Blood Doping - What Is It?
Found it interesting that the sponsor of the Tour of California, Amgen, is the international biotechnology company headquartered in southern California that produces Epogen, an EPO which is used as a performance-enhancing drug or blood doping.
EPO drugs, such as Amgen's Epogen, have become best-sellers for their ability to relieve anemia-related fatigue and allow kidney patients to forestall regular blood transfusions but obviously has other uses as well. (From 2007 article NEJM- Caught Covering Up for National Kidney Foundation--an indudstry front group)
In May 2007, Bjarne Riis, Rolf Aldag, Erik Zabel, and Brian Holm, all former members of the Telekom cycling team, admitted to using EPO during their cycling careers in the mid-1990s. Riis also relinquished his title as champion of the 1996 Tour de France. EPO was again a factor in the various doping scandals at the 2007 Tour de France, including the suspension of Spanish cyclist, Iban Mayo.
Tour de France rider Alexander Vinokourov, of the Astana Team, tested positive for two different blood cell populations and thus for homologous transfusion, according to various news reports on July 24, 2007. Vinokourov was tested after his victory in the 13th stage time trial of the Tour on July 21, 2007. A doping test is not considered to be positive until a second sample is tested to confirm the first. Vinokourov's B sample has now tested positive, and he faces a possible suspension of 2 years and a fine equal to one year's salary. He also tested positive after stage 15.
Vinokourov's teammate Andrej Kashechkin also tested positive for homologous blood doping on August 1st, 2007, just a few days after the conclusion of the 2007 Tour de France (a race that had been dominated by doping scandals). His team withdrew after the revelation that Vinokourov had doped.
According to Russian investigators, 19-year-old New York Rangers prospect and Russian hockey player Alexei Cherepanov was engaged in blood doping for several months before he died on October 13th, 2008, after collapsing on the bench during a game in Russia. He also had myocarditis. (source)
List of doping cases in cycling
News articles on blood doping