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January 23, 2004

Cofidis probe continues with allegations of blood doping

Yahoo! Sport | Cofidis affair deepens as police intensify probe
The president of the country's cycling federation, Jean Pitallier, admits there has been progress since the Festina affair ominously demonstrated the extent of doping in the peloton.

But he insisted that teams had to take more responsibility.

"We have to lay down the law in this case and introduce prison sentences for those who are found guilty," Pitallier told AFP.

"I want an example to be made of these people."

Clearly, the use of performance-enhancing substances, including anabolic steroids, HGH and EPO, are dangerous to the integrity of the sport.

But this Yahoo! Sport article suggests that riders are buying blood — finding other riders with the same blood type, and injecting it, which it calls 'doping,' but which is more often called 'blood boosting.' Why would you do this, when you could just save your own blood and reinject it, which doesn't risk intravenous infection or registering a positive based on a drug being used by another rider, whose blood you've injected?

By the way, one-third of the US cycling team at the 1984 Olympics admitted to blood boosting with saved blood (four of the boosters won medals). At the time, the practice was not explicitly prohibited.

Cofidis head Francois Migraine (who seems very appropriately named):

"If I decide to pull out of the sport, cycling will not automatically get better.

"But if I find out that I have a team full of 25 riders who are all doped, then there will be no more team."

Listening to: Thank You from the album Sliding Doors by Dido

Posted by Frank Steele on January 23, 2004 in Cofidis probe, Tour news | Permalink

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