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Chris Froome and the 2018 TdF

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Old 06-10-18, 09:09 PM
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The last few articles I've read indicate the regulatory organizations and interested participants are quibbling over whether it's possible to reproduce the conditions claimed by Froome's people. Apparently the only way to determine this is with human subjects in the lab, using salbutamol, under various conditions of hydration/dehydration, over a time span designed to replicate grand tour conditions.

You can imagine the money it takes to put together a statistically significant sampling group of elite level athletes who are considered physiologically comparable to someone like Froome, yet have nothing better to do than serve as lab rats for 3-4 week experiments conducted under rigorously controlled conditions.
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Old 06-13-18, 05:49 AM
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One of the components in Vape juice is the same as used in an inhaler for opening the airways. When I started cycling back in Sept. 15 I was still vaping, (smoked cigs 27 years before that) and found breathing very easy even though I wasn't cycling fit. A month later when I quit vaping, breathing felt like I was doing it under water. All the sudden I had another choice, continue vaping to ease my cycling stress, or go all natural. I went the hard route by telling myself it was that or nothing. Talked to several guys that took up vaping to help breathing and they say their power meter confirmed the difference.
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Old 06-13-18, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
The last few articles I've read indicate the regulatory organizations and interested participants are quibbling over whether it's possible to reproduce the conditions claimed by Froome's people. Apparently the only way to determine this is with human subjects in the lab, using salbutamol, under various conditions of hydration/dehydration, over a time span designed to replicate grand tour conditions.

You can imagine the money it takes to put together a statistically significant sampling group of elite level athletes who are considered physiologically comparable to someone like Froome, yet have nothing better to do than serve as lab rats for 3-4 week experiments conducted under rigorously controlled conditions.
I thought the idea was to test FROOME, just one rider.

The first step would be to simply re-analyse all of Froome's data over the last few years. How many tests has he given. Urine concentration?

Putting together a team of test subjects to do the testing? Hmmm.. One could put together a team of elite asthmatic riders, and send them off somewhere to actually train (or race).

Why are we already into June, with Froome racing, and nobody has actually started the studies?

They should have put together their team of racers, to do the study well before the Tour Down Under in January.

I'm sure one could have built up a team of 8 asthmatic patients (and perhaps a team of controls) to do the race. Get some special wavers to race... it could well be good publicity for the Tour. How many elite amateurs would jump at the chance to head off to a training camp, then to Australia for a pro race with pay?

Simply regulate water intake, dosing schedules, and make sure someone is holding a cup whenever they have to take a whiz, 24 hours a day.

Oh, and these inhalers that Froome has, and other pro riders are using... how complex would it be to add electronics to track actual doses given, times, etc. Can one vary puff duration?
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Old 06-13-18, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I thought the idea was to test FROOME, just one rider.
Yeah, you'd think that would be the logical step. Froome's people claim his elevated salbutamol reading was a fluke, based on a combination of his metabolism, training and competition schedule, extraordinary expended effort, dehydration, blah-blah-blah.

IOW, they seem to be claiming he's so exceptional that no proxy test on other athletes could fairly duplicate him to prove that the elevated salbutamol level was a fluke not due to intentionally or inadvertently exceeding the dosage.

If that's the case, the logical step would be to retest Froome under conditions as possible to those at the time of the elevated level. But he'd need to take the maximum prescribed and legal amount of salbutamol every day. That poses an ethical dilemma. Can an athlete be compelled to use a drug that he and his doctor say he doesn't actually need right now? IOW, Froome's could claim You can't make me take salbutamol just to prove or disprove something. It could endanger my life if I'm not actually suffering from asthma *right now*."

It's a conundrum.

Oh, and these inhalers that Froome has, and other pro riders are using... how complex would it be to add electronics to track actual doses given, times, etc. Can one vary puff duration?
It could be done. These devices deliver metered amounts but they're made to fairly low standards so it's likely the metered amounts vary between uses. Not enough to risk efficacy, and probably not enough to double the amount delivered per puff, which is what Froome's people would need to claim.

Another problem is the inhalers are inherently inconsistent delivery methods. With my own albuterol inhalers only a little goes down the trachea into the bronchioles. Most ends up in the mouth and is ingested where it does relatively little good for relieving asthma constriction. The paradox is that the more constriction and congested you are, the less efficient the puff inhalers are at delivering the medication where it's actually needed. If the trachea and bronchioles are clearer, the inhaler works more effectively.

That's the main reason why I've long criticized the notion of albuterol inhalers as *rescue* inhalers. They are *not* rescue inhalers. They are preventive inhalers. If not taken early enough to prevent an asthma attack, the albuterol inhaler is useless as a rescue inhaler. Most of the medication lands on the tongue. You can ingest it and wait about an hour and it'll work a little. By then you're dead from a severe asthma attack.

The puff inhaler is inherently an inefficient delivery method that practically ensures the patient will occasionally take an "overdose" -- which is rarely, if ever, harmful to the patient, but could conceivably produce an elevated reading such as Froome experienced.

However I have not heard Froome's people describe this specific conundrum as a possible reason for his elevated reading. It would have been simpler last year for a frustrated Froome to say "Hey, I had an asthma attack, my throat was so constricted I couldn't breathe well enough to get anything down my trachea from the inhaler, and in a panic I lost count of how many puffs I used."

I would actually buy that excuse, having experienced it myself. I don't know whether that would be considered an acceptable excuse to the cycling authorities for Froome. It's a tacit admission to taking an overdose. Medically necessary, but not permissible in competition. Victory voided without penalty. Perhaps a DNF -- rider unable to complete course under the prescribed conditions.

But let's be realistic. Either:
The available tests are inadequate to check for use/misuse of albuterol/salbutamol.

Or

He probably deliberately ingested more than necessary as a PED, not as an asthma treatment, for the advantages in lean muscle mass without sacrificing strength and stamina. And counted on the imprecise nature of testing as an excuse to cast doubt on the results.

The end result will be unfortunate for many, many more people. Now even amateur athletes know that albuterol can be abused in large doses for certain types of gains. It opens the door to massive abuse which in turn will fuel the mass media paranoia and social media hysteria machine. And yet another perfectly useful medication will be tightly regulated and more expensive, harming millions of patients who legitimately needed albuterol.

Same as my complaint about the hysteria over opiates, harming patients with legitimate needs to control chronic, severe pain who do not become addicted.

And now the junkies have moved on to loperamide -- a diarrhea medication available over the counter -- in a attempt to get high. Loperamide is an opiate, but without any significant psychoactive or pain relieving effects. It primarily works on slowing motility to relieve diarrhea. One or two doses relieve most diarrhea. Junkies are taking fistfuls of the stuff trying to get high. Then they wind up in the ER with an impacted colon. Now the states and feds are considering regulating a perfectly good, cheap medication.

Junkies f**k everything up for everyone.
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