Dutch scientists researching the effects of EPO on well trained cyclists found no positive benefits to their performance in race conditions.
Last weekend, the trial tracked 48 amateur cyclists riding up the challenging climb to Mont Ventoux in France, but the riders on EPO performed less well than those who had taken a placebo.
The study, organised by the Centre for Human Drug Research in Leiden, looked at potential side effects as well as performance enhancement from 'recombinant human erythropoietin'. The cyclists, who were asked to ride for 120km before the climb, did not know whether they had been given EPO or the placebo.
The cyclists were timed riding up Mont Ventoux. Those who had been given the placebo managed the climb in an average of 1 hour 37 minutes and 45 seconds. The EPO group finished an average 38 seconds behind. According to the researchers, it reveals that EPO has no effect in race conditions.
The three month trial was started in order to test CDHR's theory that EPO did not benefit riders in race situations. We will have to wait months for the researcher's full report to be published but the initial findings could have implications for doping regulations in sport.