CapoVelo.com - | Team Sky Alleged to Have Tested Whether Viagra Increased Cycling Performance
43419
single,single-post,postid-43419,single-format-standard,no_animation

Team Sky Alleged to Have Tested Whether Viagra Increased Cycling Performance

keep-calm-and-take-viagra-9

Apparently “stiffness” and “performance” are not words relegated to “bed sport” alone, but rather they apply to the sport cycling as well. At least that’s Team Sky seems to think.

According to a report that surfaced in the British newspaper, the Daily Mail, Team Sky in the past allegedly tested the drug Viagra on some of its riders during training camps to see if any of the drug’s performance-enhancing properties corollated into increased cycling endurance. 

In its report, the Daily Mail suggests the sexual-enhancing drug was used on riders at altitude to see whether it might have a positive effect on  increasing their levels of endurance. 

The Daily Mail reports, that Sky first began testing Viagra on some of its riders when the team was newly formed in 2010, suggesting the British squad’s willingness to explore the possibility of finding legal way to increasing performance with drugs that were not banned. 

The performance-enhancing benefits of Viagra in the “bedroom” are well documented, but some anti-doping experts believe it can also work to an athlete’s advantage in the sporting arena.

Don Catlin, an American anti-doping expert, suggested several years ago that Viagra could be used to enhance athletic performance. ‘I thought there was some reason to be concerned about it and to put it on the (banned) list,’ he said.

‘There are credible scientific reports to show it is performance-enhancing in some circumstances, so I think it should be banned.”

‘There are also side-effects for people who don’t have a legitimate medical need, so it’s not a good idea for cyclists to try it without doing a study on it beforehand.’

Victor Conte, who ran the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative, which supplied banned drugs to leading US athletes, including runners Marion Jones and Dwain Chambers, told the Daily Mail, ‘I gave my athletes Viagra back in the day. We used to call it Vitamin V.”

‘I think it definitely has performance-enhancing benefits. It relaxes the walls of your cardiovascular system and improves blood flow.”

‘If you have a garden hose which you expand the diameter on it will allow more water to flow through. It’s the same with blood flow and oxygen round your body. That’s what Viagra does.’

Michele Verroken, the founding director of Sporting Integrity and a former head of Drug-free Sport, said: ‘The effect of Viagra is to open up the blood vessels so the blood will flow better and oxygen will move to the cells more quickly.

‘There are those who say the theory is correct but nobody can prove it enhances athletic performance in practice.” ‘One of the general problems of sport is that people are looking for the edge with legal substances.’

Verroken suggested some doctors and sport scientists may be too quick to suggest legal drugs that could enhance performance. ‘There’s a lot of reflected glory in sport,‘ she said.

‘They compromise their integrity by looking at the list of banned drugs and if something is permitted they think, “Why not?” That is where the culture of, “It’ll be all right, it’s not against the rules”, comes from.’

There is a precedent for use of Viagra in cycling.

At the Giro d’Italia in 2008, one competitor, Andrea Moletta, was suspended after his father’s car was searched and syringes hidden in toothpaste tubes were found — along with 82 Viagra pills.

WADA considered adding Viagra to its banned list in 2008. It came after some endurance athletes reported it boosted blood flow to their lungs.

Christiane Ayotte, a scientist at a laboratory accredited by WADA, said in a 2008 report she regularly found Viagra and a similar drug, Cialis, in the urine samples of male competitors.

While Viagra is not currently part of World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances, there have been campaigns in the past to prohibit its use by athletes.

As far as Team Sky is concerned, there’s been no real evidence to suggest that Viagra was used regularly on its riders in order to determine whether the drug presented a legal edge to increasing performance – at least not on the bike. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a reply
Share on