The study aimed to demonstrate how athletes could avoid detection for the Athlete Biological Passport by micro-dosing ©AFP/Getty Images

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have rejected suggestions they endorsed a French television documentary supposedly demonstrating how athletes can avoid detection from the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) by micro-dosing, condemning the use of "human guinea pigs" in the experiment.

Documented by France 2's sports magazine show Stade 2, eight athletes participated in a VO2 max test, a time trial on a static bike and a 3,000 metre run, before undergoing a month-long period of micro-dosing, taking small but regular amounts of banned substances.

Following the use of prohibited substances such as Erythropoietin (EPO) the initial tests were repeated after a month, with the athletes displaying an average improvement of 6.1 per cent in the VO2 max test, as well as 2.3 and 2.8 per cent gains in the time trial and runs respectively.

In a statement WADA, acknowledged they made the ABP software available, but denied the study was undertaken with their blessing and cast doubt on its findings.

“The study does not accurately follow the Athlete Biological Passport guidelines, and therefore its relevance to the ABP is not entirely clear,” claimed WADA director general David Howman.

“In commenting on any study, it is first important that the findings are properly peer reviewed and published.

“This has not yet taken place with this study.”

Although the ABP system has been credited as a key tool in the fight against doping, by developing a blood profile of athletes and flagging abnormalities, micro-dosing has been suggested as a way of bypassing the system and avoiding detection.

WADA director general David Howman criticised the use of
WADA director general David Howman criticised the use of "human guinea pigs" in the study ©AFP/Getty Images

In addition to showing the athlete’s improvement through micro-dosing, the documentary also attempted to highlight how the process would not be detected by the ABP system.

While welcoming studies and research related to the ABP, WADA condemned the use of athletes within the study.

“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,” Howman added.

“We welcome and encourage research relevant to the Athlete Biological Passport, and continue to work with experts to advance and enhance the project.”

In March, the International Cycling Union (UCI) outlined a series of anti-doping measures aimed at tackling key challenges facing the sports anti-doping efforts such the practice of micro-dosing, in addition to the abuse of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) and the use of new designer drugs.

Among the measures, they announced their intention to strengthen the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation's (CADF) move towards a more targeted approach to testing which befits the riders discipline risk assessment and encouraged them to make use of night-time testing when they believe it necessary.

When interviewed by the UCI’s Cycling Independent Reform Commission, several cyclists expressed fears that doping was still present in the sport, with athletes opting to micro-dose to avoid detection.

Related stories
May 2015:
 Exclusive: Cycling chief Cookson supports calls for doping to be criminalised
April 2015:  Sir Craig Reedie: WADA's clean sport charge charge is instilling greater confidence in athletes and the public
March 2015:  UCI announce series of anti-doping measures following CIRC report
March 2015:  WADA to examine Cycling Independent Reform Commission report observations "in greater detail"
March 2015:  Verbruggen and McQuaid accused by new UCI report of colluding with Armstrong to cover up doping