12th May 2015

WADA: ABP would have caught five ‘complete’ profiles in France Televisions documentary

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said that its Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) would have caught the five ‘complete’ profiles produced in a France Télévisions documentary, in which eight athletes were given micro-doses of prohibited substances. The 3 May documentary had claimed that all eight athletes who were given micro-doses of erythropoietin (EPO) and ‘other substances’ would have remained undetected by the ABP, despite showing marked improvements in performance.

‘WADA is now aware of the five complete profiles produced by the study’, read an 11 May WADA statement. ‘Of those five, two would have been considered “positive” cases under the ABP model if properly used, and three would have been “suspicious” cases leading to targeted testing’.

WADA had earlier criticised the findings, stating that it would never approve research in which athletes were given performance enhancing drugs as ‘human guinea pigs’. However, WADA yesterday admitted that it had given ‘ethical permission’ for the study. ‘WADA accepts that there may be studies that use humans to explore the effect of performance enhancing substances’, read its 11 May statement. ‘In such cases, they must be subjected to full ethical reviews that include monitoring of the study and the results. WADA has approved one such research project.’

The study was carried out for France Télévisions by Athletes for Transparency, and aired on France 2’s sports magazine show, Stade 2, on 3 May. It s understood that eight amateur athletes were given VO2 max testing before undergoing a 29-day doping programme. This measures the maximum amount of oxygen consumption by an individual during incremental exercise – i.e. exercise that increases in intensity over time. They also had to perform a 14km time trial on a static bike, and were timed on a 3,000m run. During the 29 days, the athletes were given micro doses of EPO and other substances. They were then asked to repeat all three tests. In the VO2 max test, an average improvement of 6.1% was recorded, whilst an average gain of 2.1% was reported in the bike time trial. In the 3,000m run, an average improvement of 2.8% was recorded.

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