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Taking EPO drug ‘serious risk’

Justin Marville

Taking EPO drug ‘serious risk’

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The illegal substance now-retired cyclist Barry Forde has denied ever taking is one of the more dangerous on the market.
Renowned anti-doping official and local sports medicine pioneer Dr Adrian Lorde says the banned substance recombinant EPO is considered dangerous because it increases the risk of blood clots, strokes and heart attacks.
This revelation comes in light of the most recent doping accusation levelled at Forde by cycling’s world governing body, the Union Cycliste International (UCI).
“It is dangerous because it can cause the blood to become too thick,” said Lorde of the use of genetically manufactured EPO, otherwise known as erythropoietin.
“Some people may have an allergic reaction or a reactionto the actual drug.
“The body [however] produces natural erythropoietin because that is what stimulates the red blood cells.”
But according to a release sent out by Forde’s management team, the UCI indicated that the local cyclist tested positive for recombinant EPO, which is unnatural or genetically manufactured EPO.
“It is used in sports by athletes to increase their red blood-cell count,” said Lorde of the manufactured form of EPO.
“This increases their endurance so they will be able to train for longer periods without getting fatigued and it is commonly used by endurance athletes. We also know that Marion Jones had been using erythropoietin although she is a sprinter.
“[Athletes who have been caught doping] have been using this as an alternative to blood doping because of the possibility of infection.”
This is the third time since 2003 that Barbados’ top ranked cyclist has tested positive, after announcing his arrival in 1998 with a gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games and a Commonwealth Games bronze medal.
In 2003, Forde was stripped of double gold at the Pan Am Games following a positive test for ephedrine, before being banned for two years after showing high levels of testosterone in 2005.
Forde then stunningly announced his retirement via a Press release two days ago, as he was facing a life ban for testing positive for recombinant EPO on a urine sample taken September 21 last year.
“It is difficult to detect in the urine, so much so that athletes who are being tested require a larger volume of urine than normal for a standard drug test,” said Lorde of testing for EPO.
“And as it is difficult to detect, we don’t know how common it really is.”
In his release, Forde denied ever committing any anti-doping violation but has opted against appealing the result, reasoning he will never be able to prove his innocence.
A representative of Barbados on the board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for two terms, Lorde is currently chairman of the National Anti-Doping Commission and the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organization.
He has also worked with WADA as an independent observer at the Athens Olympics in 2004,the 2006 Asian Games and last year’s Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, Canada.