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 Post subject: Vintage Doping
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:35 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:31 pm
Posts: 1112
Hey,

Apologies if this raises a taboo subject, but I was reading
an old book about Belgian cycling, and it had a rather long chapter
about doping. At one point, it briefly mentioned Belgians being known
for using nitroglycerine (!) to enhance performance.

Not that I'm thinking of trying it, but what would be the reason for doing
this? Does it open blood vessels or something? Maybe something about being an explosive sprinter... :oops: Sorry.

Anyone with any medical knowledge who can explain this?

Cheers,

Johnny


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:46 pm 
East Midlands AEC
East Midlands AEC
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Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:45 pm
Posts: 15067
Location: Derby, UK
plenty if you google

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ALis ... in_cycling

(see 1896 section)

http://www.cyclelicio.us/2010/military- ... -research/

etc etc


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:12 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:07 pm
Posts: 1321
Location: Cotswolds
My knowledge of this is very little: When I started racing in 1951 I was advised by a steel erector to try a proprietory tonic, and discovered it contain a very small amount of strychnine.
In the 1950's it was fairly well accepted that the Belgian soigneurs would expect their riders to take whatever they were given, and certainly riders routinely had vitamin injections.
The only direct experience I saw was in 1969 at a ladies stage race in france where a leading Belgian rider, who shaved her face every morning, was openly given a injection just before the start in each calf. Probably a glucose injection.


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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Doping
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:41 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:04 pm
Posts: 3364
Location: Completely in the dark, thanks to me good mate Terry....
Johnsqual wrote:
Not that I'm thinking of trying it, but what would be the reason for doing
this? Does it open blood vessels or something?


Spot on; technical term is a vasodilator. It's not the nitroglycerine itself that does the job, more that it yields the vasodilator nitric oxide.

Even to this day, low-dose nitroglycerine can be had on prescription for certain heart conditions, irrespective of its reputation as an unstable high explosive.

David


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 Post subject: Doping
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:02 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:57 pm
Posts: 641
After World War 1 riders were using morphine. and since then you name it its been used.
In world war 2 the allied troops, especially the Americans went through thousands of tons of amphetamines. which were then used by cyclists.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:35 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:31 am
Posts: 585
Location: London
I was going to mention amphetamines, appropriately enough also called "speed" :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:38 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:31 pm
Posts: 1112
Hey,

I recently met the boyfriend of a colleague who was the assistant to the doctor of the
Belgian army cycling team sometime in the 70's, during his army service.

He said the same thing as David B about nitroglycerine - maybe the army had access to more supplies of it than most people.

He said the main part of his job as assistant was to keep the cyclists away from the medical supplies because they'd steal anything they could get their hands on, and to watch out for made up ailments used as an excuse for getting hold of drugs.

Oh yeah, there were also tales of people sewing hypodermics into their shorts to administer themselves in secret during races.

Thanks for the Major Taylor link. I'd heard of him but not read the story before.

Cheers,

John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:35 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:04 pm
Posts: 3364
Location: Completely in the dark, thanks to me good mate Terry....
Johnsqual wrote:
He said the same thing as David B about nitroglycerine - maybe the army had access to more supplies of it than most people.


There is also a military link to its adoption for medical use; it was discovered as the cause of an abnormally high incidence of low blood pressure cases amongst munitions workers (round about WW1 I think).

As for cycling and nitroglycerine, beware any untoward consequences. To quote Michael Caine: "You're only supposed to blow the bloody Dawes off". I'll get me coat. :oops:

David


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