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Cycling Independent Reform Commission: Report to the President of the Union Cycliste Internationale

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... The trend he reported was strongest for the Vuelta, modest for the Tour, and absent in the Giro. Consistent with Marty et al. (2015), Perneger attributed the rise in speed to illicit doping practices and the decline since 2004 to successes of the more stringent measures implemented by WADA and UCI. In disagreement with El Helou et al. and Perneger, however, Lippi and colleagues (2014) reported that winning riders' ultimate km/h performances in the three Grand Tours did not in-or decline, but rather, flattened between 2001 and 2013. ...
... Our findings refute suppositions presented in the CIRC-report (Marty et al., 2015) concerning cyclists' superior performances demonstrated in the epo era and inferior performances delivered by riders in the years beyond. In the following sections we will present arguments that substantiate our conclusion. ...
... When comparing differences in progress rates between riders in the epo vs. non-epo years, the time-series analyses produced a marginal difference of +0.10%. This non-significant improvement juxtaposes the proposed, epo-induced 10-15% gains in performance suggested by Marty et al. (2015). However, this small difference is consistent with findings of Lodewijkx (2014), who already concluded that the variability in progress in speed of riders in the epo era hardly differed from the variability demonstrated by riders in time trials over the years in the three major stage races. ...
Research
Full-text available
The 2015 report of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) contends that cyclists’ use of epo doping resulted in 10-15% performance gains in the epo era (late 1980s-2001), suggesting that performances delivered in cycling races in these years will be superior to preceding years (the SPA, or superior performances assumption). Due to progressively stricter anti-doping testing in the 2000-2010s, the report further states that riders’ performances in this period decreased relative to the epo years (the DPA, or decline in performances assumption). We examined both assumptions by subjecting winning riders’ mean km/h performances, realized in time trials on flat and rolling courses in the Tour de France (1934-2013), to time-series analyses (ARIMA). We additionally assessed annual progress rates in performance (%) by computing differences in riders’ mean km/h per year. ARIMA explained R2 = 0.996 of the variation in the rates. Cyclical performance sequences (partial ρlag 2= -0.87, p ≤ 0.001) indicated that decisions of the Tour organizers to regularly alternate the lengths of the trials accounted for differences in riders’ achievements. As a single variable, competition year explained 92% (r = 0.96) in these differences with an annual growth of 0.45% (p ≤ 0.01). Larger distances weakly and negatively influenced riders’ progress in performance, b = -2% (p = 0.08). The epo vs. non-epo years yielded no significant growth differences, b = 0.10% (p = 0.74), while the progress in the 2000-2010s did not decline compared to the foregoing years, b = 0% (p = 0.93). Strongly contradicting the CIRC-report, the rapid growth in performance did not start in the 1990s, but in the 1980s. A significant quadratic relationship (R2 = 0.50, p ≤ 0.05) further revealed a reversal of the SPA and DPA: Riders’ progress in performance flattened after the mid-1990s and improved again in the 2010s. Speculatively, findings suggest that the use of epo doping might have blocked riders’ performances. This would explain why riders’ time trial feats tend to improve in the 2010s, that is, after the introduction and subsequent successful deterrent effect of the Athlete Biological Passport in professional road racing. Keywords: Doping; Performance enhancement; Professional cycling; Time trials
... The trend he reported was strongest for the Vuelta, modest for the Tour, and absent in the Giro. Consistent with Marty et al. (2015), Perneger attributed the rise in speed to illicit doping practices and the decline since 2004 to successes of the more stringent measures implemented by WADA and UCI. In disagreement with El Helou et al. and Perneger, however, Lippi and colleagues (2014) reported that winning riders' ultimate km/h performances in the three Grand Tours did not in-or decline, but rather, flattened between 2001 and 2013. ...
... Our findings refute suppositions presented in the CIRC-report (Marty et al., 2015) concerning cyclists' superior performances demonstrated in the epo era and inferior performances delivered by riders in the years beyond. In the following sections we will present arguments that substantiate our conclusion. ...
... When comparing differences in progress rates between riders in the epo vs. non-epo years, the time-series analyses produced a marginal difference of +0.10%. This non-significant improvement juxtaposes the proposed, epo-induced 10-15% gains in performance suggested by Marty et al. (2015). However, this small difference is consistent with findings of Lodewijkx (2014), who already concluded that the variability in progress in speed of riders in the epo era hardly differed from the variability demonstrated by riders in time trials over the years in the three major stage races. ...
Research
Full-text available
The 2015 report of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) contends that cyclists’ use of epo doping resulted in 10-15% performance gains in the epo era (late 1980s-2001), suggesting that performances delivered in cycling races in these years will be superior to preceding years (the SPA, or superior performances assumption). Due to progressively stricter anti-doping testing in the 2000-2010s, the report further states that riders’ performances in this period decreased relative to the epo years (the DPA, or decline in performances assumption). We examined both assumptions by subjecting winning riders’ mean km/h performances, realized in time trials on flat and rolling courses in the Tour de France (1934-2013), to time-series analyses (ARIMA). We additionally assessed annual progress rates in performance (%) by computing differences in riders’ mean km/h per year. ARIMA explained R2 = 0.996 of the variation in the rates. Cyclical performance sequences (partial ρlag 2= -0.87, p ≤ 0.001) indicated that decisions of the Tour organizers to regularly alternate the lengths of the trials accounted for differences in riders’ achievements. As a single variable, competition year explained 92% (r = 0.96) in these differences with an annual growth of 0.45% (p ≤ 0.01). Larger distances weakly and negatively influenced riders’ progress in performance, b = -2% (p = 0.08). The epo vs. non-epo years yielded no significant growth differences, b = 0.10% (p = 0.74), while the progress in the 2000-2010s did not decline compared to the foregoing years, b = 0% (p = 0.93). Strongly contradicting the CIRC-report, the rapid growth in performance did not start in the 1990s, but in the 1980s. A significant quadratic relationship (R2 = 0.50, p ≤ 0.05) further revealed a reversal of the SPA and DPA: Riders’ progress in performance flattened after the mid-1990s and improved again in the 2010s. Speculatively, findings suggest that the use of epo doping might have blocked riders’ performances. This would explain why riders’ time trial feats tend to improve in the 2010s, that is, after the introduction and subsequent successful deterrent effect of the Athlete Biological Passport in professional road racing. Keywords: Doping; Performance enhancement; Professional cycling; Time trials
... El informe de la Comisión Independiente por la Reforma del Ciclismo -CIRC- (Marty, Nicholson, & Haas, 2015) establecido por la Unión Ciclista Internacional (UCI), indica que la práctica del dopaje era un problema endémico en el ciclismo entre los años 1992 y 2006. Este periodo se caracterizó por el protagonismo de corredores ciclistas nacidos en las décadas de los 60 y 70 o corredores pertenecientes a las denominadas Generación Baby Boomers y Generación X (Strauss & Howe, 1991). ...
... La influencia de la Generación ciclista de Baby Boomers y Generación ciclista X (Marty et al., 2015) ha provocado que el atleta 2.0 se enfrente a unas nuevas medidas disuasorias (Wagner, 2010). Medidas estas marcadas en el Código Mundial Antidopaje (Código). ...
... Nuestros resultados se asientan en la base de tres marcos teóricos: en primer lugar, el informe CIRC (Marty et al., 2015). Este informe recoge 174 entrevistas de diferentes agentes socializantes relacionados con el ciclismo Élite-UCI de las Generaciones de Baby Boomers y Generación X (Strauss & Howe, 1991) (ciclistas, ex ciclistas, sponsors, directores deportivos, periodistas, doctores, afiliados de la UCI, organizadores deportivos, científicos, federaciones ciclistas, organizaciones antidopaje, personal de laboratorio y directores de organismos nacionales). ...
Article
Millennials or Generation Y is the generation related to people who were born between 1982 and 2002 and it replaces Generation X (people who were born between 1960 and 1981). In sport, and specifically in cycling, Millennials promote “Philosophy 2.0”. This philosophy applies “Cyclist 2.0” as an athlete who respects with conviction the Word Anti-Doping Code. Related to the object of this study, 34 Spanish cyclists Generation Y, (16 male and 18 female; 19 ± 6,55 years) took part in this study. Semi structured interviews were conducted. A cycling doping analysis was carried out using 8 different categories that provided information about Spanish “Cyclist 2.0”. To achieve this, different social frames were used in order to analyse and code the transcriptions. The analysis used Word and Excel 2007 and QSR NVivo 10 for Windows. The descriptive analysis of the 8 categories showed that “Cyclist 2.0” was prone to be in a new and clean cycling regime. However, there was an imbalance among doping deterrents. This imbalance was detected in previous generations to Generation Y. This fact makes doping, and its scandals, breaking news and they haven’t reached a final solution yet. © 2015, Universidad Catolica San Antonio Murcia. All rights reserved.
... The report of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC; Marty, Nicholson, & Haas, 2015) concluded that cyclists' use of red blood cell (RBC)-augmenting doping aids resulted in 10-15% improvement in performance in the 'epo era ' (1990-1999). Hence, the superior performances assumption (SPA) expects that cyclists' performances realized in races in these years will be far better compared to foregoing and successive years. ...
... In February 2015 the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) issued its report which examined, among others, factors that led to the development of a doping culture in professional road racing (Marty, Nicholson, & Haas, 2015). The report concluded that the use of red blood cell (RBC)-augmenting doping agents, such as blood transfusions and recombinant human erythro poietin (rHuEPO, or epo), resulted in 10-15% gain in cyclists' performances in the so-called 'epo era' . ...
... This means that, from 1933 to 2016, the overall progress in speed in Paris-Nice amounted to 84 • 0.29 = 24.4%. If we compare this percentage with the 10-15% enhancement in performance attributed to RBCdoping aids (Marty et al., 2015), then it is hard to imagine that the use of these aids would exclusively account for half or even more of the total progress in riders' performances over time. Evidently, the 24% growth can be attributed to many performance-facilitating factors that are associated with competition year. ...
Research
Full-text available
The report of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC; Marty, Nicholson, & Haas, 2015) concluded that cyclists' use of red blood cell (RBC)-augmenting doping aids resulted in 10-15% improvement in performance in the 'epo era' (1990-1999). Hence, the superior performances assumption (SPA) expects that cyclists' performances realized in races in these years will be far better compared to foregoing and successive years. To extend and validate previous research, in two studies we reappraised the SPA using alternative dependent variables. Study 1 examined annual progress rates in winning riders' km/h and time performances realized in the French stage race Paris-Nice from 1933 to 2016. Study 2 assessed riders' power-to-weight ratio (W/kg) delivered in the time trial up Col d'Èze, since 1969 often the final stage in Paris-Nice. Findings of Study 1 produced no evidence that riders in the epo era raced strikingly faster than riders in other time periods. Moreover, riders' first-ranking performances did not constitute outliers and the progress in performance they demonstrated did not depart from the variation in progress observed in Paris-Nice from 1933 onward. Regarding Study 2, the choice of W/kg as an alternative measure to evaluate the SPA did not challenge, but rather substantiated findings observed in previous archival studies. After controlling for the robust influence of trial distances on winning riders' climbing achievements findings revealed a reversal of the SPA. Riders in the epo era did not deliver faster, but rather slower performances compared to riders in the pre-epo and post-epo years. Findings, underlying assumptions, and methodological weaknesses of both studies are discussed extensively.
... Drawing on conclusions of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC; Marty, Nicholson, & Haas, 2015), the current study investigated whether cyclists' first-ranking performances delivered in professional one-day races in the epo era (the 1990s) were faster compared to achievements realized by riders in the 1980s, the 2000s, and 2010s. To examine this research question we designed a 12 (Time Periods: 1892-2017) × 12 (One-Day Races: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad-Il Lombardia) factorial between-subjects study with nonequivalent groups. ...
... This study aims to examine the validity of two conclusions drawn in the report issued by the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC; Marty, Nicholson, & Haas, 2015), concerning performances demonstrated by professional cyclists in races that were run in the controversial epo era (the 1990s) and the years beyond. To this end, we scrutinized winning performances realized by cyclists in eleven famous one-day classic races as well as the World Championships from the inception of the races to the present day. ...
... One of the main objectives of the commission was to conduct an investigation into "[...] the roots, historical reasons, causes, mechanisms, processes, procedures, practices, patterns, networks, providers, instigators, and facilitators that enabled the endemic problem of doping in cycling" (ibid., p. 16). In their report, Marty et al. (2015) concluded that the artificial augmentation of red blood cells (RBCs) in the blood by the use of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO, or epo for short) and blood transfusions yielded an estimated 10-15% improvement in cyclists' performances in the epo era. This era began in the late 1980s and lasted up to 2001, when UCI executed the first (invalid) epo testing on cyclists' urine samples collected in the Tour of Flanders. ...
Technical Report
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Drawing on conclusions of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC; Marty, Nicholson, & Haas, 2015), the current study investigated whether cyclists' first-ranking performances delivered in professional one-day races in the epo era (the 1990s) were faster compared to achievements realized by riders in the 1980s, the 2000s, and 2010s. To examine this research question we designed a 12 (Time Periods: 1892-2017) × 12 (One-Day Races: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad-Il Lombardia) factorial between-subjects study with nonequivalent groups. The sample (N = 1111 races) consisted of eleven one-day classic races (Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Milan-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallone, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Paris-Bruxelles, Paris-Tours, Il Lombardia) as well as the World Championship for professional riders. Mean km/h performances realized by winning riders from the outset of the races to 2017 served as the dependent variable. We tested the research question by classical NHST analyses as well as Bayesian analyses. When considering the evolution in riders' achievements over the years the results of the (Bayesian) correlation and regression analyses indicated that, except for the Amstel Gold Race, riders' mean km/h performances showed a gradual linear increase in speed. When confining our analyses to the 1980s and the ensuing decades the results produced by the (Bayesian) regression analyses showed moderate to extremely strong linear increases in speed in seven of the twelve races. Besides, pairwise comparisons revealed small, but nonsignificant increases in speed in the same time periods in three of the remaining races. The two exceptions to the linear progress in performances in the years between 1980 and 2017 are Il Lombardia and the Amstel Gold Race. All these statistical observations strongly reject the suggestion that riders demonstrated a conspicuous, discontinuous jump in speed in the 1990s and a decline in their performances in the decades thereafter. In the discussion we contend that our findings agree with recent criticism on the theoretical model underlying research into the performance-enhancing effects of red blood cell-augmenting doping aids. We further argue that the consistency in contradictory findings concerning these effects and the reproducibility of these findings across a variety of archival, laboratory , field, and meta-analytical studies strongly qualify conclusions put forward in the CIRC-report. The findings also suggest that these performance-enhancing effects are doubtful.
... Recent reports concerning FIFA (see Schenk, 2011), the UCI (see Marty, Nicholson, & Hass, 2015) and the IAAF (see Pound, McLaren, & Younger, 2016) identify numerous examples of this lack of critical dialogue and a significant deficit around integrity in terms of individual responsibility for promoting the stated core values of these organisations. A common connection between these reports is the identification of the challenge of meeting these elements of integrity within the escalating commercial milieu of contemporary sport. ...
... A distinction has been made between a narrow notion of behavioural integrity and a wider value-based moral integrity. The recent Reports listed above (see Marty et al., 2015;Pound et al., 2016;Schenk, 2011), concerning FIFA, UCI and IAAF respectively, should be congratulated in starting to identify a number of these requirements and expectations. Nevertheless, the prevailing current debate in sport, particularly that promulgated within the 'sports integrity industry', focuses on too narrow and simplistic a view of behavioural integrity that does not make an effective connection to governance. ...
Article
Full-text available
Research question: The paper is based on the contention that ‘integrity’ is a significantly under-theorised and under-conceptualised value within sports particularly in its use by a range of organisations fighting corruption in sport, which constitute what can be termed the ‘sports integrity industry’. The ‘sports integrity industry’ reveals: different narratives about integrity amongst the different groups; a lack of integration between the different views of integrity in sport; and the danger of imposing a corporate model of (behavioural-based) integrity. Research methods: The approach adopted in the research is two-fold. Initially, a brief examination will be made of the use of the term integrity by a range of bodies within Europe and wider internationally as part of the sports integrity industry. This identifies different level of depth and sophistication of the meanings given to the term. The second part of the paper clears the conceptual ground, examining the different philosophical and psychological views of integrity. Results and findings: This analysis will distinguish moral and behavioural integrity and examine the theoretical basis for the different understandings of integrity that have been developed in literature around business and public sector activities. The paper concludes that as far as effective engagement with corruption, sport needs to look beyond its own experience and be conscious of the wider debate concerning integrity. Implications: There is an urgent need for the development of the concept and practice of integrity and effective governance in sport that recognises the inherent integrity of sport itself; personal integrity; organisational integrity and procedural integrity in sports events.
... The report's final conclusion is that cycling has had, and continues to have, a serious doping problem. [1] Although it could be argued that administering substances that improve performance is forbidden and nothing more needs to be known about it, these substances are apparently being used and therefore research to investigate the effects and safety of doping substances in this population is necessary. ...
... The report's final conclusion is that cycling has had, and continues to have, a serious doping problem. [1] Although it could be argued that administering substances that improve performance is forbidden and nothing more needs to be known about it, research to investigate the effects and safety of doping substances in this population is necessary. There are number of reasons for this. ...
Data
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Study protocol CHDR1514. (PDF)
... The first modern sports to involve corruption were boxing and baseball (Cashmore and Dixon 2016), with match-fixing in the 1919 World Series bringing the latter into disrepute (Fountain 2016;Ferguson 2016;Nuwer 1994). Bribery continues today and is intrinsically linked with other forms of corruption, including vote-rigging, cronyism, and fund misappropriation in, amongst others, football (Blake and Calvert 2015;Youd 2014;Menary 2016;Garcia and Norbely 2014;De Sanctis 2014), cycling (Albergotti 2014;Marty et al. 2015), cricket (De Speville 2012; Woolf and Coopers 2012;Kimber et al. 2015;Ray 2016), athletics (Sadoff 2016;Roan 2016;Daly and Oliver 2016;Mason et al. 2006), and volleyball (Pielke 2016). This paper's contribution to knowledge is twofold: a review of interdisciplinary corruption literature relevant to sport governance and the production of a framework for critically analysing bribery or adopting anti-bribery and corruption ("ABC") initiatives grounded in academic theory. ...
... There is often an interaction between bribery and other forms of corruption. For example, when cyclist Lance Armstrong (winner of seven Tour de France titles prior to being stripped of them in October 2012) admitted to consistent drug use (Marty et al. 2015;Walsh 2013;Hamilton and Coyle 2013), allegations arose at subsequent lawsuits of bribing an opposing team to not challenge Armstrong in a race (Albergotti 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
There is limited literature focusing on bribery and corruption in private or quasi-private-sector companies and associations in general, and on sport governing bodies in particular. This paucity of knowledge in the theoretical sphere impedes critical analysis on bribery in practice and does not allow for application of anti-bribery and corruption (“ABC”) measures grounded in research. The purpose of this paper is to inform anti-bribery and corruption research and practice by producing an original framework to facilitate critical analysis of bribery and development of ABC policies. This paper analyses and amalgamates relevant interdisciplinary literature, from areas of corporate governance, economics, politics, sociology, sports science, law, and criminology, to produce a unified theoretical anti-bribery framework made up of three elements: clarifying concepts, assessing risk factors, and assessing governance. The framework can be applied to critical assessment of bribery and/or sport governance ABC initiatives by researchers, forensic accountants, internal auditors, and compliance and governance officials both within and outside the sport sector.
... According to several sources, including sociological studies (Aubel and Ohl 2014;Ohl et al. 2015), investigations (e.g. Marty, Nicholson, and Haas 2015) and autobiographical materials (e.g. Hamilton and Coyle 2012, Millar 2012, Rasmussen and Wivel 2013, such financial instability and insecurity contributed to an environment that pushed riders to take substantial risk in order to achieve results and renewed short-term contracts. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper discusses the potential of anti-doping ironism. It identifies anti-doping fundamentalism as a serious ethical problem producing unnecessary harms, not least for athletes accused, caught or sanctioned in connection with doping offences. Ironism is introduced as a welcome contrast to fundamentalism, encouraging the development of more compassionate and just policy and rhetoric. Building on Richard Rorty’s account of liberal ironism, the anti-doping ironist is presented as a person that supplements anti-doping commitment with an idiosyncratic ethical responsiveness to people with different beliefs from hers. In line with this idiosyncrasy, she seeks to learn from the experiences of ‘doped athletes’ and draws on these in order to redescribe her commitments in more fruitful ways. Narratives are principal sources for the ironist. Accordingly, the paper explores two road cyclists’ ‘confessional autobiographies’ as narratives that speak to the anti-doping ironist’s ethical responsiveness to difference.
... Despite clear recommendations from confessing athletes and anti-doping authorities that admitting to doping is morally right, few elite athletes who dope seem to confess. An independent investigation into road cycling's history of doping specified that 'from the early 1990s to the mid/late-2000s'-a period often referred to as the 'blood doping era'-'it would have been hard to overestimate the prevalence of drug use in the peloton' ( Marty et al. 2015). While there has not been a scientific study about the prevalence of doping in professional road cycling, not doping seems to have been the exception rather than the rule in this par- ticular 'era' . ...
Article
Despite the commonly held view that confessing to doping is morally right, few former elite athletes who have doped confess to doping. In this paper, I ask whether elite athletes who have doped are morally obliged to confess. I start by observing that the core of the elite athlete’s confession dilemma is located in the dichotomy between lying and veracity. I argue that lying about doping belongs to a particular kind of lying that, in turn, brings about a particular kind of consequence. More specifically, I consider lying about doping in light of an athlete’s personal narrative identity. Initially, the narrative identity view seems to strongly support an elite athlete’s moral obligation to confess (i.e. to start telling the truth about who they really are). However, viewing narrative identity not merely as description (responding to the question, Who am I?) but also prescription (responding to the question, Who should I be?) complicates this picture. The prescriptive perspective of narrative identity is a gateway to understand the significant negative consequences of confessing to doping. In this way, I call into question commonly held views about the moral obligation to confess.
... In addition, athletes have for decades engaged in altitude training aimed at legally enhancing sea level performance via an increase in haemoglobin concentration and total haemoglobin mass [2][3][4]. However, reports exist to suggest that some athletes exploit altitude training camps to conceal a misuse of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) [5]. The marked increase in endogenous erythropoietin (EPO) production during the rst days even at moderate altitude [6,7] in combination with prolonged (rHuEPO) treatment will increase activation of EPO receptors (EPOR). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives To investigate whether recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) injections during an altitude training camp impact heart function. Methods Thirty-nine (16 women) moderately trained subjects stayed at 2,320 m altitude for 4 weeks while training. Subjects were randomized to placebo (isotonic saline) or rHuEPO (20 IU/kg body weight) i.v. injections. Transthoracic echocardiography imaging was acquired 3 days after arrival to altitude and prior to the first placebo or rHuEPO injection as well as one day after the last rHuEPO injection three weeks later. Results rHuEPO did not alter cardiovascular morphology parameters, systolic or diastolic function. In the placebo group, altitude exposure improved left ventricle (LV) systolic function due to an increased twist angle but rHuEPO had no additional effects. Pulmonary arterial systolic pressure was unaffected in either group. Notably, rHuEPO hampered LV untwist rate without affecting LV early filling. Conclusion rHuEPO alters LV twist rate during a high altitude training camp in a mechanism likely mediated by impaired restorative forces and/or by the haematological and metabolic effects induced rHuEPO outside the cardiovascular system. However, this alteration in heart mechanics is unlikely to have a meaningful clinical effect.
... 18,19 Therefore, it can be assumed that metabolomics might be able to spot athletes who have administered recGH from their clean counterparts. 20 Several investigations, 21 underground doping books, 22 and confessions from retired athletes report the use of recGH in combination with other anabolic hormones, i.e. anabolic androgenic steroids or erythropoietin (EPO) to take advantage of their synergic effect, a process known as "stacking". 23 It is relatively safe to suppose that professional athletes, following personalized doping programs, do not take recGH only, but use this hormone as part of more complex performance-enhancing strategies. ...
Article
Growth hormone (GH), an endogenous peptide regulating anabolism and lipolysis in humans, is known to be abused by the athletes to improve their performances. Despite the development of two distinct screening methods, few positive cases have been reported by the anti‐doping authorities, probably due to the GH quick turnover and the masking effects of age, ethnicity and sex. Apart from growth regulation, GH is known to affect several metabolic pathways in humans including ketosis, amino‐acids uptake and proteins breakdown. It is reasonable to imagine to observe its markers of effects through the leading tool on metabolism study, metabolomics. In this proof‐of‐concept study, a cohort of well‐trained volunteers has been split in two equal groups and administered with micro‐doses of EPO or EPO + GH every second day for two weeks. Urine and plasma samples have been collected before, during and after the treatment and analyzed using metabolomics and lipidomics approaches. The results show that, applying a direct discriminant analysis on the treated groups, it is possible to distinguish the treatments, and to use this difference to classify them correctly. High intragroup variability is observed, due to the subject‐specific effect of the hormones. Through time 0 centering the data, a longitudinally tracking of the group was performed and higher difference was observed between the groups, including a perfect classification of the samples before and after the treatments.
... According to Richard McLaren, the author of the report into Russian doping, the TUE system is open to abuse (McLaren, 2016). The Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) also found evidence that the TUE programme was being systematically abused to enhance performance (Marty, Nicholson, & Haas, 2015). This raises further questions about the integrity of the TUE process, as well as the ease with which elite athletes are granted TUEs (Dasgupta, 2019;Gleaves et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we elaborate on grey-area concepts in elite cycling. First, we show how grey areas take place in a certain lack of conceptual clarity in anti-doping regulations. Then, we analyse the changing attitudes of elite cycling stakeholders towards grey zones. Finally, we discuss our results by articulating the stance on grey areas with the quest for performance enhancement which characterizes any elite sport culture, including elite cycling.
... Apart from the assumptions that the anti-doping scene makes about the type of EC storage, there are also speculations about the volumes, which could range from low (150-200 mL EC) to high (300-900 mL EC) dosages, and specific time points of transfusion, which are suspected to be performed several hours before a competition. [62][63][64] However, there are conflicting study results on the efficacy of said tactics. Regarding the time point of transfusion, the performance-enhancing effects might be of rapid-onset but shortterm lasting only a few days, 65 but there is also the assumption that stored erythrocytes first have to restore their ability to oxygenate the microcirculation, which might take several hours. ...
Article
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Autologous blood doping refers to the illegal re‐transfusion of any quantities of blood or blood components with blood donor and recipient being the same person. The re‐transfusion of stored erythrocyte concentrates is particularly attractive to high‐performance athletes as this practice improves their oxygen capacity excessively. However, there is still no reliable detection method available. Analyzing circulating microRNA profiles of human subjects that underwent monitored autologous blood transfusions seems to be a highly promising approach to develop novel biomarkers for autologous blood doping. In this exploratory study, we randomly divided 30 healthy males into two different treatment groups and one control group and sampled whole blood at several time points at baseline, after whole blood donation and after transfusion of erythrocyte concentrates. Hematological variables were recorded and analyzed following the adaptive model of the Athlete Biological Passport. microRNA profiles were examined by small RNA sequencing and comprehensive multivariate data analyses, revealing microRNA fingerprints that reflect the sampling time point and transfusion volume. Neither individual microRNAs nor a signature of transfusion‐dependent microRNAs reached superior sensitivity at 100 % specificity compared to the Athlete Biological Passport (≤ 11 % six hours after transfusion versus ≤ 44 % two days after transfusion). However, the window of autologous blood doping detection was different. Due to the heterogenous nature of doping, with athletes frequently combining multiple medications in order to both gain a competitive advantage and interfere with known testing methods, the true applicability of the molecular signature remains to be validated in real anti‐doping testings. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... In support, a single rhEpo injection of 150-300 IU/kg body weight (bw) increases IRF dramatically, 10 but lower doses are expected to be utilized by rhEpo misusers. 9 Another potential biomarker is the IR and RBC count (IR/RBC) ratio, which was proposed as a biomarker for autologous blood transfusion in dried blood spots measured by the CD71/Band-3 ratio. 16 Changes in IRF risk being blunted by a simultaneous change in the total reticulocyte count, which may increase by >100% during stress erythropoiesis. ...
Article
We investigated whether immature reticulocyte fraction (IRF) and immature reticulocytes to red blood cells ratio (IR/RBC) are sensitive biomarkers for low-dose recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEpo) treatment at sea-level (SL) and moderate altitude (AL) and whether multi (FACS) or single (Sysmex-XN) fluorescence flow cytometry is superior for IRF and IR/RBC determination. Thirty-nine participants completed two interventions, each containing a four-week baseline, a four-week SL or AL (2,230m) exposure and a four-week follow-up. During exposure, rhEpo (20 IU·kg-1 ) or placebo (PLA) was injected at SL (SLrhEpo n=25, SLPLA n=9) and AL (ALrhEpo n=12, ALPLA n=27) every second day for three weeks. Venous blood was collected weekly. Sysmex measurements revealed that IRF and IR/RBC was up to ~70% (P<0.01) and ~190% (P<0.001) higher in SLrhEpo than SLPLA during treatment and up to ~45% (P<0.001) and ~55% (P<0.01) lower post-treatment, respectively. Compared with ALPLA , IRF and IR/RBC was up to ~20% (P<0.05) and ~45% (P<0.001) lower post-treatment in SLrhEpo , respectively. In ALrhEpo , IRF and IR/RBC was up to ~40% (P<0.05) and ~110% (P<0.001) higher during treatment and up to ~25% (P<0.05) and ~40% (P<0.05) lower post-treatment, respectively, compared with ALPLA . Calculated thresholds provided ~90% sensitivity for both biomarkers at SL and 33% (IRF) and 66% (IR/RBC) at AL. Specificity was >99%. Single-fluorescence flow cytometry coefficient of variation was >2-fold higher at baseline (P<0.001), and provided larger or similar changes compared to multi-fluorescence, albeit with smaller precision. In conclusion, IRF and IR/RBC were sensitive and specific biomarkers for low-dose rhEpo misuse at SL and AL.
... The relatively high prevalence of doping in distance running may send a message to aspiring runners about what it takes to succeed at the top level. In the situation where athletes believe that doping is the norm in their sport, doping may become an accepted part of being an elite athlete, as appears to have been the case in cycling in the past (Lentillon-Kaestner, 2013;Marty et al., 2015). The aforementioned meta-analyses (Ntoumanis et al., 2014;Blank et al., 2016) also both identified social/subjective norms as positive correlates with doping intentions and behaviours. ...
Article
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Background: Doping has been a prominent issue for the sport of athletics in recent years. The endurance disciplines, which currently account for 56% of the global anti-doping rule violations in athletics, appear to be particularly high risk for doping. Objective: Using this high-risk, high-pressure context, the main purpose of this study was to investigate the human impact of doping and anti-doping on ‘clean’ athletes. The secondary aim of the study was to better understand the reasons for, and barriers to, competing ‘clean’ among this group of athletes. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eleven elite distance runners from the UK to explore: (1) the reasons and motivations for competing clean. (2) Perceptions of the anti-doping system, and experiences of being part of that system. (3) Views on the prevalence and causes of doping and the impact of doping on the lives of clean athletes. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using Reflexive Thematic Analysis. Results: Four major themes were identified: (1) The participants in this study have not been tempted to use PEDs; they compete in their sport for the personal satisfaction of seeing how good they can be, rather than in pursuit of winning at all costs. (2) Anti-doping does not currently prevent doping effectively and is not implemented evenly across the globe. (3) Doping was perceived as a major issue and was felt to be borne out of certain sporting cultures in which doping is enabled. (4) Doping has impacted the careers of clean athletes in irreversible ways and presents a continuing challenge to the psychological preparation for competition. Conclusions: Clean athletes suffer negative consequences from both doping and anti-doping. Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) must collaborate across borders to ensure a more even implementation of anti-doping activities, to facilitate a more level playing field on the global stage. ADOs must also acknowledge the existence of a large group of athletes who would never consider deliberately doping and make anti-doping work for these athletes too.
Article
Recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEpo) can improve human performance, but misuse remains difficult to detect. C‐terminal fibroblast growth factor 23 (cFGF23) was recently demonstrated to increase following injection of a single high dose rhEpo, but the effect of more frequent low doses is unknown. Using a randomized double‐blind placebo‐controlled design, we investigated whether two weeks with three weekly subcutaneous injections of 50 IU/kg Eprex (low‐dose) or 20 IU/kg Eprex (micro‐dose) increase cFGF23 levels compared with saline (placebo) injections in 24 healthy males. Venous blood was sampled at day ‐3, 0, 1, 3, 11, 14, 18 and 25 of the treatment and analyzed for cFGF23 and erythropoietin concentration ([EPO]). The level of cFGF23 was similar at days ‐3, 0, 1, 3, 11, 14, 18 and 25 with the low‐dose (23±4, 26±5, 23±7, 27±6, 25±8, 24±10, 22±5 and 24±7 RU/ml, respectively), micro‐dose (23±6, 25±5, 23±8, 28±9, 27±7, 25±9, 25±5 and 23±6 RU/ml, respectively) and placebo (23±6, 24±6, 26±7, 26±6, 31±6, 31±7, 24±4, and 27±8 RU/ml, respectively) treatment. The correlation coefficient between plasma [EPO] and plasma cFGF23 levels was R²=0.01 and insignificant. The results demonstrate that cFGF23 is not sensitive to low doses of subcutaneous rhEpo injections in healthy males.
Article
Current markers of iron deficiency (ID) such as ferritin and hemoglobin have shortcomings, and hepcidin and erythroferrone (ERFE) could be of clinical relevance in relation to early assessment of ID. Here, we evaluate whether exposure to altitude-induced hypoxia (2,320 m) alone, or in combination with recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) treatment, affects hepcidin and ERFE levels before alterations in routine ID biomarkers and stress erythropoiesis manifest. Two interventions were completed, each comprising a four-week baseline, a four-week intervention at either sea level or altitude, and a four-week follow-up. Participants (n=39) were randomly assigned to 20 IU·kg bw ⁻¹ rHuEPO or placebo injections every second day for three weeks during the two intervention periods. Venous blood was collected weekly. Altitude increased ERFE (P≤0.001) with no changes in hepcidin or routine iron biomarkers, making ERFE of clinical relevance as an early marker of moderate hypoxia. rHuEPO treatment at sea level induced a similar pattern of changes in ERFE (P<0.05) and hepcidin levels (P<0.05), demonstrating the impact of accelerated erythropoiesis and not of other hypoxia-induced mechanisms. Compared to altitude alone, concurrent rHuEPO treatment and altitude exposure induced additive changes in hepcidin (P<0.05) and ERFE (P≤0.001) parallel with increases in hematocrit (P<0.001), demonstrating a relevant range of both hepcidin and ERFE. A poor but significant correlation between hepcidin and ERFE was found (R ² =0.13, P<0.001). The findings demonstrate that hepcidin and ERFE are more rapid biomarkers of changes in iron demands than routine iron markers. Finally, ERFE and hepcidin may be sensitive markers in an anti-doping context.
Thesis
Link to the full publication: https://nih.brage.unit.no/nih-xmlui/handle/11250/2658015 ----------- Doping in elite sport is commonly understood as a moral problem. In line with this view, antidoping work is set out to protect ‘clean’ athletes and ‘the spirit of sport’ from individual athletes’ and accomplices’ lack of moral rectitude. Arguably, such ‘moralized’ and dogmatic descriptions of doping and anti-doping have warranted the development of a sophisticated control regime of biological testing and surveillance: a regime which raises numerous ethical concerns. Moreover, these descriptions have influenced a public anti-doping discourse of scandalization, mistrust and stigmatization. The main aim of this dissertation is to develop and examine the implications of a philosophical understanding of anti-doping that challenges the dogmatic descriptions and addresses the ethical issues of current anti-doping policy and discourse. Towards this aim, the philosophical methodology of redescription is employed. This approach draws on the neopragmatism of Richard Rorty. The main impetus of Rortyan redescription is the deepening and widening of solidarity. Thus, the dissertation endeavors to develop and examine the implications of a philosophy of anti-doping as solidarity. Four individual papers contribute towards the main aim. Paper 1 places anti-doping within a wider, historically qualified and fallibilistic endorsement of liberal values. The paper develops and examines the implications of ‘ironism’ as a philosophical basis for anti-doping commitment. It suggests that ironism contributes to more compassionate forms of commitment: more tolerant of intentionally doping athletes as persons and more aware of sport organizations’ responsibilities to all athletes. Paper 2 develops a philosophical basis for sport organizations’ anti-doping policy and rhetoric. Redescribing ‘fair play’ as athletes’ expression of loyalty to larger groups, the paper inserts a picture of sport organizations such as the International Olympic Committee, as coordinating bodies of larger groups that appeal, through policy and rhetoric, to athletes’ larger loyalty. Anti-doping policy and rhetoric, in this picture, are developed and critically scrutinized according to their potential for fostering a sense of common interest, interdependence, and reciprocal trust across larger sporting communities. Paper 3 examines whether, and if so how, the purposes of redescription can be served by doping-related stories, playing out in elite sport, narrated through the media and enacted by celebrity-athletes. The paper discusses two stories about athletes sanctioned for doping, interpreted as redescriptive narratives challenging dogmatic descriptions prevailing in respective sporting communities. The story of Justin Gatlin is seen to communicate to the international athletics community the idea that after serving a suspension, it makes sense for an athlete to be included as ‘one of “us”’. Similarly, the paper suggests that the story of Therese Johaug conveys to the Norwegian sporting community that some of these athletes remain ‘one of “us”’ throughout the judicial process. Paper 4 addresses the ‘confession dilemma’ faced by former elite athletes pondering upon the question of whether to publicly confess to doping. The paper sheds light on the dissertation’s main aim by rendering visible ethical problems with the dogmatic, moralized descriptions and introducing the idea of redescription as a means to foster and cultivate alternative understandings of doping-related dilemmas. Overall, the dissertation aspires to show that, conditional upon further development and refinement, there is promise to the philosophical understanding of anti-doping as solidarity. As a main contribution, the dissertation proposes the idea that for anti-doping policy and discourse to progress towards solidarity, what is needed in the current situation are ‘sociological’ redescriptions that draw attention to doping as a social phenomenon, playing out in social networks, fostered and made possible by the social structures of elite sport. Such redescriptions can alter the course of sport communities’ conversations away from prevailing moralized descriptions of doping and anti-doping, towards a wider discourse of cultural and political change in the organization of elite sport.
Thesis
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Tidligere forskning på doping i landeveissykling viser at bruk og ikke-bruk utfoldes i en sosial kontekst. Unge rekrutter i profesjonelle lag blir del av nye miljøer, får nye mennesker rundt seg og opplever kanskje at det kommuniseres om doping på nye måter. Studier fra 1990- og 2000-tallets utstrakte toleransekultur i profesjonell landeveissykling forteller om trivialiserende og legitimerende kommunikasjon om doping. Kommunikasjon er viktig i dopingspørsmålet, og et fruktbart felt for forskning. Denne studien reiser spørsmålet hvordan kommuniserer en gruppe unge og lovende landeveissyklister om doping? Studien bygger på fire fokusgruppeintervjuer med til sammen 13 talentfulle, norske landeveissyklister med proffambisjoner – gutter og jenter i alderen 17 til 21 år. Valget av fokusgruppeintervju som metode for datainnsamling følger naturlig av problemstillingen. Fokusgruppeintervjuene er en observasjon av hvordan syklistene kommuniserer om doping i en konkret interaksjon. Intervjuene er analysert i to trinn. Først en deskriptiv, kategoribasert analyse; deretter en teoretisk informert tolkningsanalyse. Her nyttes begreper fra to beslektede grener av rammeanalyse. Goffmans mikrointeraksjonistiske rammeanalyse handler om individers fortolkning av ansikt-til-ansikt-interaksjon og brukes til å forstå relasjonsaspektet ved kommunikasjonen i fokusgruppeintervjuene. Den politisk-sosiologiske rammeanalysen ser på ulike aktørers fortolkning av politiske og sosiale fenomener. Begreper fra denne retningen belyser innholdsaspektet ved syklistenes fortolkninger av fenomenet doping, slik de kommer til uttrykk i fokusgruppeintervjuene. Studien gir innsikt i ulike måter å kommunisere om doping på. To fellesnevnere på tvers av de fire fokusgruppene trekkes frem. Kommunikasjonen fremstår for det første som normregulert og for det andre som preget av bestemte fortolkninger av fenomenet doping. Analysen viser at enighet og samstemthet, samt å forsvare sykkelsporten, er viktige normer. To fortolkninger av fenomenet doping trer frem. Syklistene enes om at det er svært lite doping i profesjonell landeveissykling i dag, og de enes om at doping ikke er et dilemma for dem selv.
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This study evaluated whether recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEpo) treatment combined with chronic hypoxia provided an additive erythropoietic response and whether the athlete biological passport (ABP) sensitivity improved with hypoxia. Two interventions were completed, each containing 4 weeks baseline, 4 weeks exposure at sea level or 2,320 m of altitude, and 4 weeks follow‐up. Participants were randomly assigned to 20 IU·kg bw⁻¹ rhEpo or placebo injections every second day for 3 weeks during the exposure period at sea level (rhEpo n = 25, placebo n = 9) or at altitude (rhEpo n = 12, placebo n = 27). Venous blood was analyzed weekly. Combining rhEpo and hypoxia induced larger changes compared with rhEpo or hypoxia alone for [Hb] (p < 0.001 and p > 0.05, respectively), reticulocyte percentage (p < 0.001), and OFF‐hr score (p < 0.01 and p < 0.001, respectively). The most pronounced effect was observed for reticulocyte percentage with up to ~35% (p < 0.001) and ~45% (p < 0.001) higher levels compared with rhEpo or hypoxia only, respectively. The ABP sensitivity for the combined treatment was 54 and 35 percentage points higher for [Hb] (p < 0.05) and reticulocyte percentage (p < 0.05), respectively, but similar for OFF‐hr score, compared with rhEpo at sea level. Across any time point, [Hb] and OFF‐hr score combined identified 14 unique true‐positive participants (56%) at sea level and 12 unique true‐positive participants (100%) at altitude. However, a concurrent reduction in specificity existed at altitude. In conclusion, rhEpo treatment combined with hypoxic exposure provided an additive erythropoietic response compared with rhEpo or hypoxic exposure alone. Correspondingly, ABP was more sensitive to rhEpo at altitude than at sea level, but a compromised specificity existed with hypoxic exposure.
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In everyday communication, participants can critically explore their understanding of morally complex phenomena. There has been little effort within the social sciences to provide insight into whether and how athletes communicate among themselves about morally contested topics. This study attempts to fill this gap in the literature. Through focus group interviews and with the help of Goffman's frame analysis, we explore how a group of young, Norwegian road cyclists communicates about doping. The article demonstrates that this communication is strongly norm-regulated and often appears as brief, assertive, and evasive. We show how the communication reflects a hegemonic discourse of doping as immoral and inexcusable. We conclude that this discourse limits explorative communication and may limit young athletes' preparation for doping-related dilemmas and social pressures.
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This article aims to present ideas for future anti-doping governance by considering the relative merits of trade union-based athlete representation (ATU) as opposed to the current system of so-called athletes’ commissions or athletes’ committees (AC). It therefore revisits recent examples of the rejection of trade unionism in anti-doping governance and questions the legitimacy of current arrangements. In order to investigate the normative basis of current practice and possible revisions, the author examines the use made, in the World Anti-Doping Code, of the concept of ‘Olympism’. The question is asked whether ‘Olympism’ is an appropriate justification for rejecting athlete representation via trade unions.
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This study investigated the use and content of sports scandal investigation reports. Many such reports are self-described as “independent.” This paper serves to elucidate some of the issues around “independence” and limitations of these investigations. The analysis is discussed in connection to the unique context of sport governance structures and policy, along with the related issues of autonomy, transparency, and accountability. A content analysis method was employed to analyze a purposive sample of post-scandal reports from the past decade pertaining to international professional sport. The results revealed the efforts to portray independence in the reports and identified potential threats to independence. The analysis and corresponding discussion provide recommendations for future report procedure, interpretation, evaluation, and legal policymaking.
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