What worries me the most about the latest round of Tour de France
doping scandals is how pure science, the basis for all doping tests,
is being forgotten in favour of political expediency. Riders are being
fired, teams are leaving the race, and sponsors are withdrawing
because of positive A samples, which in themselves do not provide any
kind of proof of doping. This is not surprising in the current climate
in which WADA head Dick Pound wanted Marion Jones to explain why her
EPO B sample returned negative after a positive A sample, Iban Mayo's
B sample was continually retested until it finally confirmed the
original A sample positive, and millions of L'Equipe readers are
convinced that the newspaper proved Armstrong's EPO use through the
analysis of his supposed frozen A sample.
One wonders whether the B sample will soon be relegated along with
presumption of innocence and I conjecture that most non-scientists
involved in cycling have no clue why the B sample is so important. For
this reason it is important to go over the basic reason for this
confirmation. Since medical science is imprecise due to the
inevitability of experimental error, medical tests such at the EPO
test cannot avoid having a marging or error, so even 1% chance of
getting a false positive is considered reasonable. However, elementary
probability theory shows that if the EPO test is administered 100
times (close to the numbers in this Tour de France), and (for the sake
of argument) the probability of a false positive is 1% for each test,
then the probability of having at least one false positive among the
100 rises to about 63%. In other words, as everyone is saying, more
tests mean more cheaters will get caught, but it also means that more
non-cheaters will get falsely accused from their A sample. That is
just an inescapable result of the inherent uncertainty of medical
science. And that's exactly where the B sample comes in, a falsely
accused clean rider will then have a 99% chance of being exonerated by
his B sample.
One can understand how the non-scientifically trained cycling
community might find the testing protocol labourious and unecessary,
however, there can be no excuse for lack of rigour and breach of
protocol by a scientific testing agency. In particular, the LNDD
laboratory was shown on a number of occasions to lack necessary high
scientific standards. The first example is the USADA Landis panel
which unanimously threw out the original test results for the
testosterone positive (though the CAS panel has since reversed this by
ruling that it was "good faith" incompetence). Secondly, the LNDD
gave a different interpretation of Mayo's B sample from two other
laboratories even though one of the basic principles of scientific
investigation is that an experiment must be repeatable and can be
verified independently. It is also important to mention the LNDD's
role in the fraudulent L'Equipe article on Armstrong's frozen samples
which led to it being chastised both by the IOC and the UCI. Far from
finding and eliminating the person or persons who leaked their results
to the newspaper, the LNDD has continued to leak their tests results
to L'Equipe. This is a clear violation of protocol as was recently
stated by WADA CEO David Howman referring to the LNDD-L'Equipe leaks
in an e-mail quoted on the LA Times website by reporter Phillip Hersh
in his article "What a bunch of cycling dope(r)s" of July 17, 2008
"The only organization that can match the anonymous sample to an
athlete is the one under whose jurisdiction the test was conducted.
WADA is disappointed by any breach of confidentiality that may occur
during the results management process. Any breach is unacceptable."
One can only wonder at the WADA definition of the word "unacceptable"
given the many years that these leaks have been going on without there
having been any formal action taken by the WADA on this matter.
Apart from having their jobs unjustly taken away before the
confirmation of their B sample, having their names leaked to the press
by the testing laboratory, the final blow to this year's Tour de
France riders is that they will have the added penalty of having their
B sample tested again at the LNDD due to ASO's rift with the UCI. In
other words, ASO has made sure that the embarassing string of negative
Mayo B samples will not be repeated. It is scary to think that the
riders are not even aware that their rights are being taken from them,
until they test positive that is.....
I am by no means an expert on clinical laboratory technology, but
anyone who has gotten several medical tests or known someone who's
gotten several medical tests can testify to human and clinical fallibility.
It almost gives me a bit of sympathy for creationists trying to pass
"intelligent design" off as science. They tend to feel that science is
our new religion.
Of course it's not--not to scientists. But if you BELIEVE and have
FAITH in the INFALLIBILITY of the clinical test, maybe science as a
religion really is out there.
Not really. More a case of people who want to believe something without
having to think for themselves. That's what makes religions popular.
I just managed to connect my wife's Nintendo DS to our Wifi. I can do
Translation: ilan just turned off the WPA security on his access point.
Free internet if you're in the neighbourhood!
I do anything for a living,
> Apart from having their jobs unjustly taken away before the
> confirmation of their B sample, having their names leaked to the press
> by the testing laboratory, the final blow to this year's Tour de
> France riders is that they will have the added penalty of having their
> B sample tested again at the LNDD due to ASO's rift with the UCI. In
> other words, ASO has made sure that the embarassing string of negative
> Mayo B samples will not be repeated. It is scary to think that the
> riders are not even aware that their rights are being taken from them,
> until they test positive that is.....
This sounds like a a a con con conspira cy.
Conspiracy. Not "Conspiracy Theory".
"Let's get a positive reader in here!"
There's a strong element of revenge for the failure of past attempts
to intimidate in all of this.
IOW, some athletes are still getting Pounded. --D-y
I understand the point you're trying to make, but the timing is awful.
There appears to be plenty of evidence, including confessions & confiscated materials, to indicate that doping is, indeed, going on. And that at least some of those caught are dead-to-rights guilty as charged. That being the case, arguments such as yours may simply reinforce the mindset of those who believe that doping must be stopped regardless of the costs, regardless of how many innocents are caught up in the net. Why? Because you're making your case at a time in which nearly everyone believes in the guilt of those charged, and thus you come across similar to a defense lawyer for a client that everyone knows is guilty, and trying to get the client off on a technicality.
This is not the time for technicalities, in my opinion.
--Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
<ila...@gmail.com> wrote in message news:74e3445d-afcd-46a3...@w7g2000hsa.googlegroups.com...
Wow, the "Kill 'em all and let god sort it out" argument!
B samples are not technicalities, they are the real evidence. Positive
"A" samples are (from a scientific inquiry point of view) only the
suggestion to look further, not actionable data.
It's unconscionable, and I'm surprised that it's been legally
defensible, that ANY action including a press release, can be taken on
the result of a test of a single sample.
I'd feel very differently... and have, in the past felt very differently... if it appeared that those caught were likely innocent. But so far, that hasn't been the case. We have equipment confiscated from one riders room, and confessions from the team mate of another. Beltran remains, so far as I know, the only rider without substantial corroborating evidence that the "A" sample's result is indicative of doping.
I cannot and will not defend the manner in which the ASO disregards basic decency by allowing test results to be leaked to L'Equipe; that's inexcusable, and casts doubt on the motivations and devotion to science of those in the lab.
Unfortunately no, this will only happen if false positives can be
attributed entirely to variability in the testing procedure. If that
were the case, we could just develop a highly expensive test to
eliminate variability in the test procedure, and no B sample would be
In reality, test results are contaminated by the variability of the
test subject's physiology. Since A and B samples are taken at the same
time, and tested under the same criteria, testing of a B sample cannot
achieve anywhere near 99% exoneration of false positives.
In diagnostic medicine, when you get a positive result on one test,
you don't repeat the same test on a frozen and thawed portion of the
same sample as though that would help. Rather, you confirm or
disconfirm the diagnosis by performing a *different* test (that is
affected by different sources of variability in the patient's
Now all we need is tED or h**2 to provide us with some good
BTW I prefer h**2 to tED as a porn link provider; h**2 has
a much better looking ass.
Different tests would be nice but some of the current tests aren't
even subject to peer review which is another scientific cornerstone.
Is it less hairy? Because if you're talking form, I don't know.
It always is, Wild Bill.
> Wow, the "Kill 'em all and let god sort it out" argument!
> B samples are not technicalities, they are the real evidence. Positive
> "A" samples are (from a scientific inquiry point of view) only the
> suggestion to look further, not actionable data.
> It's unconscionable, and I'm surprised that it's been legally
> defensible, that ANY action including a press release, can be taken on
> the result of a test of a single sample.
There's a difference between the Tour and, say, an Olympic event. If a
rider tests positive in an Olympic time trial, their B sample can be
tested before any action is taken against the athlete. Delaying the
action has no effect, the race is already over.
If a rider tests positive during the middle of the Tour but is allowed
to continue riding until the outcome of testing of the B sample is
known, then the extra few days delay in taking action can change the
outcome of the race.
So, by taking action immediately after the results of the A sample test
are known, there might be a 1% chance that a rider is unjustly removed
from the race. However, leaving the rider in the race potentially
effects the tactics of everyone else - especially if no one knows about
the positive test.
>"Shawn" <scurryno...@commiecast.net> wrote in message news:2s2dnSctTvQmVB_V...@comcast.com...
>| Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
>| > I understand the point you're trying to make, but the timing is awful.
>There appears to be plenty of evidence, including confessions &
> confiscated materials, to indicate that doping is, indeed, going on.
> And that at least some of those caught are dead-to-rights guilty as
>charged. That being the case, arguments such as yours may simply
>reinforce the mindset of those who believe that doping must be
>stopped regardless of the costs, regardless of how many innocents are
>caught up in the net. Why? Because you're making your case at a time
>in which nearly everyone believes in the guilt of those charged, ..and
>thus you come across similar to a defense lawyer for a client that
>everyone knows is guilty, and trying to get the client off on a
-- This is not the time for technicalities, in my opinion.--
>| > --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
>| > www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
No time for technicalities? Gosh, then we don't even need science or
testing. We'll just have Mr J go over and tell by looking at the
riders who's guilty.
What a savings that would be, in time, money, equipment, testing
I'm all for it.
The problem is that this isn't a 1% chance. Apparently it is more like a
> The problem is that this isn't a 1% chance. Apparently it is more like a
> 3-5% chance.
Say it's a 5% chance then. What's the chance that failing to act quickly
will change the outcome of the Tour?
Personally, I don't know. It's impossible to say. However, some people
say that we might have had a different winner last year if Rasmussen had
been removed a few days earlier.
My point is that leaving drug cheats in the Tour can change its outcome.
> In diagnostic medicine, when you get a positive result on one test,
> you don't repeat the same test on a frozen and thawed portion of the
> same sample as though that would help. Rather, you confirm or
> disconfirm the diagnosis by performing a *different* test (that is
> affected by different sources of variability in the patient's
I believe that's what happened in the Landis case. The "A" sample was
tested for T/E ratio. The "B" sample was tested for the presence of
synthetic T. The "A" sample was subsequently acknowledged by the
arbitrators to have been a false positive, and should not have
triggered a B test. However, two of the three arbitrators argued that
despite this, the B test result was admissible.
Pound would have enjoyed doing that.
In the Olympics, there are often a series of races (I'm thinking track events
here) to winnow the field down to the final few so a rider can continue on,
eliminating other riders, while his sample(s) are tested.
The bloody pubs are bloody dull
The bloody clubs are bloody full
Of bloody girls and bloody guys
With bloody murder in their eyes
remove YOUR SHOES to reply, ok?
> It's unconscionable, and I'm surprised that it's been legally
> defensible, that ANY action including a press release, can be taken on
> the result of a test of a single sample.
Yes, it's considered completely wrong in other sports. For example,
when L'Equipe did its standard leak about Michael Phelps (except they
waited for swimming worlds to have maximum impact) there was a general
outcry and it was the test and the newspaper which were put into
question by officials, e.g., http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/mar/31/swimming
Entirely appropriate given the phrase's French origins.
"Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius."
I don't believe there are any Albigensians riding for Saunier
They just might herd 'em into a cathedral and light it anyway. That's
the tradition isn't it?
Who yielded the floor to the honorable senator from Wisconsin??
> | Apart from having their jobs unjustly taken away before the
> | confirmation of their B sample, having their names leaked to the press
> | by the testing laboratory, the final blow to this year's Tour de
> | France riders is that they will have the added penalty of having their
> | B sample tested again at the LNDD due to ASO's rift with the UCI. In
> | other words, ASO has made sure that the embarassing string of negative
> | Mayo B samples will not be repeated. It is scary to think that the
> | riders are not even aware that their rights are being taken from them,
> | until they test positive that is.....
> | -ilan
> I understand the point you're trying to make, but the timing is awful.
> This is not the time for technicalities, in my opinion.
Mike, I just spoke about technicalities within the last few days.
Why did you not challenge me directly? You make a categorical
assertion contrary to what I said, do not acknowledge that you
challenge what I said, and offer not support for your assertion.
We all know that it is your opinion.
Badgers? We don't need no stinkin' badgers. Try Kalifornia.
Yes, this is not the time. Wait a while until we see how it all plays out. See if the "B" samples show positive, watch for whatever mistakes might be made, attack the process then. But to be launching a crusade now is simply really bad timing. It would be quite different if there wasn't corroborating evidence pointing towards guilt. But there is. Attacking the process at this moment comes across as suggesting that either there isn't a doping problem, or that it's irrelevant.
And notice I said this-
| -- This is not the time for technicalities, in my opinion.--
That's very different from saying there's "No time for technicalities." There *is* a time, after everyone's showed their cards. But for now we have to go with what the teams & riders already (and perhaps you'd say foolishly) agreed upon.
"Nobody" <nob...@nowhere.net> wrote in message news:nie684h8vqpqn05sa...@4ax.com...
You've lost me. I never made a categorical assertion contrary to what you said. I said the TIMING was wrong. The point I was trying to make, and obviously failed, is that it makes sense to wait a bit until the dust has settled, because people are going to turn a deaf ear towards reform of the process to protect rights while at that very moment evidence continues to pile up that doping is a problem, corroborative evidence that supports the initial positive test result. To do otherwise is seen as an effort to get dopers off the hook.
How long before someone asks if my favorite movie is "M"?
"Michael Press" <rub...@pacbell.net> wrote in message news:rubrum-1E8B90....@news.sf.sbcglobal.net...
You mean Dick Pound famous porn actor?
You're probably thinking of Bill Asher. His producer
is the rbr expert on global warming.
My comment is not regarding your domicile.
I hope you wrote the "technicalities" post in a moment of anger and
will consider your position further.
You'll have to explain what it is that I said that you found so offensive. Meantime, please, someone, show me the evidence this year that the doping police have crossed over the line and done terrible harm to innocent people in this years' TdF. Or explain how the 'Tour would have been better off last year to allow Vino to continue prior to crossing the t's and dotting the i's required for the second test (which could have possibly resulted in yet another TdF result re-written after the fact).
There are problems with the current system, sure. But since this is an event where the spoils of cheating are so well defined and effective, there simply isn't time, during the event, for due process. The downside to that? Without draconian measures that can be taken against the ASO or testing organizations in the event of a screw-up, there's both a lack of incentive to prevent screw-ups, and a severe imbalance to the scales of justice, since there's currently no method of compensating a rider for, say, a TdF podium opportunity lost.
The system should be engineered such that the ASO and testing labs are scared to death of the possibility of a mistake, or release of information not according to the rules. But at the same time, the riders should be scared to death that, if caught cheating during the event, they won't have the opportunity to drag the process out and stay in the race.
<2bow...@gmail.com> wrote in message news:651993af-9dbc-47d9...@d77g2000hsb.googlegroups.com...
I think the Tour should be taken off it's pedestal as
something that is of critical importance in people's
lives and relegated to it's proper role as entertainment.
I think proper courses of action will become clear if
that ever happens.
Not that I am expecting it to ever happen.
I don't go so far as Ilan in saying this is a rights
or employment issue. Nobody has to be a bike racer.
There are rules, and it would be perfectly valid to
set up the rules to kick people out of the race after
an A test.
However, when you say this is not the time for
technicalities or due process, you leave open
the question, when _is_ the time? Generally,
nobody needs due process until they're accused
of something. This is why even arrogant Italians
who look guilty, guilty, guilty should be treated by
the same rules as poor suffering innocents
whose dog just happened to die.
If ASO, the UCI, or WADA want to publicize and
suspend after a positive A sample, they should
rewrite the rules to let them do that and say
"Oops we screwed up, sorry, tough shit" if the
B comes back negative. Instead, they
just do whatever they please and have no
obligation to treat the riders objectively (witness
the history of Mayo's B-sample).
By calling the existing rules a bunch of technicalities
and due process something we don't have time
for, you're endorsing the position that doping is
an emergency that requires suspending the rules.
If you think so, change the rules, don't break them.
| I think the Tour should be taken off it's pedestal as
| something that is of critical importance in people's
| lives and relegated to it's proper role as entertainment.
| I think proper courses of action will become clear if
| that ever happens.
Professional sports _are_ entertainment
The continuing occupation of Iraq by US forces guarantees a mass death
rate in excess of 10,000 people per month with half that number dying
at the hands of US forces - a carnage so severe and so concentrated as
to equate it with the most heinous mass killings in world history.