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just some guy

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The History of Blood transfusions in cycling
« on: January 25, 2013, 10:06 »
Il Leone del Mugello

Quote
Gastone Nencini is the first cyclist we know to have used the technique because he horrified the Tour de France doctor Pierre Dumas with a self-administered transfusion in his hotel room at the race in 1960, but it had been used by Scandinavian runners since the 1930s and as such had probably been used by cyclists too -





All this got started with a twitter convo last night between :twitter fmk_rol , :twitter inrng and our own :twitter DopeologyDotOrg

The conversation focused around when EPO took over and also the history and use of Blood Transfusions - most of the conversation focused on Conconi and Moser, Sure Conconi is widely accepted as introducing the science of blood manipulation, through 1st blood transfusions and then EPO, but it got me thinking when did it start?

I found awhole lot of information on the use of EPO in Sweden and Finland for the team wide doping thread - :link, ask any Swede and they know nothing about Swedish doping in cross country sking ,  just about the fins, but I digress.

So it appears the 1960 Tour de France champion Nencini followed by Jacques Anquetil 1961-64  who this article claims was the 1st know blood booster in cycling :link, of course it does not mean blood transfusions but close enough .... The term “blood boosting” is used in this article to refer to infusion of blood or blood products into an athlete to increase performance and most likely given the technology available.

It must be also noted that science had been looking at the effects of blood manipulation and activity  much much earlier than Conconi - 1947



Quote
Researchers had long been interested in how red cell mass affected exercise performance. As far back as 1947, studies suggested that boosting the haematocrit (the number of red blood cells as a percentage of total blood volume) to 55% (from the normal of around 40%) by transfusion made exercise at altitude easier by enabling the body to transport more oxygen.

So when did transfusions start as practice in the Peloton too hard to say, but I would have at a guess about the time that the Tour started again after the second world war.

Everyone should be aware that 1984 was a big year for blood transfusions, Moser´s hour record and the team wide doping of the 1984 US Olympic cycling team ( not all members but most), but when did it become wider practice in all endurance sports? It seems from my research after the Mexico Olympics in 1968.

And why is this important because it shows that Blood transfusions has been around the Peloton for more 50 years and instead of thinking that riders went back to the ways of Conconi and Moser when the test for EPO started when should be say to the ways of Nencini.

There have been changes with the advent of EPO the cycling domestiques started manipulating their blood values not just the true leaders and " champions " of the sport , techniques have improved but the major thing has never changed if you use your own blood they are undetectable.   

what say you ?
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  • « Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 15:53 by Dim, Reason: formatting tidied up and turned into article. »
    Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

    Capt_Cavman

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    Interesting stuff. For me the question it raises is whether it was at all effective. If it was, why were athletes bothering with anything else? And why the sudden extraordinary surges in performance when EPO came on the scene?

    My guess is that as with most medical products, knowing how to use them to your advantage is the key. Which brings us back to Ferrari and Armstrong. Why would you sign a doctor on an exclusive contract? Because no-one else can make these products work better for you. Not just by a bit, a marginal gain so to speak, but by a whole lot.
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  • just some guy

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    fmk ‏@fmk_RoI all quotes in response


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    @cycling_jsg You should source orginal Dumas quote on Nencini. AFAIK it makes no ref to blood doping, just tubes in both arms.

    @cycling_jsg Like death of Linton, ppl have run with it and make it a fact.

    @cycling_jsg On Anquetil, @friebos makes ref to this in his Merckx biog, it was a sort of ozone therapy IIRC.

    @cycling_jsg There's no real evidence for sporting transfusions pre 60s. Mexico Olympics seem to the the acknowledged game changer re blood.

    will look for links when I get time


    :link Here fmk_rol mentions the quotes from the Danile Friebe book on Eddy merckx

    :wiki Wikipedia page on Dumas

    :wiki  Gastone Nencini of Italy, was discovered by Tour de France doctor Pierre Dumas in his bedroom with plastic tubes running from each arm to a bottle of blood;

    Quote
    but This stems from an incorrect translation. It was not a transfusion of blood but an early version of testosterone doping. Dumas spoke about it in detail in "Dictionnaire du dopage"
      from Race Radio
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  • « Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 15:56 by Dim, Reason: titied up for articvle. »

    just some guy

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    Interesting stuff. For me the question it raises is whether it was at all effective. If it was, why were athletes bothering with anything else? And why the sudden extraordinary surges in performance when EPO came on the scene?

    My guess is that as with most medical products, knowing how to use them to your advantage is the key. Which brings us back to Ferrari and Armstrong. Why would you sign a doctor on an exclusive contract? Because no-one else can make these products work better for you. Not just by a bit, a marginal gain so to speak, but by a whole lot.

    ease of use and cost and less admin

    plus all could get it where the procedure involved in transfusions is a lot, with EPO there is also self administration
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  • ram

    "Researchers had long been interested in how red cell mass affected exercise performance. As far back as 1947, studies suggested that boosting the haematocrit (the number of red blood cells as a percentage of total blood volume) to 55% (from the normal of around 40%) by transfusion made exercise at altitude easier by enabling the body to transport more oxygen."

    Seen this a couple of times, but never been attributed to any study. Most basic question- What about volume injected?

    If Moser transfused blood in 84, and not illegal since 86, and still rather difficult to detect. Odds say it's likely to have been there.
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  • just some guy

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    "Researchers had long been interested in how red cell mass affected exercise performance. As far back as 1947, studies suggested that boosting the haematocrit (the number of red blood cells as a percentage of total blood volume) to 55% (from the normal of around 40%) by transfusion made exercise at altitude easier by enabling the body to transport more oxygen."

    Seen this a couple of times, but never been attributed to any study. Most basic question- What about volume injected?

    If Moser transfused blood in 84, and not illegal since 86, and still rather difficult to detect. Odds say it's likely to have been there.

    Interesting I still even after fmk_rol points which means I messed up really ( but thats for another day  ;) ) that there was blood manipulation going on early, how early nd who no idea just my thoughts - volume injections interesting idea
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  • Not Andre Greipel

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    Quote
    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_doping_cases_in_cycling#1960Gastone Nencini of Italy, was discovered by Tour de France doctor Pierre Dumas in his bedroom with plastic tubes running from each arm to a bottle of blood;
      from Race Radio

    According to william Fotheringham in "put me back on my bike" Chapter Eight c. page 160
    In 1960, he (Dr.Dumas) found the race winner Gastone Nencini  lying in his bed with a drip infusing primitive hormones into both arms - and smoking a cigarette.
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  • « Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 15:45 by Dim, Reason: fixed quote »

    esafosfina

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    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_doping_cases_in_cycling#1960Gastone Nencini of Italy, was discovered by Tour de France doctor Pierre Dumas in his bedroom with plastic tubes running from each arm to a bottle of blood;
      from Race Radio


    According to william Fotheringham in "put me back on my bike" Chapter Eight c. page 160
    In 1960, he (Dr.Dumas) found the race winner Gastone Nencini  lying in his bed with a drip infusing primitive hormones into both arms - and smoking a cigarette.
    What a visual! :(
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  • "Sturgess, don't you dare get off that bike" - Sean Kelly, Nokere, 1989.

    Dim

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    A brief run down of what is "historically accepted" as the timeline for blood doping.

    1970's - Doping in the form of Transfusions start
    1980 - First known (caught) blood doper, Kaarlo Maaninka of Finland who won two medals at that Summers Olympics in Moscow.
    1984 - LA Olympics, American cyclist Pat McDonough admits transfusions and its later discovered 2/3rds of the olympic team had transfusions. (They won 9 medals)
    1985 - The IOC make blood doping illegal
    1993 - U.S. Special Forces start testing blood "enhancement"
    1998 - Australian defence forces approve blood doping for their SAS Regiment.
    2001 Bo Hamburger is the first rider to be caught by the UCI's EPO test, but was acquitted after irregularities in the handling of the B sample [1]
    2001 - Cyclist Niklas Axelsson tests positive for EPO at the world championships and banned for four years.[2]
    2004 - Tyler Hamilton tests positive for a homologous blood transfusion during the Olympics. Later cleared as no B-sample was taken. He had a second positive at the Vuelta later that year.

     1. Several other riders would test positive for EPO during 2001, including Pascal Herve, Roland Meier with varying penalties, or lack thereof. Axelsson is widely acknowledged as the first major case)
     2. (interestingly he later contracted testicular cancer, tested positive again and was banned for life)
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  • Blackbandit222

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     :'(   Some of those names take me back,  ...to the 90's & early 2000's that is.
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  • Sagan supporter.

    Echoes

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    Dumas was pretty incompetent as a doctor. Actually he never was a doctor. He was a kinesist.

    But Nencini, that was not transfusion, but hormone doping, as has been mentioned.

    Friebe said that Anquetil's dope did not work, because there could be no red blood cell created. I remember well.

    Also the Zoetemelk case. Blood transfusion for therapeutic use after a heavy crash at the Midi-libre 1974.

    So the real first case we know for sure in cycling is Moser 1984.

    There might be some speculation as to whether transfusion was already used prior to 1984 but there's no evidence for it.

    Besides, Moser's "renaissance" in 1984 would rather suggest that he discovered the stuff that year. Actually, his 1983 season was not as bad as people usually think it was but he was definitely rather winding down. When suddenly, 2 "Hour performances", Milan-Sanremo and the Giro (though with organizers help)...
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  • "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

    just some guy

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    http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/a-history-on-the-use-of-blood-transfusions-in-cycling

    Much of what I brought up shown be false in more detail, really interesting.

    Funny the joop link and treatment of anemia
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  • just some guy

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    just some guy

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    Drummer Boy

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    Just adding these here, maybe cycling maybe not but ....

    Another thread that I entirely missed the first time around.  :S

    But why do you say, "maybe cycling"? It says "cycling" in the list of sports.

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  • just some guy

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    Another thread that I entirely missed the first time around.  :S

    But why do you say, "maybe cycling"? It says "cycling" in the list of sports.


    Sorry DB  the *fi is track and field
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  • Aragon

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    Here is some new information about the early transfusions research relating particularly on the "México altitude problem" at 7000 feet. At least the 1971 Giro Winner was a part of the altitude expedition of the 1965 preolympics where transfusions were discussed by one Swedish MD as one option, and French cyclists asked Dr. Björn Ekblom about assistance with the method as early as in 1971:
    Quote
    When Bengt Saltin researched the [altitude] adaptation process in the field in October 1965 by bringing Swedish elite level athletes into altitude for the 1965 pre-Olympics in a joint Nordic venture, he discussed the method as more than theoretical alternative publicly. “This is no joke, and I seriously mean it”, he is quoted having said by the Swedish daily Expressen. He also describes how endurance performance capacity falls at altitude by “5-10-15 percent” and because of the shortage of oxygen, some “become blue” and athletes collapse (such as the Swede at the 1960 games) and can risk their health and in extreme cases, there is even the risk of death.

    He continues that fortunately through adaptation processes at altitude, the body increases red blood volume by up to nine decilitres to function better, but Saltin had even a better and a more straightforward idea.

    “But why should we wait for these regenerations [of performance capacity]”, Bengt Saltin put it bluntly. “You can, in a transfusion, get fresh blood before the departure to Mexico City, thus minimizing the adaptation problems”. He also describes having discussed the matter with medical experts and the general view was that even when this type of intervention would be conducted on healthy people, it didn’t violate medical ethics because it was beneficial from medical viewpoint to overrun the “fatigue syndrome”.

    “I can without doubt say that we will test the method”, he also told the reporter. “And if it shows to be effective – as one can imagine – there is no reason whatsoever why we wouldn’t use it in 1968”.

    ...

    In 1971, the Belgian cycling superstar Eddy Merckx was at the height of his career but skipped that year’s edition of the Tour of Italy. The Tour was subsequently won by Gösta Pettersson, who had been tested by Björn Ekblom and a participant of his study from the late 1960s that measured cardiac outputs. The physiologist commented on Pettersson’s physiology in the media when the cyclist had managed to become one of the few Swedes to compete at the international elite level in cycling. Pettersson complained regularly in 1970-1971 about his anemia and was infused with sugar solution and iron shots by the Italian team doctor of his Ferretti team, even when Ekblom hadn’t been that worried about the low hemoglobin concentrations as such of athletes with superior hearts.

    One can only speculate what kind of thought went through the minds of his competitors when the existence of blood doping was revealed only a few months after his Tour of Italy win, but we do know that some French cyclists did ask Ekblom for assistance with the blood doping process and Pettersson’s main rival Eddy Merckx has later revealed that the Belgian was offered a possibility to use transfusion when the attempted to break the hour record in 1972.

    ...

    The [blood doping] discussion was very heated also in Sweden and already in 1971 steeplechaser Anders Gärderud mentioned in passing being interested in testing the method when the issue was the first time a news item. At the same time one journalist recalled hearing rumours that Swedish athletes had taken blood transfusion for the Mexico pre -Olympics and a year later wrestler Pelle Svensson (world champion) named in his provocative book Öppet Brev Till Sveriges Idrottspampar in 1972 one Swedish swimmer by name as a ”guinea pig” of blood reinfusion experiments. (Svensson, 1973) Some media outlets claimed that the alleged physiologist of the latter experiment was none-other-than Bengt Saltin, and interestingly Svensson had been a participant of the Saltin’s 1965 high-altitude expedition (with some ten other athletes, among them cyclist Gösta ”Fåglum” Pettersson and steeplechaser Anders Gärderud) where Saltin had made some remarks about the use of blood transfusion as one option, so the people involved could’ve heard at least some speculation about the method.
    https://fasterskier.com/fsarticle/limiting-factors-a-genesis-of-blood-doping-part-two/
    https://fasterskier.com/fsarticle/limiting-factors-a-genesis-of-blood-doping-part-three/
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