Things I Wish to Forget

News & Results

03/26/2012| 0 comments
by Neil Browne
Ghosts from the past are coming back to haunt us. Photo by Ben Ross / Ben Ross Photography.
Ghosts from the past are coming back to haunt us. Photo by Ben Ross / Ben Ross Photography.

Things I Wish to Forget

Ghosts from the past are coming back to haunt us.

glad to forget about Ball. Let's promise to never speak of him again, okay?

One topic I also wish I could forget about is doping.

Earlier this month Spanish police arrested Colombian doctor Alberto Beltrán Niño as part of Operation Skype. At the time of his arrest it's reported he had two new generation doping products in his possession: AICAR (aminoimidazole carboxamide ribonucleotide) and TB-500 (Thymosin Beta 4 Peptide).

Doctor Beltan's name has unfortunately made the news previously, as he was arrested in 2001 when he was the team doctor for the Italian/Colombian Selle Italia squad and was found with doping products in his car. He claimed the products were for private clients.

In 2009 French Anti-Doping Agency President Pierre Bordry told Cyclingnews that he was convinced that there were two new performance enhancing drugs. One of those was AICAR, called "exercise in a pill."

The World Anti-Doping Agency on January 1st, 2011 issued a list of prohibited drugs. This list prohibited gene doping products such as AICAR.

Testing of AICAR shows that the pill can change fast twitch muscles to slow twitch - a muscle type important in an endurance sport as cycling. AICAR also stimulates burning of intra-abdominal fat.

Bordry is quoted saying that he was shocked at how thin Tour de France riders looked, thus raising his concern that the pill was in use among some riders.

In May of last year the UCI instituted a 'No Needle" policy, which limited what injections a rider can receive and prohibits injections of recovery-boosting vitamins, sugars, enzymes and amino acids. A performance enhancing pill circumnavigates this no needle policy.

TB-500 also offers a laundry list of performance enhancing benefits.

A clinical trial of TB-500 showed that the peptide increased muscle growth, thereby improving strength and endurance. In addition it assisted in improving muscle tone, maintaining flexibility, and decreasing inflammation. However this testing was not done on humans, but horses.

If TB-500 seems familiar it's because an arrest has been made in the past.

Former Silence-Lotto rider Wim Vansevenant was arrested in June of 2011 when a shipment of TB-500 that was addressed to him was intercepted by Belgian customs officials. He was to drive a VIP car for Silence-Lotto, but was ultimately fired and the team claimed no involvement in Vansevenant's doping activities. Vansevenant claimed the drug was for personal use.

While the knowledge of this new generation of drugs is well known, WADA hasn't reported any positive testing results from athletes. The reason is testing procedures for both TB-500 and AICAR are still unreliable.

The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf claims that the AICAR is nearly impossible to detect and three WADA accredited labs are working on a test for what they called the "untraceable super drug."

My fingers are crossed that no cyclists are caught up in this latest drug sting, but if history shows us anything, someone's name will pop up.

So here we are again - trying to stay a step ahead of some riders that are trying to game the system with these new drugs. Perhaps I'm

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