Researchers in the Netherlands are conducting study on effects of EPO on cyclists by paying them to ride up Mont Ventoux on the drug

Fancy riding up Mont Ventoux in super-quick time? Well now’s your chance.

Researchers in the Netherlands are appealing for experienced male cyclists to take part in a study which will involve riding to the summit of the notorious mountain ascent using EPO.

The study by the Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR) is looking for 48 volunteers between the ages of 18-45 to investigate the effects of EPO on the performance of well-trained cyclists as well as the side-effects it may cause.

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“Comprehensive literature search showed that there has been no adequate research into the effects of EPO for cyclists,” said a statement on the research group’s website.

“Our conclusion is therefore that it is not proven that EPO has a performance-enhancing effect in professional cyclists. This study should provide clarity in the matter.”

Volunteers will be asked to adhere to a 12 week programme which includes 15 days of training for three hours at a time and a 150km race up Mont Ventoux.

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EPO or a placebo will be injected into the participants on eight of the 15 visits who will each receive €860 for the pleasure.

Quite what new research they expect to find remains unclear but it can’t be that hard to predict the results.

  • Adam Beevers

    Why don’t they just ask for the training files of a few pro’s?

  • ReturnOfTheWazz

    Evening Primrose Oil, yeah? 😉

  • Nomad

    This sounds confusing. They’re looking for “experienced male cyclists” (non-elite?) to determined an EPO-performance enhancing effect for “professional cyclists?” There are several peer-reviewed studies that show a significant increase in VO2max with EPO administered to well-trained cyclists and endurance athletes…no surprises there. Granted, these studies didn’t involve elite or world-class cyclists, so it’s fair to say that it hasn’t been adequately studied with a higher level of athlete. However, I wonder what these researchers plan to accomplish using non-elite cyclists as their subjects…if their conclusion is that it hasn’t been proven that EPO has a performance enhancing effect in “professional cyclists.”

    Other researchers have also asked the same question. In fact, a peer-reviewed paper was published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology titled: “Erythropoietin doping in cycling: lack of evidence for efficacy and a negative risk-benefit.” (Heuberger et al./2013). The authors’ contention is that an EPO-performance benefit hasn’t been adequately studied with pro-cyclists. A good read if anyone is interested.

  • J1

    I’d be so gutted.

  • Ivor Bigguns

    The follow up studying the withdrawal effects on performance would be more interesting and I hope they use levels that cannot be detected in drug tests. The people saying I did wrong mummy would be glad to help I hope. Throw in a Spanish steak to make it more interesting and less painful.

  • Altimis Nuel

    Playing with drug does not end well…. those egg head >,>

  • Jason Cole

    Just do it the hard way. I did, and very rewarding, especially as I already had 700 miles in the legs before I got there. London to Rome #rodetorome

  • Howmanyjackos

    Does sound very worthwhile this experiment. who could guess the outcome? …
    damn !forgot to include steroids and a readily available motor kit (to quote willier)
    I’d rather carry my bike up. (And save the EPO for a club time trial)

  • ummm…

    the pain doesnt go away, u just go faster.

  • ummm…

    *raises hand* oh me me me, here, me me pick me

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    “what new research they expect to find” ?? What does that mean?

  • J1

    Seems a bit irresponsible. What happens if people get hooked on it and feel they can’t ride without it due to their previous superior performance? (If it does indeed work)

  • sola scientia

    “Quite what new research they expect to find remains unclear but it can’t be that hard to predict the results.”

    Didn’t read the article you wrote? Let me help:

    “Comprehensive literature search showed that there has been no adequate research into the effects of EPO for cyclists,” said a statement on the research group’s website.

    “Our conclusion is therefore that it is not proven that EPO has a
    performance-enhancing effect in professional cyclists. This study should
    provide clarity in the matter.”

    Quantifying the effect would indeed be quite interesting. In particular, the effect by training volume would be most illuminating — a general question on PED’s remains how effective they are as the athlete climbs into the elite. (I suspect that if you gave me EPO, I would do better, but it is unlikely to have anywhere near the same effect on people like Chris Froome…)