Your red blood cells (RBCs) contain hemoglobin and function to transport most of the oxygen in the blood. Delivery of oxygen to our muscles during exercise determines your overall performance in that activity. Blood doping or artificially induced polycythemia has been a method used by some athletes in order to increase RBC count in the blood. This increase allows more oxygen to be transported to the muscles which in turn helps enhance athletic performance. One of the most recent and controversial athletes to come under the microscope for blood doping is Lance Armstrong. He is a former professional road racing cyclist who won the Tour de France a record of seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005. Following a long investigation (and many years of denying allegations), it was eventually determined that he (and many others during his era) had used blood doping to enhance his athletic performance, giving him an unfair advantage. As such, in 2012 Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from competition for life.
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