25 Bags of Blood?

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Man, according to this article over at Cyclingnews.com, Cipollini used 25 bags of blood in 2002, before the Giro. Holy shit, that is a lot of needle pricks. Needles to remove the blood, needles to put it back in. The number is beyond crazy. That is something like a bag a week.

I sort of understand the whole idea of blood transfusions. I don’t understand how you could remove 25 units and then put them back, in such a short amount of time. Where is the time left for your body to regenerate its own red cells so you can reap the benefits of the process?

Cipo’s argument that the name “Maria” was not him was rebutted by the newspaper quite well. The phone number they used to contact him was the same number that was connected to the doping evidence. That is pretty hard to explain.

It must of been super stressful doing all this just to race bikes. All the worry. Every time he felt a little weird he’d have to wonder if he got a bad bag of blood. I don’t get it. Well, I sort of get it, but I do have some sympathy for all these guys in this regard.

The shit is just going to keep flowing. Rasmussen’s revelations haven’t even been made public yet. Man, don’t we have a lot to look forward to?

Arnold and Cipo hanging at the Tour of California.

Arnold and Cipo hanging at the Tour of California.

14 thoughts on “25 Bags of Blood?

  1. Philip Heying

    I wonder if pro sports is a testing ground for stuff military black-ops guys use? Or vice versa. Or both. There is no way armies can afford to ignore such effective means of enhancing human performance.

  2. Bill K

    I wonder if they will try to yank all of Cipo’s victories?

    What’s fair is fair.

    Is Indurain next?

  3. bhalls

    Why would I watch the “Tour” ever again. Maybe it’s for ghouls and goblins to take part in. Who’s next to fall?

  4. Is it Spring yet?

    The cyclingnews report states Cipo used “enormous quantities of EPO and blood transfusions the Italian sprinter is said to have used from 2001 through 2004.” Wikipedia notes he had a total of 191 victories the first in 89, the last in 05. His Milan-San Remo and World Championship wins were in 02.

    Im shocked to hear his lackadaisical attention of detail. Having a phone number in your own name, one would think, is failure of doping 101. Wasen’t anyone asking questions back then?

  5. 1Speed

    I’m surprised to see you write that you have sympathy for these guys. Why? I get why they dope — it’s money in the bank given how easy it apparently was to beat the tests. And I could give a crap because I’m watching from the sidelines. But you weren’t. Some of these guys possibly cost you pay days. Sympathy? Really?

  6. Nancy

    The blood doping is not new but I think the EPO replaced it until the EPO test. The riders might be more hesitant to do it but I am sure all the best risers before the EPO era were doing it. And they were no test at that time and they could use somebody else blood and don’t have to worry about keeping the blood. And In Tyler’s book, he talked about the benefit of the blood bag.

  7. haha

    25 blood bags is misleading. It is more like 3 net bags, and then recycling. 1 for MSR, 1 for Terreno and 1 for giro. But in bigger picture who said sprinters are cleaner?

  8. Luke


    From what I read, he couldn’t freeze the blood so they would take two bags out, then re inject, and then repeat this process. Then a week or two before the major race, they would not re inject, but rather re inject right before the race. So, the title is misleading, because the guy wasn’t literally injecting himself with 25 blood bags but rather 2 or 3. Looking at Cipo.. I wonder what other drugs the guy was on. How much HGH, how much Anabolics?

  9. Rich

    Kind of a late comment but, yes what Luke says is a decent explanation.

    Another explanation is the UCI’s 50% hematocrit limit. I’m sure at some point early in the year he transfused a couple bags giving him a higher than allowed % for a blood test, so they would take a bag out of him and refrigerate it to save it for later while he was blood tested, then re-infuse it after a blood test. Sort of like saving leftovers from dinner to eat for breakfast the next day.


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