It certainly seems that the tool which many had such high hopes for may not be all that we thought it might be after all. Can we ever watch sport these days and truly believe what we are seeing?

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A report on television station France 2 has demonstrated how the UCI Biological Passport can be circumvented by the use of micro-doses of EPO, Human Growth Hormone, blood transfusions and corticosteroids. As part of a study carried out by Pierre Sallet of the Athletes for Transparency organisation with the blessing of the World Anti-Doping Agency, eight athletes were doped under supervision for a period of 29 days. The process was documented by France 2's sports magazine show Stade 2 on Sunday evening.

The eight amateur athletes and triathletes underwent VO2 max testing before commencing their doping programme, as well as performing a time trial on a static bike and being timed on a 3,000-metre run. After a month of micro-dosing of EPO and the other substances, the tests were repeated, with significant improvements in performance noted.

In the VO2 max test, an average improvement of 6.1% was recorded, while an average gain of 2.1% was reported in the 14km static bike time trial. In the 3,000-metres run, there was an average improvement of 2.8%.

"It's another planet, it's not human," said one participant, amateur runner Guillaume Antonietti. "And it's very worrying when you think we only took micro-doses."

Analysis of the blood profiles of the eight athletes who took part in the experiment demonstrated that they would not have fallen foul of the biological passport's parameters. As France 2's report concluded, the experiment demonstrates that "a clean passport is not necessarily the passport of a clean athlete."

A number of riders, including Europcar's Pierre Rolland and Arnaud Démare of FDJ, responded to the report on Twitter. "A discouraging, baffling report, biological passport useless or unusable! Bravo!" Rolland wrote.

"Impressive report on Stade2," Démare wrote. "Let's not forget that the fight against doping must be worldwide! The biological passport isn't enough…"

The WADA Position:

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The World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) blasted the French television station Stade 2 for using what it termed “human guinea pigs" for a report that showed how micro-dosing with EPO could boost performance and foil the biological passport anti-doping system.

“WADA is aware of the television report that aired on French television recently," read the WADA statement. “We would like to clarify that while we did make the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) software available, we certainly did not ‘bless’ or endorse the study, as has been suggested."

Stade 2 subjected eight volunteers to a monthlong course of small EPO doses, which resulted in an average 6.1-percent increase in VO2 max. The program then demonstrated that the athletes would not have tripped any alarms in the bio-passport system, implying that top professionals may be using this doping method to surreptitiously enhance performance.

WADA said that the results of this report were not scientifically proven.

“In commenting on any study, it is first important that the findings are properly peer reviewed and published," it said. “This has not yet taken place with this study.

“Furthermore, WADA does not ever recommend athletes take part as ‘human guinea pigs’ in a study in which they would be subjected to taking performance-enhancing drugs."

A 2011 study published in The European Journal of Applied Physiology revealed similar findings to those reported in the French TV experiment — a 10 percent increase in total hemoglobin mass among 10 subjects. A test, performed afterward using the biological passport parameters, did not flag any of the subjects’ samples as suspicious.