So with the continued fall-out from the Lance Armstrong affair, one thing that may not be clearly understood by the casual cycling fan is what exactly these cyclists were doing that got them suspended.
Blood doping is like something out of a B-grade horror movie, where riders extract blood from themselves prior to competition, then later reinject it back into their system during a tour-type event, which has days of grueling competition. The fresh, restored blood is able to carry more oxygen, therefore allowing their muscles to work even harder and giving them an edge over other riders.
EPO is a chemical substance (erythropoietin) that allows the body to artifically boost its red blood cell count, again allowing more oxygen to be carried than would occur naturally during competition. Because it was very difficult to detect in typical testing, EPO abuse was rampant in the late 1990s and 2000s.
Armstrong is not only accused of using these and other substances (including testosterone) himself, but in also directing and pressuring other riders to participate in order to gain an unfair advantage as well as conspiring to beat the testing systems in place designed to prevent and detect such activity.
- Blood Doping in Professional Cycling
- EPO - Chemical Doping
- Steroid Abuse in Professional Cycling
- Amphetamine Abuse
- UCI Strips Lance Armstrong of Seven Tour de France Wins
- U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Reveals Evidence Against Armstrong