/ Did Chris Horner drop the ball?

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Minneconjou Sioux - on 29 Oct 2013

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/biking/road-biking/Chris-Horner-Bio-Passport-Raises-D...


TBF, I've only seen this and not read anything else so not sure if anything else has come to light.
Grey area - on 29 Oct 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

I think the first response to the article is quite good and if correct could explain the outlier in the haemoglobin data. That said due to how rife it has been we'll never know who is doping for sure :(
Chris the Tall - on 29 Oct 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:
To be fair all that does is vindicate Sky's position on not releasing their data publicly. There are far too many internet experts you will read the raw data and jump to conclusions
steev on 29 Oct 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Very much agree that throwing these data out to non-experts isn't as helpful as we might like it to be. Does the journalist in that piece *really* understand those figures?
malk - on 29 Oct 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall: i disagree. all data should be released.
due - on 29 Oct 2013
In reply to steev:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
>
> Does the journalist in that piece *really* understand those figures?

Yes, probably.

malk - on 29 Oct 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: i reckon horner knows a lot more than he lets on. that is why he released his data with impunity. i'd like to compare with froome's data..
malk - on 29 Oct 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: from the comments:
Chris' case highlights the huge gaps in the bio-passport process that enable sports federations to let their athletes dope. This is by design and the IOC knows it. Among all the talk about lone athletes doping, this aspect is rarely discussed. Give WADA/NADO the authority full access to the APMU and the authority to open cases. Overall, we'd see cleaner performances.
highcamp - on 29 Oct 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

The fact that nobody has inked a deal with this guy is a bad sign. Sure, he could possibly be asking for an exorbitant salary (in a late season market where most of the money has been committed already), but I suspect he's too radioactive to handle for any team worth its salt. Whether he's clean or not, teams don't want even a rumor of doping, for fear it will result in their sponsors pulling out.
JLS on 29 Oct 2013
In reply to highcamp:

Hasn't he signed for Saxo?
Loughan - on 29 Oct 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux) i reckon horner knows a lot more than he lets on. that is why he released his data with impunity. i'd like to compare with froome's data..

because you are capable of drawing robust scientific conclusions from athletes operating at the edge of human performance and have a complete understanding of the effects of doping on these athletes?
Captain Fastrousers - on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

That really is a terribly-written article; it certainly wouldn't pass any kind of scientific peer-review. IN fact the first comment on it was a much more thorough analysis (despite adding 100kg to Chris Horner's weight - oops).
wilkesley - on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to Captain Fastrousers:

It's good that he has released his data. It would be even better if everyone else released theirs too. That would enable better comparisons to be made.

One problem is finding a comparable group of known clean athletes to compare the data too. Given the level of training cyclists undergo comparing their data with "normal" people may not be useful.
Chris the Tall - on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to wilkesley:
> (In reply to Captain Fastrousers)
>
> It's good that he has released his data. It would be even better if everyone else released theirs too. That would enable better comparisons to be made.
>
Surely the best solution would be for some independent body to collect the data from all the riders, apply a consistent analysis method, with safeguards such a blind testing, and then report those riders whose data is sufficiently anomalous to be statistically significant evidence of doping.

But wheres the fun in that ?

We all know Horner has doped in the past and is probably rider 15 whose name was redacted from the USADA report. But I presume he refused to cooperate and the evidence against him isn't strong enough for action. Maybe he was doping earlier in the year when he was injured and below the radar - regarded as a has-been/never was. And maybe he released his bio-passport data in the knowledge that it had already been cleared by the experts.

Then again he undoubtedly came in the Vuelta much fresher than the other riders, with a course than suited him, and benefited from the fact that no-one regarded him as a threat until week 2.

And who says you're too old to ride a bike in your 40s - I seem to be hitting my peak!
Toby_W on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Do we know he doped in the past and do we know he was rider 15? Can you link to something for me to have a read?

Cheers

Toby
Chris the Tall - on 30 Oct 2013
Alun - on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to malk:
> i disagree. all data should be released.

I couldn't disagree more with you. To me, this article is a prime example of why blood data should not be released to the public - for the following reasons:

1) the vast majority of the public (myself included) do not have the education or training to understand the data - even when it's explained by somebody who does.

2) the majority of the public have no knowledge of the expert doing the interpreting, and therefore don't know how much to trust him. In this case, for example, who the heck is Michael Puchowicz M.D? Okay, he's a Medical Doctor, but I don't know if he's employed or associated with WADA or USADA, or not. For all I know, he could have an axe to grind, or he could be lying about his qualifications. I'm not saying he is - I'm just saying that I know nothing about him. So why should I trust his opinions over those of others?

3) too many of 'the public' approach the issue with preconceived ideas, prejudice and bias; and are therefore incapable of making a rational assessment of the data. Case in point: me, and this Chris Horner situation. Like many, I believe that Horner winning the vuelta, at 41, and beating a host of people who had performed exceptionally all season, looks uncomfortably dodgy. My natural reaction is to nod my head in sage agreement at any evidence that suggests he was doping - why? Because it agrees with my suspicions. This is opposite of what science is all about, and it's why I and people like me shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the real data.

So, in summary, I support the release of blood data to trusted organisations - WADA, USADA, even the UCI! :O - on the understanding that they employ a panel of experts whose job is to dispassionately analyse the data. I do not support, or even condone, releasing blood data to the public, because it leads to misinformation, kangaroo courts, and conflicting 'expert' advice - as demonstrated perfectly by this article in Outside.
Toby_W on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall: Thanks for that. The answer seems to be no to both my questions.

Cheers

Toby
Chris the Tall - on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to Toby_W:
Have you tried Google ?

OK here's another link http://www.roadcycling.com/news-results/horner-conundrum#.UnD2EqZFCJA

I don't know whether any other riders fit the description given by Leipheimer, and of course it is only an allegation that Rider 15 said he intended to dope, but I doubt if anyone involved in cycling believes that Horner has never doped. Whether it can be proved, and whether he doped for the Vuelta is another matter.
malk - on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to Alun: ok, all data should be released to trusted organisations and independent research bodies.
Byronius Maximus - on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to Alun:

Very well said, clearly an objective viewpoint.

As said by someone above, it's hardly surprising that Sky don't want to release data when anyone could provide an analysis to show one thing or another. The Outside article says that that Michael Puchowicz is a "sports medicine physician" - does that really qualify him fully to perform such analyses? It may do, it may not; I simply don't know, and I doubt that the majority of punters reading that will do either, but it won't stop them forming opinions based on what he says.
Chris the Tall - on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to Alun:
Agree entirely

What really annoyed me this year was people claiming that because Armstrong or Pantani had done such and a such a climb in x mins 15 years ago, and we know they doped, then anyone doing the same climb in a similar time today must also be doping. Ignoring the multitude of other factors such as the timing of the climb within the stage and the tour, weather and wind direction, team tactics, training and bike advances, even road surface. Not to mention that the timing is hardly accurate - usually based on looking out for landmarks on old videos !

I guess the problem is that we now all know how dirty cycling has been in the past, with complicity suspected at all levels, that it will take time for trust to be restored

Chris the Tall - on 30 Oct 2013
malk - on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall: all the more reason for releasing as much data as possible;)


due - on 30 Oct 2013
In reply to Alun:

The Outside article is paraphrased somewhat, but there's nothing wrong with the original analysis. There is no claim that it represents 'proof' of doping, only that similar patterns have flagged individuals in the past, and as it happens have likely flagged Horner now too. The 'why' is a completely seperate issue, and in this respect the first commenter has missed the point.

If data is released, then people are just as free to dispute any interpretations as they are to make their own in the first place. Anyone can do that now in fact, so Puchowicz's qualifications and experience are irrelevant. There are perfectly valid arguments for and against releasing data, but it is patronising to suggest that it should be withheld because people won't understand it.

Doping accusations fly around after any exceptional performance for no other reason than the fact it was an exceptional performance. This is why we have Horner's data in the first place even, so it's not like riders don't already face this stuff - with or without evidence.
Alun - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to due:
> There are perfectly valid arguments for and against releasing data, but it is patronising to suggest that it should be withheld because people won't understand it.

Patronising it may be, but that doesn't exclude it being a valid reason for not releasing data. I've read that article a couple of times now, and there's nothing to do except accept the conclusion of the expert - like most people, I lack the education and experience to read the data myself.

The conclusion is that Horner's blood samples look irregular. You say that there is no claim that this represents doping but, come on, the insinuation is there, and rather strongly. It must be a surprise to Horner who, presumably, has 'experts' claiming that it shows that he wasn't doping, otherwise why would he release it?

I guess my central point is that Horner's release of the data has not provided us with any answers, in fact, quite the opposite.

And I would imagine that Dave Brailsford has taken one glance at this fuss and felt fully vindicated in his decision to not make public Sky's data.
wilkesley - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to Alun:
> (In reply to due)
> [...]
>
> Patronising it may be, but that doesn't exclude it being a valid reason for not releasing data. I've read that article a couple of times now, and there's nothing to do except accept the conclusion of the expert - like most people, I lack the education and experience to read the data myself.
>

Data should always be made available for those who want it. Any study that doesn't allow people to access the original data is at best highly suspect. The whole point of research is to make the data available for others to analyse. There may be a case for anonymising data so individuals can't be identified.

My wife is always coming up with some dubious headline from the Daily Fail about some food scare or another. My reply is always "Show me the data" and of course the Fail never gives you any.
Alun - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to wilkesley:
> Data should always be made available for those who want it. Any study that doesn't allow people to access the original data is at best highly suspect. The whole point of research is to make the data available for others to analyse. There may be a case for anonymising data so individuals can't be identified.

As a general point (and speaking as a scientist by profession), I agree with you, in the sense that I agree with Bertrand Russell "the burden of proof should not lie with the skeptic".

However, you need to be careful who the 'skeptic' is - it is the person calling into question somebody else's claim. If you are claiming something, the burden of proof should be on you i.e. if I claim you have stolen my bike, it's up to me to prove that you did, not you to prove that you didn't.

Applied to this situation, Horner is within his rights to release data to prove his innocence, but he shouldn't be expected to - it is the duty of the persons making the claim (that he doped) to produce evidence supporting that claim.

And, I reiterate my central point - the fact that we (and others) are even having this discussion will be enough reason for other people to not make public their data.
Chris the Tall - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to wilkesley:
The data I would like to see is all the dates on which Horner was tested in the last 12 months. I think we should trust that when the data has been collected it will be correctly analysed by the experts, but if it turns out that Horner wasn't tested until the Tour of California, or missed a test earlier in the year, then maybe we have reasons to be suspicious.

Is this data available (too busy to check at the moment) ?
malk - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to Alun:
>
> However, you need to be careful who the 'skeptic' is - it is the person calling into question somebody else's claim. If you are claiming something, the burden of proof should be on you

talking of which, how is T-L getting along with his burden of proof after anomalous blood passport?
good point made in comment about the reduction of periodic testing- it plays into the hand of the dopers..
http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/15638/Tiernan-Locke-could-get-extension-to-biological-passport-dea...
ads.ukclimbing.com
steev on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Does anyone know if any doing products give you the side effect of growing a MASSIVE FINGER?

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/photos/trek-couldnt-give-horner-what-he-wants-says-guercilena/279730
Minneconjou Sioux - on 11 Nov 2013
Minneconjou Sioux - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

And this:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/vuelta-a-espana-doping-tests-were-all-negative?ns_campaign=news&...

At what stage does the presumption of innocence trump the suspicion around his performance?

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