German doctor Kurt Moosburger, who has looked after Jörg Jaksche (among others) for the past two years, has told dpa that he believes that performance enhancing drugs are "indispensable" for high level cycling
In a frank interview, Moosburger pointed to the average speeds of modern professional races, especially hard tours. "The average in last year's Tour was 41 kilometres per hour - that is incredible. You can do a hard Alpine stage without doping. But after that, the muscles are exhausted. You need - depending on your training conditions - up to three days in order to regenerate."
To help recover, testosterone and human growth hormone can be used. "Both are made by the body and are therefore natural substances," he said. "They help to build muscle as well as in muscle recovery."
Dr Moosburger explained how it was done. "You put a standard testosterone patch that is used for male hormone replacement therapy on your scrotum and leave it there for about six hours. The small dose is not sufficient to produce a positive urine result in the doping test, but the body actually recovers faster."
Dr Moosburger went onto explain that, "The supply of oxygen to the blood decides what the body is capable of in terms of fat- and carbohydrate metabolism. This capacity is mostly genetically determined.The muscles of athletes who are able to reach the top level of sport can carry about 60 millilitres per kilo per minute in an untrained condition. That of an average person is only about 40 millilitres per kilo. In order to be able to keep up with the world's best, it must be 85 to 90 millilitres.
EPO helps oxygen carrying capacity, and has long been the performance enhancing drug of choice in endurance sports. "It enables you to hold the haematocrit of the blood in the upper level of what's allowed for the whole season. Before the EPO test, for example, athletes injected 4000 units three times per week. Now they inject a small dose almost daily."
Finally, in the opinion of Dr Moosburger, blood doping via transfusion would give an athlete a five percent boost for two to three weeks. "And therefore can last for a grand tour."