At some point this summer Major League Baseball quietly banned EPO, the performance-enhancing drug of choice among many Olympians and cyclists, including Lance Armstrong, and it may have been because the drug was allegedly part of Alex Rodriguez’ extensive doping regimen.
This comes from Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts, authors of the book “Blood Sport,” which detailed the doping case against Rodriguez and the Biogenesis Clinic. This latest information (published at Medium.com) was revealed to the authors after the book was published and comes from Tony Bosch’s testimony for Major League Baseball during the case against Rodriguez.
According to the authors, Bosch suggested during his testimony that he provided Rodriguez with Epogen (the commercial name for EPO) by saying he used the “Conte Protocol” as part of the doping regimen. Victor Conte is the former head of Balco and spent four months in prison for distributing steroids to many well-known athletes and also worked with Barry Bonds.
The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency says the two most popular substances used by athletes who want to cheat are EPO and human growth hormone (HGH). Until now, EPO was never considered something that would give baseball players an advantage since it is a blood doping agent that increases endurance.
Elfrink and Garcia-Roberts claim that Bosch’s testimony “sent baseball officials scrambling” and that the commissioners office worked with the players association to ban EPO this summer “as a direct result of Bosch’s testimony.”
MLB denies this,telling the New York Daily Newsthat the addition of EPO to the list of banned substances was just part of “the normal review process” that occurs every year.
Victor Conte denies that he provided A-Rod with EPO or anything else illegal.
However, Bosch only testified that he and Rodriguez used the “Conte Protocol,” something Conte admits is available online. Conte told the Daily News that a set of his EPO protocols was published online in 2008.
While much of the focus on PEDs in baseball has been on building strength and injury recovery, it is easy to forget that players play six games a week for six months and there may be some advantage to blood doping and increasing endurance.
A-Rod may have been taking advantage of this and now baseball is finally reacting.
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