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Where's the science?

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ila...@gmail.com

unread,
Jul 19, 2008, 3:51:19 PM7/19/08
to
I just sent this to CyclingNews letters:

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
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/olympics_blog/2008/07/what-a-bunch-of.html

"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.....

-ilan

Steven Bornfeld

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Jul 19, 2008, 4:00:28 PM7/19/08
to

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.

Steve

Donald Munro

unread,
Jul 19, 2008, 4:17:01 PM7/19/08
to
Steven Bornfeld wrote:
> 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.

ila...@gmail.com

unread,
Jul 19, 2008, 4:48:32 PM7/19/08
to

I just managed to connect my wife's Nintendo DS to our Wifi. I can do
ANYTHING!

-ilan

Ryan Cousineau

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Jul 19, 2008, 7:59:45 PM7/19/08
to
In article
<c0b5db24-3745-4e51...@s50g2000hsb.googlegroups.com>,
ila...@gmail.com wrote:

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,

--
Ryan Cousineau rcou...@gmail.com http://www.wiredcola.com/
"In other newsgroups, they killfile trolls."
"In rec.bicycles.racing, we coach them."

dusto...@mac.com

unread,
Jul 19, 2008, 11:08:00 PM7/19/08
to
On Jul 19, 2:51 pm, ilan...@gmail.com wrote:

> 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

Mike Jacoubowsky

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 12:34:21 AM7/20/08
to
| 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.

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
www.ChainReactionBicycles.com


<ila...@gmail.com> wrote in message news:74e3445d-afcd-46a3...@w7g2000hsa.googlegroups.com...

Shawn

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Jul 20, 2008, 1:14:34 AM7/20/08
to
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 technicality.
>
> This is not the time for technicalities, in my opinion.
>
> --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
> www.ChainReactionBicycles.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.


Shawn

Mike Jacoubowsky

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Jul 20, 2008, 1:55:41 AM7/20/08
to
"Shawn" <scurryno...@commiecast.net> wrote in message news:2s2dnSctTvQmVB_V...@comcast.com...

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.

pm

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 4:31:50 AM7/20/08
to
On Jul 19, 12:51 pm, ilan...@gmail.com wrote:
> 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.

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
needed.

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
physiology.).

-pm

Donald Munro

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 4:53:05 AM7/20/08
to
Ryan Cousineau wrote:
> Translation: ilan just turned off the WPA security on his access point.
> Free internet if you're in the neighbourhood!

Now all we need is tED or h**2 to provide us with some good
porn links.

BTW I prefer h**2 to tED as a porn link provider; h**2 has
a much better looking ass.

Donald Munro

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 5:18:18 AM7/20/08
to
pm wrote:
> 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 physiology.).

Different tests would be nice but some of the current tests aren't
even subject to peer review which is another scientific cornerstone.

Ted van de Weteringe

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 5:36:02 AM7/20/08
to
Donald Munro schreef:

> BTW I prefer h**2 to tED as a porn link provider; h**2 has
> a much better looking ass.

Is it less hairy? Because if you're talking form, I don't know.

Ted van de Weteringe

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 5:41:09 AM7/20/08
to
Mike Jacoubowsky schreef:

> This is not the time for technicalities, in my opinion.

It always is, Wild Bill.

DC

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 9:11:42 AM7/20/08
to
Shawn said the following on 20/07/2008 1:14 PM:

> 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.

Nobody

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 9:21:24 AM7/20/08
to
On Sat, 19 Jul 2008 22:55:41 -0700, "Mike Jacoubowsky"
<mik...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

>"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
>technicality.
>| >

-- 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
supplies.

I'm all for it.


Tom Kunich

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 10:23:19 AM7/20/08
to
"DC" <us...@nospam.net> wrote in message
news:4883398d$0$20558$5a62...@per-qv1-newsreader-01.iinet.net.au...

>
> 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.

The problem is that this isn't a 1% chance. Apparently it is more like a
3-5% chance.

DC

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 10:39:10 AM7/20/08
to
Tom Kunich said the following on 20/07/2008 10:23 PM:

> 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.

Robert Chung

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Jul 20, 2008, 11:00:11 AM7/20/08
to
On Jul 20, 1:31 am, pm <zzyzx.xy...@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> physiology.).

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.

Donald Munro

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 12:37:02 PM7/20/08
to
Nobody wrote:
> 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.

Pound would have enjoyed doing that.

Howard Kveck

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Jul 20, 2008, 1:00:36 PM7/20/08
to
In article <4883398d$0$20558$5a62...@per-qv1-newsreader-01.iinet.net.au>,
DC <us...@nospam.net> wrote:

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.

--
tanx,
Howard

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?

ila...@gmail.com

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 1:22:10 PM7/20/08
to
On Jul 20, 7:14 am, Shawn <scurrynospamme...@commiecast.net> wrote:

> 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

-ilan

Bob Schwartz

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 2:42:29 PM7/20/08
to
Shawn wrote:
> Wow, the "Kill 'em all and let god sort it out" argument!

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
Duval though.

Bob Schwartz

Bill C

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 7:06:30 PM7/20/08
to
On Jul 20, 2:42 pm, Bob Schwartz <bob.schwa...@REMOVEsbcglobal.net>
wrote:

They just might herd 'em into a cathedral and light it anyway. That's
the tradition isn't it?
Bill C

2bow...@gmail.com

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 9:13:43 PM7/20/08
to

> | > This is not the time for technicalities

Who yielded the floor to the honorable senator from Wisconsin??

Mark

Michael Press

unread,
Jul 20, 2008, 11:13:42 PM7/20/08
to
In article <hfzgk.16936$jI5....@flpi148.ffdc.sbc.com>,
"Mike Jacoubowsky" <mik...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> | 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.

--
Michael Press

Mike Jacoubowsky

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 12:11:38 AM7/21/08
to
<2bow...@gmail.com> wrote in message news:1a774d81-01e7-4e3f...@e39g2000hsf.googlegroups.com...

|
| > | > This is not the time for technicalities
|
| Who yielded the floor to the honorable senator from Wisconsin??
|
| Mark

Badgers? We don't need no stinkin' badgers. Try Kalifornia.

Mike Jacoubowsky

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 12:27:46 AM7/21/08
to
| 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.

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.

--

--Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

"Nobody" <nob...@nowhere.net> wrote in message news:nie684h8vqpqn05sa...@4ax.com...

Mike Jacoubowsky

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 12:38:33 AM7/21/08
to
| > 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.
|
| --
| Michael Press

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"?



--Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

"Michael Press" <rub...@pacbell.net> wrote in message news:rubrum-1E8B90....@news.sf.sbcglobal.net...

Nobody

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 3:50:42 AM7/21/08
to

You mean Dick Pound famous porn actor?


Donald Munro

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 4:25:43 AM7/21/08
to
Nobody wrote:
> You mean Dick Pound famous porn actor?

You're probably thinking of Bill Asher. His producer
is the rbr expert on global warming.

2bow...@gmail.com

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 8:22:22 AM7/21/08
to
On Jul 21, 12:11 am, "Mike Jacoubowsky" <mik...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> <2bowl...@gmail.com> wrote in messagenews:1a774d81-01e7-4e3f...@e39g2000hsf.googlegroups.com...

>
> |
> | > | > This is not the time for technicalities
> |
> | Who yielded the floor to the honorable senator from Wisconsin??
> |
> | Mark
>
> Try Kalifornia.

Mike,

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.

Mark

Mike Jacoubowsky

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 12:14:21 PM7/21/08
to
> 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.



--Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

<2bow...@gmail.com> wrote in message news:651993af-9dbc-47d9...@d77g2000hsb.googlegroups.com...

Bob Schwartz

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 12:39:08 PM7/21/08
to
Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
>> 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.
>

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.

Bob Schwartz

bjwe...@gmail.com

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 12:41:28 PM7/21/08
to
On Jul 21, 9:14 am, "Mike Jacoubowsky" <mik...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> > | > | > This is not the time for technicalities
>
> > I hope you wrote the "technicalities" post in a moment of anger and
> > will consider your position further.
>
>
> 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? .....

Dumbass,

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.

Ben

Davey Crockett

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 12:41:33 PM7/21/08
to
Bob Schwartz a écrit profondement:

| 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

--
Davey Crockett
-
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.

ila...@gmail.com

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 1:25:46 PM7/21/08
to
On Jul 21, 6:41 pm, "b...@mambo.ucolick.org" <bjwei...@gmail.com>
wrote:

Please stop making sense, this newsgroup is for entertainment value
alone. Sensible messages, like clean sports, are boring.

-ilan

Davey Crockett

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 2:34:09 PM7/21/08
to
"b...@mambo.ucolick.org" a écrit profondement:

It seems to Davey that the testing process is not thorough enough. Not
referring here to the actual laboratory work, but to the inferences
drawn from the test results produced by the laboratories.

Currently, rightly or wrongly, but in any instance by current observed
practice, the rider is adjudged "guilty" after the first or "A"
Sample which Davey thinks is pure bullshit.

It's commonly accepted that drug testing is highly accurate, even to
99 percent which seems very reasonable at first blush.

But the rudimentary application of Bayes Theorem indicates the flaws in
that logic. Without going through the arithmetic, if the test is
deemed 99 percent effective, and an estimated 5 percent of riders use
drugs, there is only around an 83 percent chance that a rider who
tested positive actually is positive, leaving a 17 percent
chance/probability that the positive finding is false. We can ignore
false negatives here as they give the rider a "pass".

The second test, or "B" sample, which is only applied currently if the
first sample is positive significantly reduces the probability of a
false positive. Like 17 percent times 17 percent or roughly 3 percent.

Where the druggies in the population decreases, the probability that a
positive rider actually did use drugs decreases dramatically until
when almost no riders actually dope up, the testing becomes a Witch
Hunt.

Is this good enough?

Is Bayesian inference useful in this situation?

Perhaps a third sample is the answer? Suppose we had more certified
laboratories, possibly the samples could be sent, ignoring costs, to
(1) a laboratory of the Organizer's choice, (2) a laboratory of the
Team or Sponsor's choice and (3) a laboratory of the rider's
choice. With safeguards to ensure that the samples all went to
separate laboratories.

Currently there is still some suspicion if the "B" sample comes up
negative. Would "Two out of Three" improve the situation?

Also, any test results "leaked" to the press would result in a
laboratory's being "decertified" for sport testing purposes.

Or is Davey all firked up as usual?

Tom Kunich

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 3:01:58 PM7/21/08
to
"Davey Crockett" <r...@azurservers.com> wrote in message
news:878wvvh...@azurservers.com...

> Is Bayesian inference useful in this situation?
>
> Perhaps a third sample is the answer? Suppose we had more certified
> laboratories, possibly the samples could be sent, ignoring costs, to
> (1) a laboratory of the Organizer's choice, (2) a laboratory of the
> Team or Sponsor's choice and (3) a laboratory of the rider's
> choice. With safeguards to ensure that the samples all went to
> separate laboratories.
>
> Currently there is still some suspicion if the "B" sample comes up
> negative. Would "Two out of Three" improve the situation?
>
> Also, any test results "leaked" to the press would result in a
> laboratory's being "decertified" for sport testing purposes.
>
> Or is Davey all firked up as usual?

I think that you have a good solution to the problem. I especially like the
decertification of labs who leak results.


Davey Crockett

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 3:11:14 PM7/21/08
to
"Tom Kunich" a écrit profondement:

Yes, it seems like all kinds of horribles happen before a rider is
really proven guilty.

It has to stop.

Davey doesn't race any more, apart from the odd local time trial or
kermesse, but he does ride lots of sportif and occasionally randonneur
events and even these events rely heavily on sponsors.

I would hate to see that sponsorship disappear due to backlash from
the pro peloton doping, or rumours therof.

SLAVE of THE STATE

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 3:58:51 PM7/21/08
to
"b...@mambo.ucolick.org" wrote:

> 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.

This kind of talk will embolden our enemies: the dopers.

SLAVE of THE STATE

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 4:04:59 PM7/21/08
to
On Jul 21, 9:39 am, Bob Schwartz <bob.schwa...@REMOVEsbcglobal.net>
wrote:

You think you're too cool and level headed to ask for a pony?

Donald Munro

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 4:06:55 PM7/21/08
to
b...@mambo.ucolick.org wrote:
>> 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.

SLAVE of THE STATE wrote:
> This kind of talk will embolden our enemies: the dopers.

Think of the children.

2bow...@gmail.com

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 4:16:03 PM7/21/08
to
On Jul 21, 12:14 pm, "Mike Jacoubowsky" <mik...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> You'll have to explain what it is that I said that you found so offensive.

Mike,

Upfront, I think you are a good dude so don't get too twisted up about
an internet argument. That said, here is the debate and why you should
reconsider what you wrote previously.

The offensive part of your position is that you are apparently willing
to damn some innocents to catch a few of the guilty. History teaches
us that this approach may feel good for a short period but then leads
to negative outcomes with larger negative consequences than intended.
Take a look at the larger picture and not just the current tour
(TIOOYK). Outside of the hyperbole, this sport is not dying. Based on
the TV coverage, the fans are still fans and even guys in RBR that
swore off the tour are obviously watching this year despite
protestations to the contrary. So while cheating is a real issue, it
is a manageable issue.

To clarify my position:

(1) I am involved in laboratory testing in the pharma industry so I
understand the tests reasonably well. The root problem in catching
dopers is that the testing is actually difficult and the methods are
imprecise. To flip the argument around, if doping is as widespread as
we expect, we should be apoplectic that the process only catches
randoms who screw up their programs. Even when the testers get lucky,
the labwork is done poorly enough that the cheats can then cast
significant doubt on the findings. Rather than applauding WADAs
accidental success' we should ask why they can't, or won't, do better.

(2) I have discussed some of the doping detection issues with a few
individuals from WADA and related labs. It is not unreasonable to
suggest that some (but not all) of these individuals have lost
perspective. Those individuals are convinced that everyone cheats and
all should be punished. A scientific issue thus becomes a religious
quest. This is a huge problem as objectivity is eliminated. Your
position feeds this beast which is why it should be reconsidered.

(2.1) I agree with lifetime bans for proven cheats or those that
confess. Get them out of here in total. But be certain that they
actually did what they are accused of by using good tests, methods and
process.

(3) I agree with others in RBR who argue that pro sports are basically
entertainment. I don't care what an adult pro cyclist does to enhance
or prolong his career. Perhaps I should but there are more important
matters to consider. That said, there are collatoral issues with
doping and because of that I would like to see it eliminated.

(4) There is actual crime which police could be occupied with. Pursuit
of EPO shooting 120 pound cyclists is a waste of limited resources.
We're also wasting medical resources chasing sporting cheats as
opposed to treating disease. This is another waste of resources on
something that is relatively unimportant.

Speaking to the lab testing issues and how that affects the debate.
The problem is type I and type II error rates. It's already been
explained well in this forum and there are numerous statistics guides
online if you'd like to better understand this. From the moral
perspective, because of false positives (the rate of which is
unpublished and probably unknown with good precision) the labs are
going to snare individuals that are innocent. This has happend and
we've discussed it before. If the false positive rate is a few percent
and you do enough testing you are going to identify non-cheats as
cheats. Given the current environment (which you are feeding) it'll be
just about impossible for a non-cheat to defend themselves in a timely
manner and resume their careers.

So in the end, simply because of the way this comes together, the path
that you are advocating is one where you are apparently willing to
ruin careers and lives in order to catch a few more cheaters. I find
that an indefensible position even though the basic problem has
importance to me as a racer and as a fan of pro cycling.

Take home is that although we would both like to see the same outcome
(elimination of doping) I simply don't agree that encouraging poor
testing and political agendas is the right way to do this. From my
perspective, your solutuon is emotional and illogical and given
historical precendents will result in a cure that is worse than the
disease.

Have a beer and give it a think. If you are not moved that is fine.

Apologies for the length, but you asked a question that deserves a
respectful answer since I did compare your perspective to a witch
hunter / cheesehead :-)

Best,

Mark

SLAVE of THE STATE

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 4:19:33 PM7/21/08
to
"b...@mambo.ucolick.org" <bjwei...@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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).

"Just do whatever they please..." They just did it with Ricco, didn't
they? (Of course, I don't know all the events or the exact sequence.)

Prud[e] and others were publicly saying guilty guilty guilty before
the B test. I can live with suspension on an A-positive. (I can live
with any rules really, as it is voluntary.) But I think they are just
like politicians who simply want people to perceive them as "tough on
dope regardless of who gets run over. Really, they *are* politicians.

The difference between a Prud[e] and me is that Prud[e] *ought* imo
appear more objective and cool in the storm. For me, I believe Ricco
is guilty guilty guilty, but then I am a nobody.

And I think they oughta be testing the domestiques and 2nd & 3rd place
too, if they want to be viewed as objective rather than as political
whores.

Whores -- they are everywhere. Is that okay?

Mike Jacoubowsky

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 4:39:49 PM7/21/08
to
================

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.
================

(Someday I'll figure out why my replies don't properly "quote" some posts)

What, exactly, is "due process?" According to this-
http://www.lectlaw.com/def/d080.htm

"DUE PROCESS - The idea that laws and legal proceedings must be fair. The
Constitution guarantees that the government cannot take away a person's
basic rights to 'life, liberty or property, without due process of law.'
Courts have issued numerous rulings about what this means in particular
cases."

But that references the US Constitution, and when you do a search on
International Due Process, you get into a real mixed bag, most of it dealing
with refugees.

Are we claiming that this is a basic human rights issue? Does that really
apply to athletes who agree to the measures in question ahead of time, and
aren't forced into this line of work?

But to answer the question about *when* is the time (for "technicalities"),
I would say it should occur within a set period of time after the event,
perhaps no more than 5-10 days, which should have given enough time for the
B sample to be analyzed. There should be no long drawn out period in which
the athlete exists in a no-mans land, unable to compete due to allegations
that have, as yet, not been proven.

My opinion on this has changed dramatically since the Floyd Landis affair. I
still feel (strongly) that the lab did a terrible job and his results should
have been thrown out. But at the same time, had the tests been from an
earlier stage, and the lab & ASO felt were conclusive enough to throw him
out of the race, they should have been able to. BUT- with the caveat that
they would be liable for appropriate damages if it could be shown they
screwed up, which would provide a huge incentive to not screw up.

--Mike Jacoubowsky
Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReaction.com
Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA

"b...@mambo.ucolick.org" <bjwe...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:c968d913-e475-4c93...@56g2000hsm.googlegroups.com...

Amit Ghosh

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 5:24:46 PM7/21/08
to
On Jul 19, 3:51 pm, ilan...@gmail.com wrote:

> 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.

dumbass,

i agree that the rules should be followed as they are written or
revised if they aren't adequate, but the choice to declare a rider
positive after both to A and B sample return adverse findings is an
arbitrary one.

the notion of two tests has become convention, but there isn't a
compelling reason why it shouldn't be just one or three or more.

Tom Kunich

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 5:34:36 PM7/21/08
to
"Amit Ghosh" <amit....@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:9673bcf7-2f7a-4b06...@t54g2000hsg.googlegroups.com...

>
> i agree that the rules should be followed as they are written or
> revised if they aren't adequate, but the choice to declare a rider
> positive after both to A and B sample return adverse findings is an
> arbitrary one.
>
> the notion of two tests has become convention, but there isn't a
> compelling reason why it shouldn't be just one or three or more.

And here I thought you understood fairly simple mathematics.

Mike Jacoubowsky

unread,
Jul 21, 2008, 5:46:08 PM7/21/08
to
If I could only figure out why my newsreader won't indent or "<" your
quotes, I could more readily resond! :>)

As it is, I'm forced to top-post a bit. There's very little you've said that
I disagree with, and I think you've misunderstood my position. I feel there
should be draconian penalties for the labs and the ASO or WADA or whomever
when they get it wrong, and the threat of those draconian penalties should
provide for more-accurate results and fewer screw-ups.

But there are two separate issues here. One is the "due process" argument,
which I feel I've addressed at length, summarizing my position here as, yes,
a positive A sample is enough to remove someone from competition, but if
they've got it wrong, the rider has avenues to seek substantial
compensation. The whole thing about "technicalities" is probably sending
things in the wrong direction. "Technicalities" are obviously required in
order to scrutinize the process and ensure fairness. What, unfortunately,
cannot (in my opinion) be entirely fair is that a rider will be dismissed
from an event without recourse, based upon the initial findings. I just
don't see a