EPO for an elite athlete whos fitness already lowers their heart rate through training) Some riders are also known to have slept with Heart Rate monitors to wake them up when they dipped too low.

    This is exactly why I feel like the 50% UCI rule was great. It was a safety net and playing field leveler. Safety from cardiac arrest, and making everyone have the same cap. Since this rule was enforced, people like Riis couldnt run their 60%s anymore.
    Quote Originally Posted by Laggard View Post
    Weren't you supposed to disappear after the TDF was over?
    Quote Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10MTCocoa View Post
    I think they take blood when they are doing their altitude training, then have it tested out and come race time they change the oil with the good stuff, post race, swap it back so their blood levels become normal. only thing if this were the case, they'd look like junkies from all the track marks?
    It's probably not very many needle punctures actually for the drawing of the blood, and injections only before races.

    I was in the hospital for a week and had my blood drawn 4 times a day on the same vein in the same general place with no damage from that. I think using different veins for a 3 week stage race wouldn't leave any noticable damage.

    I understand that they can also use a centrifuge or something and take just the good stuff to inject back in. With this, they don't need to train at altitute to raise their blood levels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howzit View Post
    In addition, training at altitude is the same as taking EPO. Sleeping in an altitude tent is the same thing. So are both of those illegal? Why not?
    I believe using altitude tents in Italy for performance is illegal, as it was an issue for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino.

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    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howzit View Post
    Exactly.
    Big Migs resting heart rate in some circles was reported to be something like 28 when he slept, you can easily slip into cardiac arrest. (Im not saying anything about Big Mig or a connection to EPO, just saying resting heart rates can become even lower with EPO for an elite athlete whos fitness already lowers their heart rate through training) Some riders are also known to have slept with Heart Rate monitors to wake them up when they dipped too low.

    This is exactly why I feel like the 50% UCI rule was great. It was a safety net and playing field leveler. Safety from cardiac arrest, and making everyone have the same cap. Since this rule was enforced, people like Riis couldnt run their 60%s anymore.


    I think the 50% rule is good too. The big problem with EPO doping isn't just cheating, but the safety issue. There was a slew of Dutch riders on EPO that died of heart attacks in the mid 90s. We're talking about guys in their 20s that were extremely fit, dieing because of heart attacks.

    The really big concern is EPO doping with amateurs. The pros have medical doctors on staff and bags of saline to lower not only the hematocrit, but also to make the blood less viscous. Thus, ensuring safety for the EPO doped cyclist.

    The new trend, well not really new, but much more effective than a tent or sleeping at altitude, is micro-dosing with plasma infusion. This allows the athlete to train as normal, and still receive an EPO boost. You can be jacked up on EPO and NEVER EVER test positive for EPO. All you need is a bag of IV saline and that will lower your hematocrit to within normal levels. Of course, there is some newer tests, but they can also be defeated.
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howzit View Post
    For technical details on how EPO works, a simple type into google will provide more than enough info.

    With cycling, a different dynamics here are a few thoughts.

    EPO is regarded by many pros in the peleton as "healthy"
    Yes, healthy.
    Why?
    Well simple. At an average of 45km/h for 3 weeks, potatoes, peas and carrots, washed down by water isnt going to leave your body in any good shape. Your career will be shortened and you will be a leathery old man by the time you are 35. Some riders consider EPO as a "strengthener". A tonic that merely helps you recover to go race for weeks on end.

    Honestly, I agree with this sentiment. See, when you train and race daily, your natural himatocrit levels go down. If you are racing at Grand Tour level, they (red blood cells) will deplete until you are in hospital. Unless you are allowed some weeks to do nothing to recoop (which you wont, because if you do, they will give your contract to someone else), you will get sick and over train. This is science. It is simply what it is.

    The simple rule of 50% in my opinion was a safety measure to keep the riders from over doing it, and was enough to allow riders to race year-round without becoming ill or over tiring their bodies. Unless we all decide that the Tour should only have 120km stages, it is simply unhealthy for any human to do the Tour at the distance and intensity required these days. The 50% rule was fair, healthy and safe.

    The biggest blunder that the UCI could have done is getting a test for EPO. Now riders resort to blood transfusion. A FAR, FAR more dangerous activity. Its such a pity.

    In addition, training at altitude is the same as taking EPO. Sleeping in an altitude tent is the same thing. So are both of those illegal? Why not? Further more, there are people like myself, born, raised and trained at 2000m above sea-level. My parents, grandparent all grew up at 2000m above sea-level. Look up Kenya and other such countries (im from Zimbabwe).This means that my blood will have different characteristics from those born and raised at sea-level.
    In fact, the UCI had special exemptions for such events. Some riders were allowed a 52 or 53% rule.

    Ultimately, unless a rider was on 65%, there was no real benefit for a test other than the 50% rule. The only difference is that in some instances, like the columbians, and other ethnic races have larger red blood platelets by nature. This means they may have a naturally lower level (red-blood cell count) while living at altitude, but when you boost it up to 50%, you have a greater advantage than Caucasian athletes for example. This has been attributed to some of the success that the Kenyans have had.
    Of course since cycling is an endurance sport, you will never get ride of blood manipulation. The best thing you can do is CONTROL it. Thinking you can eradicate it is arrogantly stupid.

    Even now, they think they have a test for EPO. What fools. The test can only detect EPO that has been injected over the last week or so as far as I know. EPO takes almost a month to take full effect or to boost you up to where you want to be. (One injection every week). One can easily boost their himatocrit in winter, give yourself 2 weeks, after the last injection, then draw blood packets to store. Use them during the season, and you cannot detect EPO. This puts the riders in far greater danger than the mere 50% rule. Where riders only have to take EPO and avoid the whole blood storage, transportation and re-infusion of blood.

    The issue of EPO is far more complex than one might initially think. But those are a few things to think about.
    Welcome back, we missed you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    We need to ask Dr. Michele Ferrari this. The man is an expert in how EPO works, especially in the high level cyclist winning multiple Tours de France.

    EPO is an hormone, produced naturally by the kidneys and also available synthetically via injection form. It stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.

    The bad thing about EPO is that it thickens the blood. You know, all those good new red blood cells that carry oxygen? Well, that stuff is like sludge and can cause a clot. This usually occurs in the major organs, like brain, kidneys, heart, etc. You can get a stroke. You can get a heart attack. You can die!!!!!!!!!!

    ...so enter saline infusions. Saline infusions are commonly used for patients who are dehydrated. Hook up an IV bad and voila! You know what else saline infusions are for? Yep. That's right. They are used to decrease the hematocrit in the blood. And hematocrit is really just the % of red blood cells that make up the entire blood. So long as you get your hematocrit to less than 50%, then you test negative! That means you don't get kicked out of the race, even though you are a dirty, lying cheat making millions off of tricking people into thinking you are the big cancer donor who gives a rat's ass about anybody other than himself.

    Like I said, we should really ask Dr. Michele Ferrari about this. He is the real expert in EPO.
    Contador has been an “orphan” ever since his mentor and advisor Manolo Saíz went down in flames as part of the Operación Puerto scandal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howzit View Post
    Exactly.
    Big Migs resting heart rate in some circles was reported to be something like 28 when he slept, you can easily slip into cardiac arrest. (Im not saying anything about Big Mig or a connection to EPO, just saying resting heart rates can become even lower with EPO for an elite athlete whos fitness already lowers their heart rate through training) Some riders are also known to have slept with Heart Rate monitors to wake them up when they dipped too low.

    This is exactly why I feel like the 50% UCI rule was great. It was a safety net and playing field leveler. Safety from cardiac arrest, and making everyone have the same cap. Since this rule was enforced, people like Riis couldnt run their 60%s anymore.
    Lot's of cyclists died from the sludge. Low heart rates and sludge conspired to kill them. Sad, but hey anything to advance the sport!

    Contador has been an “orphan” ever since his mentor and advisor Manolo Saíz went down in flames as part of the Operación Puerto scandal.

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