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So It Starts

After Christopher Froome won the ride to the top of Mont Ventoux today you started seeing people talking about drugs.

Both Christopher Froome and Nairo Quintana were born and raised at altitude. Froome was born and grew up above 1600 meters (a mile) in Nairobi, Kenya, and Quintana above 2800 meters in Tunja, Colombia. Their respiratory systems are extremely efficient at altitude, which means they don’t tire like the flat-landers. There is a reason Kenyans keep winning marathons.

If Quintana were not about a foot shorter than Froome, he would have been the first to the top, but he has to work harder.

2 comments

1 Badtux { 07.16.13 at 1:33 pm }

You’ll also hear people talking about “packing” or “blood loading”, which is when someone siphons off red blood cells some time prior to the race and refrigerates them, waits for his body to replenish the removed blood cells, then adds the siphoned-off red blood cells back in to get an extra boost to oxygen carrying capability. That’s hard to detect because it’s exactly the same thing that happens if you merely spend a lot of time at altitude (i.e., you get more red blood cells).

2 Bryan { 07.16.13 at 5:20 pm }

Actually, there are now tests for that as the process also adds traces of the plastic tubing and containers used in the process.

Science marches on, but these guys apparently don’t want to live and train in Denver or Nairobi for an extended period which would produce the same effect legally.