alexa The Epo Fable in Professional Cycling: Facts, Fallacies and Fabrications
ISSN: 2161-0673

Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies
Open Access

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Review Article

The Epo Fable in Professional Cycling: Facts, Fallacies and Fabrications

Hein FM Lodewijkx*

Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Open University of The Netherlands, Heerlen, The Netherlands

*Corresponding Author:
Hein Lodewijkx
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
Open University of The Netherlands
Stationsweg 3A, 4811 AX, Breda, The Netherlands
Tel: 31-76-5711608
Fax: 31-76-5715424
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

Received Date: April 26, 2014; Accepted Date: June 26, 2014; Published Date: July 10, 2014

Citation: Lodewijkx HFM (2014) The Epo Fable in Professional Cycling: Facts, Fallacies and Fabrications. J Sports Med Doping Stud 4:141. doi: 10.4172/2161-0673.1000141

Copyright: © 2014 Lodewijkx HFM. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



The massive doping schemes that surfaced in professional cycling suggest that riders’ performances, realized in the controversial ‘epo era’ (>1990), are a cut above achievements delivered by their forerunners. We examined this superior performances assumption (SPA) by conducting six historic studies, which all scrutinized archival records of winning riders’ stage race and time trial performances demonstrated in the three European Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a España; 1903–2013), including Lance Armstrong’s wins. Findings revealed that all riders’ wins in the epo years are no exception to the variability in speed progress observed in the three races over time and none of their achievements proved to be outliers. This also holds true for Armstrong’s performances. These findings agree with results of a meta–analysis of epo studies we conducted, indicating that the ergogenic effects of epo and blood doping on riders’ aerobic performances and associated cycling speeds are overrated. In conclusion, we argue that our observations render the SPA doubtful. They also made us realize that arguments used in contemporary discussions about effects of doping in cycling often involve psychological biases, false reasoning and fabrications. They are presented in the closing sections of this contribution.

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