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WADA criticizes French TV doping report

The World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) blasted the French television station Stade 2 for using what it termed “human guinea pigs” for a report that showed how micro-dosing with EPO could boost performance and foil the biological passport anti-doping system.

“WADA is aware of the television report that aired on French television recently,” read the WADA statement. “We would like to clarify that while we did make the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) software available, we certainly did not ‘bless’ or endorse the study, as has been suggested.”

Stade 2 subjected eight volunteers to a monthlong course of small EPO doses, which resulted in an average 6.1-percent increase in VO2 max. The program then demonstrated that the athletes would not have tripped any alarms in the bio-passport system, implying that top professionals may be using this doping method to surreptitiously enhance performance.

WADA said that the results of this report were not scientifically proven.

“In commenting on any study, it is first important that the findings are properly peer reviewed and published,” it said. “This has not yet taken place with this study.

“Furthermore, WADA does not ever recommend athletes take part as ‘human guinea pigs’ in a study in which they would be subjected to taking performance-enhancing drugs.”

A 2011 study published in The European Journal of Applied Physiology revealed similar findings to those reported in the French TV experiment — a 10 percent increase in total hemoglobin mass among 10 subjects. A test, performed afterward using the biological passport parameters, did not flag any of the subjects’ samples as suspicious.