Must Reads: Debunking the EPO study; Painkillers in sport

Outside Magazine targets the recent British study that claimed no benefit for elite athletes from EPO use

Meeusen involved in doping investigation — Sporza

Belgian cyclocrosser Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) appears to be wrapped up in a doping investigation that has resulted in him being replaced by Sven Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) for the Rome World Cup on Sunday.

“Little is known about the nature of the investigation, but it is apparently serious enough for the union to keep him at home,” writes the Belgian television channel on its website. “Meeusen already responded on Twitter: ‘I am part of a doping investigation, but am right in my shoes. I’m not a cheater!'”

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Debunking the flawed EPO study — Outside

Outside Magazine’s Scott Rosenfield talks with Dr. Michael J. Joyner about the shortcomings of a recently published study that claimed that EPO use does not enhance endurance performance.

“So where did the study go wrong?” writes Rosenfield. “It goes back to basic exercise physiology and the science of how races are won, Joyner says. The researchers don’t understand the relationship between VO2 max—your body’s maximum ability to consume oxygen, or your -performance ceiling’ — and other metrics like lactate threshold, a key predictor of endurance performance, Joyner says.”

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Dangerous painkiller still in use in pro sports — ABC News

Former University of Southern California football standout Armond Armstead suffered a heart attack in 2010 at the age of 20. This week, ABC News reported that Armstead was blaming the heart attack on his use of the painkiller Toradol, a painkiller regularly prescribed by training staffs in professional and college football in the U.S.

According to the report, Armstead and other USC players were given the drug by team staff:

Armstead says he and many other USC players would receive injections of what was known only as “the shot” in a specific training room before big games and again at half-time.

“No discussion, just go in. He would give the shot and I would be on my way,” Armstead told ABC News.

Armstead said the shot made him feel “super human” despite severe ankle, and later shoulder pain, and that without it, he never could have played in big USC games against Notre Dame and UCLA.

In late 2012, American Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) described the widespread use of “finish bottles” containing a mix of caffeine pills and painkillers in the peloton.

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