AICAR use has reportedly experienced a resurgence due to an easier-to-use powder version of the substance.
Several professional cyclists riding for an unnamed cycling team are allegedly using the banned performance-enhancing substance AICAR at the 2019 Tour de France according to anonymous sources cited by the Dutch newspaper “De Telegraaf”.
The name of the pro cycling team was not publicly identified. But anti-doping officials have apparently been tipped off. The problem for anti-doping laboratories is that AICAR is a naturally-occurring substance that is not readily detectable with current anti-doping tests.
AICAR was overlooked by anti-doping authorities in recent years.
AICAR was not previously considered a major problem by anti-doping officials. Research into methods of detection for this substance had been put on the back burner. Anti-doping officials did not think many athletes were using it.
Anti-doping officials are apparently taking the recent rumors seriously. They have stepped up detection efforts. If they are able to produce a reliable test for AICAR in time for the 2019 Tour de France, you can be assured that they will target the pro team in question.
Professor Peter van Eenoo, the director of the WADA-accredited laboratory DoCoLab at the University of Ghent, confirmed that his laboratory was taking action after hearing rumors of AICAR use in the peloton.
“I am not surprised that Aicar is used in cycling,” Eenoo said. “It can also be no coincidence that a few WADA laboratories have recently been warned about Aicar and that murmurs are now coming from cycling.”
AICAR is extremely expensive when used at the dosages thought to enhance cycling performance. The effective dose was thought to be between 500 and 1000 milligrams per day via intravaneous injection.
AICAR may have become more appealing in recent months after cyclists discovered a much more convenient powdered version. The cyclists no longer needed to get hooked up to an IV. The AICAR powder makes it easy to simply add the drug to their water bottles during a race. Powdered AICAR may also be more cost effective.
Long, J. (July 15, 2019). Anti-doping labs on alert as powdered Aicar reported in Tour de France peloton. Retrieved from cyclingweekly.com/news/racing/tour-de-france/anti-doping-labs-alert-powdered-aicar-reported-tour-de-france-peloton-431194