Athletes with polycythemia vera

Hi there guys.

Been on TR for a couple of years now - and been training most of my life - soccer first, then indoor cycling (spinning) before starting with outdoor cycling and competions for 7 years ago.

As things turn out, I have a blood condition called polycythemia Vera which causes the bone marrow to produce too much blood (more blodplates, white cells and red blood cells). Untreated this results in a lot of delicious red blood cells that favours cycling.

For about 2 years ago, I was forced (advised) to perform a number of phlebotomies (blood letting) in order to reduce blood viscosity. This did an enormous impact on my cycling performance (I removed around 25 % of the hemoglobin in my blood stream). From being able to compete on a rather high level in time trial (ftp 360 watt, 87 kg) - my ftp in 3 months was reduced to around 300 watts. Today I am a 315-325 w guy, still on 87 kg - which I actually is quite pleased with given the fact that I have gone from a state where I had more hemoglobin than the average guy, to having less than the lower normal range for males. For me this drop in ftp results in 20 to 25 seconds slower on a 10 km time trial (from around 13 minutes to 1325-1330).

Well. That was my personal intro.

If someone on TR has the same or a similar condition as I have, I would appreciate getting to know you and how you manage your daily training, training goals and competition goals.


There’s a history of polycythaemia in my family. My dad has regular venesection. I was advised to get tested in my thirties but never did. Maybe I should…

Hi there.

I am not sure if the risk of PV (Polycythemia Vera) is bigger if someone else in your family has it.
Nevertheless - seeing your primary doctor on a regular basis, together with taking blood samples, is sufficient, I guess. I do not think you should go aorund worrying about this.


I think it’s primary familial polycythamia my dad has.