as a graduate student in the field of exercise physiology (and of course as a cyclist), like many of you, i have taken an interest in the nature of EPO use in our sport. i wonder, how many people are really taking the stuff, and at what level it trickles down to. Is it something that is limited to use only in the pro ranks? does it trickle down to the 5's? or, is it really not as prevalant as some of us may think. since i have no firsthand knowledge of its use, meaning i haven't watched anyone inject a few units of rhEPO, the basis of this post is simply speculation. logic states that if nobody used it, we wouldn't need a comprehensive set of tests to detect its presence.
i just finished (over a glass of tasty red wine) reading an article that is pending publication in a first tier, peer reviewed publication that found that false-positives could be observed under current WADA procedures. (yes, i am a nerd, but am ok with that :shock:) for those of you who care, here is the link to the abstract (for copyright reasons, i can't post the entire article- but if you are interested and can wade through the jargon, you can email me and we can figure out a way for you to get the whole thing)
there are obvious ramifications to this research.
maybe Tyler really didn't do it. maybe lots of other people do and will ultimately be able to use this research to avoid punishment. a variety of scenarios are present.
this afternoon, i carefully read the WADA banned substances list. i was particularly amused by section M3.
the non-theraputic use of cells, genes, genetic elements, or the modulation of gene expression, having the capacity to enhance athletic performance, is prohibited.
since there is not a test (to my puny knowledge) that would detect the presence of Ppar Delta (or other genetic material thought to have an impact on exercise capacity) in greater abundance, this seems like an odd statement. mind you, to my knowledge, there is currently no technology available for an athlete to "gene dope" i'm sure it's a testament to the inevatible- the concept that, as long as there is the incentive, people will find a way. it's coming for sure, i do have firstand knowledge of this.
so, what do you all think? EPO? gene doping? Is it good? bad? inconsequential?