Are fishing worms the new way of doping at the Tour de France?

November 20, 2023

Blood from worms usually used as fishing bait could be the newest doping technique in professional cycling, even at the Tour de France, reports over the weekend have alleged.

Haemoglobin from arenicola marina lugworms, otherwise known as sandworms, is used for medical use because of the worms’ incredible oxygen transporting abilities, and according to L’Équipe last week, the creator of the technique was approached in 2020 by a “well-known cyclist” who wanted to use the product.

Hemarina, the French company founded by Dr Franck Zal, say that lugworm haemoglobin is a universal blood substitute that can transport 40 times more oxygen than human haemoglobin. Its super-oxygen transporting qualities are useful for organ transplants, but also gives it an appeal for potential dopers. It is used by Hemarina for preserving organ transplant and cell growth activation. Cycling Weekly