“It’s just tragic to lose your career for something that doesn’t work, to lose seven yellow jerseys for a drug that has no effect,”
— Jules Heuberger, researcher into Lance Armstrong case
The controversy around Lance Armstrong is up there with one of the greatest ever sporting scandals; the face of cycling, the face of success, and the face of hope with his campaigning around cancer.
The discovering of the American’s doping would be like Usain Bolt being found guilty of taking a banned substance. It threw the sport into jeopardy, raising question marks across all the top athletes within cycling.
The controversy even put Armstrong’s excellent charity work into dispute; the using of multiple banned substances for a number of years, which came with numerous lies, shattered a reputation which was right up there with the greats sport has ever seen.
However, recent discoveries suggest that all of Armstrong’s doping could have been in vain; all could have been completely redundant in affecting his performance output.
The substance which Armstrong was using is erythropoietin (EPO). The drug supposedly boosts the amount a body can produce of red blood cells; the increase of red blood cells then allows the carrying of oxygen around the body in a more efficient and quicker manner.
This would then improve an athletes recovery and performance as the cardio vascular system is able to work with greater proficiency.
Initial conclusions would suggest that this substance carried out such effects on the body; but, in a discovery made by The Lancet, the medical records identify that EPO does not impact the body in such a way.
The experiment was carried out on 48 cyclists – half took EPO, and the other half took a dud substance – the results were exactly the same, as researches found EPO had zero effect on the body.
It’s reported that the cyclists respiratory and heart rate were not impacted by the substance, implying that when Armstrong took the substance during his seven-time Tour de France success, it did little to improve his performance. The researches instead suggested the substance would have improved cyclists mental state, rather than physical ability.
Despite the affect of this banned drug, Armstrong has confessed to doping of other substances; human growth hormone and cortisone all being part of that package which are known to improve performance.
However, the main instigator to impact on his inhumane cycling ability was the use of EPO, and it would appear that such use was all for nothing for the shamed American cyclists.