/ TdF Badger baiting
The Badger is doing a good job of stirring up anti-Froome feeling.
IMO Not to compete is a taciturn admission of guilt. Whatever the wrongs and rights of the case, it shouldn't be in the public domain yet and Froome has every right to compete, just as he and Sky can expect an almighty load of shit if the case goes against them.
He just doesn't like someone who looks weird on a bike being 'as good' as he was.
Froome is absolutely allowed to compete, and should. All sport takes place with in arbitrary set of rules that state what is permitted, and how a winner is defined (at it's most basic, male rides bicycle from x to y and the person to do it in the shortest time 'wins' .). That is all there is to it and the set of rules applicable to pro cycling allow him to compete at present.
Bravo le blaireau!
A bitter old man (and not even that old!) who would like everyone to know how great he used to be.
one interesting comment underneath though, see below.
There has been so much BS talked by the ill-informed in this case that I had to set up an account to pass on my thoughts, based on a little more 'fact', based around Salbutamol.
Before I do, I'm unsure why so many posters on here don't understand 'rules'. In the UCI's rules (love them or hate them) an Adverse Analytical Finding does NOT require a rider to stop competing whilst he/she appeals the results. Simple, not hard to understand, clearly written in print, etc etc etc. Froome has EVERY legal right to continue competing as he has and if any of the other GC contenders found themselves in the same boat you can bet your bottom dollar that they would too. Anybody who has the competitive drive to achieve a podium result at a GT would tell you (and the media, his team, his competitors etc) to FO if it was suggested they should stop 'for the good of the sport'. No less so because if the reading is found to be incorrect, he/she will have lost the chance to win during that period. The term 'innocent until proven guilty' springs to mind. If people have an issue with Froom's decision TO FOLLOW THE RULES (including Hinault and Lappartient) then amend the UCI's rules. Simple.
But on to Salbutamol and those calling for Froome's head for 'cheating' or perhaps wondering why he cannot simply accept a ban and move on. When this came to light I spoke to my old man, who just happened to be the Chief Clinial Pharmacologist for one of the top five international pharmaceutical giants for 25 years, who was a peer of and personally knows the chief clinical pharmacologist who created Salbutamol and who he himself (my father) used Salbutamol during trials and research into other drugs. His informed opinion, (unlike many posters across many sites, not to mention the media, Hinault etc etc) is that this situation is a farce and has been created almost entirely by WADA/UCI test methods. Note that my old man does NOT and never has followed cycling.
So here are some FACTS from someone directly involved in the development of the drug:
First he said that Salbutamol has NO inherent performance benefit, it merely allows an asthmathic to perfom to his/her inherent ability just like a non asthma sufferer, no more no less. This we (mostly) all know. The reason it is on the TUE list is because it can be used as a masking agent for other types of doping, but my father's comment was that the amount required and the period of time it would require to be maintained at levels high enough to mask serious doping, would mean he would have been caught throughout the previous 18 days of testing, plus the inter-GT testing, and not to mention whilst being tested during the TdF. In his opinion just one blip is exactly that. The previous 2 months of testing clearly indicate (to him) that Froome wasn't using Salbutamol to mask any other doping. Obviously he caveates that this does not mean Froome or any other rider are not doping anyway, just that this blip is entirely wrong.
Following on, he says that the reading and the way it is tested is seriously flawed. First, he said that they (pharma giants) would be laughed at if they provided their research based solely on urine tests as they are incredibly unreliable. More so for drugs that are inhaled rather than administered by needle as there are so many influencing factors such as hydration. They (the pharma companies) must provide full bloodwork at the end of trials to be taken seriously within the medical fraternity and have their drugs passed as being safe and legal for human use. Urine tests alone wouldn't cut it. Therefore he said that to rely solely on urine tests for such an important test that can affect the outcome of races, prize purses, history is inherently wrong. He suspects that the cost and logisitcs of taken blood-tests every day trumps the desire to have perfect testing.
Further, of inhalers. The variance in dose provided by inhalers, (between puffs), can be as much as +/- 25% of the required dose, so again when they test the effects of drugs that can be administered orally, by inhaler or by injection, they do not use the inhaler because it is clinically unreliable. This is the same for any user, so an AAF cannot be guranteed as 'misuse' as it could be as a result of the flawed delivery by the inhaler. In his opinion, the UCI regs don't seem to factor this in.
What's more, my father said that Salbutomol has a notoriously poor level of uptake on inhaled delivery, as low as 30%, which is far lower than many other drugs. As such, 70% can be passed out in the urine at any given moment, hence his arguement that blood-tests should be used rather than urine tests to show how much is actually being absorbed in the blood as opposed to simply washed through. Additionally the 70% unabsorbed salbutamol passes in the urine relatively quickly.
Basically he said that had Froome finished the race, whilst (likely) dehydrated, taken a couple of puffs to recover, with a 50% variance risk in delivery, plus 70% non-uptake of the drug, plus the flawed nature of urine testing, it is perfectly reasonable to assume from a medical perspective that this was not the real amount in his blood nor evidence of doping. my father's opinion is that this AAF is at risk of too many variables for the UCI in any way to claim it was deliberate doping which flies
against almost 2 months of other clear readings before and after this one day. He says in clinial research it would be a statistical anomaly that would be considered, but not influence, the final results of a study.
Obviously nobody reading this knows the name of my father, nor can check his pedigree or CV to say for certain that what I am claiming he said or who he is is true. But I know it to be the case and as a result have a much clearer opinion of the situation, the likelihood that he was NOT doping and why he SHOULD continue cycling and be given a chance to clear his name.
For the naysers who claim it is clear doping like Contador and that he should have been suspended immediately, I ask:
1. Why, when the UCI clearly doesn't require him to be by their OWN regs?
2. Why, when the testing is so flawed and the drug delivery so ambiguous?
3. Why, when either side of the one adverse reading he was tested clean every day for two months clearly showing there was no malicious doping?
He might be guilty in some people's moral field, people will be biased because they are Froome/Brit/Sky haters, but if we base this case on facts rather than hyperbole, there should be no reason (legally) for him not to race this year's TdF and he should be given every chance to clear his name for what is an anomaly based on poor standards set by WADA and the UCI (to save time and more importantly money) all for a drug that has NO performance enhancing benefits whatsoever and clearly (based on two months continous testing of Froome) was not being used as masking agent. If Hinault, Lappartient, French Media (biased beyond belief against Brits/English sport, I know, I live here) and posters can't accept that, then more fool them. Either they are stupid, ignorant, biased or (Hinault) hypocrites. Acceptable by on-line posters who maybe don't have access to the facts or just want to troll and Sky-bash, unacceptable when you take Lappartient's point of view who, as head of the UCI needs to look at his own organisation, it's regs and procedures before casting moral judgement against someone yet to be found guilty and clearly following all the rules laid before him.
If you want to know what my old man said of Wiggins on the other hand, well tht's another (disappointing) story entirely....
> If you want to know what my old man said of Wiggins on the other hand, well tht's another (disappointing) story entirely....
> Rant over
Oh do share please!
oh sorry, just grabbed the comment from below the article.
I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve spent my life working as a scientist in the pharma industry and now run my own consultancy business. From a purely scientific perspective the media coverage and comments by pundits, bloggers and forum devotees has in my opinion been uninformed hyperbole that is heavily biased and totally illogical.
Thank you for sharing that. Seems a very reasonable response.
Hi--thanks for taking the time to post. I don't agree with everything you wrote, but it's a reasonable and informed perspective.
Here are some points:
You talk about how Froome is operating within the rules, and that he has every right to race. Fair enough. As you said, the rules are the rules. But then, later, you attack the validity of the testing procedure. You may well be right about the test, but, as you yourself said, rules do exist, however arbitrary or flawed they might be. So, in some sense, I think your argument us contradictory. It depends on what your goal/point is about the test--Are you simply trying to point out the flaws? Do you think it should be changed? Do you think that Froome should not be judged according to those rules? If the latter, then your arguments contradict themselves.
There is also a question of fairness. Other riders have had AAF's related to Sabutamol and have served suspensions. The only difference between their cases and Froome's is that Froome and Sky have the stature and money to fight their case in court. Yes, they are entitled (by the rules) to a trial and hearing, but, clearly, the outcome of these processes is directly related to money and resources--this seems patently unfair in a sporting context. It's easy to say, "That's just life," but it sure doesn't feel right.
I weigh your comments about the science behind Salbutamol urine testing against the scientific counterarguments that must exist. I am sure other eminent scientists could very reasonably rebut some or al of your points. After all, the WADA/UCI rules exist for a reason, and those reasons must be based on science as much as practicality and economy. Yes, the urine test might be the only inexpensive or realistic test, though flawed. But I weigh its possible flaws against the very real need the WADA/UCI have to protect themselves from just the kind of legal process and possible consequent lawsuits that are unfolding not in the Froome case. What I mean to say is that I don't think they would apply a test that they did not feel they could defend in court--there is too much as stake financially.
Last, and here you might talk to you father and friends and other sources, my understanding of the illicit benefits of Sabutamol is that performance benefits are derived not from inhaled doses, but, as you say, from long term use as a masking agent (which would perhaps be seen in other tests) and when taken ingested or infused forms, both of which are prohibited by the rules, and both of which might confer a short term advantage, not from bronchodilation, or opening the airways, but from some kind of systemic metabolic or neural effect, in the say way that, for example, corticosteroids often administered for athletic injuries (knee, hip, foot) have systemic effects that diminish pain, create a sense of euphoria, allow athletes to psuh harder, and so on.
Considering Sky's history, what good reason do you have to believe that Froome is innocent?
Ok, all the best,
Sorry Bruno, not my post, as I said in it and in a post after it i’d grabbed it from the comments underneath the article and put it up as I new people would be interested.
What is the 'hurdle rate' for guilt?
Is it balance of probabilities, or beyond reasonable doubt. (both legal terms).
I think perhaps the bigger problem here is that the Sky/Froome haters are using balance of probabilities - i.e. they believe that 50/50 the evidence tips towards Froome being guilty of some sort of doping and should be punished.
Froome supporters are using beyond reasonable doubt, such that if there is doubt there shouldn't be a conviction. Currently there is doubt.
I don't know which legal test doping/sports law falls under but I think understanding the above brings some clarity to people's viewpoints.
As I understand it, in this case, Froome has to prove that he is innocent.
It's the delay and the time taken for Froome to present his case that I have the most difficulty with especially as his results - giro, etc will stand no matter what the findings.
The key word being 'prove' and what that means in reality. (I know broadly you are supposed to replicate the result in lab conditions blah blah).
I don't think any individual is going to change their mind on Froome's 'innocence' whatever the result. People will believe what they will.
Totally agree on the length of time though, makes no sense.
Could Froome have a plan to win as much as possible and then retire without the need to address the drug issue?
I did read that the organisers of the TdF wanted it sorted before the tour begins.
I agree that people will have their own opinion about Froome not matter what the outcome is.
My apologies Toby--I thought you were the author. My comments stand as a response to the text you offered.
So if I understand correctly the text is actually a sort of third person quote from somebody who has a father who has a friend who worked in pharma. The text seems reasonable, but I believe in the scientific process and peer-reviewed studies. Where are the studies that show that the Sabutamol urine test is so wildly inaccurate? Do these studies exist? Great! Let's see them. Let's not rely on rumor and friend-of-a-friend conjectures. Likewise, on what scientific studies are the UCI/WADA rules based? The rules are certainly based on something.
I imagine the reasoning behind the Salbutamol urine test goes something like this:
1) Salbutamol is a legitimate treatment for athletes with asthma.
2) Used within certain medical guidelines Salbutamol does not increase the performance of athletes with asthma beyond levels they would achieve without illness.
3) If Salbutamol is taken in inhaled form above certain doses, or if it is swallowed or injected, by athletes who have asthma and those who do not, it has a performance enhancing effect.
4) The most accurate way to monitor levels of Salbutamol would be with regular blood tests.
5) Regular blood tests for Salbutamol in the context of sport are too expensive and difficult to implement, so urine tests are used instead.
6) Urine tests have some margin of error, perhaps a large margin of error.
7) Therefore the threshold to trigger a AAF for Salbutamol is set relatively high, at a level that would be very difficult to reach unless the drug was used inappropriately (as described in point 3).
8) Allowing for the small chance that even the high threshold value of the urine test might still return an AAF, the governing bodies allow athletes to present themselves for pharmakinetic testing, to prove their innocence.
To me, this seems like an eminently reasonable and practical approach. What better way is there at present?
The only thing I would change is that I do not think that athletes should be allowed to compete while their case is processed, because it leads to things like backdated suspensions, victories being taken away, suspicion, doubt, and generally undermines the integrity of the sport. I hope these rules change, so that they are more in line with the guidelines of the MPCC.
Some more thoughts:
Many people believe that Froome should observe a kind of higher moral law, and recuse himself from racing until his AAF is processed. Others believe that Froome has every right within the rules to race and should do so. This raises the very interesting question of what's more important, some kind of higher moral law, or the written law. This is a very profound question. I'd simply like to point out that many people, myself included, often have contradictory or conflicting views about things like this. For example, consider the higher moral law, common in cycling, that a rider stop and wait for another who has crashed, or that riders do not attack a rider who has crashed. There is no written rule that says they should behave in this way, but it's an unwritten code, and when people violate it, when they do not slow down and wait for rivals who have suffered a puncture or crash, or when they attack their rivals in the same circumstances, they are often publicly shamed and vilified, often in very self-righteous and indignant terms. the same could be said of riders of draft behind othrs and capitalize on their work before seizing a win at the end. There is no written rules against this behavior, however, most people generally accept that it is somehow wrong. How does this relate to Froome and his AAF? Well, I would argue that many if not most of the same people who think Froome has every right to race would also be horrified if Froome attacked a rival when they punctured or crashed. So some pople do not judge Froome by a higher moral law in certain cases (his AAF) but do so in other cases (capitalizing on the misfortune of others). Perhaps we should not have these higher moral laws. Perhaps, when one rider crashes, his rivals should attack immediately. After all, they are all exposed to the same risks, luck is a part of racing, and the goal is to win. Or perhaps we should have these higher moral laws, and Froome should recuse himself from racing until his case is resolved, for the integrity of the sport.
Other deeply interesting questions raised by doping and cycling: Should we always believe in "Innocent until proven guilty" or do we reach a point where it is reasonable to believe "Guilty until proven innocent?" And if we have reached a point where it makes sense to believe "Guilty until proven innocent?" where does this leave the sport?
> Could Froome have a plan to win as much as possible and then retire without the need to address the drug issue?
Now that's an interesting idea. Although I fear he would be somewhat tainted, depends whether he cares about that or not.
I think you're spot on, people are very passionate and tribal about these things. My rule is, enjoy the cycling and give them the benefit of the doubt until you see the lab reports, not press releases, statements or opinions.
It's too tiring to get into discussions when you post "wasn't climbing well at the weekend but at least the weather was great" only to be told 5 posts later "you blind moron the weather was great at the weekend" ))))
I really like Froome but my first thought was could this reading have been caused by a top up of blood with the med in from training like Contador but if I understand what I pasted above this seems unlikely but there's the question mark. I just enjoy it, the soap opera that is pro cycling.
The post you copied is a poor attempt at arguing from authority, without offering a proper scientific argument. I am not trying to do this here, either, instead I recommend a common sense plausibility check: Quite obviously Salbutamol and related drugs appear to enhance performance, especially in endurance sports, otherwise why would so many athletes use it? The icidence in athma is by itself not plausible.
Howwever, unlike other illegal PEDs such as Epo or ananbolic steroids Salbutamol also has plausibly legit uses (if you legitimately need Epo for medical reasons you cannot race anyway, if you have asthma you just about might), hence it is necessary to set thresholds rather than banning.
The burden of proof is then on the rider to show that his need was legit. What I cannot understand is that there appears to be no time limit for the rider to come up with this proof.
Do you know more about this? (Serious question, no trolling!)
That's O.K it obviously wasn't clear, go down the comments under the article to see the original.
Hey ClimberEd. Thanks for posting. You raise some interesting questions--I talk about something similar below in my second post.
I don't know exactly how these terms are applied in legal setting, but, from a purely personal perspective, I think it is highly likely that Froome was doing something borderline legal, in a gray area, or actually crossed the line into a rule violation, and was subsequently caught. I see many good reasons to believe that he flirted with and/or crossed the line, and few if any reasons to believe that he is innocent. I think we have shifted from a "Innocent until proven guilty" to a "Guilty until proven innocent" point in cycling--I don't mean in terms of what standards will or should be used in court, but just what any reasonable and impartial observer should conclude. Nothing I know about cycling gives me any reason to see this differently. Where does this leave the sport, and my admiration of it? I'm not sure.
No not my field and I agree with you I wouldn't count it as solid just thought it interesting. If I were Froome I don't know what I'd do, I mean clean or doping he's going to get an awful lot of urine thrown on him. I'd be looking at my bank balance and my options but there's a bit more too it I suppose.
Well, it's an interesting comment. However this paragraph is bollocks of the first order:
"What's more, my father said that Salbutomol has a notoriously poor level of uptake on inhaled delivery, as low as 30%, which is far lower than many other drugs. As such, 70% can be passed out in the urine at any given moment, hence his arguement that blood-tests should be used rather than urine tests to show how much is actually being absorbed in the blood as opposed to simply washed through."
What's in the urine comes from the blood. The bladder is not connected directly to the lungs. There is no choice between "absorbed into blood" (which happens in the lungs) and "washed through (which happens when the blood goes through the kidney).
I'm not sure what you say or your point is quite correct, inhalers are pretty inefficient and I think you've misunderstood his post, I'm not going to argue as I'd have to research and check delivery and uptake levels for inhalers and I'm sure anyone interested can do that and add to the thread knowledge pot
Ha, I did not even spot this when skimming across all the other bullshit in that post!
Good find, and completely discredits any other claims made by the poster Toby_W cited.
Whilst not directly answering the question, there is a very very long list of problems with inhalers in this paper (I need a laughing crying face emoji)
Ha ha ha, brilliant, the first part would be priceless. User incompetence, well have you seen the way he rides a bike
> Ha, I did not even spot this when skimming across all the other bullshit in that post!
> Good find, and completely discredits any other claims made by the poster Toby_W cited.
The claim is that drugs are effective when in the blood, not the urine, and therefore a blood test is a much better indicator of what is in the blood than a urine test. How is this bullshit ?
it strikes me that the regulations do acknowledge that a urine test is a very poor method of judging how much has been inhaled. Obviously the lawyers are going to try to claim that it is worthless. However I believe the threshold here is far higher than the reasonable doubt you would have in a criminal case. If you allow a cheat to escape, then you are unfairly punishing those who obey the rules. So even if the tests are flawed, and there is a good chance Froome has just been unlucky, he could still be sanctioned for the sake of sporting integrity.
At the risk of more hostile aggressive posts, especially as I am in no way certain of his innocence or guilt in general.
I think, and you can check this, it is like this. If you took a load of vit C for instance and then another dose you would piss most of it out with almost no uptake so in terms of measuring what’s in your system the test (Urine) would be useless. You would be guessing. Hence blood test. Remember if you drink beetroot juice or some other dyes you can piss colours and that has not been through your bloodstream. Blasting an inhaler into your mouth even at the best of times means you swallow a lot.
Now, to say again, not my original comment, and this in no way means he is innocent. This is pro cycling after all.
This I think is spot on, do they not do this in formula one? Not for drugs but infractions of the rules. Does not even need to be a ban for a non banned drug, just a massive time penalty carried into the next grand tour.
Not sure if you are trying to be ironic, but the statement really is nonsense. Yes, inhalers can be erratic in their delivery, but whatever ends up in the urine must have been absorbed in the lungs beforehand. So, "failure to remove cap" does not explain anything (and would work the wrong way round anyway).
The original author of that comment seems to deliberately conflate the entirely separate issue of variation in delivery (which is well known) with variation in clearance (which is one possibly line of defence). Only in the latter case would it be at least conceivable that blood tests may give "correct" concentrations reflecting fair use of the drug at a medically indicated dosage, while the urine test would give higher values, "falsely" suggesting overdosing for PED use.
However, as with blood alcohol and drink driving, the relevant authorities simply choose a readily testable proxy for what they really want to know. It does not matter whether I am potentially still able to drive safely if caught above the limit, while someone else may be unsafe below.
Same goes with Salbutamol. It is in principle not possible to measure the performance enhancement an athlete may have gained by using Salbutamol during a race, hence a conveniently testable proxy with a very generous threshold is used instead. The athlete is responsible for adhering to the limits, same as a driver.
I therefore suspect that the post you quoted is simply a deliberate attempt deliberate at spreading FUD, especially as it claims to be arguing from authority while making a glaring scientific mistake which I missed while skimming across the post first time round.
Sorry, did you read my second post after wow? Not ironic I’m just getting a little testy about the language and B&W nature of some of these statements.
This is a good giggle.
Please see my more detailed response. I was not trying to be aggressive, but laughed at myself not spotting this mistake right away!
And no, if you eat beetroot you can obviously dye your faeces without involving your blood stream, but whatever ends up in your urine has definitely been filtered from your blood stream in your kidneys.
There is no direct route, unless you count loading the bladder with someone else's urine via a catheter, which actually used to be a relatively common practise to cheat at doping controls before chaperones started monitoring athletes picked for competition testing continuously until they did the deed!
Would make for a stylish excuse for CF, though: Sorry, I must have inserted the inhaler at the wrong end!
Please see my more detailed response to TobyW below. I was not trying to be aggressive, but laughed at myself not spotting this mistake right away!
Read again the bit Deadeye cited:
>"What's more, my father said that Salbutomol has a notoriously poor level of uptake on inhaled delivery, as low as 30%, which is far lower than many other drugs. As such, 70% can be passed out in the urine at any given moment, hence his arguement that blood-tests should be used rather than urine tests to show how much is actually being absorbed in the blood as opposed to simply washed through."
This clearly claims that if you use Salbutamol via inhaler some variable of the drug goes to the blood stream, while the rest is immediately "passed out" via the urine. This is physiologically impossible!
Not in time, appears we are cross posting.
Also this is why it’s an adverse reading or finding rather than a failure as the test is, as you say an approximate measure and so there is a procedure to clarify any findings.
i do agree with Chris that there should just be an automatic penalty in these cases and if you’re totally innocent it’s chalked up to bad luck like a flat tyre or crash.
Thanks, I don’t disagree with a lot of your points just that this is black and white which it isn’t. Should have been clearer at the start.
There is another interesting aspect with respect to PED use. This very current article in Scientific Reports
may provide some mechanistic explanation why it is easier to regain muscle strength than to develop it in the first place. If correct, someone who used anabolic doping in a training phase may benefit much longer than previously thought, suggesting that two year doping bans may be insufficient to level the playing fields again.
Certain sprinters and weight lifters immediately come to mind.
Exactly what Ben Johnson always said, he was bigger and stronger and would always have an advantage from his use of steroids.
Build yourself into a tour winner and then compete clean?
Exactly my point, and I did not know that Ben Johnson said that, I was thinking of Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin.
Back in the late 1990s I did some weight training with a couple of former GDR national level judoka, and the rate they could increase maximum strength during a training phase was unreal, even after 10 or 15 years off the little blue pills. So far this has all been anecdotal, though, but this new paper offers a plausible molecular mechanism.
Should all doping bans be career ending?
I agree with you. As I understand it, Salbutamol relaxes the bronchioles of the lungs and is meant to allow someone suffering with asthma symptoms to get the normal amount of air into their lungs. If someone took more salbutamol than was needed, I can't see how this could increase their uptake of oxygen beyond their normal level - your lungs cannot get more full than full.
Generally, the aim of doping is to increase the amount of oxygen taken up by the blood from the lungs (e.g. use of EPO / blood doping to increase the concentration of red blood cells). Salbutamol would not achieve this.
You understand wrong. Yes, salbutamol can help against asthma, either allergic or exertion induced, by relaxing the airway musculature. This is its legit use, which is why it is not banned outright.
It also has, like the entire class of related drugs (beta-sympathomimetica, including e.g. also clenbuterol) anabolic and lipolytic effects, especially when taken orally rather than by inhaler. This is why clenbuterol in particular, but also salbutamol, is fed to beef cattle. Most famously, clenbuterol was Katrin Krabbe's PED of choice. However, this is thought to be effective only at rather higher levels of these drugs.
The urine thresholds are therefore set so that it should not be possible (with a huge safety margin) to reach them through the legit use as an asthma drug. The assumption is then that any higher levels would be complete overkill for treating a bout of asthma and could not be reached by an accidental extra puff on the inhaler. Instead, such levels point at use as anabolic/lipolytic PED, most likely administered orally rather than by inhalation. This is why the burden of evidence is flipped: if you are caught with levels inconsistent with asthma treatment then it is your job to prove that the administration of the drug was legal. IMO this is a stupid idea, better increase the threshold even further and then treat it as a proper doping violation rather than adverse finding.
i have no strong opinions on bans because as a lay person so to speak, I might have a bright idea that is daft upon further consideration.
But, Chris made the point and you make it again that this is damaging to sport in a lot of ways.
perhaps like the military there should be a minimum automatic penalty (no matter what) as there is for accidentally discharging a weapon.
If Froome can show this came from dehydration etc then increase the level and make it a drugs failure, or green, Amber, red if that makes sense.
I agree. I also believe that the current, drawn out procedure contributes quite a bit to the "damage to the sport". IMO the very least would be to set a deadline by which time the athlete has to make their case following an adverse finding. A couple of months should do the job. If the panel still has questions or demands lab work that could always be extended after the initial hearing. Dropping the artificial distinction between adverse findings and doping violations would be even better.
Plugging the leaks would also limit the "damage to the sport".
Not at all. The issue about retrospective loss of titles aside, the secrecy surrounding the Armstrong doping case clearly shows that only open procedures stand any chance of getting anywhere. Given the history of UCI, what chance CF or Sky arranging some dirty deal if this had not been leaked?
CB, you posts are clear and informative. Thank you. I think we share a similar perspective on these issues. This is not the first time that Froome has been suffering in a race and then, somewhat miraculously, turned his performance around. Do you have any idea how fast ingested or injected salbutanol might work? Is this the kind of thing that could be taken on a rest day and affect performance a few days later, perhaps by aiding recovery? The fact that Froome and Sky almost certainly broke the rules by using salbutamol illegally (how else can we explain the AAF?) suggests that they expected the drug to have an immediate to short term effect, on the order of days, at least a short enough time to impact the results of the Giro. Thanks again.
Do you think it is reasonable that Froome an Sky could have taken a high dose of salbutamol during the race, risking the AAF, as a way to mask the use of another drug? If so, what drugs could salbutamol mask?
> This is not the first time that Froome has been suffering in a race and then, somewhat miraculously, turned his performance around
I'm afraid I don't understand - why is this regarded as suspicious? It's exactly what happens when you're being affected by asthma: your performance suffers, you take a dose of salbutamol inhaler to get the asthma back under control, your performance goes back up to normal. Surely that's the point of allowing asthmatics to take their medication?
Unless when you say "suffering" you mean he's demonstrably performing at his proven healthy best and still not competitive? That he's competing well out of his class and you wouldn't expect him to ever beat the people he's racing without cheating? If so, then my comment clearly isn't relevant.
Cycling's not my sport but I've seen the suggestion that improving after inhaling salbutamol is "suspicious" a few times and as an asthmatic myself I'm a bit baffled. Also rather perturbed as I'd have been unable to ever in my life compete at any sport if asthma medication were blanket banned.
That's an honest question. OK, here goes. I guess the best way to explain the suspicion of sabutamol abuse (and/or the abuse of other drugs) in this case is the following: As Froome's asthma is known, documented, monitored, and controlled by himself and team doctors, as Froome and Sky have explained repeatedly, once can not ascribe his poor performance to asthama, i.e. in the weeks and days leading up to his "miraculous" turn arounds, he was not performing at the same level as the others, not because of asthma, but simply because of fitness, fatigue, focus, crashes, and so on. And then, dramatically, his performance improves. This is what happened at the Vuelta when he had his AAF, and this is also what happened at the Giro this year. So, to repeat, when he was not doing well, it was not because of his asthma, which was surely under control, with daily use of sabuotamol. Therefore, his turn around could not be ascribed to finally breathing just like everybody else. Also, it's worth mentioning that Froome himself has never ascribed his performance deficits to suffering fro asthma, nor his turn arounds to finally getting his asthma under control. He has talked about how he could feel symptoms sometimes, and took some puffs on his inhaler, but he never has used asthma as an explanation for longer-term performance variations over the course of stage races. That's why I don't believe that his sudden increases in performance relative to others is due to simply getting his asthma under control.
Also, as many people have pointed out, the incidence of "asthma" among pro cyclists is astonishingly high. Clearly, some individuals do have asthma. Many if not most others use the false diagnosis and therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to give them an excuse to take an inhaled medication, either for the perceived performance enhancement of the bronchodialator (questionable) or for the ability to use the inhaler to mask illegal use of the drugs (ingested of injected) or other drugs.
Last, Froome is obviously a great cyclist, and one of the things that makes him great is his ability to endure over three weeks of a long tour. He can recover well. Nobody gets stronger, in an absolute sense, over the course of a long race like the Vuelta, Giro, or Tour, but Froome's ability to get "less tired" than the others, or to "recover more" than the others" is clearly a factor in his performance. Nonetheless, while we would expect to see a gradual improvement in his performance relative to others over a long race, we would not expect to see day-to-day dramatic turn arounds, especially when they are correlated with an AAF. That is highly suspicious in the context of cycling, and raises serious questions. Unfortunately, cycling has reached a place where when it seems too good to be true it probably isn't true. I don't have anything against Froome and Sky in particular, besides their self-righteous and high-minded posturing, when they clearly operate just like most of the other teams. I just think you need to look at cycling honestly and objectively. And, in my view, that leads me to the conclusion that Froome and Sky engage in every gray-area or clearly illegal tactic that they can, like missuing TUE's, injections, microdosing, tramadol, and so on, for a performance edge. I wish I could say that I thought Froome and SKY are clean--his epic ride over the Finestre in this year's Giro's was one of the great cycling performances of the century--but unfortunately I don't see any reason to believe that they are different from the vast majority of other riders and teams.
Thanks! I will see if I find time for a detailed reply later, need to run to give a lecture right now. Just this: It is not Froome alone, IMO these magic turnarounds follow the same pattern as Wiggins having a convenient attack of hayfever, and having an even more convenient dodgy TUE for the highly unusual drug triamcinolone right before some hard stages. After Sky got into hot water with that one they appear to have moved on to beta-sympathomimetic drugs where no TUE was needed, just careful dosage management.
I do not buy the asthma excuse at all (as you sayit would have to be managed in the preceding stages as well), IMO it is just an excuse that allowed Froome to use Salbutamol for its beta-sympathomimetic properties that can at high doses recapitulate some of the effectsof glucocorticoids. No solid information about the timescale that this would act over, my guess would be about a day, but more likely hours than weeks.
Having read the continued discussion on this thread I still witness that it is all about bias to support an emotional position.
There is no EVIDENCE either way, beyond a supposition of guilt extended from results, performance and an AAF which may still found to be within the rules (remember folks, the rules are just a construct and you are either within them or not.) Lots of extrapolation, scientific or otherwise, as to what it MIGHT mean.
So it goes back to innocent until proven guilty, or guilty until proven innocent, based on your emotional position around cycle racing (as a whole) or Froome/Sky (specifically.)
If you want to discuss what the rules should be (TUEs allowed for example) then that is great, but it is a different discussion than whether Froome is guilty. Froome can be as guilty as sin in the eyes of those who believe that TUEs shouldn't be allowed (made up straw man before anyone questions that) for example, but their opinion doesn't matter one iota if the rules allow TUEs.
Let's see what happens with the AAF results and then cast stones.
Hi ClimberEd. I appreciate your posts. I think I understand what you are suggesting. I do have one point. You wrote, "Let's see what happens with the AAF results and then cast stones." I'm not sure that the AAF results are going to give people the clarity they seek. They will provide a result within the legal framework of cycling, a result which, one way or another, might be challenged, prolonging the process, but apart from a legal result, the AAF findings might not move us any closer to the truth, whatever that might be. This opens the whole question of guilty until proven innocent, or innocent until proven guilty, and the question of to what extent we can and do trust in legal processes. Froome might be found innocent, but I don't think that proves he is innocent.
What do we know? What are the facts?
Froome has well documented and long standing asthma. For this condition he has a TUE and regularly uses an inhaler.
He registered an AFF at the Vuelta. The legal process is ongoing.
Sky has been completely opaque about the process. They seem more concerned that the story was leaked, than with the fact that one of their riders registered an AFF. This behavior is consistent with many individuals and teams in the past who were subsequently shown to have doped.
Sky in the past, with Wiggins and perhaps others, used extremely questionable and perhaps outright illegal methods and treatments, such as triamcinolone. Again, the riders involved, and the team, were completely secretive about this--we only learned after the information was leaked. Wiggins even wrote about how he "never used needles" in his book, before it was shown that, in fact, he received injections of triamcinolone, with his team's support, before his grand tour wins. This is especially ironic, because of Sky's avowed "clean" policy and "new methods" and so forth. Again, their behavior is exactly like many individuals and teams in the past who were subsequently shown to have doped. That is not a judgement, that's a demonstrable fact.
The whole jiffy bag incident is particularly suspicious. I won't rehash all the details here, but some of the salient features include, 1) Doctor Freeman, working for Sky and Wiggins, who failed to follow procedures and record information about medical treatments properly, and then conveniently lost his computer (!), 2) Brailiford's multiple changing stories, which could easily be viewed as a series of lies, and 3) the unprecedented link between Sky and British Cycling, with people working for both organizations carrying packages back and forth internationally, without knowing the contents.
The link between British cycling and Sky is particularly damning (for both organizations) when you recall that an individual at British Cycling received a shipment of hundreds of doses of testosterone addressed to Freeman, the same doctor who treated Wiggins, and was involved in the jiffy bag scandal. The individual who opened the package refused the shipment, and the incident was explained as a "shipping mistake." Anybody who believes that hundreds of doses of testosterone were sent to a suspicious doctor at British Cycling as a honest mistake is simply living in a dream world, and I don't think that's an emotional or biased response, that's simply the truth of cycling.
How is all of this linked to Froome? Brailisford and Sky continue rolling forward, exhibiting a dominance at Grand Tours that raises eyebrows and valid questions. Considering that Brailisford was deeply involved in these past incidents, is there any reason to believe that he would not be involved with Froome's performance, treatment, and media interactions now as well? Why would we think any differently? How is Froome different in such a way that we should believe he is innocent? What has changed to make us see these facts in another way?
Obviously the past has shown us that the simple absence of positive tests is no indicator that a rider is clean.
Last, the doctor involved in the jiffy bag scandal, Freeman, who refused to testify at the hearings about the incident, citing poor health, has now released a book, detailing all of the small things, like special pillows, and getting enough sleep and good nutrition, that have contributed to Sky's success.
Again, I don't think it's simply an emotional perspective to view this behavior as cynical, dishonest, and mercenary.
The facts speak for themselves.
Hi Bruno, an interesting perspective - wrapped up neatly in your last two sentences. I owe that post a thought out reply but am dashing out now - I will pick it up later though. Best. Ed
> The facts speak for themselves.
I would argue that the facts don't really speak for themselves which is why we have such polarised opinions here.
You are asserting that because the whole situation surrounding Wiggins in 2011/12 was dubious (it looks dubious, I will agree), then the situation in 2017 involving a substance that was known to show up in in competition tests is more of the same.
Essentially, yes, that's what I'm asserting. Although I would add that I am basing my assessment not only on the events of 2011/12, but also on the continued statements and behavior of Brailsford and Sky, and, more than anything, on the whole, massive, depressing reality of all the scandals that have emerged in modern cycling.
I would argue, again, that the facts do speak for themselves. The reason that we have polarized opinions is that some people either do not know the facts, or choose to ignore the facts, because of their emotions, illusions, hopes, and so on. But the facts, and history, are clear.
I am well aware that taking the position that a rider under suspicion is or should be considered guilty until proven innocent is controversial. Where does it lead? Who can we admire? Who can we cheer for? Does the sport have any integrity?
I think that to follow and love cycling you have to take context and history into account--you have to consider each performance, and the circumstances surrounding it, and then make a decision about what it means.
And everything surrounding team Sky and Froome just does not add up for me.
> So it goes back to innocent until proven guilty, or guilty until proven innocent, based on your emotional position around cycle racing (as a whole) or Froome/Sky (specifically.)
Not really. After an AAF the rider has to prove his innocence with respect to the dosage and delivery, as the measured levels (confirmed by the B sample) are not disputed and the thresholds are already set with huge safety margins. Consistent with this inverted burden of proof an assumption of guilt is the only reasonable approach.
edit: Maybe I should rephrase the beginning to say that "After an AAF a rider is generously (more so than reasonable IMO) given the opportunity to prove his innocence, "
> Not really. After an AAF the rider has to prove his innocence with respect to the dosage and delivery, as the measured levels (confirmed by the B sample) are not disputed and the thresholds are already set with huge safety margins. Consistent with this inverted burden of proof an assumption of guilt is the only reasonable approach.
> edit: Maybe I should rephrase the beginning to say that "After an AAF a rider is generously (more so than reasonable IMO) given the opportunity to prove his innocence, "
And once the window to do that is closed, and if they can't prove it, then they are considered guilty and the appropriate sanctions/penalty announced publicly. Remember that we are not supposed to even know about it (whatever you may think about whether we should/shouldn't.)
But while we are speculating, we should assume guilt, given that the AAF is there.
> Hi Bruno, an interesting perspective - wrapped up neatly in your last two sentences. I owe that post a thought out reply but am dashing out now - I will pick it up later though. Best. Ed
So, whilst pretty much everything you have asserted is fact, the conclusions people draw may not be the same. (a bit like an arts essay evaluating the same text.)
What I see is a ruthless winning machine that doesn't want it's processes and procedures made public. That if they aren't breaking the rules they are absolutely pushing the limit of what is technically allowed, in ways the rules probably didn't even consider (until it becomes more general knowledge amongst the sport - hence the desire for secrecy)
Living in a town where top sportsmen are two-a-penny (I'm not one of them ) and having them amongst my friends, I completely understand that attitude as fairly normal amongst winners at the highest level. (I am sure you can find counter examples but I am generalising here, I would suggest it is more prevalent in physiological based sports (fastest highest strongest...)rather than skill based sports).
Now extrapolating from that,(both that Sky's processes are not public and Sky not wanting it's processes public) I don't believe we, the public, can know whether these winning processes are grey area (within the rules but people may find them morally unacceptable) or illegal.
That is the judgement that people are emotionally making at the moment. I find it surprising that people think a 'winning machine' would happily declare it's secrets to the world.
I hope that makes some sense.
> But while we are speculating, we should assume guilt, given that the AAF is there.
You see, this proves my point perfectly (about an emotional position).
As strongly as you believe that, I believe that we need to wait for due process for a judgement to be made.
> And everything surrounding team Sky and Froome just does not add up for me.
What do you think the illegal "extras" are that they are doing that the other teams are not?
> It also has, like the entire class of related drugs (beta-sympathomimetica, including e.g. also clenbuterol) anabolic and lipolytic effects, especially when taken orally rather than by inhaler. This is why clenbuterol in particular, but also salbutamol, is fed to beef cattle. Most famously, clenbuterol was Katrin Krabbe's PED of choice. However, this is thought to be effective only at rather higher levels of these drugs.
OK, that's interesting to know, I wasn't aware of the high dose effects of salbutamol on performance. I presume you would have to be on a high dose long term to get the benefits? So one anomalous test result is just that - an anomoly that doesn't prove one thing or another (I think we agree on that anyhow, just re-stating).
No, the due process itself assumes guilt, and therefore flips the burden of proof. After (clearly not before) and AAF you are assumed to have cheated, unless and until you can prove otherwise. Nothing emotional about this.
I think we are at cross purposes here.
My perspective from from that of the 'public eye'. We shouldn't even know about anything.
I understand quite clearly how an AAF works. It is an adverse finding. Unless you can prove your innocence you will THEN be found guilty of doping (well, of having drugs in your system that aren't allowed if you're being pedantic) and penalties applied.
I am not a pharmacologist, but AFAIU the PED effects are rather short term (unlike, say, EPO microdosing). An anomalous test result is therefore a strong indication that someone simulated an asthma attack to gain short term benefits (for a stage, or even just a single climb). This is definitely true for triamcinolone, not quite so sure for Salbutamol and related drugs.
It is simply not believable that CF "accidentally" inhaled more than double the number of puffs, much more likely that the inhaler was blank and the drug given orally or injected to get as close to the threshold as possible (which would be illegal!), with some f*ckup then causing the AAF (e.g. leaving it too late before the arrival, missing the calculated clearing rate by not drinking enough,...).
The public eye definitely should know, given the history of UCI in managing doping violations by star riders (they are always happy to sacrifice some espoir rider or water carrier to keep the facade...).
Hi Jim. I am well aware of the reality that many other individuals and teams are certainly operating in the same gray (or just plain wrong) area.
First, some kind of statement similar to yours always comes up in these discussions. What is the logical conclusion of what you are trying to say? That two wrongs make a right? That we should eliminate all doping controls? Really, what's you point? Sky and Froome are as guilty as everyone else, and thus innocent?
Second, I do believe several factors set Sky and Froome apart. Their self-proclaimed, self-righteous stance of being clean and completely honest. Their complete lack of transparency and outright hostility towards anyone who questions their results and processes. Their deep budget, resources, and connections, which allow them to operate largely without consequence.
They have deliberately set themselves apart, and claimed to be better than the rest. Thus it is now fair to judge them by the very highest standards.
I just want to congratulate everyone on a civil, interesting, thoughtful commentary so far--that's not easy when discussing doping in cycling in general, and Sky and Froome in particular!
Well done. Carry on!
You seem to believe that CF doesn't have asthma, and therefore his inhaler is a dummy and simply a cover for taking salbutomol by other means.
I'm guessing that you don't have asthma. For those of us that do, they way he coughs in post-race interviews is pretty familiar. Likewise we know how difficult it can be to ride one day - ever tried riding up a steep hill when you can't take a deep breath ? - and then be back to normal the next.
That said it is quite possible that he is microdosing Sal orally for performance benefits, and using his inhaler to ensure he can breathe, and the combined effect sent him over the limit. I imagine there are a number of other possibilities, some legitimate, others not. At this stage it's better to have an open mind, rather than a closed one.
This is what makes doping so interesting, all the deeper moral, legal, and philosophical questions. In many ways, cycling is more interesting now! You seem to be debating/considering/arguing some important points: when should somebody be considered guilty? When should penalties or restrictions be applied, during due process, or only after a conclusion has been reached? What is the value of transparency? To what extent should we respect privacy? If important information is obtained by illegal or opaque means, should it be considered? These questions don't have easy answers. That's why it's interesting. Thanks!
Chris, you are wasting your time, positions are taken and minds made up and nothing anyone says is going to change those.
I'm really looking forward to The Tour.
Hi Chris. I don't doubt that Froome has asthma, and, while I don't want to speak for him, I don't think that cb294 doubts his medical condition either. After all, from what I understand, it's well-documented since he was a young rider. What I doubt is whether it effects him on a day-to-day basis during racing season, and, his medical condition notwithstanding, whether or not he uses it as an excuse to keep the salbutamol in his system at the highest level possible, by inhaled, ingested, and/or injected means, which would be an abuse of the TUE system, unethical, and illegal. In this sense, his asthma would give him a facile way to explain the levels of salbutamol in his blood, a drug that has clear performance enhancing effects, and a long history of abuse. I am sure you've seen the number elite cyclists that seem to have asthma. They can't all truly be suffering from this condition! It would make the incidence in this population of elite athletes much higher than in the general population. Clearly, the diagnosis of asthma, and the drugs this makes available, is an abuse of the TUE system, and a form of cheating. Thus, in addition to an open mind, as you suggest, at this stage it's better to have a healthy dose of skepticism.
As a side note, I have exercise-induced asthma (now that's a convenient diagnosis!) and I raced on the road and track at a relatively high level for decades. For about two years I used an inhaler.
The question of when someone is considered guilty is covered by the rules - for a banned substance it is pretty much immediate, but for an AAF on a specified substance it is at the end of the legal process. This is why CF is allowed to ride now, regardless of what people would like.
But here's another conundrum - the probability required for conviction.
I believe the most likely explanation is that CF cheated. But at the same time I believe there is more than reasonable doubt. In a criminal case the latter threshold is required for a conviction, but is it the same in sport ? I believe in sport there needs to be a much lower threshold, because acquitting a cheat means a clean athlete is deprived of their just rewards. But is the threshold as low as 50/50. Can we trash someone's reputation simply because one possibility is marginally more likely than another?
I'm not really looking forward to the Tour. The Giro was the best race of the year.
I'm looking forward to seeing how this AAF finding plays out. I don't think Sky and Froome will submit to the specified pharmokinetic testing. Instead, I think he and his lawyers (his lawyers have a colorful and eyebrow-raising history) will likely attack the validity of the testing process, and they might try to invalidate the AAF because of the leak. That's my prediction. I don't think they will get far. I think Froome will be sanctioned, though perhaps minimally. Hopefully I'm wrong, and he will show somehow that there is a valid explanation for that level of Salbutamol in his blood.
> I am sure you've seen the number elite cyclists that seem to have asthma. They can't all truly be suffering from this condition! It would make the incidence in this population of elite athletes much higher than in the general population.
Given that my asthma was dormant until cycling took over from climbing as my main sport, then no I don't think it's odd at all. It's called exercise-induced asthma for a reason !
BTW, you no longer need a TUE to use a Salbutomol inhaler, as it is accepted that taking Sal in this form is not performance enhancing, merely performance enabling. The problem is that the test is not able to identify whether the Sal has come from an inhaler or via other means
I've never understood the whole "it's very convenient they all have asthma", like you when I was racing I started getting exercise induced asthma and at first though my hr strap was too tight. Lots of my tri friends and other bike racers had it too. I don't ride like that much anymore and don't get it but it's not at all uncommon.
> First, some kind of statement similar to yours always comes up in these discussions. What is the logical conclusion of what you are trying to say? That two wrongs make a right? That we should eliminate all doping controls? Really, what's you point? Sky and Froome are as guilty as everyone else, and thus innocent?
> Second, I do believe several factors set Sky and Froome apart. Their self-proclaimed, self-righteous stance of being clean and completely honest. Their complete lack of transparency and outright hostility towards anyone who questions their results and processes. Their deep budget, resources, and connections, which allow them to operate largely without consequence.
My points are -
1) My view is that that most teams most likely try to gain similar maximum benefit for their riders without actually crossing the line of what is legal.
2) I think Sky attracts most scrutiny (and opprobrium) because of Froome's dominance in recent years, rather than any stance they have taken. Can you imagine the uproar if Froome/Sky had been involved in similar shenanigans to some of the other Giro TT riders?
Which teams activities are more transparent than Sky and why? - have they been questioned to the same extent? How have you come to the conclusion in your last sentence?
I think what the quoted post was trying to say was that Salbutamol undergoes considerable first pass metabolism.
Also it seems most of the inhaled dose is absorbed through the digestive system rather than the respiratory system.
Both from the SmPC.
I agree with several of your points.
> 1) My view is that that most teams most likely try to gain similar maximum benefit for their riders without actually crossing the line of what is legal.
Yes, absolutely. The question, of course, is how many individuals and teams cross the line. I think there is good evidence that Sky, Bralisford, and Wiggins crossed the line, abused the TUE system, illegally used triamcinolone, and lied about it repeatedly. I think it is highly unlikeley that the team, the manager, or the riders behave differently now. And of course, other teams have comitted egregious offenses as well. Consider Astana--now there's a corrupt team, lead by a corrupt man!
> 2) I think Sky attracts most scrutiny (and opprobrium) because of Froome's dominance in recent years, rather than any stance they have taken.
I would just say, Sky attracts attention because of their dominance, and because of the stance and behavior.
> Which teams activities are more transparent than Sky and why? - have they been questioned to the same extent? How have you come to the conclusion in your last sentence?
Just off the top of my head, I would say that any team which subscribes to the MPCC is more transparent and credible than Sky. These teams may not have been questioned as much, but for all the reasons described above, Sky draws more scrutiny, rightly so, and I don't think this reflects an anti-Sky/Froome bias. In terms of how I reached the conclusion in my last sentence, namely, that Sky has a deep budget, resources, and connections, and this allows them to operate largely without consequence, have you seen their legal team, or considered what legal approach they might follow? How many other teams have the money to hire Mike Morgan? How many other teams could tie up the administrative process by mounting complex legal challenges with the ever-present threat of lawsuits? Have riders that had AAFs for Salbutamol in the past had access to the same resources? Have they been able to manipulate events to the same degree?
See my post above about how I believe Sky and Froome and his lawyers will approach this--they will likely not submit to pharmakinetic testing--instead, they will attack the test itself, the testing procedure, or the information leak.
That's why Sky and Froome are different.
You touch on the big problem in all of sport. Expensive legal teams, when a rider can almost bankrupt the drug agency it makes convicting them very difficult. Remember half the blood in Puerto was from other sports, football, tennis and nothing was done. WADA going against a big football team, really.
What to do?
I guess your position and mine are not that far apart, even though I would argue that the inversion of the burden of proof for controlled substances means that we also should logically consider CF guilty unless the legal process establishes his innocence (i.e., that he can prove that he has a different metabolism from everyone else).
Not likely IMO, so I expect that his legal team will look for technicalities or some flat earther casting doubt on the testing process.
As I have argued above, it would be better for sport in general and cycling in particular not to distinguish between controlled and banned substances in terms of process, except allowing some threshold for the former.
Unfortunately I will miss most of the TdF this year, hiking way off net in Sweden, so for me the spring classics were the main event.
> As I have argued above, it would be better for sport in general and cycling in particular not to distinguish between controlled and banned substances in terms of process, except allowing some threshold for the former.
Disagree. It might seem better for the fans if there no grey areas, no TUEs, no medicines allowed, but it sure as hell isn't better for the athletes. I wish people would realise that the reason we need these regulations is not for the sake of making the sport more exciting, it's to ensure the health of the athletes. That means creating an environment where they aren't tempted to take drugs they don't need and could be harmful, but at the same time ensuring they can use the medicines they do need, in the correct dosages. Being asthmatic shouldn't be bar on competing at the highest level, but at the same time it mustn't be a cover for the use of unnecessary drugs.
Once you accept that, then you can see why the rules have to be both complex and a little bit flexible, and why confidentiality should be respected
By all means, maybe I was not clear enough: I agree that there should still be a limited set of controlled substances (today's list is too long, but that is a different issue, and also there should be tight limits on drugs for which getting TUEs is possible), but there should be no difference in process after being caught above threshold for Salbutamol or Epo and synthetic anabolic steroids (same thing really, except that the threshold happens for the latter happens to be zero).
The controlled substance thresholds are so generous (for the very reason you give) that the difference in process really is not justified. In fact, it almost appears as if this were deliberately intended as a loophole to enable some level of doping.
Bit of a catch 22 though. Yes, if the test was accurate, and you could tell how many puffs were taken by the residue in the urine, then there were be no need to differentiate between a positive and an AAF. However the fact that there is a different process, and an (apparently generous) margin of error, is in itself an acknowledgement that the testing process is indeed flawed. Or rather that the vagaries of the human body produce a wide range of results.
Now if the process stands up to the onslaught by Sky, and is deemed to be sufficiently accurate, then yes it would be good if a certain level was treated the same as a positive test.
However we may have to accept that testing quantity will never be as accurate as testing for mere presence and acknowledge that a different process, and different expectations, are required
I've come to this discussion late and you state that - you believe Sky and Froome and his lawyers will approach will likely not submit to pharmakinetic testing, and instead, they will attack the test itself, the testing procedure, or the information leak.
Now I am an analytical chemist and have worked in the pharma industry for many years and have even batch tested inhalers for salbutamol content! Its a relatively simple assay and salbutamol is easy to identify and quantify no matter what the matrix (blood, urine or as an aerosol). What intrigues me is that the concentration in Froome's urine was initially reported as 2000 ng/ml and then changed to 1430 ng/ml! So you are absolutely right in that Sky will most likely attack the test and testing procedure as it does seem they cannot get the numbers right!
Just going off topic, with Contador and the clenbuterol steak, what was more interesting in that one was the presence of phathalates (plastizers) in his blood sample which confirms that he'd had some sort of infusion.
Hi. Welcome. Always good to have people with specific knowledge from the field. My understanding is that Froom's value was recalibrated because his original sample was so concentrated--he was likely dehydrated. Nonetheless, he's still far above the 1000 threshold.
I think most people agree that there is uncertainty going from how much Salbutamol goes into the body, by whatever means, to how much ends up in the blood, to how much ends up in the urine. That's why the threshold is set so high, at 1000, a level that would be nearly impossible to reach unless you were inhaling more Salutamol than allowed in a given period, or taking Salbutamol my ingestion or injection, which are not allowed.
The study casting doubt on the Salbutamol test is entertaining--for example, the same team released a study last year claiming that EPO does not have a performance benefit.
In any case, I would be interested to hear a more clear expression of what you are trying to say: do you, as an anylytical chemist working in the pharma industry, believe that the Salbutamol urins test is so variable that it has not value? Do you believe the threshold is too low to serve it's intended purpose? Is yes, what are the peer-reviewed studies that confirm this position?
OK, all the best,
Not really, I think the same logic should be applied as for blood alcohol tests for drunk driving. Of course there are loads of different factors that can influence the readout beyond the mere number of beers someone may have had, but that is irrelevant. There is a rather generous threshold, and if you are above it, that's it.
Same for the Salbutamol tests. The myth that this test is unreliable is FUD spread by Sky.
edit: see also the great post by flatdave
Froome still maintaining that he's innocent and will be exonerated.
For a team based around being whiter than white he's a bit upset about the whole process not being kept a secret.
> Same for the Salbutamol tests. The myth that this test is unreliable is FUD spread by Sky.
> edit: see also the great post by flatdave
'Great post by flatdave' points out the flaws in testing.
The problem with your 'above the threshold that's that' argument is that unlike drinking alcohol which isn't good for you (to the best of my knowledge ) there is a need for some people to use salbutamol. So for drink driving the 'ideal' is that you have no alcohol in your system, whereas for salbutamol some people do need some in their system.
I can anticipate your reply. My response will be that you seem very draconian, almost as if you have an axe to grind and have no flexibility of thought around what might be acceptable.
Back to my post about 'the rules' (the real rules, not 'The Rules'!).
It's not even 'keeping it a secret'. The rules are such that an AAF is not public information unless the final outcome is one of guilt and a penalty. Every pro cyclist has the right to be PO if this is broken.
You are correct about the rules.
My point was that it was the Sky team themselves who made a big deal of racing clean.
For them to then be upset when it comes out that one of their riders is guilty of an AAF is a bit ironic.
Surely, given their anti doping stance, they should have been the first to announce the AAF.
Or can we take it that Sky are no longer the self proclaimed champions of anti doping?
> You are correct about the rules.
> Or can we take it that Sky are no longer the self proclaimed champions of anti doping?
I took that a long time ago!
> Not really, I think the same logic should be applied as for blood alcohol tests for drunk driving. Of course there are loads of different factors that can influence the readout beyond the mere number of beers someone may have had, but that is irrelevant.
Many would agree with you. But the way the laws are drafted are different, so the fact that you don't like the logic is irrelevant.
The drink driving laws do not state you can have 2 pints and for obvious reasons - strength of beer, time frame, weight, dehydration, food consumption all play a part. But the regs on inhaler use do state you can take 8 puffs, and therein lies the problem. Similar list of variables and a couple of major additional ones - amount absorbed through lungs on each puff and residue in mouth which is then swallowed.
So maybe the regs should be changed, but that won't affect this case. And there is a counter argument that such regs would be unworkable and that this is taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. A better solution would be a test that could distinguish between inhaled and non-inhaled intake.
> Same for the Salbutamol tests. The myth that this test is unreliable is FUD spread by Sky.
I'll keep an open mind until those with a better knowledge of the subject have considered their case
> For them to then be upset when it comes out that one of their riders is guilty of an AAF is a bit ironic.
Except no one is "guilty of an AAF". Froome has incurred an AAF, but whether he is guilty of a doping offence has yet to be determined. Sky will argue that they have operated within the rules - something which is questionable - and that the breach of confidentiality is against the rules - something which is indisputable.
As to the cleaner than clean stuff, put it in the same category as the following
If however you bought the full replica kit on the basis of those claims then I strongly recommend you burn it now.
P.S. It is possible to enjoy cycling racing without being partisan over particular teams/riders.
According to the rules Froome is guilty until he proves his innocence.
It’s difficult to form an attachment to any team when riders switch teams on a regular basis.
I do have to admit supporting the underdog in most sports.
I think it is more nuanced than that - remember, it is not supposed to be public knowledge. There has been a finding. (let's forget about doping for a minute, and just follow the logic, could apply to anything.) You are allowed to challenge that finding, or give a reason for it. If you can't, or it isn't satisfactory, then the finding will stand, and have validity.
Until the last part he isn't guilty.
I'll give a very removed analogy. Newspaper prints something that could be bad if unsubstantiated. Authority says (whoever that would be) 'oi you aren't allowed to print that, we're going to fine you.' Newspaper challenges (as is allowed.) Due process takes place to establish whether they should or shouldn't have. Newspaper provides evidence that supports what they printed. Newspaper 'not guilty' and was never 'guilty'.
> According to the rules Froome is guilty until he proves his innocence.
My understanding of the rules is that, with an AAF, you are deemed innocent until the end of the process. Which is why he is allowed to race, and why the process should be kept confidential.
> I'll keep an open mind until those with a better knowledge of the subject have considered their case
> My understanding of the rules is that, with an AAF, you are deemed innocent until the end of the process. Which is why he is allowed to race, and why the process should be kept confidential.
That's what I was trying to get at. Yes, once found you have to present your case. But you are not 'guilty' until the end of the case.
The main reason why I may appear to have an axe to grind on this thread is that I do not react kindly to be to be taken for a fool. The continuous attempts of Sky in particular (but of course also other teams before them) to bullshit the general public piss me off. The excuses offered for the dodgy TUEs or the current way over the limit AAFs are just ridiculous, the biochemical equivalent of "the dog ate my homework".
Unfortunately they know that in most cases they get away with it because their gullible fan base takes their words as gospel. "Marginal gains" being a case in point, as if Sky had invented sports science and nutrition...
> What, lawyers?
The UCI and/or WADA, and then probably CAS
My understanding is that Sky have presented their defence (a weighty tome) and that the ball is now with the UCI. Some speculation that they might reach a decision next week. If guilty then surely they would suspend Froome, who would no doubt go to CAS - firstly to ask for the suspension to be lifted (as per Contador) and secondly, at a later date, to appeal the verdict.
I would hope CAS would dismiss the first - I'd rather see someone prevented from racing, than the risk his results are then annulled (n.b. regardless of the decision I think his Giro win should stand, because at that point he hadn't been suspended)
What it might come down to is an acknowledgment that the testing process is flawed, but that it is the best that can be acheived and therefore the risk of a false positive is acceptable for the sake of fairness in sport.
Unfortunately this may be a bit too nuanced for those who want simple answers....
Interesting. Seems to suggest that the TdF organisers have a bit more clout than the Giro organizers when it gets to pushing the UCI to do something (e.g. set Sky a deadline).
My point about lawyers was facetious, of course, but I am serious about the allegation that the entire process seems to to be set up in way to make it maximally difficult to establish the facts, even though the biochemistry is rather straightforward.
> The main reason why I may appear to have an axe to grind on this thread is that I do not react kindly to be to be taken for a fool.
And therein lies your problem. You are so pleased with yourself for not falling for Danny Baker's doorstep challenge that you have convinced yourself that you don't need to wash your clothes at all !!
> "Marginal gains" being a case in point, as if Sky had invented sports science and nutrition...
But that isn't the claim made by marginal gains is it ? It's a number of small changes. And anyone who believes that nothing has changed in the last ten years isn't watching the same sport as me.
Which is not to dismiss the possibility that some of their marginal gains are illicit, such as microdosing salbutomol or abusing the TUE system. But it is no more intelligent to dismiss all of their claims than it is to believe all of them.
Now I think you called Sky's explanation of Finestre "an insult to your intelligence". Did you listen to the BBC podcast on it ? Now of course it may not be the whole story, but some (though not all) of the things they did that day were genuinely innovative. If you listen to that with an open mind, and care more about the "how" then the "who", then you might find it interesting. And not having to carry water on a climb is definitely a marginal gain
Great, interesting sensibly debated thread. Thank you to all posters for such well thought out, polite posts.
The thing I still haven't understood is why isn't there a time limit on the appeal process, or if there is why has this not been published? 9 months + seems ridiculous.
Glad to hear this might be close to reaching a conclusion. But surely there would have been less debate/speculation if the authorities or sky had put a reasonable time frame on this.
Hi Chris and cb294)
I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but in the interest of keeping this as civil as possible, and preventing it from descending into the meaningless back and forth found on so many other forums, let me say that talking about how or why somebody does not take kindly to be called a fool, or claiming that anybody who believes Sky is being taken for a fool, comes dangerously close to...calling somebody a fool. Now, despite what we might believe, and how we might interpret the facts/evidence/stories/details, everybody is entitled to their opinion.
Personally, I think that Sky does take a superior-than-thou, high-and-mighty, squeaky-clean position, and this position is contravened by everything we know about sport, history, Sky, Bralisford, Froome, and so on, but, as I said, that's my opinion.
I am curious about how and why other people think what they think, and I do believe in sharing arguments and thought processes, to understand others and/or (unlikely) change their views.
But let's not call each other fools.
The whole question of whether somebody who registered an AAF should be considered innocent until proven guilty, or guilty until proven innocent, is interesting, and does effect whether of not you believe somebody should be able to race before a definitive verdict is reached.
I interpret the rules to mean that with an AAF you are guilty, and you then have the burden to proove your innocence, and I think the fact that you can race during the process is a bit absurd--hopefully that might change in the future, shifting more toward the guidelines of the MPCC. But that's just my opinion.
> Great, interesting sensibly debated thread. Thank you to all posters for such well thought out, polite posts.
>It has been civilised. Which is positive - it's good to hear the other side of the coin actually articulated, rather than slung in veiled insults.
It certainly looks like Sky have spun this out, and overloaded the UCI with evidence, in order to delay any decision until after the TDF. Given that Mrs Froome is due to give birth fairly soon I wouldn't be surprised if Froome is ready to call an end to the season regardless of the outcome.
But at the same time we are dealing with someones career, reputation and the chance to make history, so perhaps we have to accept that we can't always get instant answers on complicated issues. I would hope that when the process is over the UCI review their rules. And also take steps to avoid leaks.
You are of course correct, and I apologize for the wording, but let me make try and make my point more politely:
To me, the explanations proffered by Sky, first during the Wiggins/TUE story and now during the Froome/AAF can only be taken at face value with an enormous amount of goodwill, and I have no idea why Sky would deserve that goodwill.
After all, most of their key claims (no needles, etc.) were proven to be lies. I really get annoyed by how they still appear to believe themselves untouchable (with some justification!), and therefore do not even appear to bother anymore with constructing believable stories. A Jiffy bag full of Fluimicil? Yeah, sure...
This smug hypocrisy is my "axe to grind". Otherwise it does not make a difference to me whether Astana or Sky are worse right now, just as did not really care whether Armstrong, Pantani, Riis or Ullrich took the most EPO. However, Armstrong's arrogance and hypocrisy got on my nerves the most!
I really hope that a retrospective ban for Froome and deletion of his results since the AAF will suffice to wipe that metaphoric smug grin off their faces.
> You are of course correct, and I apologize for the wording, but let me make try and make my point more politely:
> To me, the explanations proffered by Sky, first during the Wiggins/TUE story and now during the Froome/AAF can only be taken at face value with an enormous amount of goodwill, and I have no idea why Sky would deserve that goodwill.
So this is interesting. I don't take their explanations at face value. But where we differ is that I don't think their explanations matter. They push a grey area and if I was them I wouldn't clarify that grey area to the public (i.e. other teams) no matter what. That is a position that I understand. Hide your competitive advantage at all costs.
I agree with you 100%.
IMO the term "grey area" is Sky propaganda speak. Pushing the envelope of what is permitted is absolutely fine with me. Instead, they broke rules, first with TUEs that should have never been issued under the guidelines in force at the time (it does not matter whether the dodgy medic that signed it off is a team member or not), and now have a rider who has an AAF indicating that he at the very least broke the dosage rules for a controlled substance, or used this substance in a manner banned outright. Of course they are going to lie about their true activities!
Grey area is my term. And again, your view is open to interpretation.
Agreed, I'm just suprised there isn't a specified time frame in which the appeal had to be completed.
ASO tell Froome he can’t ride, Sky to appeal on Tuesday !
The wording of paragraph 29 of the tour rules seems clear (and has been OKed in previous years by UCI), so let's see what UCI and later Cas will say.
> So this is interesting. I don't take their explanations at face value. But where we differ is that I don't think their explanations matter. They push a grey area and if I was them I wouldn't clarify that grey area to the public (i.e. other teams) no matter what. That is a position that I understand. Hide your competitive advantage at all costs.
Except when it comes to explaining how Froome won the Giro on the Fenestre.
That's a report that will make interesting reading in detail. I can't imagine it'll improve the reception he gets at the roadside any !
How much did he pay for that, and to whom?
> How much did he pay for that, and to whom?
£2.57 to Mrs Miggins.
So, as said, as it is now confirmed, Froome is not guilty of doping.
TDF is still going to be messy though.
This has a whiff of Armstrong.
Interesting also to see ASO's response.
It will be interesting to see whether it was overturned because the conclusion was that it was not a safe test, or whether it was a technicality.
Either way I suspect a lot of legal people and a lot of medical people are booking nice long holidays on the back of this.
> It will be interesting to see whether it was overturned because the conclusion was that it was not a safe test, or whether it was a technicality.
Will we get to know the details? I hope so (for obvious reasons.)
> Interesting also to see ASO's response.
It's difficult to see how they could do anything other than rescind their decision.
Indeed, it would be very interesting to see how this was resolved.
Will ASO now be forced to back down?
As 'sir chasm' said. They don't have any reasonable justification for letting him ride now - unless the sport of cycling wants to descend into further farce.
Allegedly the result was due to a kidney malfunction..
> It will be interesting to see whether it was overturned because the conclusion was that it was not a safe test, or whether it was a technicality.
It's in the article... or a big hint at least
'The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List provides that inhaled salbutamol is permitted subject to a maximum dose of 1600 micrograms over 24 hours, not to exceed 800 micrograms every 12 hours (the permitted use), and that a concentration in excess of 1000 ng/ml is an abnormal finding which is presumed not to be the result of a permitted use. The WADA Prohibited List further provides that the athlete can establish that his/her abnormal result was the consequence of a permitted use, in which case it will not be considered as an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF).'
They will have demonstrated that the permitted use for him could lead to the original result.
> It's in the article... or a big hint at least
I hadn't seen the linked article, thanks. Interesting.
So he's been completely cleared and..
People who don't like Sky or Froome still think he's dirty, people who like sky and Froome think he's clean and been vindicated. Who said these things were tribal earlier?
My feelings are in between, I like him and (I'm an optimist) hope he's clean but this is after all pro cycling. This all damages a sport we like and I hope he does not get too much urine etc thrown on him, bad behaviour is never acceptable. (Running along dressed as a steak, syringe or giant inhaler is fine so long as it does not interfere with the race)
Its not going to help that a lot of heavyweights have pitched in on either side of the argument (pre this announcement, I mean).
So that’s that then. End of discussion. We can look forward to the tour without any hint of controversy.
I'll take that bet for the double, one, that it's not the end of the discussion and 2 that there will be lots of controversy about more that one thing.
Would like to think so, however as has been said earlier those with an axe to grind against Sky will still claim its all a cover up and controversy about it will continue throughout the tour. It hasnt helped that the call has come so late in the day.
Personally I would really like him to be clean but just cant quite believe that Sky are not pushing every avenue of legality and occasionally stepping over it with the TUE's and use of medication.
Kidney malfunction? If you believe this I have a nice metal tower to sell with good vies of the Tour finish!
I would not trust UCI as far as I can vomit.
Shucks. There you go. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
You're going to believe Froome was/is doping no matter what. Bless.
In fairness cycling does have history in this but Froome is so far no Armstrong, there are no eye witnesses who state he's taken drugs, there is no definitive lab test like Armstrongs samples that were re-tested with the epo test, there is no clear failure like Contador alongside the plasticisers found' or a car full of drugs or a confession and hotel room full of syringes.
Some people have lot of passion and time on their hands.
> Yeah sure....
> Kidney malfunction? If you believe this I have a nice metal tower to sell with good vies of the Tour finish!
> I would not trust UCI as far as I can vomit.
Did you have a tenner on it to go the other way then ? Its difficult to see what else the UCI could do with that input from WADA. And yes we know you would not trust WADA as far as ....
> In fairness cycling does have history in this but Froome is so far no Armstrong, there are no eye witnesses who state he's taken drugs, there is no definitive lab test like Armstrongs samples that were re-tested with the epo test, there is no clear failure like Contador alongside the plasticisers found' or a car full of drugs or a confession and hotel room full of syringes.
And you can bet people have been looking.
So you expect the kidneys to function exactly the same day in day out, regardless of the rigours the body endures? Do you expect every organ in the body to process consistently?
> In fairness cycling does have history in this but Froome is so far no Armstrong, there are no eye witnesses who state he's taken drugs, there is no definitive lab test like Armstrongs samples that were re-tested with the epo test, there is no clear failure like Contador alongside the plasticisers found' or a car full of drugs or a confession and hotel room full of syringes.
> Some people have lot of passion and time on their hands.
Hey Toby, absolutely. But if one really is never going to believe a victorious cyclist is clean then best to just steer well clear of the sport, otherwise you will just wind yourself up.
> And you can bet people have been looking.
Likewise the Bilharzia explanation for his lack of success pre 2011. Mocked by the cynics for being just too convenient. And yet, 7 years on, no one has been able to disprove it. And yet they still state his pre 2011 results render his later success dubious
I wrote extensively on this thread, so I guess I should offer my view. What a depressing turn or events.
I see this as an indicator of political maneuvering between the UCI and the ASO. These organizations have clashed in the past (to put it lightly).
The ASO put in an effort to bar Froome from racing, trying to force the UCI's hand. And the UCI responded by saying, "You can push us around, we'll just drop the case, then what will you do?!"
Basically, a power struggle between the UCI and the ASO. Also probably an attempt to escape expensive litigation.
My personal opinion is that this was not based on any kind of scientific analysis. We might get details, probably not, but I highly doubt it. Of, for sure, people will say lots of things on both sides.
But, to me, it's so obviously murky and political and destructive to the sport--just depressing.
Honestly, this makes me more cynical about cycling the Armstrong, Bruyneel, and all the rest.
I feel like the people at the top truly have no interest other than protecting their territory and their income. Some people might ask, "Has it ever been any different in cycling?"
I don't think I'm naive about cycling, but I did hope the main players would stoop so low.
This is the first time I have a real feeling of disgust for this whole mess.
And I will not follow the tour. What's the point?
I am sure than many, many riders feel absolutely betrayed and shocked.
To return to the original theme of this thread, Hinault is right--they should strike.
> I wrote extensively on this thread, so I guess I should offer my view. What a depressing turn or events.
> I see this as an indicator of political maneuvering between the UCI and the ASO. These organizations have clashed in the past (to put it lightly).
> The ASO put in an effort to bar Froome from racing, trying to force the UCI's hand. And the UCI responded by saying, "You can push us around, we'll just drop the case, then what will you do?!"
> Basically, a power struggle between the UCI and the ASO. Also probably an attempt to escape expensive litigation.
Do you think WADA is in on the conspiracy?
What is your view on WADA in this ? because as far as I could see, the UCI was only really rubber stamping what WADA have said.
I never saw any point in calling for a strike even whilst the case hadn't finished. Now it has apparently finished according to the rules it would be totally ridiculous. As to the riders that feel 'betrayed and shocked', I'm sure their autobiographies will be out soon enough.
I think struggles between the UCI and WADA are also involved with this decision. People always say things like, "Nobody will take the responsibility to make a decision in this sport," and in this case, it's true. Nobody had the courage to take a stand, except perhaps, ASO.
Can the ASO still try to bar Froome from racing? A good lawyer could make a strong case that all the controversy about Froome could damage the reputation of the ASO (according to their regulations the ASO is allowed to bar individuals or teams that could damage their reputation). Would that stand up in French court? Or at the CAS?
And perhaps most importantly, are their any legal processes that could force the science to go on trial, so to speak. That could force the facts to become public. For example, is it a crime to dope in France, or Spain? If somebody sued Froome for doping (another rider, a team, and so on), I wonder if lawyers and doctors could be made to argue about the AAF.
I don't think that will happen, but it's worth considering. If a judge opened a case and police got involved, we might get somewhere.
My only small hope is that in the end the truth will come out, much as it did with Armstrong, even if that is after Froome retires and Sky dissapears, or changes into something else.
One of the most damaging things about this is how bad it looks from the outside. Cycling has a done a great deal to combat doping--more than many if not most other sports. But this just reinforces the public perception that cycling is corrupt, through ad through. And maybe it is.
Careful dearie, your prejudices are showing.
To Mike and Graham,
I posted my second message before I saw your replies.
Do I think the WADA is involved? Yes.
This quote, from the UCI statement, published in Cyclingnews, makes clear some kind of connection:
"In light of WADA’s unparalleled access to information and authorship of the salbutamol regime, the UCI has decided, based on WADA’s position, to close the proceedings against Mr Froome,” read the UCI statement on Monday morning."
How do I interpret that? I think the UCI have been going back and forth on this, arguing/fighting about who will pay the expenses, legal and otherwise, to fight the Froome case. Neither party wants to take the responsibility, accept the exposure, and come up with the money--they might not even have the money to mount a long protracted court case. I think the money is there, somewhere, but, as always, it's a question of, "Who is going to pay for this."
So my view right now (and it's early days, this could change) is that the UCI has decided to wash their hands of the whole mess, and pass the blame and difficult decisions to the ASO and to WADA.
It will be very interesting to see how ASO responds, and to read the reactions from WADA. There are good scientists at WADA, and I am sure this will not sit right in their minds.
Interesting days ahead.
My initial shock has faded, and I'm curious to see how it will involve. I'll watch how this develops, but unless Froome does not race, I will not watch the Tour.
I've made the case before on this thread that we should try to prevent this from slipping into a shouting match.
Would you use the word dearie to my face? Likely not. It's patronizing, provocative, and insulting. So why use it on a forum? You choice of words is also disingenuous, i.e. you do not only want to say that I have prejudices, you also want to try to make your own views heard. Why not state them clearly?
As for prejudices, I have gone to great lengths throughout this thread to defend people's right to have different opinions, even if I don't agree with them.
That's why, in my recent post, I made sure to use words like, "I think" and 'My view is."
And believe it or not, I would change my views about Sky and Froome if the this whole process and the science were transparent, and we could all arrive at an informed decision.
Unfortunately, we have to arrive at our opinions (prejudices, if you will) with the information we have.
I won't write back to you unless you add something meaningful to this discussion.
> I've made the case before on this thread that we should try to prevent this from slipping into a shouting match.
Nobody is even coming close to shouting.
> Would you use the word dearie to my face? Likely not. It's patronizing, provocative, and insulting. So why use it on a forum? You choice of words is also disingenuous, i.e. you do not only want to say that I have prejudices, you also want to try to make your own views heard. Why not state them clearly?
Ok, you're prejudiced. The only result that would have satisfied you was a guilty verdict.
> As for prejudices, I have gone to great lengths throughout this thread to defend people's right to have different opinions, even if I don't agree with them.
Nobody needs defending.
> That's why, in my recent post, I made sure to use words like, "I think" and 'My view is."
> And believe it or not, I would change my views about Sky and Froome if the this whole process and the science were transparent, and we could all arrive at an informed decision.
Based on your hysterical reaction to today's announcement I don't believe you.
> Unfortunately, we have to arrive at our opinions (prejudices, if you will) with the information we have.
> I won't write back to you unless you add something meaningful to this discussion.
Don't write back, don't watch the tour, i dont mind.
I can't understand why it took them so long to reach a decision when there are so many experts on forums like this that could have helped them sort it out straight away..................................
WADA is just as bad as UCI. Do you seriously believe that this organization really serves the purpose of ensuring a doping free sport? That would be almost endearingly naive.
In a recent thread I linked to documents produced in a Swiss court case where WADA officials brazenly discussed how positive findings could be "dealt with" by sending the samples to a specific lab (the Saugy lab in Lausanne).
I have no doubt that they were also able to find some expert witness signing off whatever fantastic explanation Froome may have offered (the reports about kidney malfunction circulating so far are bit vague and not immediately plausible for urine levels).
Thus, for the moment it remains hard to say whether the evidence offered by the Froome camp is plausible. This will only be possible when the entire case is made public, or, more likely, hacked or leaked, and the evidence pored over by independent experts.
Until this happens I will stick with the parsimonious explanation for the performance shifts so typical of the Sky GC riders.
> And believe it or not, I would change my views about Sky and Froome if the this whole process and the science were transparent, and we could all arrive at an informed decision.
Your prejudices are absolutely set in stone, you hate Sky, you hate Froome and by all accounts you hate cycling.
Please make the rest of the world privy to the information that only you hold that proves that they are cheats or STFU, its getting very tedious.
Yes I rather agree!
Bruno, do you think you are being quite as objective as you could be? It all seems a little bit tin hat and I know cycling has history with this but....?
You are aware that this is the lab that claimed in 2013 and again in 2017 that EPO has no benefits for cycling performance?
This is so obviously BS that it caused it major shitstorm in the normally renowned journal this "research" was published in.
"Whilst the UCI would have obviously preferred the proceedings to have been finalised earlier in the season"
I thought that was going to say
"Whilst the UCI would have obviously preferred the proceedings to have been conducted in private"...
Thanks for that.
My original question was what other course of action did the UCI have given what has come out of WADA ? I don't think they could have done any different.
You and Bruno might not (or clearly don't) like the findings but until we get any counter evidence of wrong doing, its all we have.
Ah, but that would have been sweeping it under the carpet (even though it's what the rules say should happen).
Please see my reply to NTC: These are the guys who also claim that EPO has no effect...
You are correct, probably there was not much they could do. What Bruno (I assume) and I argue is that this inability to act is precisely the desired outcome of how the system is set up. The purpose is quite obviously not to catch cheating athletes and deter others thinking about it, but to create a veneer of respectability for the sport. This has been documented again and again, not only but particularly in cycling.
I therefore disagree with your demand for counter evidence. The track recored of WADA and UCI does not suggest that they were actively looking for evidence. Instead, the only publicly visible evidence is in the pattern of well timed changes in performance.
OK Sir Chasm, you got me. I'll write back. By the way, great name. What does the "chasm" refer to? The space between your ears? OK, I'm sorry, that was a personal attack, just what I usually try to avoid on forums, but I couldn't resist. I hope you can forgive me, because it was in humor, and at least somewhat witty, if I do say so myself. My apologies.
There is one part of your post that I do want to respond to. You wrote, "The only result that would have satisfied you was a guilty verdict."
Absolutely not true. To be honest, I like Froome, or, rather, I want to like him. First, he is an astonishing athlete. That's not in doubt, at least not to me. Second, he has moments where he acts, and rides, with true panache. Do you remember that Tour stage where he was racing on a climb, and then the camera panned away, and when it came back, he was running, on foot (!) with no bike, after a crash and a mechanical? That was awesome. He's a champion. Or his ride over the Finestre in this year's Giro. I think that was the best cycling exploit in decades. I think a ride like that would have actually been possible, factoring in the element of surprise, the distance, the timing, the tactics of others, and the absolutely professional execution and attention to detail. I just don't believe in his ride, because of his performance up to that point in the race, and his history, and the history of Sky and Brailisford. Last, I admire that Froome is always respectful of others, including his rivals, polite, reserved, calm, and so on.
So, like I said, I want to like him. But, again, I can't like him. Nothing I know about cycling gives me any reason to believe that he is clean. Why would he be different?
God, if he has a good explanation for the AAF, I would love to hear it! He's been talking about how, "When everyone knows the facts, they will see it my way." Honestly, what medical facts could we know that would suddenly change the AAF? Does he have one kidney? Does he have some special osmotic balance between his blood and urine? Really, if the information exists, let's hear it! It would help everybody.
It would also help in many ways.
If Froome and his legal team have in fact shown that the Salbutamol tests is flawed in some way, then that is important information, which needs to be made public, so that the rules can change, and so that athletes who have been punished for this offense in the past might be able to somewhat clear their names (not just in cycling, but in other sports as well). A clear, transparent resolution of this case showing that Froome is innocent would therefore be welcomed, and of great value, because it would have led to positive change.
Also, resolving this process following the usual channels would increase everybody's (the public's, the athlete's) confidence in the governing bodies, and in the process. Now we have a situation where, rightly or wrongly, many people are going to believe it's all just corrupt, and Froome received special treatment.
And maybe Froome did receive special treatment. As far as we know, he did not submit himself for pharmakinetic testing, as per the regulations. His legal team submitted a 1500 page document supporting their position. What did they argue? Did they complain about the leak? About the process and procedure? About the validity of the test? About Froome's physiology? And so on.
The fact that we will likely never have the answers to these questions, that we will likely never have a clear and transparent resolution, showing either his innocence or guilt, is what makes this so depressing for me.
Hence my hysterical (your words) response.
> Good joke!
> You are aware that this is the lab that claimed in 2013 and again in 2017 that EPO has no benefits for cycling performance?
> This is so obviously BS that it caused it major shitstorm in the normally renowned journal this "research" was published in.
that's not what that abstract says at all.
and putting research in quotations marks doesn't stop it being research.
I think we both agree that the effectiveness of anti doping bodies should always be in question but I strongly disagree that any athlete should be hung out to dry contrary to any evidence from those antidoping bodies. That sounds too much like "if she sinks, she is not a witch but if she floats she is" to me. The subject of your ire should be WADA, not SKY or Froome.
from the (very little) available so far, my reading of it is that the fluctuations in salbutamol level in his urine over the course of the 3 weeks of the vuelta are biologically plausible. That although the one reading with the adverse finding was high in isolation, taking into account the level on other days, it was within expected variability, and compatible with his reported physiological state on the day.
i'd want to look at that in more detail when more information comes out; but being used to interpreting results as part of a pattern rather than in isolation, i could be persuaded by this line of argument.
Hey Gravity, see my post below detailing why I actually like Froome, and would have welcomed the chance to see him proved innocent.
And, actually, I think you are right. It would be a good thing to start a thread detailing Sky and Froome's various suspicious activities. We could just add to the list as the seasons progress.
You might have already read this, but it is a small start:
You may dismiss Ross Tucker as another Sky/Froome hater, but his words are perhaps somewhat harder to ignore than mine.
By the way, your use of words like NOT! and STFU and "it's getting tedious" are poor form. It's hard to believe they indicate anything other than your level of maturity, intelligence, and attention span.
That might be plausible--I would certainly love to see the data, and hear the arguments. And if they showed that Froome was, or could have been, innocent, well, great! Then we have to change the rules, and so on. What likelihood do we have of learning more about this? Unfortunately, rather low.
> i'd want to look at that in more detail when more information comes out; but being used to interpreting results as part of a pattern rather than in isolation, i could be persuaded by this line of argument.
A pattern of what? Continuous oral microdosing?
> There is one part of your post that I do want to respond to. You wrote, "The only result that would have satisfied you was a guilty verdict."
> Absolutely not true.
I don't believe you. You stated that you wouldn't watch the tour if Froome was riding. So you're explicitly saying that you think he's guilty and that anything uci or wada say is irrelevant. And that's fine, you can hold that opinion, but at least be honest about it.
Did you read the rest of what I wrote? I want to like Froome! I'm not hear to say he looks like a mutant on a bike, or tell him to go back to South Africa, like so many people on other forums. That's just internet blather.
I guess I could equally ask: Do you think Sky and Froome are clean? Why do you believe that? Honestly. What's your reasoning?
Your wrote, "So you're explicitly saying that you think he's guilty and that anything uci or wada say is irrelevant."
That's not what I said at all. It's how the UCI, and perhaps WADA (we don't know) managed this that disappoints me. It's what they said, it didn't say, that makes this statement from them seem suspicious.
Note that they provided no details about why they found Froome to be innocent. If they did release some details, or their reasoning process, I would believe them.
For example, when they changed Froome's Salbutamol reading to take into account urine's specific gravity, I began to think, wow, maybe this test is flawed, I hope they can get to the bottom of things, and change the rules.
But we don't know, do we? And they didn't provide any information, did they? How does that look, considering the history of cycling?
> By the way, your use of words like NOT! and STFU and "it's getting tedious" are poor form. It's hard to believe they indicate anything other than your level of maturity, intelligence, and attention span.
Seems like we got off on the wrong foot because, you know, I like you. In very much the same way that you like Chris Froome.
The endless allusions to evidence of cheating whilst maintaining that you have an open mind on the matter are somewhat contradictory, so knock yourself out if it makes you feel better, the tour starts in five days so don't forget to unplug all electronic devices and keep your fingers in your ears.
BTW, I'm pretty sure those pesky Americans faked all those moon landings, I have a friend who told me ....
All the best , Gravity
> Did you read the rest of what I wrote? I want to like Froome! I'm not hear to say he looks like a mutant on a bike, or tell him to go back to South Africa, like so many people on other forums. That's just internet blather.
> I guess I could equally ask: Do you think Sky and Froome are clean? Why do you believe that? Honestly. What's your reasoning?
I read it. It doesn’t change your statement that you wouldn’t be watching the tour if he takes part (although I don’t believe that either). As I said, on your own admission the only outcome you would have accepted was a guilty verdict. Nothing about whether you like him or want to like him, that’s irrelevant.
And of course you can ask me if I think Sky and Froome are clean. The most I can say is that while the uci’s verdict was pending the rules said Froome could race and now the uci have found there was no AAF the rules still say he can race – so under the regime we currently have yes he’s clean.
yes, possibly; but i really don't know how you deal with that. physiology and pharmacokinetics may not necessarily allow for a test that will distinguish with acceptable accuracy between permitted medical use and use with the intent to gain a performance enhancement in the same subject.
and to expand on my response to your Lancet Haematology link- all that can be claimed from that is that use of doses of EPO at the level administered for 8 weeks produced no performance benefit in a single day simulated race situation
it doesnt say what would happen if you used large enough doses for long enough to make your blood the consistency of treacle, and then do the TdF (well, we know what happens if you do that...)
Feel free to ignore me--I'm a nobody!
Funny you mention Americans...I'm actually American, despite my very German name. You know, faked moon landings, the mafia killed Kennedy, a global consortium took down the Twin towers, I believe all that stuff! Don't you?
Jokes aside, did you read any of those links. Ross Tucker is a respected scientist. Can you just dismiss him as a Sky/Froome hater too?
Really, come up with one reason why we should believe that Sky, Brailsford, and Froome. Just one reason. We can start there.
You have not misrepresented what I said twice. You wrote, "on your own admission the only outcome you would have accepted was a guilty verdict. As I explained, that's simply not true. I would have welcomed an innocent verdict supported by evidence. You might not believe that, but it's true.
I agree with you about the fact that the rules are all we have. I would only add that under the regime we have now Froome is free to race. But that does not mean he is clean. We have no idea who is clean or not clean.
Unfortunately we know that: You die. A neighbour of a friend died in his twenties. He rode the TdF several times as a domestique, falling of his home trainer in the middle of the night with a stroke.
There is exactly one reason for cycling on your home trainer rather than sleeping, and that is Epo overdosing. Before the infamous mountain time trial in 1998 (where Riis got his nickname of Mr. 60%) riders were either on their trainers or waling hotel corridors, afraid they would die if the laid down.
These excesses fortunately are a thing of the past, current Epo doping is much closer to the experimental conditions, and it is done because it works!
> You have not misrepresented what I said twice. You wrote, "on your own admission the only outcome you would have accepted was a guilty verdict. As I explained, that's simply not true. I would have welcomed an innocent verdict supported by evidence. You might not believe that, but it's true.
I don't believe it. You said "unless Froome does not race, I will not watch the Tour". Now we know that's not because you dislike Froome (because you've told us), so it must be because you think he's guilty - as I said, whatever the verdict your mind was already made up.
What evidence we get (if we get any) from uci/wada remains to be seen. But whatever it is you will still think Froome shouldn't race.
> I agree with you about the fact that the rules are all we have. I would only add that under the regime we have now Froome is free to race. But that does not mean he is clean. We have no idea who is clean or not clean.
But you have decided that, irrespective of the uci decision, Froome shouldn't race.
well, that RCT says it doesn't- or at least, it doesn't in terms of significant time gains, in that population, in those doses, in single day relatively short climbing stages (if Mt Ventoux counts as that...!)
and it did have significant effects on a number off the parameters studied
so the study doesnt necessarily preclude it having an impact in larger, but still not mega-doses, in elite athletes where every marginal gain is exploited to its maximum, and over a 3 week event.
It's silly to go back and forth like this, but I will explain my thought process.
I wrote, "unless Froome does not race, I will not watch the Tour." My thought process was 1) this decision is flawed, 2) because of this decision, and all that we know from the past, I think Froome is a dirty rider, 3) So I will not watch the tour, but 4) Had the decision shown that Froome could have produced the AAF with normal use of Salbutamol, then 5) My opinion of him would likely have changed, and 6) I would have watched the Tour.
I don't know why that doesn't seem logical to you. If the evidence was strong, I would believe him. Simple. But I'm sure you won't believe me.
And it's true that I did lie: I probably will watch the Tour, or, at least follow some of the results on Cyclingnews.
This article just posted:
Let's hope the release some real information and arguments.
Like I said, I would love to see a plausible reason why Froome was judged clean.
I'm genuinely curious. Will this lead to some rule changes, for Salbutamol, for racing/not racing with AAFs, for time limits set on legal processes?
The debate continues...
> It's silly to go back and forth like this, but I will explain my thought process.
> I wrote, "unless Froome does not race, I will not watch the Tour." My thought process was 1) this decision is flawed, 2) because of this decision, and all that we know from the past, I think Froome is a dirty rider, 3) So I will not watch the tour, but 4) Had the decision shown that Froome could have produced the AAF with normal use of Salbutamol, then 5) My opinion of him would likely have changed, and 6) I would have watched the Tour.
> I don't know why that doesn't seem logical to you. If the evidence was strong, I would believe him. Simple. But I'm sure you won't believe me.
No, i don't. What evidence? All we have is a short statement from the uci. But you have decided that whatever information the uci/wada have is inadequate, that their decision is wrong and that Froome is guilty.
> And it's true that I did lie: I probably will watch the Tour, or, at least follow some of the results on Cyclingnews.
This I believe.
Yes, the paper is fine it just does not look at the right things, there are several that have found limited benefits for non pro cyclists, did you see the article by the journo amateur cyclist who took all these drugs and wrote up the effects. It was fascinating. He was offered all sorts of cr*p from body builders and other sports types like horse steroids before being put onto a doctor who proscribed life style drugs to the rich. Better endurance, better strength, comfier joints tailored to you and your goals etc etc. The huge benefit was he could train all day by the end, recover and train all day again and again and again. Did you mention the long term benefits to which I replied Ben Johnson?
It was fascinating, if I can find it I'll post a link, no joy so far, it was a few years ago.
WTF there is no evidence that Froome is cheating, show us some evidence, the Earth is about 6000 yrs old right, yeah thought so FFS!.
Why don't you piss off back to Supertopo...yawn
Assuming Prudhomme speaks for ASO it seems their decision to bar Froome has been changed http://road.cc/content/news/244459-tour-de-france-director-christian-prudhomme-confirms-chris-froome-will-defend
> Assuming Prudhomme speaks for ASO it seems their decision to bar Froome has been changed http://road.cc/content/news/244459-tour-de-france-director-christian-prudhomme-confirms-chris-froome-will-defend
Froome is not guilty
Which in professional cycling is not quite the same as undoubtedly innocent
> Assuming Prudhomme speaks for ASO it seems their decision to bar Froome has been changed http://road.cc/content/news/244459-tour-de-france-director-christian-prudhomme-confirms-chris-froome-will-defend
Whatever the ins and outs of the case, the TdF is a better race with Froome in it than out. I wonder what G's thoughts are ? for a while back there he might have been harbouring hopes of a GC shot. Might be a bit conflicted as it stands.
> God, if he has a good explanation for the AAF, I would love to hear it
He has provided an explanation to WADA, which they have accepted. They are the accepted experts in sports doping.
What are your qualifications that make you think you would be able to refute their opinion?
Similar but an American journalist and pre blood passports. The gist is similar but he goes into much more detail about the cocktail of drugs the Dr gives him and the benefits of each.
It made me wish I had more money as the bulk of the doctors clients were rich old people who were after health, strength and no joint pain in old age.
I'll keep looking
> This article just posted:
> Let's hope the release some real information and arguments.
> Like I said, I would love to see a plausible reason why Froome was judged clean.
I doubt the details will change anyone’s mind. The fans will still believe, the haters will still hate and the rest of us were prepared to accept either outcome. Froome has not been judged clean, it’s that the case against him has not been proven. We can expect the report to acknowledge that fluctuations in the urine level when the max dosage is inhaled are greater than previously thought. Lungs to urine via how many organs, add in dehydration and breathing problems and you can see the uncertainty.
So Cb294 can still believe that he was right all along, and CF was microdosing. Whether there is any benefit it that, and whether it would justify the risk, is irrelevant. It is plausible, just not provable
> I'm genuinely curious. Will this lead to some rule changes, for Salbutamol, for racing/not racing with AAFs, for time limits set on legal processes?
i believe the threshold had already been raised to take account of dehydration. Yes the process should be tidied up, but it’s hard to argue that Froome should have been denied the right to a historic Giro win when he has now been cleared
> The debate continues...
>" I wonder what G's thoughts are ? for a while back there he might have been harbouring hopes of a GC shot."
Let's face it, the chances are G will fall off his bike before he gets to Paris.
G as your number 1 is always going to be a long shot.
> Froome is not guilty
> Which in professional cycling is not quite the same as undoubtedly innocent
'Not guilty' does not mean 'Innocent' in a court of law, either.
> G as your number 1 is always going to be a long shot.
Nevertheless, he would have been Sky's probable best shot if Froome had of been banned from the race. But yes, three weeks of rubber side down would be an achievement for G.
So WADA seems to have released a statement:
Based on this limited statement alone, there does not seem to be anything new here, just renewed scrutiny and a new interpretation of existing rules.
It does seem to relate to many issues discussed much earlier in this thread about whether and athlete is innocent until proven guilty, guilty until proven innocent, and where, and with whom the burden of proof lie.
I also wonder what they mean my "practicable" in this context. It would not be practicable for WADA to replicate the conditions under which Froome was tested? It would not be practicable for Sky/Froome to replicate these conditions? It would not be scientifically possible, or the responsible organizations do not have the time or money to do so?
If it is now practical to adequately replicate conditions for Salbutamol testing, I wonder if WADA will now change their rules about Sabutamol and/or AAFs? I wonder how other athletes who have served suspensions related to Salbutamol (in cycling and other sports, such as cross country skiing) feel about this? Could they take legal action? Should they?
In any case, they have decided that the values found in Froome's urine are plausible.
The coming days are sure to be full of controversy.
Wow, you and GravitySucks. I did not realize that Froome supporters were such a touchy, intolerant bunch.
I haven't looked at Supertopo for a while, but from what I remember, there is some incredible information to be found on that site, with some very knowledgeable participants, but there is also a huge tribal mentality, and a large number of folks who sound a great deal like you and GravitySucks.
You both remind me of Trump and his crew, full of insults and expletives, but short on reasoned views.
Love the abbreviations--you should stick to Twitter.
This is also interesting:
Let the opinions fly!
> This is also interesting:
> Let the opinions fly!
It’s bollocks, written by someone who is unhappy with the outcome
Nothing unusual about giving the verdict first, and the full written explanation days or even months later. Especially when there was an overwhelming case for getting out the verdict sooner rather than later. A bit like granting a condemned man a stay of execution rather than writing up the judgement first and then finding you are too late ! And of course we shouldn’t even know that there was even a case against Froome
Now, really, can you pass all that off as Bollocks? The person quoted is an expert in the field associated with helping set up the biological passport
I've been accused of the same on this forum, but it seems to me that you are letting your opinions of these issues color your reading of the events.
If somebody appears not to trust the system or trust Sky and Froome does that automatically make everything they say bollocks?
I would say, again, let's try to stick to issues--what exactly was said in that article that you think is bollocks? Why do you believe that?
I loved the use of the word bamboozled in the article--that's a word that we don't hear enough.
The doping expert was bamboozled by the findings of WADA?
Whom should we believe when independent experts in the field are bamboozled by the findings, but others on the internet see no wrong doing?
Call me naive if you will, but all that this has shown is that WADA's testing regime for a permitted treatment, Salbutamol, is fundamentally flawed and that taking that medication within the dosages permitted can lead to a test result that indicates misuse when no such misuse has taken place.
"The presence in urine of salbutamol in excess of 1000 ng/mL is not consistent with therapeutic use of the substance and will be considered as an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) unless the Athlete proves, through a controlled pharmacokinetic study, that the abnormal result was the consequence of a therapeutic dose (by inhalation) up to the maximum dose indicated above."
CF has clearly been able to show the latter and WADA and the UCI have therefore looked at the floor, shuffled their feet and said 'No case to answer'. Now they need to seek out the little shit who leaked the non-story and publicly excoriate him at the very least and hen try and get their own house in order as a professional arbiter of standards in sport.
Here's the full statement from WADA
I would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between how long one has been followed cycling, and whether or not one believes in Sky and Froome.
If I had to guess, I would say that the longer you have been following cycling, the less you believe Sky and Froome.
In my case, I stated racing when I was 15, raced on the road and track until my late twenties, reached a respectable level, and stopped because of knee injuries (maybe I needed a TUE?). In all that time, obviously, I was obsessed with cycling. I continue to follow the sport, on and off, into middle age. Now I am 45, a casual mountain biker, pedaling through the forests near my home with hairy legs, baggy shorts, and running sneakers. My shaved-legs, lycra-clad, wanna-be-professional 20 year-old self would have laughed at me now. And yet witness all of my posts--the passion has not died.
So I have been following cycling for thirty years. Maybe that is why I don't believe Sky and Froome.
And just to be clear, I don't think the relevant parameter is age, young or old. I would say it's time spent with the sport.
What do folks think?
Are there any old timers out there, people who have been passionate about cycling for multiple decades, who believe Sky and Froome?
Prove my theory wrong!
This could be fun. If people reveal how long they have been following cycling, and how much they do/do not believe in Sky and Froome in a scale of 1-10, we can apply a simple statistical test for correlation. We can call the scale the "Sky and Froome Credulity Index." It's a very scientific measurement. Perhaps as accurate as the Salbutamol test.
1= Completely believe Sky and Froome
10 = Completely do not believe Sky and Froome.
Here are my data points:
Years following cycling closely: 30
Sky and Froome Credulity Index: 9
OK, now we just need more data!
He may be an expert in doping, but I am referring to his response to a legal process. Ok he is frustrated because he wants to analyse the details of the ruling, which is understandable from a professional point of view. But I would suggest he has already revealed that he isn’t exactly unbiased.
OK, I agree with that. He definitely does not seem to trust the UCI and WADA very much. You're right. You've participated a great deal on this forum. Do you want to add some data points for my hypothesis and test? Not trying to be confrontational, genuinely curious.
> Now I am 45
Inventing your own scoring system to prove a point because regulatory bodies came up with a decision you don’t like.
Are you you really sure this is a good idea...?
It's simple. We can have two lists of numbers, one of people's length of involvement with cycling, one of people's subjective rating of their trust of Sky and Froome.
The statistical test (Spearman Rank or similar) will tell if there is or not a correlation between these two things, and with what percent certainty we can believe the results. I would have no influence on the results other than doing the math and reporting the numbers.
I have no idea what the results would be.
I have a hypothesis: "That people who have followed cycling for longer have less trust in Sky and Froome" but that hypothesis would be proved or not by the numbers.
It would be less about this particular case, but more about how and why people form their opinions and perceptions of cycling.
Great, it sounds like you're older than me. Care to participate in my experiment? How long have you been following cycling? How much do you trust Sky and Froome on a scale of 1-10?
By the way, thanks for calling me youthful. I haven't felt that way for quite some time, but I guess it just get's worse from here on out
been following TDF since 89 and the 8 seconds
races completed: 1
miles cycled today: 3
number of legs I can currently stand on: 1
Froome credibility index: 5
i don’t believe Froome is clean. Nor I do believe he is a doper. I just accept that given the information currently in the public domain it is impossible to have any degree of certainty in either direction. And the same applies to virtually every rider in the peloton. Even Nibali, who uses Pantani’s doctor. And except Valverde, though I’m not certain he still dopes, and do have a certain admiration for him.
i think it is is likely that Sky are going right up to the line of what is permitted. And possibly going beyond it. And it’s possible that every other team are doing the same. But i’m pretty sure that riders aren’t putting their health at risk through pharmaceuticals the way they did in the past
I’m sure it’s simple
I’m also sure if I was in your position, I wouldn’t be doing it.
its a nice evening. Put the phone down and sit out in the sun for an hour.
Quoting “qualifications” to support argument. That’s a fail I’m afraid.
You’re writing pages. Have you looked back over it all, it’s a bit tin hatish as I said earlier. You would be more at home in the clinic where at least you’d have someone at the Froome end of the spectrum to balance you.
I started a separate thread to gather data if folks are interested.
I don't understand the resistance to the idea.
It's a simple numerical analysis. The hypothesis could be proved right or wrong.
Are people afraid of the answer?
Valverde, he’s either on the best doping programme ever, just nails or both and you’re right you can’t help but admire him a little. ;-)
Qualifications? What are you talking about?
If you're not afraid of the answer, enter your data.
Thanks Chris! My first additional data point! Let the experiment begin. I will enter the numbers into a spreadsheet.
Yes, obviously, I have no life. But I am determined. Like Froome.
32 years, 2.5 on your credulity scale.
Hi Monk. Just to confirm, based on your age in the UKC profile page, you are 37, so that would mean that you have been following cycling closely since you were 5 years old. Is that correct? I will enter whatever numbers you specify into the test, I just what to be sure you understand where I am coming from.
On the separate thread I started,I added this as an explanation:
To help define "close involvement with cycling," I would say that riding a bike on a semi-regular basis, racing currently or having raced in the past, following the racing season, reading articles about cycling and riders, and so on, are all important--not just watching the Tour de France in the summer.
> Are people afraid of the answer?
Perhaps they are not 'afraid'. They just realise that it's a meaningless exercise - if only because it wouldn't be based on a random sample of the population.
Monk's data raises an important point--the importance of age.
Therefore, if you wish to participate, I kindly ask you to rpovide your age as well.
In this way we could also test whether trust in Sky and Froome is related to age, not just involvement with cycling.
Ah Marek. Random sampling errors, selection bias, confirmation bias, and all the rest. Too true. But the best we have to work with. I very much doubt that most readers would refrain from participating because of a fear of confounding factors. It's harmless, and possibly interesting. And we now have data from both ends of the spectrum, and the middle, so, at least this far, the data does not seem to be skewed.
You are right. My profile age is not correct. the numbers i gave are. However, your response leads me to believe that I am probably not worthy of an opinion because I've never raced seriously. I've only ridden a bike nearly every day since i was 5 years old. Any more caveats you'd like to add?
Never mind that’s a fail for me, if you have to explain it, it’s not very good in the first place.
Err, about the same time as Chris, 90ish. I’ve raced, Crits and a few Team stage races, err I’ve volunteered for a few studies on sports performance while I was at Bath (got all my stats for free) err, have I missed anything.
on your scale a 2-3. Though for me it’s a binary scale, no damning lab report/fail vs damning lab report fail, i’m probably on the autistic scale so to me there’s no point worrying about it, it’s one until the other. I have lots of friends like you and they swing both ways though.
No that's fine Monk. Thank you. I will enter 32 years of following cycling, and a score of 2.5. Do you care to add your actual age? Then I could run the analysis once, and then run it again, setting some kind of cut-off for when a person might begin to form an understanding of issues like doping, such as 10 years old, or 15 years old? that might be more meaningful.
Thanks Toby! I will enter you are 1990 if that works for you.
You binary view is itself interesting. Sometimes I wish I could think like that.
But "the best you have to work with" is meaningless, so what's the point? And you can't say that the data is not skewed - you don't have any 'good' data (i.e., statistically significant) to compare it to. You can't separate the signal from the noise and you can fit anything to noise.
Exercises like this give 'statistics' a bad name and have prompted the old adage: "There lies, damn lies and statistics".
I disagree that the results would be meaningless. The data and results reflect a small group or respondents on UKC, without any claims to extrapolate whatever is found to the larger public. That's what I mean by that's all we have to work with. The data will show whatever relationships do or do not exist in this small group.
Good interview on Velonews. It addresses many of the themes in this thread in a fairly balanced way
No, it doesn’t
this seems to me to be the key paragraph
It appears neither the UCI nor WADA felt they had the evidence to take up that fight, and decided to drop charges just days ahead of the start of the 2018 Tour de France.
When the rest of the article is just a vehicle for Tucker to rehearse a position that this decision is “just another huge blow to the credibility of the anti-doping movement”, rather than seriously considering the possibility that there wasnt enough evidence meant he didn’t intentionally cheat, then it’s pretty clear that the article is not balanced. Instructive about your viewpoint that you should consider it so, though.
> I disagree that the results would be meaningless. The data and results reflect a small group or respondents on UKC, without any claims to extrapolate whatever is found to the larger public. That's what I mean by that's all we have to work with. The data will show whatever relationships do or do not exist in this small group.
Except that your original hypothesis was "That people who have followed cycling for longer ..." which implies a general population of cyclists. Your analysis will do nothing to prove or disprove that hypothesis. You have no control or knowledge of the (self-)selection criteria of your sample group.
I also suspect that 'trust' will be interpreted differently across your sample: Do you means 'trust them to not knowingly break rules', 'trust them to be 100% transparent about what they do/think', 'trust them to be ethically better/comparable to other teams', 'trust them to provide a good ROI to their sponsor'... ? Each of those (an other interpretations) are likely to result in different degrees of trust.
I'm afraid that your exercise - like most amateur polls - will be as meaningful as bible numerology.
> No, it doesn’t
> this seems to me to be the key paragraph
> It appears neither the UCI nor WADA felt they had the evidence to take up that fight, and decided to drop charges just days ahead of the start of the 2018 Tour de France.
> When the rest of the article is just a vehicle for Tucker to rehearse a position that this decision is “just another huge blow to the credibility of the anti-doping movement”, rather than seriously considering the possibility that there wasnt enough evidence meant he didn’t intentionally cheat, then it’s pretty clear that the article is not balanced. Instructive about your viewpoint that you should consider it so, though.
As I have said before I no longer believe Tucker to neutral in anyway. He is (or claims to be) an expert in sports science/physiology/doping yet his modus operandi seems to be to cast doubt on any top sporting performance. The fact that is a failed wannabe top sportsman obviously has nothing to do with it.
> Good interview on Velonews. It addresses many of the themes in this thread in a fairly balanced way
So it's true, Americans dont do irony.
I really appreciate your meaningful posts! Thanks!
No problem, I'm loving your work too.
> Good interview on Velonews. It addresses many of the themes in this thread in a fairly balanced way
Unless I'm missing something there's no new information in that interview, Tucker hasn't seen what Sky submitted to uci/wada and he hasn't seen any more information from uci/wada than we have seen. So could you be a bit more specific about what you think the interview usefully addresses?
I thought some of the most interesting parts where about the preferential treatment of Sky and Froome and what that means for cycling and other sports, the obvious impact of money and resources on the legal process, how fragile the testing and judicial structures in fact are and what that means about trust, and how, in his view, this decision erodes confidence in a system that was already flawed and suspect.
I'm sure people will take issue with my interpretation, but it's only that, my interpretation of the interview.
For the record, I trust Ross Tucker far more than many other figures in the sport, but I recognize that he is a polarizing figure.
What preferential treatment? You do realise that in attacking the testing and judicial structures you're doing exactly the same as you accuse Froome/Sky of doing? If you'd got the decision you wanted (and don't deny you think the decision's wrong) you'd have said the testing was right, but you haven't got the decision you wanted so the testing is inadequate.
> I thought some of the most interesting parts where about the preferential treatment of Sky and Froome
That is a totally separate issue as to whether Sky in general and Froome in particular were cheating. Its always the case that people with better resources are better able to fight their corner but that does not automatically mean that they are cheating in doing so.
The ‘preferential treatment’ referred to in the linked article is just assertion from someone you acknowledge yourself is a ‘polarising figure’.
Far from being balanced, the link just looks like sour grapes from someone with an axe to grind.
Attack the man, and when that tactic is closed down, attack the process and the bodies that didn’t give the ‘right’ verdict.
exactly who is damaging the reputation of cycling now?
What the actual f*ck?
A trial based on how many years you've watched the cycling, your age and your view on Froome's guilt.
What does that prove?
I watched Jimmy Saville for 20 odd years and met him twice - I still didn't know he was a nonce.
I don’t think any judgements can be made until the scientific data is released.
One thing I find strange is that Froome has raced loads of Grand Tours taking salbutamol, so you would imagine his dose/response relationship would be well understood. I suppose illness could be a factor, but would be contraindicative if winning a Grand Tour too.
I prefer to read INRNG, rather than the foil hats.
Ross Tucker is the Alex Jones of pedalling.
A nonce - allegedly.
It reads that WADA see it the same- that they have a good baseline form all the tests he has taken. That then showed the Vuelta test as a possible outlier.
Pettachi and Ullissi did not have the same data to rely upon. However, I recall the Pettachi saga dragged on for months, and that's after it was made public, not leaked.
Not sure if a link to the Freeman interview has been posted, possibly overshadowed with all the other news.
I only looked at briefly. Plausible but not entirely convincing? He says he was under pressure to ensure Wiggins was at the top of his game. I get the impression with Froome that by always stressing ‘”I” have done nothing wrong’, Froome relied on the team/doctor’s ok for his medicine intake, so expected the team to sort out the fallout with his test result.
> I don’t think any judgements can be made until the scientific data is released.
Well, the judgement is that there's no AAF. But I agree it will be interesting to see what information is released.
> One thing I find strange is that Froome has raced loads of Grand Tours taking salbutamol, so you would imagine his dose/response relationship would be well understood. I suppose illness could be a factor, but would be contraindicative if winning a Grand Tour too.
Yes, Sky/Froome cocked up. They know the limit and you'd think they'd have some idea of his response to salbutamol. So if they were using the salbutamol to cheat they cocked up, and if they were using it to treat his asthma they still cocked up.
> A trial based on how many years you've watched the cycling, your age and your view on Froome's guilt. What does that prove?
I chose to read it as a satire of how stupid sports fans might be.
A bit more grist to the mill https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2094926427451970&id=1481917892086163
> I prefer to read INRNG, rather than the foil hats.
They do make similar points about the rules fairing poorly against sustained legal scrutiny.
I meant the judgement of the wider public.
It seems to me (and I’m knackered from being at hospital with my wife last night) that it throws the whole salbutamol test into doubt.
> I prefer to read INRNG, rather than the foil hats.
> Ross Tucker is the Alex Jones of pedalling.
Didn’t she climb El cap a few years back? ????
I think Ross Tucker is somewhat more reliable than Fred Grappe, who will no doubt be getting his usual BS published by Equipe over the next three weeks.
You can understand Tucker’s frustrations. I would have expected WADA to uphold the tests and leave it up to CAS to determine the fairness of them. The anti-dopers will naturally have confidence in their own tests, and will be pleased to catch a big fish, so it’s disappointing to be told to throw it back.
i suspect the fear is that if Sky can use it’s vast resources to undermine this test, then how long before someone uses the same tactic to destroy the biological passport? A test which is far more important, the cornerstone of Anti-Doping, but also somewhat flawed.
> I prefer to read INRNG, rather than the foil hats.
> Ross Tucker is the Alex Jones of pedalling.
An interesting thing from that blog and the associated comments was that (potentially) one of the things that helped Sky’s case was the detailed notes on dosages they had to rely on...
> A nonce - allegedly.
Only inasmuch as he was't tried and convicted by a jury of his peers. But I reckon that for this particular case you could probably do quite well with a Kickstarter proposing to dig up Saville's corpse and subject it to some biblical justice
> A nonce - allegedly.
It feels like barking up a brick wall. I don't think any of the people here, including myself, are going to change our opinions, as has been pointed out. I am still mystified as to why some people believe what they believe, or interpret observations one way, when they seem so clearly the other way to me, but I'm sure the feeling is mutual, i.e. my position is equally inscrutable to others. People may jump in here and purport to know exactly what I think, pass off my point of view as simple and stupid, and so on, and, of course, they're free to do so. As I said, the feeling is mutual.
My first hope going forward is that Froome and company somehow find a way to share the science, or the flaws in the salbutamol test are pointed our clearly, or, in some way, the public is given good reason to believe this decision. And no, I don't think the decision as released so far constitutes "good enough" or "reason to believe." Again, it is easy for people to ask why I, a mere nobody, shoudl presume to doubt the findings of the WADA, UCI, and so forth. But I'm certainly not alone in my point of view, and people far more knowledgeable than I find the decision highly suspect. I think there are very good scientists working within WADA, but I do not trust the organization, nor the UCI, nor ASO. For reasons I detailed at length, I think this decision was entirely political and economic--not scientific. Furthermore, I believe it unfolded in this was simply because of the legal might and deep pockets of Sky, which seems completely unfair. So, to repeat, my first hope is that they find some way to share with the public the science, and we can all better understand how Froome was determined to be innocent. And yes, I would believe plausible, transparent, well supported science, although I anticipate people reading this will claim that my threshold for belie is so high as to be unrealistic.
Barring a revelation of solid science, I hope they catch Froome doping, or pushing the limits of what's legal in a way that becomes illegal, in the same way that Wiggins applied for TUEs for powerful drugs, and used these drugs before his Grand Tour wins, not for asthma, but for metabolic and lypolytic effects. The medication itself is not illegal, but the reason it was obtained and administered is illegal. That's how Sky operates--they break the rules--and I just don't understand why anybody would think they have changed since then. So, if we don't get the science to show Froome is innocent, I hope they catch him, or it eventually comes out through a leak or a confession that he, or they, continued to push and break the rules. In this way we would move one step closer to the truth in cycling, much as the Armstrong admissions were revelatory.
The worst outcome would just be a continuation of the status quo, where the testing and regulatory agencies have no power, teams with money and resources can control outcomes, politics prevents true change, riders are disenfranchised, and the sport remains corrupt, without real integrity.
That's my view of cycling. And this view does nothing to diminish the true heroics and incredible performances of riders on the road, which is why I still watch.
Anyway, if anything new comes to light, I'll be here as usual, posting away, barking up a brick wall.
> A pattern of what? Continuous oral microdosing?
I think they call that normal intake of an allowed substance.
Before you go, based on the responses you've received how do you think your hypothesis "That people who have followed cycling for longer have less trust in Sky and Froome" is standing up?
If you are not wilfully blind you should be able to spot the difference.
Helpful hint: It is not only the substance that is controlled, but also the mode of delivery.
Hi--well, I've got 22 data points so far. There are some that I can't really include, such as people who say they have been following cycling for 0 years, or somebody who says he is 65 and has been following cycling his whole life (since he was born?) but, like any true scientists, I will try to "massage" the data so that it fits.
Also, I should say, I've tried to be conservative, for example, if somebody said they have been following cycling since the 90s, I used 1990 as a data, even though it might have been later. Likewise, if somebody said their trust score was 2-3, I entered the lower number, 2. These adjustments--using longer time periods of following cycling, and trust values that reflect greater trust, undermine my hypothesis, but I think it's a better approach.
That said, and allowing that I have not included all data yet, there does seem to be a positive correlation, that is, the longer people who responded have followed cycling, the less they trust Sky and Froome. But that is preliminary, I have not done the statistical test yet, so I don't know of the correlation is statistically significant.
Of course the science folks are going to go crazy pointing out the flaws. That's fine. I still maintain that the experiment has some limited value.
> Barring a revelation of solid science, I hope they catch Froome doping, or pushing the limits of what's legal in a way that becomes illegal,
This is the reason people disagree - you believe Froome is doing something dodgy, and nothing, zip, nada, will change that. The only shift will be if he does get caught for something in which case you will feel vindicated for having your opinion.
Given that you can't prove a negative (it is not possible to PROVE that you aren't doping) anyone with a contrary opinion to you is on a hiding to nothing, on which basis it isn't really a discussion, more a voicing of contradictory opinions.
Which is why I like Toby's position, (admittedly similar but slightly firmer than mine) that Froome isn't doping, until it's shown he is. It is much more reasonable and pragmatic.
> I would have expected WADA to uphold the tests and leave it up to CAS to determine the fairness of them.
I think (from what I understand of this case) that it's a bit more complex than that. The WADA rules (about salbutamol) are about ingestion limits. The WADA test however is about how much drug is detected in urine and is based on some assumptions about typical pro-cyclist metabolism. Therefore a test indicating high levels in urine is not treated by WADA as a doping violation but as a trigger for further investigation and leaves the door open for a cyclist to demonstrate that that the metabolic assumptions were inaccurate in his specific case. So it's not just about 'tests', it's about 'rules, tests & process'. I'm guessing that Sky provided sufficient technical evidence to WADA that their (WADA's) metabolic assumptions were not good in this particular instance and therefore WADA came to a 'no case to answer' conclusion.
As for the Ulissi case, that was different. He admitted ingesting too much (too may puffs) and therefore the test and associated assumptions became irrelevant.
Some will no doubt consider me naive (or worse) but in the absence for more detailed data, that's it for me.
> Hi--well, I've got 22 data points so far. There are some that I can't really include, such as people who say they have been following cycling for 0 years, or somebody who says he is 65 and has been following cycling his whole life (since he was born?) but, like any true scientists, I will try to "massage" the data so that it fits.
> Also, I should say, I've tried to be conservative, for example, if somebody said they have been following cycling since the 90s, I used 1990 as a data, even though it might have been later. Likewise, if somebody said their trust score was 2-3, I entered the lower number, 2. These adjustments--using longer time periods of following cycling, and trust values that reflect greater trust, undermine my hypothesis, but I think it's a better approach.
> That said, and allowing that I have not included all data yet, there does seem to be a positive correlation, that is, the longer people who responded have followed cycling, the less they trust Sky and Froome. But that is preliminary, I have not done the statistical test yet, so I don't know of the correlation is statistically significant.
> Of course the science folks are going to go crazy pointing out the flaws. That's fine. I still maintain that the experiment has some limited value.
You can maintain the earth is flat and carried on the back of a giant turtle if you like. When the science folk go crazy pointing out you’re wrong, they will be correct. And they will be here too.
We've been back and forth about this before. I will restate my position, and you will likely state (again) that you don't believe me. You know what? I think you don't believe me about as much as I don't believe Sky and Froome!
So what's my position? I think Sky and Froome have been doping for a long time and are still doping.
Is there anything that could change my mind?
Yes. The following:
-From Sky and Brailsford. Honest admissions of wrongdoing in the past, for example, Wiggins, TUE's, no needle policy, confusion and lies about destination of Jiffy Bag, and so on. A kind of, "OK, we screwed up, we apologize, we're going to turn the page." Join the MPCC and follow it's regulations, make it stronger, develop it further.
-Transparency. Medical records kept correctly (!) and visible at any time by an independent regulatory body. Public records of TUEs, or, at least, as above, visible by an independent agency. Power data and rider weight available for all climbs, so that people can calculate the speed of ascents, watts per kilograms, and so on.
-From Froome. To be completely open about all of his medical treatments, daily doses, regular blood and urine readings, and so on. Power data, lab results, and so on, perhaps all uploaded into a cool user interface for the public.
-From WADA and UCI, just in terms of this case (there are lots of other possible changes in cycling we could discuss), a full revelation of the data they reviewed, and their scientific reasoning. And if this decision was not based on science--and I don't think it was--then I would ask that they state clearly, "Look, we just don't have the money and resources to fight a case like this, we have to drop it, we don't know if he's clean or not, but we just can't go to court with this, we're a small agency." At least their decision process would be clear.
Now, the big questions. Are these demands extreme? Yes. Would they violate privacy? It depends on how you view these individuals and teams. Do they go far and above what we would ask from any regular citizen? Absolutely. Would they provide an advantage to competitors? Not really, and definitely not if all teams were doing the same.
Why should we hold Sky and Froome to such a high standard? Because of the history of cycling, the history of Sky, and because in their entire presentation they have always placed themselves above the rest. They ask, even demand, to be judged by a higher standard. And as the team with the best Grad Toru record in recent years, they occupy a place in the peleton that simply deserves the highest level of scrutiny. They have power, and with that power comes responsibility.
I don't think these demands are unreasonable, but I do think they are completely unrealistic in cycling today.
However, imagine how cool it would be for fans to have that kind of transparency and access? To be able to track your star's daily weight, or power, of whatever? To be able to follow their lab testing through the season. Can you imagine what a statement it would be if a team like Sky, or a rider like Froome, took these steps? Can you imagine what an effect it might have on cycling? They have such an opportunity here. They could be true leaders.
I hope in the future one brave Grand Tour team or star takes cycling in this direction.
So those are the changes that would have to happen for me to trust Sky and Froome. None of them are impossible. It's just a question of will and leadership.
All sky team power data and medical information freely visible to all?
would be welcomed by opponents for sure
If everybody was transparent there would be no advantage.
And even if small advantages were to be had, that would be the price to pay for trust in the sport.
> Of course the science folks are going to go crazy pointing out the flaws. That's fine. I still maintain that the experiment has some limited value.
Hmm, I can see why you favour Ross Tucker - happy to exploit the language of science, but then deride anyone who points out that your 'scientific analysis' is flawed to the point of worthlessness.
Opens up a whole new frontier of cheating- deliberately publishing misleading performance data.
if sky currently put athletes health at risk through doping, why would you believe anything they published re performance data?
The point is that the variation in performance shown by CF, and before him Wiggins, very much point at Sky doing something that other teams do not, or at least not to the same extent. For Wiggins, it was eventually shown to be dodgy TUEs that even under the rules existing at the time should not have been issued, and hence constitute doping with a little legal fig leaf.
What chance that similar fluctuations in performance shown by CF a few years later are legit?
IMO this is completely implausible, and the one instance when CF was caught with excess levels of urinary Salbutamol provides a handy pointer as to what Sky are up this time.
Last time you had a rider stand out like this was Armstrong, and consider how long he was able to defend himself based on his negative tests. They proved nothing, even when talking about a banned substance. Doping by abuse (e.g. banned mode of delivery) of a specified substance will be even harder to prove, even though the effects are there for all to see.
Add to this the implausible explanations offered by Sky (again, not only CF but BW before). To me as a biologist and former elite competitor the explanations I have seen so far really sound like the dog ate my homework.
As a scientist I can say that the arguments by RT are much more plausible than any explanations offered by Sky for the performance of their GC riders (and especially the fluctuations in performance).
Marek, I appreciate your posts--they have a lot of merit, even if I don't always agree with your points.
To take all this in a different direction, what could Sky and Froome, and cycling, do to improve their public image, and strength the sport? I listed several measures above, some might view them as extreme. I'd be interested to hear other points of view about what could be done.
> If everybody was transparent there would be no advantage.
> And even if small advantages were to be had, that would be the price to pay for trust in the sport.
But you aren't demanding that everybody is 'transparent'. You are specifically demanding that Chris Froome is 'transparent'. You also continue to bracket Froome and Sky together. Why ? do you think Froome is complicit in any wrong doings around the Wiggins fiasco ?
You and I seem like the lone crusaders here! I feel like we need to go and have a beer! Want to come ice climbing in Switzerland in the winter? Want to come alpine climbing in Chamonix? Want to come rock climbing in the Alps? I live in Basel, Switzerland, and I offer free airport pick up and drop off service for my climbing partners commuting to and from the UK! Climbing partnerships have formed in stranger ways! All the best, and keep up the good fight. Why don't they get it?
First, in my utopian view, everybody, and all teams, would be equally transparent. However, as the biggest and strongest grand tour team in cycling, and the self professed leaders, Sky and Froome have an added burden of responsibility, that's why I single them our, rightly so, I think.
I posted on the other thread about this, but in my opinion you can not separate Sky and Froome. The team is too well regulated and administered with a top down approach. Nobody is working independently, they are all connected, therefore, all involved in whatever it is they are doing or not doing. My opinion of course.
> It feels like barking up a brick wall.
No, its more like you're banging your against the wrong tree.
> As a scientist I can say that the arguments by RT are much more plausible than any explanations offered by Sky for the performance of their GC riders (and especially the fluctuations in performance).
what fluctuations, and if so are they different to any other rider?
> To take all this in a different direction, what could Sky and Froome, and cycling, do to improve their public image, and strength the sport?
They could put stabilisers on their bikes - stop Froome and (especially) Thomas crashing as much!
Who would have thunk it though - in the post Armstrong era one rider seemingly dominates the GT's and is suspected of doping, hmmmm.
> First, in my utopian view, everybody, and all teams, would be equally transparent. However, as the biggest and strongest grand tour team in cycling, and the self professed leaders, Sky and Froome have an added burden of responsibility, that's why I single them our, rightly so, I think.
What utter tosh!
Mercedes have won the last four F1 drivers championships and the last four constructors constructors championships in a row, by your reasoning they are obviously cheats and therefore should be compelled to reveal all their telemetry and design information to their competitors with no reciprocation ?
Tour starts in four days, really looking forward to it.
Thanks for the insight and ideas--it's always nice to see new perspectives that could help cycling move forward.
> Hi--well, I've got 22 data points so far. There are some that I can't really include, such as people who say they have been following cycling for 0 years, or somebody who says he is 65 and has been following cycling his whole life (since he was born?) but, like any true scientists, I will try to "massage" the data so that it fits.
Looking at that thread, I'm the only one who has said they are 65.
But I did not say I have been following cycling for my whole life. I said for 55 years, my maths says that's since I was 10.
Be careful with your sums.
Platitudes are fine, but it would be better if you would address the point.
Think about how Sky timed team and rider performance the recent grand tours they have won. Spot a pattern?
The comment about platitudes is rich, coming from you.
My point is clear. I'm not going to restate it.
Thanks Fredt--I have it correct in the table.
> Marek, I appreciate your posts--they have a lot of merit, even if I don't always agree with your points.
> To take all this in a different direction, what could Sky and Froome, and cycling, do to improve their public image, and strength the sport? I listed several measures above, some might view them as extreme. I'd be interested to hear other points of view about what could be done.
The flaw in your reasoning may be that Sky (the company, not the team): (a) see it as their job to strengthen cycling and (b) feel the need to improve their image. Both may be nice-to-haves, but probably not high priority items.
It is of course an issue for the UCI, but the reality is that they have very little power without the support of the teams (ultimately the mayfly sponsors) and ASO (who are only really interested in promoting their own business interests). Any proposals have to appeal to all three groups to have any chance to going forward and that's a massive hurdle.
Transparency of performance and medical data is a great idea (ignoring privacy and competitive issues), but what will it achieve? The problems is not so much access to the data, but the interpretation of it (as evidenced by your 'interesting exercise' above). However much data is made available, people will apply whatever 'analysis' to it to support the views they already hold.
So lets assume that Sky decide to take a uncharacteristically saintly and unilateral position and provide all that data. What is likely to be the outcome? Will the 'haters' suddenly say "Oh OK, we were wrong"? I think all you'll get is a tsunami of biased 'analysis' and noise. And what's going to then be the motivation for the other teams to follow suit (I assume that you think Sky's leadership will be followed)? The UCI will not be able to mandate the transparency (for the reasons above), so it will be purely voluntary. I suggest that most will look at the Sky situation and say "I don't want any of that - leave them to it."
There are no simplistic solutions like 'transparency'. I think the only way this will improve is if individuals in power in UCI and ASO get together (smokey back-rooms and all that) and decide that is in their interest to work together on this. If they can speak with one voice, the rest will have to follow. I'm not holding my breath.
Matt Slater has an exclusive interview with WADA’s science boss Dr Olivier Rabin saying Chris Froome’s case wasn’t unique, doesn’t destroy salbutamol rule & shouldn’t spark wave of appeals. Unfortunately it’s on facebook which means I don’t seem to be able to post a link to it.
Not that it will change your mind. But neither would greater transparency. Froome could release his power data, all his private medical details, and you would still get experts disagreeing on what it means and whether it has been edited. Froome could be tested twice a day, 365 days a year and you will still get people claiming it’s a UCI cover-up or that Sky have discovered a new wonder drug with a 6 hour glow time.
you gave yourself away with you statement that you hope Froome is caught cheating. Proof, due process and fairness are irrelevant, you have all the proof you need. Froome wins races, so he much be cheating.
> Think about how Sky timed team and rider performance the recent grand tours they have won. Spot a pattern?
Can’t even work out your language
but yes I can see a pattern. If Sky have done something, it much be wrong
Facebook link at 10:25 ^.
Hi Chris, I saw an excerpt from that but the source wasn't referenced. Which bit of FB was it on?
To Chris and Marek,
Your rebuttals are great. It's easy to criticize. What, in your view, should change in cycling, if anything?
Marek, you talked about smoky, back room meetings--what would be the goal of these meetings? What changes could these shadowy figures possibly enact?
Really, I'm interested in what you think should change, and/or what you think could change.
> Marek, you talked about smoky, back room meetings--what would be the goal of these meetings? What changes could these shadowy figures possibly enact?
I don't know. I have no special knowledge of the motivations of the individual involved and I believe that's what count more than any 'technical' merits.
Congrats to all the teams for reaching the top of an endurance sport while all having asthma.
OK, so the calculations are done.
To my great surprise, results support a very strong conclusion:
“We are all a bunch of middle ages duffers with too much time on our hands.”
Jokes aside, what did the numbers say?
Well, as most people expected, and most people predicted, these data were absolutely inconclusive.
Based on these data, we cannot say that the longer people have followed cycling closely, the less they trust Sky and Froome, within this small group of respondents, and taking into account the significant limitations of this exercise (see below).
At the same time, neither can we say that the longer people have followed cycling closely, the more they trust Sky and Froome. As I said, these data were inconclusive.
So, for all the people out there who were sure this would be meaningless, you were right, and you can congratulate yourself.
Nonetheless, I find many aspects interesting.
Number of respondents = 24
Minimum age = 29
Maximum age = 65
Average age = 46 (see what I mean about middle age duffers?)
Minimum years following cycling = 10
Maximum years following cycling = 55
Average years following cycling = 27
Minimum Sky/Froome trust score = 1
Maximum Sky/Froome trust score = 10
Average Sky/Froome trust score = 4.8
The most common Sky/Froome trust score = 3
Number of people who almost completely do not trust Sky/Foome (9 or 10 on scale) = 4
Number of people who almost completely do trust Sky/Froome (1 or 2 on scale) = 4
This is a statistical test that produces a number between -1 and 1. -1 indicates a perfect negative correlation, and 1 indicates a perfect positive correlation. This test generated a score of 0.043. Essentially, that means these data show no correlation, neither negative nor positive. We can’t conclude anything one way or another. I usually perform this calculation by hand, but in this case I used Excel—I hope I did it right! I also sometimes perform a Spearman rank test (a similar metric) but I’m pretty certain that it won’t be any different, so I did not do this. You can see the relationship on a graph. I made a quick graph of these data, again with Excel, and the trendline is essentially flat. There is a very slight positive correlation (which would support my hypothesis!) but it’s not statistically significant and therefore meaningless.
So, apart from the numbers, what do I find interesting?
First, a shout out goes to Fredt, who is 65, has been following the sport closely for 55 years, since he was 10 years old, and reported a trust score of 1—he completely believes in team Sky and Froome, God bless his soul. Fred, if I ever run into you, I’ll buy you a beer. You must be the most earnest Sky/Froome fans in the world. Considering your feelings, I was reminded of something an old Italian coach once said to me in the Veneto, after I placed fourth in a race, and was speaking passionately about the beauty of cycling. “Bruno,” he said, placing a hand on my shoulder, “You have very naïve views about cycling.”
I was impressed by the many interesting questions raised as people tried to define their trust scores. This shows the limitation of the trust score (again, see below) but it also shows how many people have nuanced views. They don’t entirely trust Sky, but they trust Froome. Or they think Sky and Froome are pushing the limits of what is legally possible, but not enough to be considered doping. Or they raise black-and-white issues about the regulations and tests. The rules say X, Y, and Z, and there are/are not positives, so we should/should not consider a rider guilty. As we discussed much earlier in this thread, before it got contentious, there are a great number of very interesting points about legal processes, guilt and innocence, trust in institutions, the importance of believing in laws, and so on, buried in this debate. And you can see this in people’s comments about the trust scores.
Perhaps of greatest interest to me, I am left searching for an explanation as to why, or how, two groups of people, Sky/Froome supporters, and Sky/Froome detractors, can have such binary and mutually exclusive interpretations of reality. My first thought was that people trusted Sky and Froome because they only recently started following cycling, and didn’t know much about the history of the sport.” However, obviously, these data do not support that hypothesis, at least in this group of respondents.
What other explanations could there be?
First, and most obviously, there is the possibility that I am completely irrational and ignorant (hysterical, I was called by one poster) and have absolutely no idea about cycling or reality. From the various comments I have received, it would appear that many people reading this forum believe that. But, of course, I am not the only person who does not trust Sky and Froome. There are many people, far more experienced and knowledgeable than myself, indeed, far more experienced and knowledgeable than anybody on this forum, from what I can tell, who believe that Sky and Froome are dirty through and through.
Then there is the possibility that the majority of the people posting on this forum generally trust Sky and Froome because it’s a British web site, and there is some bias of nationalism or Anglo-pride. Now, before folks start jumping down my throat about this, sports obviously have a nationalistic component, so why would this not apply to cycling?
Another explanation, and again, this is controversial, is how deeply one is involved in cycling. I believe there is a big difference between following the sport, being a fan, and so on, and racing, competing, for as long as one can, at whatever level one can manage, as I did, and as perhaps some people on this forum have. There is a great danger here, of interrogating people’s cycling accomplishments, and judging them on such, and I don’t want to go down that road. I am happy to share my experience if anybody is interested (hardly!) but I’m not going to ask anybody else about their commitment to the sport. Nonetheless, I do believe that the trust many people have in Sky and Froome, not just on this forum but in general, stems from the fact that they do not know the sport well enough, and they have not raced and lived it for long enough, as competitive cyclists, and not simply as recreational cyclists, and fans. I know very few committed racers who trust Sky and Froome. So that is one possible explanation that I considered, which is sure to draw withering fire on this forum. So be it. It would be interesting to repeat this exercise with elite racers.
So, ultimately, I’m left with no real explanation for why people have such polarized views, and, completely apart from cycling, how people can look at the world, and arrive at such completely different conclusions. Humans are strange creatures.
I performed several steps to process the data.
I adjusted all the respondents’ years of following cycling to begin at 15 years of age, a point at which I judge an individual is mature enough to form their own opinions on complex issues like doping, without being too influenced by their family, friends, and so on. That’s an arbitrary number, but I think it is reasonable. I have been a high school teacher for 20 years, so I believe I have a good sense of how 15 year old process the world. Moreover, I also ran the test with the unprocessed numbers, and it was essentially identical.
When there was any ambiguity about how long a respondent has been following cycling, I choose an longer time period. For example, if somebody said, I have been following cycling since to 90’s, I entered 1990.
Several people reported that they had been following cycling for “0” years, but then wrote comments demonstrating that they had a developed sense of the sport. Based on these comments, I used their age to back-calculate their engagement with cycling since they were 15 years old, as above.
When there was any ambiguity about a respondent’s trust score (2 to 3) I choose an average (2.5)
The principal limitation, I would say, is the very selective and non-random sampling. However, as long as we restrict any conclusions we reach to this limited sample of people, middle aged duffers, posting on UKC, who choose to respond, we can mitigate this samping bias.
The second major limitation is the interpretation of the trust score. Survey questions are always tricky. It’s highly subjective, and reading over the responses, as I mentioned above, one can see that people obviously interpret the scores differently. However, allowing for this uncertainty, I think it basically confirms the majority of the posts on this subject; most of the people on this forum generally trust Sky and Froome, with some reservations, a few, like me, do not. So I have some confidence in this score.
A third limitation is the definition of what constitutes “Following cycling closely.” As above, surveys are notoriously tricky, and it would be interesting, and useful, to specific this further.
A fourth limitation is...oh, I don't know. I've spent enough time on this. I'm done!
All the best, and enjoy the Tour!
Never in the field of human surveys has such convoluted analysis been hung off such flimsy data for such transparently partisan purposes....
I've spent enough time on this.
I'm done! All the best, and enjoy the Tour!
edit: i actually read all that. so- you went to all that trouble of inventing the survey, and when it didnt show what you wanted it to, you double down on your pet theory anyway.... good grief. the one possibility you seem completely incapable of giving credence to is the obvious one- that you might just be wrong.
and the polarisation is another of your constructions, rabid Brit Froome fanboys, blinded by their patriotism. Well, that ignores that Froome is widely disliked in the UK as he is seen as a) an antagonist to national treasure Bradley Wiggins and b) a bit foreign.
and- it misrepresents people's positions. i am far from convinced Sky are 'clean', and the Adverse finding in the Vuelta remains a cloud over Froome that is unlikely ever to be dispelled. but- it looks to me that the existing tests may be unable to discriminate with acceptable accuracy between legitimate use of salbutamol for asthma and low dosing by systemic routes for potential performance enhancement. if that's the case, and the finding could plausibly be explained by legitimate use, which appears to be the position of WADA, then i dont think its reasonable to destroy an athlete's place in history on that basis. does that mean i am 100% convinced that he is clean? no, it doesn't; and if in subsequent years it comes out that Sky went past the line into out and out cheating, i wont fall off my seat in shock, But for now, i'm willing to accept WADA's position that their assessment of the evidence is that there is no case to answer.
so the question becomes- why are you so intent in characterising Froome as a cheat, when there is nothing more than innuendo to support that position at this point, and characterising those who don't agree with you as fanatics clinging to their beliefs for reasons only explainable by jingoism or naivety?
What a load of waffling bollocks. The short version is that your hypothesis falls.
> Really, I'm interested in what you think should change, and/or what you think could change.
Is cycling broken and if so can it be fixed ?
well it seems to me that the major problem for many fans is that one guy keeps winning the GTs and therefore the best way to fix that is, well, to fix it. And it seems to me that many don’t care how he is stopped, be it fair or unfair.
Cycling has had it’s problems with cheating for the very start. 20 years ago we had Festina, which came as little surprise to anyone who had read Rough Ride. Then the steady drip drip over the next dozen or so years, tales of riders dying in their sleep with treacle in the veins, Puerto, Landis and eventually Lance. So for those of us who have been watching for 30 years, and know our history, our eyes are open and our expectations are low. But we can put things into context and overuse of an inhaler isn’t the same as injecting EPO or receiving a transfusion of someone’s else blood.
now the fact that we are seeing less major names busted can mean one of two things- either less doping is going on, or the riders are using something undetectable. And whilst we are aware of the possibility of the latter, the former is more likely.
the real issue is trust. The fans don’t trust the riders not to dope, and the UCI not to cover it up. And with good reason, given the history. But at the same time it’s far too easy to shout doper when your favourite gets beaten. So is the answer more transparency? Maybe, but up to a point. I feel very strongly that athletes should be allowed privacy and medical confidentiality. And the right to seek appropriate medication without it being made public.
furthermore I don’t think releasing more data into the public domain will necessarily resolve anything. As with anything these days, you will simply get loads of people claiming the data shows what they want it to show.
So actually, as fans, we need to lower our demands a bit. Start respecting the riders rights to privacy. Accept that the TUE system has been improved. And don’t demand that “something must be done” because we don’t like a decision
Lance Armstrong won a highly dubious 7 TDFs and never tested positive. While Froome is the first person to win the four grand tours since Eddie Merx. You would need to have the naivety of a child to believe any of those 'super athletes' were clean. It bemuses me when people give them the benefit of the doubt after all that has happened.
> Lance Armstrong won a highly dubious 7 TDFs and never tested positive.
Simply untrue, it bemuses me that people continue to spout rubbish when they could easily have a little google.
> While Froome is the first person to win the four grand tours since Eddie Merx. You would need to have the naivety of a child to believe any of those 'super athletes' were clean. It bemuses me when people give them the benefit of the doubt after all that has happened.
They get the benefit of the doubt until they're caught. Alternatively we could always declare the second placed person to be the winner because obviously the winner is cheating.
I don't have a hidden camera on Froome. You do presumably?
> ... You would need to have the naivety of a child to believe any of those 'super athletes' were clean.
I wonder about this attitude that "Anyone who excels must be cheating". The only conclusion I can come to is that it's a consequence of convincing yourself that your own failures (in whatever field) are the result of others 'cheating' rather than you just not being good enough (either through genetics, talent or will-power)? "I can't excel, so I won't accept that anyone else can either". Sad way to go through life.
I think it’s more to do with following cycling for a length of time and seeing that if it’s too good to be true, it’s not true.
I don’t have any firm opinions on the Froome case (although I tend to think his money has brought a scrutiny to bear on a flawed testing regime which couldn’t withstand it, but I understand deep scepticism about him and Sky.
> What utter tosh!
> Mercedes have won the last four F1 drivers championships and the last four constructors constructors championships in a row, by your reasoning they are obviously cheats and therefore should be compelled to reveal all their telemetry and design information to their competitors with no reciprocation ?
> Tour starts in four days, really looking forward to it.
That’s not a good comparison though. You can fail to finish a Grand Prix and still win the championship, but in a grand tour one bad day and your chances are/can be up in smoke.
My comments were not related to scepticism in Froome/Sky (possibly reasonable) but about the belief that *all* athlete that excel are dopers (not reasonable IMO).
You may have a point, however, there are plenty of examples of sportsmen / sportswomen who have been through periods of total dominance of their individual sports where one bad day would end their challenge, Tiger woods, Micheal Phelps, Usain Bolt and so on and so on. Are all these people cheating druggies ? no, of course they aren't. I wouldn't even put Froome in this category as he really only targets the Grand Tours.
The point I was trying to make was that Bruno allowed his dislike of Sky and Froome to lead him to making ridiculous statements such as the one about Sky (and only Sky) to hand over their training and medical data to the world to pick through and interpret as they wish.
That Roger Federer looks well dodgy to me, I demand to see what he had for breakfast !
No idea about Federer, but there are other star tennis players who were clearly doping and had a) the evidence destroyed with the collusion of the authorities, or b) were caught, but allowed to serve their ban under a pretend injury break which allowed them to protect their ranking.
Cycling is not the only sport where doping is rife. Weight lifting, CC skiing and biathlon are other examples, but certainly tennis and football do not lag far behind. I guess it is a combination of potential benefits of doping and money to be made.
As Marek said earlier,
I wonder about this attitude that "Anyone who excels must be cheating". The only conclusion I can come to is that it's a consequence of convincing yourself that your own failures (in whatever field) are the result of others 'cheating' rather than you just not being good enough (either through genetics, talent or will-power)? "I can't excel, so I won't accept that anyone else can either". Sad way to go through life.
Well, good morning everybody.
There were some updates posted in CN this morning.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this the rough timeline/explanation?
At the Vuelta Froom returns a urine sample with a value of 2000ng/mL
The threshold at that point is 1000 ng/Ml. So it appears that Froome's urine contains double the limit.
However, regulations from as early as 2014 allow for a tolerance threshold or higher decision limit, so the limit to trigger a AAF is adjusted to 1200 ng/mL. Froome is still 800 above.
Then, in the Winter, the levels are adjusted again.
Previously, for some substances, such as growth hormones and steroids, the regulations allowed levels to be adjusted for concentration. In November, these regulations were extended to Salbutamol.
Critically, despite the fact that the new regulations only came into force in November, they were applied to Froome's sample collected before, at the Vuelta.
With the new adjustments, Froome's urine level values were lowered to 1429 ng/mL, much closer to the adjusted decision limit of 1200 ng/mL, though still higher.
(I'm not sure about the actual numbers. There are somewhat confusing explanations in two different CN articles.
"Under new rules introduced during the winter, the amount of salbutamol in Froome's sample was corrected for specific gravity to counter the effects of dehydration to 1,429ng/ml, still significantly over WADA's so-called 'decision limit' of 1,200ng/ml, which already takes into account a measure of uncertainty."
"Although TD2018DL did not go into effect until March 1, 2018, by Froome's comments, and The Times' previous report that his corrected salbutamol level was 1429ng/mL, it can be concluded that WADA retroactively applied the correction to his pending case, bringing the decision limit up from 1200ng/mL to 1680ng/mL...With an adjustment for dehydration, Froome's stage 18 Vuelta sample was still 19.05 per cent over the decision limit."
Anyway, it appears that Froom'e levels were still above the threshold, though perhaps not by much.
Froom's team submitted a long document detailing his Salutamol intake throughout the Vuelta, his medical issues, which sounds like asthma exacerbated by a lung infection, the drugs that were administered to treat his various health issues (we don't know what drugs these were), as well as his dietary supplements, all of which, the document argued, combined with his dehydration, and his particular physiology, could have pushed the Salbutamol levels in his urine over the threshold.
The regulations stipulate that the rider must undergo pharmokinetic testing to demonstrate that their body can produce urine levels higher than the decision limit, however, in this case, the governing body decided that the specifics of this case--the middle of a stage race, asthma, a lung infection, multiple medications, dietary supplements, and dehydration--were simply too difficult to replicate in a laboratory setting. The burden of proof for Froome would have been too high, the likelihood of Froome failing to replicate these conditions adequately was too high, and so they waived the necessity to undergo testing, and decided to accept Froom's explanation.
Does that seem like an accurate portrayal of how this played out, setting aside any larger issues?
Now, how do people feel about that?
I am torn.
It seems that in at least two steps of this process 1) applying new rules about urine concentration for Salbutamol to a sample taken before these rules went into effect, and 2) deciding to waive the necessity for laboratory testing, the governing body "bent" or "relaxed" or "interpreted" the rules.
On one hand, I admire the fact that the governing body was able to be flexible. I believe there should always be room to interpret rules in the context of specific situations, and reach independent conclusions. For me, the rules are rarely black and white.
On the other hand, I feel like many people will reasonably object to these actions. For example, consider the reverse: what if at the Vuelta Froome returned a urine sample with a salbutamol level lower than the threshold to trigger an AAF. Then, in the winter, they changed the rules, lowered the limit, and retroactively applied this new limit to the old sample, triggering an AAF? The outcry would be enormous! Or what about tramadol? Many pro cyclists, including, quite likely, Sky and Froome, are using this drug for a performance benefit. Next year, I understand, regulations will go into effect making tramadol illegal. What would happen if the governing bodies went back and declared positive tests for tramadol for all the blood and urine samples from the past two or three years? Again, the outcry would be enourmous. I don't entirely see how this is different from what occurred with Froome. The new rules were applied to the old sample.
Also, the fact that the requirement for laboratory testing was waived. It seems troublesome to waive the necessity to undergo testing simply because the specifics were too complicated? Is this a sustainable way to apply regulations? Does this set a dangerous precedent?
So, to reiterate, I appreciate that the governing bodies were able to be flexible in this case, but the way the rules were applied does make me concerned.
> Congrats to all the teams for reaching the top of an endurance sport while all having asthma.
That's a bit arse about face. In many cases the asthma arises as a result of reaching the top of an endurance sport. Intense exercise induced asthma is well known and very common.
My biggest critiscism of your 'survey' is that you insist on bracketing Froome and Sky as the same thing. They are not. Froome is not implicated in the Wiggins fiasco, for instance, is he ? I trust Froome further than I trust Sky
> Tiger woods, Micheal Phelps, Usain Bolt and so on and so on. Are all these people cheating druggies ?
I have a qualification in sports science and and interest in doping, so I am not completely 'green' on this subject. At the elite level, the difference in individual fitness between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place is tiny. EPO, for example, increases endurance by 5%, which in Tour de France terms means the difference between coming 1st or 150th. Doping has been widespread in elite sport since at least the 1970s up to the present day, to the extent that every 'super athlete' of the last forty years is suspect: Bolt, Navratilova, Carl Lewis, Merx, Phelps etc, and if you peruse the forums of their respective sports you will find that is the case.
What I have read is a lot of scientific waffle to excuse Froome failing a drugs test, when what the sport needs to restore it's reputation is zero tolerance.
I don't think that you can separate Sky and Froome (see my previous posts) but there is obviously great nuance and ambiguity about my simplistic trust scores.
What's your reading of the new information about the recent test/process?
So you are saying that they ARE all cheating druggies ?
Since we are all rapidly making ourselves experts in sports law and Respiratory Medicine (I think it's clear, according to my mate who runs a Med Stats team for Amgen, there are no statisticians on here), some more background reading.......
The Times: 4 July 2018
The sports scientist responsible for the salbutamol regulations that left Chris Froome fighting to save his reputation has admitted that the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) rules are flawed and need an overhaul because of the risk of false positives.
Ken Fitch said that he had to support Froome’s case, which he did with a written submission, because he felt that the Wada threshold, based on his studies, was catching innocent athletes. Professor Fitch believes that Wada’s statement clearing Froome of an adverse analytical finding (AAF) from La Vuelta last year was “unprecedented”.
Professor Fitch, who works for the University of Western Australia, told The Times: “The outcome of this is groundbreaking. It’s big not just for Chris but for asthmatic athletes and for the Wada rules. Most significantly, they have accepted that the salbutamol you take and the level in your urine do not necessarily correlate . . . They should have accepted it years ago.”
Those Wada regulations, including a maximum dose of 1,600 mcg per 24 hours (16 puffs) and a decision limit for an AAF of 1,200 ng/ml urinary concentration were based on work that Fitch led in the 1990s. Fitch was a member of the IOC medical commission for 28 years and pushed it to carry out studies to distinguish between oral and inhaled salbutamol.
“I’ll admit I made a terrible blunder,” he said. “The sport with the highest prevalence was swimming so that’s who we tested. But what happens after an hour of swimming? A full bladder. Cycling for five hours is completely different, you have little but quite concentrated urine. And a major error with our studies was that we did not measure the urine for specific gravity.
“From those studies came the threshold, which Wada increased to the 1,200 decision limit, but it was based on a false premise. The studies were never performed with the aim of finding the amount of salbutamol in urine after inhaling the allowable quantity. As I had a major role in these decisions, I acknowledge my error . . . I feel quite concerned about cases like Chris Froome.
“If I had wanted to clarify the salbutamol levels of athletes in urine after taking the permitted dose, I would have done multiple studies, administering different doses and collecting urine over a period of time, not just once an hour later. A number have been carried out . . . but they have shown the problem that the metabolism and excretion of salbutamol is capricious.”
Fitch, who served on Wada committees, has opposed Wada in cases, including that of Alessandro Petacchi, the Italian sprinter who served a one-year ban after a high salbutamol reading at the Giro d’Italia in 2007. Wada did not allow urine concentration to be corrected for specific gravity, ie dehydration, but changed the rules in the past year. “I was arguing [for that correction] in 2007. Petacchi was innocent . . . They [Wada] have to accept that the rules need changing,” Fitch said.
Dr Olivier Rabin, the agency’s director of science, has argued that “the rules are right” but said that the details of the Froome case would be sent to Wada’s listing committee for assessment.
There are suspicions within their sports regarding their performances. There is plenty of information out there if you care to seek it out.
So what ? We could / should be suspicious of every sporting achievement ever ?
What a miserable way to conduct your life.
> I don't think that you can separate Sky and Froome (see my previous posts) but there is obviously great nuance and ambiguity about my simplistic trust scores.
Just because you think it doesn't make it so. In what way did Froome participate in Jiffy Bag-gate, for instance ?
> What's your reading of the new information about the recent test/process?
Not had chance to read it yet.
Thanks for posting that - I refuse to pay any money to Murdoch so never get to read stuff from the Times!
interesting that the test was developed through analysis of swimmers, and that the guy behind it has long accepted it was flawed and did seek to defend Petacchi.
I had seen Team Sky quote the 19% figure, so thanks for showing where it has come from. Changing the thresholds is not the same as banning Tramadol. Sanctioning someone for use of a drug before it was banned would breach the rule of law. On the other hand WADA were in a position where they would have to uphold the validity of a test they acknowledged was highly flawed.
Now 19% is still over, so there is still a case to answer, but given that it was one of 15 or 20 tests taken during the race it seems they can be confident that Froome wasn’t microdosing orally (which I will admit is what I thought was a likely explanation).
So case closed, Froome can ride the TDF and the chance to join the 5 times winners club, alongside those paragons of clean cycling - Anquetil, Mercx, Hainault and Indurain
So your logic is that because many top athletes were 'suspect' (i.e., there was no evidence, just opinion) means that therefore all top athletes are dopers? For someone who claims a qualification in a 'science' that's a curious extrapolation.
As for zero tolerance, what does that actual mean in your opinion? How would it work? In the real world, not in some fantasy land where everything is black-and-white, tests are infallible and human rights don't exist.
All athletics records set before 2005 may be reset:
Again, so what ? what is the actual point you are trying to make ?
> There are suspicions within their sports regarding their performances. There is plenty of information out there if you care to seek it out.
That really is a statement of the bloody obvious. It is as if you think not everybody on a thread about doping is aware that doping exists.
Better sad than blind. Nadal and Operation Puerto?
I hope you really enjoy being miserable, all the evidence would indicate that you do.
Are you happier closing your eyes hoping the bad monsters go away?
Personally I'm happier not seeing a monster behind every single doorway. Possibly because I'm blind, or I don't open any doors or possibly because there isn't a monster behind every door.
Of course just because I believe something it is not necessarily true. That's why I sue words like "I think" "I believe" "My view is" and so on.
We could jst as well flip it around: just because you don't think Sky and Froome should be considered together, doesn't mean you are correct either, right? That's just your opinion.
I would say (there are those words again...what follows is simply my opinion) that guilt by association is an established concept.
For example, considering the conduct of the Russians at the Sochi Olympics, does a small question mark hang over your head when you watch Russian athletes performing in sports? What about the Chinese female swim team, which was once found to have levels of testosterone approaching that of their male counterparts, if I remember correctly.
In my opinion (emphasis on my opinion) the conduct of organizations in the past should influence how we view their actions in the present.
That seems reasonable, especially if the management, structure, and attitude of the organization has not changed.
Can you see what I am trying to say? You don't have to agree with me, of course, but can you perhaps accept that what I propose is not preposterous?
Released close enough to the tour that other teams will be unwilling to change their fuelling strategies to something untested. But it'll be there niggling at them that they're not refuelling as well as they could (possibly).
Its an interesting read and also has nothing to do with Salbutemol or the Vuelta, so is a good PR move from Sky.
As you say its difficult to see other teams risking changing their fuelling regime this close to the off, if, indeed, they think they want to (interesting comment in there re Simon Yates).
Froomes race and training programme are going to pretty different to just about anyone else there, I'd guess. All Grand Tours and nothing else.
Depressing how small even their big day breakfast is
I think the default is that you assume that individuals aren't the same as the organisation, so I don't assume you are speaking for UKC on these forums and that seems like a reasonable starting point or I don't count Paul Pogba as being the same thing as Manchester United. I'd have less of an issue with the assertion if you put Brailsford and Sky in the same bracket.
OK, I can understand your point of view, even if I don't agree with it. We could also probably agree that it depends on what organizations and individuals we are talking about. We just have different views about to what extent one should or should not associate Sky and Froome.
But he got to eat loads! Sometimes. For the sake of transparency I assume that all teams will now release this information.
> Its an interesting read and also has nothing to do with Salbutemol or the Vuelta, so is a good PR move from Sky.
> As you say its difficult to see other teams risking changing their fuelling regime this close to the off, if, indeed, they think they want to (interesting comment in there re Simon Yates).
> Froomes race and training programme are going to pretty different to just about anyone else there, I'd guess. All Grand Tours and nothing else.
> Depressing how small even their big day breakfast is
And a gob smacking marginal gain. To everyone who says that all teams have the same knowledge and approach, I suggest they think again.
Back to the original thread topic, I'm not sure how well this comes across (cyclingnews).:
Froome doesn't hold a grudge against Hinault. "He's one of the great champions. I imagine with age sometimes your wires get a little bit crossed, but if I see him I'll very happily explain it all in a bit more detail ... because he certainly got the wrong end of the stick," Froome said.
Aye, that's what his media aware mouth said to a stirring it journo.
But what does he really think?
Well I'm reading, "the old man's lost it" and "with all due respect"
I read that as, "Hinault is a dodering old fool who is becoming senile."
Froome better be careful--if you cross The Badger, you might get a fist to the face!
Yes, I think you're right but I'd guess, in his mind he'd originally framed in more harsh terms.
Certainly, a nice semi-subtle repossed that does him some credit.
Has anybody read Hinault's book? It's a rare treasure.
It contains one of my favorite Hinault quotes, "On the climb I decided to attack to see if he had any guts, and, the answer was, he hadn't any!"
Love him or hate him, he's a great character.
I think my popcorn just burnt
Hinault is a great champion who behaves like a petulant child, refusing to take a doping test after the 1982 tour, defending a proven drug cheat, Laurent Jalabert, attempting to instigate a strike over the Froome case but happy to call Merkx a great champion despite three failed drugs tests.
Consistency may not be his strong suit.
Hinault was meant to be the villain of ‘slaying the badger’ but somehow his charm came through. And as for consistency, his GT record is extraordinarily consistent. 12 starts, 10 wins, twice second, abandoned the other time, in the lead.
However I think it now time for him to accept the judgment and call for fair play from the French roadside fans. Especially after Fitch’s remarkable admission re the tests and thresholds he developed
Given the way Hinault, Lapartien, Prudhomme, Virenque etc have incited animosity towards Froome, I think that it is inevitable that some sort of incident will affect the race. If they are concerned about the reputation of the race, they need to take action to reduce that risk
We really found something we can agree on! No irony, seriously. I love your description of Hinault: a petulant child. That's really how he comes off in his book. Sure, he's courageous, strong-willed, independent, and so forth, but he's also arrogant, bitter, petulant, etc.
But you have to love those old photos of him grimacing as he grinds out the kilometers, of jumping off his bike to punch those protesters, or, more recently, flying through the air, horizontal to the ground, arms outstretched, like superman, to knock pesky fans off the podium in the Tour.
Interesting article--Not sure I agree with his point of view, but plenty of ideas.
Long article but I would summarise it as follows:
Froome escaped sanction because he an expensive legal team. Therefore, in fairness to those who can’t afford such a legal team, let’s just get rid of WADA. Let’s throw out the baby with the bath water and just give up on Anti-doping.
Now the curious thing here is that there is no mention of the Fitch interview, either in the article, or on the VeloNews website, or on CyclingNews.com, or even on the BBC. (Someone correct me if I am wrong) Surely the headlines everywhere should be:
”i made a terrible blunder” says scientist in Froome case
(See post by Nevis at 9:53 for full transcript)
That interview changes everything. Froome didn’t get off on a technicality. He got off because the thresholds had been incorrectly calculated, and the basic premise of the test is dubious. Moreover the guy who did the research has been trying to tell WADA for 10years.
So why isn’t VeloNews reporting it ?
It would appear from the linked article below, written by a certain Mr Fitch, that Sky could have avoided the whole salbutamol issue if they'd applied for a TUE for Froome.
They do know what a TUE is don't they?
I agree--the Fitch article is very interesting, and definitely makes me think that Froome could have crossed the threshold by using is regular/the maximum allowed number of doses. That said, I allow some room for alternative perspectives. Even though Fitch played a central role in developing the test, surely there were others involved, also very knowledgeable and experienced, who might have a different view? Also, where is the deluge of false positives that we would expect, if the test was so poor? But, like I said, I basically agree. I have no more confidence in the Salbutamol test.
I think it also raises bigger issues, not just about salbutamol but testing in general. Many people on this forum have argued, "The rules and the rules, even if you don't like them, and, until they change, they have to be applied, because that's the only way to trust in the sport and in individuals."
That's a valid perspective, again, even if I don't totally agree. So where does that leave people who argued this position?
We had rules, deeply flawed rules that needed to be changed, but the rules were the rules. And the rules were not applied consistently (see my post above, retroactively applied new standards for salbutamol specific gravity, and waiving the requirement for laboratory testing).
Moreover, we have no seen that when people who are able challenge WADA and the UCI, they can not supoort their own regulations. Where does that leave us?
Deep changes are needed. And again, I don't agree with the previous article I posted, although I think that adding regulations to protect riders health in addition to more robust regular testing is part of the way forward.
When the science changes you don't knowingly apply the outdated science to produce a wrong decision that cannot be defended if appealled. Are you suggesting otherwise for the sake of consistency?
No, I am not suggesting otherwise for the sake of consistency. If you read my post above, you can get a better sense of where I stand. As I said, imagine the reverse: there were new regulations about salbutamol, perhaps lowering the acceptable limit, and these new limits were retrospectively applied to samples from the past--there would be an uproar! How is that situation different?
To be clear, when the science changes, and we have new/better information, we should definitely change the rules. But I'm not sure it's correct to change the rules with processes that began beforehand and are in currently being processed.
To the best of my knowledge, that is not how the civil and criminal justice system works--rules are applied based on what they were at the time when the procedures were initiated.
To be clear, I am glad that they governing bodies were able to bend or change the the rules. It demonstrates flexibility and independence of thought. But I think it has serious implication for the legal system and due process.
> We had rules, deeply flawed rules that needed to be changed, but the rules were the rules. And the rules were not applied consistently (see my post above, retroactively applied new standards for salbutamol specific gravity, and waiving the requirement for laboratory testing).
Except that the rules were followed, apart from the key one about confidentiality.
People still seem to think that strict liability applies in cases like this. It doesn’t. It is, to quote Vaughters, an amber warning. The threshold at which the flag is raised has been corrected, but Froome would still have been flagged. But the flag itself does not constitute proof, because there are so many variables. It’s merely the starting point for an investigation.
I think the rate of false positives, or rather cases where the flag is raised but the case doesn’t proceed, is well over 50%. Which does indicate that a review is required. But the main thing we have to acknowledge is that the human body is not machine or a computer - input via one port doesn’t lead to consistent output via another.
I hear what you are saying Chris, and I think that the Vaughter's interview is really good.
However, I maintain that the rules were changed.
The new regulation about specific gravity was applied to a sample, and legal proceeding, from the past, initiated at a point when these new regulations did not apply to salbutamol
The requirement of laboratory testing was waived--this is less clear cut in my mind, because, although the regulations did/do say that a rider must submit to pharmokinetic testing, perhaps there was/is precedence to accept written documentation. I just don't know.
So, as much as I appreciate that the rules were changed, it seems dangerous.
For example, just in general, we often hear, "I light of new evidence, we have decided to drop the charges." But we never hear (except now), 'In light of new evidence, we have decided to change the rules."
If the rules can change constantly, without due process and consistency, then the rules are essentially meaningless.
Imagine a policeman/woman, "I'm going to arrest you and change you for this crime or violation, but, before you get sentenced, the rules about this crime/violation might change."
And to repeat, there were many people here arguing for the supremacy of rules previously, for example, to support Froome's right to race sub justice, or to say that the rules, their consistency and fair application, should be used as the basis for judgements of guilt or innocence.
Where are those voices now?
I'm really struggling to see what point you are trying to make here. You are clearly not happy about something but for the life of me I can't see what it is specifically.
I think you're barking up the wrong tree. The issue is not one of retrospective application of the law but rather the scrutiny that this high profile case has brought to the dodgy science.
> No, I am not suggesting otherwise for the sake of consistency. If you read my post above, you can get a better sense of where I stand. As I said, imagine the reverse: there were new regulations about salbutamol, perhaps lowering the acceptable limit, and these new limits were retrospectively applied to samples from the past--there would be an uproar! How is that situation different?
You don't apply new regulations retrospectively to convict an athlete.
You do apply current knowledge to current cases such as Froome.
You may have to apply current knowledge to retrospectively exonerate people.
> To be clear, when the science changes, and we have new/better information, we should definitely change the rules. But I'm not sure it's correct to change the rules with processes that began beforehand and are in currently being processed.
If the science changes and old rules & decisions are no longer defensible then you might have to exonerate some people. There's no point adding Chris Froome to the list of people to be exonerated.
> To the best of my knowledge, that is not how the civil and criminal justice system works--rules are applied based on what they were at the time when the procedures were initiated.
I think you are very wrong there. In the criminal justice system new evidence that discredits a conviction is supposed to result in a conviction being quashed.
> To be clear, I am glad that they governing bodies were able to bend or change the the rules. It demonstrates flexibility and independence of thought. But I think it has serious implication for the legal system and due process.
Not being able to defend a decision does have serious (and potentially expensive) consequences.
> However, I maintain that the rules were changed.
No, the rules weren’t changed. The guidelines and thresholds were changed, but it made no difference as Froome was still over, so an investigation was begun.
> The new regulation about specific gravity was applied to a sample, and legal proceeding, from the past, initiated at a point when these new regulations did not apply to salbutamol
Now we come to the analysis of evidence, and it is a nonsense to disregard evidence until it has made its way into the regulations. Regulations follow evidence, not the other way round.
> Where are those voices now?
Still here, but if you don’t mind I’m just off for a bike ride! Hopefully I won’t crash this time
So all your attacking of Froome seems to be based on a bad test and the fact that 'he's winning so, no smoke without fire'
Oawhh, did you have to do that ? the last few embers were quietly smouldering ..... ;-)
You might want to get some fish to go with the chip you seem to have on your shoulder
Here are my points:
I think the change in the way the urine values is analyzed is an ex post facto process. To my knowledge, such actions are generally prohibited (any lawyers out there?). When the new analysis method was applied to Froome's sample, it significantly reduced it's value. The new value was still above the decision limit, but much less than before, making if far easier for WADA to dismiss his case. Note that WADA themselves seem to believe that the new analysis constituted a rule change, because in the winter they published an update regulation about it.
I absolutely agree that the new method seems to the best way to test for salbutamol, and I agree that not using this method would have created its own controversy. However, to ignore the implications of an ex post facto process seems like a convenient way to avoid a difficult point. As I said, imagine if the situation was reversed, and an athlete was sanctioned because a sample previously judged to be clean was later judged to be dirty using a new method of analysis.
I also think that waiving the requirement that an athlete submit to laboratory testing was not a fair and consistent application of the rules. I uderstand the reasosn that they give, but changing their own stated process has consequences. It shifts the burden of proof from the athlete to the agency, and I think it will lead to far more challenges in the future, for AAFs and positive tests, for sabutamol, and other drugs.
These issues are important regardless of whether or not you think Froome is innocent or guilty.
I think that how you view these development depends on whether or not you consider the new method for adjusting urine values an ex post facto process, and/or whether or not you consider the waiving of the requirement for laboratory test a consistent and fair application of the rules.
On these points, I suspect, there be differences of opinion, but no clear right or wrong.
> As I said, imagine if the situation was reversed, and an athlete was sanctioned because a sample previously judged to be clean was later judged to be dirty using a new method of analysis.
Well, that does happen - clearly the outrage hasn't been overwhelming:
(P.S. thanks for your earlier reply to a post of mine)
Thanks for that link. Interesting. I didn't know that was possible. Do you think that it applies to WADA and cycling, in addition to the Olympics?
What do you think would happen if a urine of blood sample from Froome was retrospectively found to be positive, and he was sanctioned? Do you think he would challenge the ruling? How do you think people would react?
Just one little point, you keep referring to the requirement to undergo lab testing, viz "I also think that waiving the requirement that an athlete submit to laboratory testing was not a fair and consistent application of the rules". As far as I can tell that isn't a requirement. The cycling news piece you quoted dates that "The agency's press release confirmed that Froome did not undergo the controlled pharmacokinetic study (CPKS) allowed under WADA rules". This seems to suggest that laboratory/cpks testing is allowed but isn't required.
It's true. I'm not clear on that point. My understanding or reading of the rules is that an athlete was required to undergo testing. That may not be the case (obviousy is not the case?). I'm about to go for a bike ride (yey!) but I will try to look up that point.
Just to answer a question I posed, I think that if a urine of blood sample from Froome was retrospectively found to be positive because of new test method, and he was sanctioned, his fans would raise a holy war cry, and his legal team would crush the case. Do others agree or disagree?
Oh, you'd stated it so often I thought you might already have checked.
Regarding retrospective bans, as linked by Kamala, it would seem that there is an important distinction:
Applying a new testing method to analyze old samples for drugs that were banned or controlled at the time
Applying a new testing method to analyze old samples for drugs that were not banned or controlled at the time, but are now?
Can they do that? Should they do that?
Yes, retrospective testing by WADA is common, but there is evidence that certain star athletes received special treatment a few years ago (deliberate destruction/contamination of b samples invalidating the test, fake injury breaks rather than bans, etc...).
Talking of special treatment, I recently saw a "documentary" virtually pitting stage winners from different decades (Merckx, Jean Francois Bernard, Virenque, Pantani, and Juan Garate) against each other up to a finish on Ventoux. The "winner" was actually quite surprising! My wrong bet was Pantani, especially as I remember him racing Armstrong to the finish line. Virenque, Garate, and Bernard commented that virtual race.
Virenque was quite open about doping, but what I found more amazing is that he had to wait 3,5 hours in the traffic jam to get down after his stage win, while the organizers had hired an helicopter to spare Armstrong the same hassle.
No this is for drugs banned at the time.
I just got back from a bike ride (Engadin, mountain bike, alpine singletrack, awesome place, you should visit).
As I was waiting for the cabin that brings you up to the top, I realized that I have completely changed my view about this case.
I think the WADA decision was correct.
There are two things that changed my mind.
1) The link above, that shows there is a legal precedent for retroactively applying new testing methods to old samples.
2) The Fitch interview, which shows that the salbutamol test is likely deeply flawed.
Taken together, these are powerful reasons to drop the case, and I understand why they did not require Froome to submit to testing, whether it was in the rules or not. Really, I don't think WADA had any other choice. In light of the precedent and evidence, they would most likely have lost in court, and perhaps rightly so.
A feeling of unfairness remains about the fact that the only reason this is went so far is that Froome and Sky had the resources to mount a strong defense. If it had been a lesser rider, they would likely be serving a ban. However, I have to weigh what I view as the negative influence against money and power against the possibility that this decision might lead to positive changes that strengthen WADA.
Anyway, the important thing is, they made the right decision.
I imagine many of the people who have been posting on the forum are delighted with my reversal, so let me say it for you:
Ha, Ha, Nanny, Nanny Bo Boo, I was wrong and you were right, you won and I lost.
There, I said it.
Now, as for the larger question of trust in Sky and Froome...I did not believe in them long before the salbutamol affair, and I still don't.
I don't want to see Froome win the Tour. But, if he does win, or even if he does not, I hope he pulls of a ride like his attack on the Finestre. That was amazing.
OK, all the best,
Have you read this article? -
I don't think that the Sky team had otherwise they'd have avoided the whole salbutamol affair.
What a prime chump Sir Dave Brailsford is. From today's Guardian:
"As Team Sky faced the Tour de France press corps in rural Vendée, Froome and Sir Dave Brailsford maintained that Froome’s adverse analytical process should never have been made public.
“When somebody’s accused of something they haven’t done and that becomes public, then anyone with any sense of fairness would look at that and think that’s challenging,” he [Brailsford] said."
Read that again: "When somebody’s accused of something they haven’t done." I look forward to Prof Brailsford's analysis of the UK legal system.
Sorry, I can't see the connection between the WADA/UCI rules (which state that the results of the test should stay confidential until the process has run it's course) and the UK legal system (which as far as I know says nothing about potential AAFs). Am I missing something?
> What a prime chump Sir Dave Brailsford is. From today's Guardian:
> "As Team Sky faced the Tour de France press corps in rural Vendée, Froome and Sir Dave Brailsford maintained that Froome’s adverse analytical process should never have been made public.
Sorry, but as much I understand your dislike of him, he is correct. Froome has his reputation destroyed unfairly. And all based on a test which we now know was disowned 11 years ago by the scientist who developed it.
now the guardian, along with Le Monde, broke this story in the first place. Fair enough, you can’t expect either to reject a story of this magnitude. But when you breach someone’s privacy for the sake of a scoop, you have a responsibility to ensure you report the conclusion of the case fully and honestly. I’ve not checked La Monde, but there is no mention of Ken Fitch and his crucial testimony on the Guardian website
As a long standing guardian supporter, and no fan of any part of the Murdoch empire, I’m pretty disappointed at that
I'm expecting that when/if full details of the findings and reasoning are released, the Guardian and other papers will fully analyze the implications.
Would you have preferred that this entire episode - and any related implications regarding, for example, the testing protocols - had been conducted in secret?
The main problem here has been the absurd length of time involved.
Meanwhile, in Brittany, the pantomime begins ! You have to say the Bardet comes through this really well IMO. Well balanced comments.
> Meanwhile, in Brittany, the pantomime begins !
I wonder how Froome is preparing for three weeks of daily piss drenchings.
Can't be a pleasant prospect.
I like Bardets comments - he's aiming to ride 5 wheels back for that reason.
Seriously, I hope that if it does happen there are arrests PDQ.
The AAF should have been confidential until the UCI decided to proceed with a doping case, at which point the rider is suspended. That’s the rule, and there are good reasons for that rule. Somebody at the UCI decided to leak the story and we then had 6 months of people calling for the rules to be ignored and Froome given an immediate ban.
When the UCI announced their decision, the details were sparse. Again good reasons for this, especially given the proximity to the start of the tour. Now many, myself included, felt that the UCI & WADA had been bulldozed by the power of Sky’s legal team. A lot of the news articles, both specialist and general, left readers believing that might had prevailed over right.
And then the Ken Fitch testimony appeared. A complete game changer. The scientist repudiating his own research, or at least saying it’s application in cycling is wholly inappropriate. And that he said that in a previous case 11 years.
Now I can understand a weekly podcast getting the first bit of the story out, and not the second, but with 24 hour rolling news websites it’s a different matter. Another one today - CyclingNews has Dick Pound saying Froome has dodged a bullet thanks to his expensive legal team, still no mention of Fitch.
Why does this matter? I genuinely don’t care if Froome wins the TDF, but I do want to see a good, fair race. If this is how the English speaking media is behaving, I dread to think what the French media is doing. By creating a feeling that Froome has escaped justice you incite vigilantes. I don’t want to see Froome knocked of his bike, or crucial stages neutralised because fans have blocked the road. Booing isn’t very nice, but if that’s as bad as it gets i’ll be amazed.
so yes, it would have been better if this case had remained secret. Maybe one good outcome is that WADA will get more money, and so can do some proper research on Salbutamol in cyclists, rather than swimmers. But let’s not forget how trivial Sal is in the pantheon of drugs, so maybe any extra money could be better spent.
> I don’t want to see Froome knocked of his bike, or crucial stages neutralised because fans have blocked the road.
I don't want to see anything like that either.
> Maybe one good outcome is that WADA will get more money, and so can do some proper research on Salbutamol in cyclists
If the UCI and WADA have been using the Salbutamol guidelines inappropriately, and that's been the case for eleven years, then something is seriously fucked up - and it might be that the last thing needed is 'more money.' In any case, the fact that discussions about this might now proceed in the open - rather than being hushed up, behind closed doors - sounds like a very good thing to me.
> If the UCI and WADA have been using the Salbutamol guidelines inappropriately, and that's been the case for eleven years, then something is seriously f*cked up ...
THAT I think is the root of the problem, although in their slight defense, it's a much harder problem to manage that many people give them credit for.
> In any case, the fact that discussions about this might now proceed in the open - rather than being hushed up, behind closed doors - sounds like a very good thing to me.
Agreed, but (a) it's a pity that Froome/Sky/cycling-in-general are having to take the flack for what is essentially a WADA/UCI f*ckup, and (b) I'm not convinced that the UCI (at least) are likely to do much about it. After all, it now seems that the only rules that were definitely broken were by the UCI in leaking Froome's result to the press and I'm not hearing any apologies or promises of investigation from Lappartient on that account.
The funny thing (to some extent) is that people have bemoaned that only Sky have the resources to defend their riders in this sort of situations, but the flip side is that if this case had involved a non-Sky rider, it would not have been leaked and we wouldn't have seen what a mess WADA/UCI are really in. Silver lining?
> Read that again: "When somebody’s accused of something they haven’t done." I look forward to Prof Brailsford's analysis of the UK legal system.
That's utter bollocks - the Police and then the CPS look at the evidence and then decide if there is a case to answer. If there is not, no charges are made or no prosecution takes place. A more valid comparison are when some weak-bladdered bed-wetter leaks a story (such as that poor bloke 'accused' of murder in Bristol, who subsequently got some form of recompense for his upset).
The Froome affair is clearly in that category that should have been dismissed out of hand and quietly - a flawed testing regime with evidence to boot. It's like saying you look like the person in the CCTV footage and therefore you are guilty, when a simple investigation would have shown that you were sitting on an aeroplane to Australia at the time.
I want to see the UCI hunt down the weak-bladdered bed-wetter. Wouldn't it be interesting if they resembled a large British nocturnal mammal covering its tracks.
You're aware that not every charge results in a 'guilty' verdict? (That's to say: in the UK legal system, it's quite common for somebody to be formally and publicly accused of something that the court later decides that 'they haven't done.')
It's really quite irrelevant. The uci rules say the information is not made public unless there is an AAF. So the uci either changes the rules and makes all such cases public or it follows its own rules and keeps the information private. A rule that says you can release the information as long as sky/froome are involved would seem unfair to some people.
Chris Froome's statement to le monde https://www.teamsky.com/article/chris-froome-writes-in-le-monde
> ... So the uci either changes the rules and makes all such cases public or it follows its own rules and keeps the information private ...
I agree with you.
If you look at my original remark, it was a comment on the remarkably buffoonish statement by Prof Sir David Brailsford QC.
Prof Brailsford, Sir David Brailsford QC? Has he pinched your sweetie money?
> Would you have preferred that this entire episode - and any related implications regarding, for example, the testing protocols - had been conducted in secret?
The sticklers for 'the rules' on this thread, would have to agree, I'm sure, since that is one of the said rules...
Yes, I would. And if any changes in rules came about due to representations from in camera defence, they should then be publicly disclosed and adopted.
All the rules are arbitrary. But, if they are supposed to be based on ensuring the health of athletes, whilst allowing those with medical conditions to compete, they should be based on good science. The existing rule does not appear to have been based on good science.
> If you look at my original remark, it was a comment on the remarkably buffoonish statement by Prof Sir David Brailsford QC.
However you may choose to deride him, the fact remains that he was correct. Be careful where you cast your buffoonish stones.
Another hater that should be eating humble pie, get over it princess.
> Prof Brailsford, Sir David Brailsford QC? Has he pinched your sweetie money?
No: I simply no longer trust him. The prevarications in the evidence he gave to the Select Committee are one reason. Jiffygate in toto is another.
> You're aware that not every charge results in a 'guilty' verdict? (That's to say: in the UK legal system, it's quite common for somebody to be formally and publicly accused of something that the court later decides that 'they haven't done.')
Yes, poppet. But first it behoves the prosecution to make sure that they've actually got some sort of a case before they make it all public, not to go hopping up and down saying "Ooh! Ooh! we've got one!" before they've thought it through a bit and examined their case to make sure that it does actually have some substance. In this case, this does not apply to the UCI itself but it does to the afore-mentioned weak-bladdered bed-wetter who leaked it. Set the Badger on him, for making the Badger look rather ridiculous et al
> You're aware that not every charge results in a 'guilty' verdict? (That's to say: in the UK legal system, it's quite common for somebody to be formally and publicly accused of something that the court later decides that 'they haven't done.')
I'm still not seeing why you think that the UK legal process is relevant to the rules of what is essentially a game? Are you going to suggest next that lying (aka bluffing) in poker is cheating because you not supposed to lie in court? Cycling is a games with it's own arbitrary rules. If you comply with them you're 'clean', if you don't then you're cheating.
> But first it behoves the prosecution to make sure that they've actually got some sort of a case before they make it all public,
> In this case, this does not apply to the UCI itself but it does to the afore-mentioned weak-bladdered bed-wetter who leaked it.
Who did the leaking? Do you/we know? Presumably it might well have been somebody directly connected with the 'UCI itself.'
> Are you going to suggest next that lying (aka bluffing) in poker is cheating because you not supposed to lie in court?
Um - no!
> Cycling is a games with it's own arbitrary rules. If you comply with them you're 'clean', if you don't then you're cheating.
I'm back! Ha, maybe you all thought you got rid of me, once I changed my mind about the WADA decision.
I think that leaks and whistleblowers perform an important role in society. There are many important events and facts that we only know about because of leaks and whistleblowers. For example, I live in Switzerland, and I think it's great that there were leaks and whistleblowers about Switzerland's disgusting history of banking secrecy, unlawful behavior, and corruption. These leaks are considered illegal in Switzerland, and some of the people involved have been prosecuted, but the leaks lead to massive changes in banking, and have moved Swiss banks toward greater transparency and compliance.
Likewise, I'm really glad we know that Wiggins applied for a received TUEs for powerful corticosteroids, which he used three times before his grand tour victories. This behavior was "legal" in the sense that he applied for and received a TUE, but "illegal" in the sense that, in my view, and the views of many others, there was no actual medical need for the corticosteroids, and they were in fact used for their systemic metabolic and lipolytic effects. Furthermore, despite the fact that Wiggins wrote in his book that he never used needles, the leak showed that he had, in fact been injected with drugs many times.
So, despite the fact that this information most likely came from Russian hacking, in response to their ban from sports because of their doping, I appreciate that it came to light.
I think in these cases you have to weigh the invasion of privacy of individuals against the positive effect of the knowledge. For example, in the Russian case, I believe that a British female athlete was revealed to have an embarrassing medical condition. That her private medical history was revealed is unfair, but I think that when weighed against the unfairness of the Wiggins/Sky history remaining secret, it worth the cost.
These are personal decisions--how much one values privacy vs. how much value you place on what is revealed.
So, to make a long story short, I am glad there are leaks and whistleblowers, in society, and in cycling.
The people talking about the great crime of the leak sound a lot like the Trump administration trying to pretend that the real crimes that are occurring are the leaks from the administration, and not the actions of the administration itself.
OK, so I've brought politics into it. What other controversial issues should be discuss? Religion? Global warming?
> So, to make a long story short, I am glad there are leaks and whistleblowers, in society, and in cycling.
Leaking in isolation is neither good nor bad, you have to look at the likely motivations of the leaker (since we rarely know for sure) and the subject matter of the leak.
If it's a leak about illegal activities which might go unnoticed otherwise then it's defensible.
If it's a leak to discredit undeservedly a cyclist and to subject him to trial by social media irrespective of proper process, I'm not so sure. If the person had leaked the info about WADA tests being rubbish or about the UCI covering up a positive *after* due process, then that would have been defensible and creditable, but that's not what this was.
It's too simplistic to just say "leaks are good". Would you want your doctor to leak details of your medical records if there was something 'interesting' in it just because he didn't like you? That, I would suggest, is a close analogy to what seems to have happened.
I see you point Marek. What you say makes sense.
I would say it all comes back to whether of not you think Froome is clean or not.
If you think he's not clean, you would probably approve of any leak that could potentially share that information with the world. That would be close to your first condition, "a leak about illegal activities which might go unnoticed otherwise." And of course, if you think that Froome is clean, you would probably object to any leak that could unfairly damage his reputation.
Personally, I don't think this leak was motivated by a simple desire to destroy Froome's character and see him crucified on social media and by the public.
Rather, I think the leak occurred because somebody had good reason to believe that he is doping, and wanted the world to know about it.
Again, I suspect that how you view this just comes back to whether or not you think Froome is guilty or innocent, although there might be ethical issues or perspectives that I am overlooking.
Here's looking forward to 19 days of drafting interspersed with a couple of days racing when the asthma flares up!
The mappage on the TdF site looks good this year, easily navigable (the website) unlike the dreadful Giro site.
Let's not forget that the WADA decision (which I think was the right decision) does not prove Froome's innocence, neither in this particular case, nor in any general sense.
Recall that, even after adjustment, his urine levels were above the decision limit.
Now, considering that the salbutamol test is likely flawed, I can understand why WADA choose not to sanction Froome because he was over the limit.
Despite Fitch's testimony, we really don't know how effective the sabutamol test is. We don't know its sensitivity and specificity when applied to cyclists in multi-day events. We don't know how it is affected by hydration status, other medications, concurrent health issues, and so on. It would be interesting to see more research about this, and I hope that research is performed, and incorporated into new regulations.
One point being made is, "If the test is so flawed, why don't we see more false positives?" Well, for one thing, if the procedures are followed (no leaks) then there might be many false positives that are later cleared that we don't know about. But, still, it does seem that there is a suspicious lack of false positives surrounding this supposedly incredibly inaccurate test.
Last, there was an article linked above hat I have not had the chance to read completely, but this point did catch my eye:
"Although asthmatic athletes achieved outstanding sporting success during the 1950s and 1960s before any anti-doping rules existed, since introduction of the Code’s policies on some drugs to manage asthma results at the Olympic Games have revealed that athletes with confirmed asthma/airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) have outperformed their non-asthmatic rivals."
Really? Athletes with confirmed asthma have outperformed their non-asthmatic rivals?
If true, I can think of several explanations:
1) Athletes with asthma have asthma because their are training harder and longer, and this very hard and long training has exacerbated or triggered their symptoms, and lead to greater sports success.
2) There may be some sort of obscure aspects of physiology associated with airway response, the immune system and so on, that lead to asthma, and are correlated with characteristics that lead to superior sports performance.
3) Once rules were introduced regulating asthma medication, an opportunity arose for athletes to declare that they have asthma, and then use this diagnosis as an excuse to use drugs like salbutamol. The asthma medications, used in inhaled form, could then be used to mask the use of the same drugs in injected or injected form, which has clear performance enhancing effects.
I think the third explanation is the most parsimonious.
And yes, of course, I know that Froome's asthma is well documented, and most likely real. I beleive that Froome truly does have Asthma. I think his documented asthma makes it even easier and more convenient to use salbutamol as a PED.
What do I think Froome is doing? I think he's using is inhaler when and how he needs to control his asthma. And in addition I think he's using injected or ingested salbutamol for its performance enhancing effects. At the Vuelta, he and his team probably blew it. They didn't regulate the dosages correctly, and the values in his urine were higher than they expected. However, because of the very real uncertainty surrounding the test, they escaped sanction. I also think that Froome is doing other things, like micro-dosing steroids, EPO, CERA, whatever, at different times in the season, to increase his performance.
But of course that is just my opinion.
Froome 7/5 to win with William Hill.
Richie Porte 5/1
everone else >10/1
While anything is possible in sport this probably tells us all we need to know about who's going to win.
> Personally, I don't think this leak was motivated by a simple desire to destroy Froome's character and see him crucified on social media and by the public.
Then why didn't the leaker wait until there was something illegal-that-was-being-covered-up? Instead they leaked information which anyone could guess would cause a furor in the press and social media irrespective of Froome's guilt or innocence?
> Rather, I think the leak occurred because somebody had good reason to believe that he is doping, and wanted the world to know about it.
What 'good reason'? Waiting for the process to complete might have provide 'good reason', but this was just malicious (IMO).
> Again, I suspect that how you view this just comes back to whether or not you think Froome is guilty or innocent, although there might be ethical issues or perspectives that I am overlooking.
> Let's not forget that the WADA decision (which I think was the right decision) does not prove Froome's innocence, neither in this particular case, nor in any general sense.
> Recall that, even after adjustment, his urine levels were above the decision limit.
> Now, considering that the salbutamol test is likely flawed, I can understand why WADA choose not to sanction Froome because he was over the limit.
It's uci's decision, not wada's. Is it even vaguely embarrassing to be so uninformed?
The rest of the post? Blahblhblahuninformedrumourblahblahincorrectmuckspreadingignorantblahblahblah.
But that's just my opinion, obviously.
> Let's not forget that the WADA decision (which I think was the right decision) does not prove Froome's innocence, neither in this particular case, nor in any general sense.
Sorry but that is nonsense. In any reasonable justice system there is a threshold of evidence to prove guilt (e.g., beyond reasonable doubt). If that threshold is not reached then the person is deemed innocent. You cannot and do not prove innocence. Particularly when the accusation is that the person did something, it is logically impossible to prove innocence.
So yes. Froome is formally innocent. No ifs, buts or perhapses.
Still got that chip then.
> Sorry but that is nonsense. In any reasonable justice system there is a threshold of evidence to prove guilt (e.g., beyond reasonable doubt). If that threshold is not reached then the person is deemed innocent.
This is going over old ground, but you are incorrect: in the English justice system, at least, a verdict of 'not guilty' is definitely not the same thing as formally declaring that the person is 'innocent.'
> What other controversial issues should be discuss? Religion? Global warming?
None. Not even drug cheating in cycling.
Rest of thread: I've followed this with interest being a racing fan since c.1978. I respect Froome as an athlete but am no fan mainly because I'm unimpressed with his style (not the elbows, more the poor form (gels after the cutoff, holding up the peloton because his team mate crashed, Wiggins & 2012) and that I personally can't take to him at all) and I hate Sky (partly because it's Murdoch, partly because of their unfair resourcing) but...there's a strong echo from some posts which sounds like "BURN THE WITCH" to me.
I hope to see Bardet on the top step in three weeks time. I'll be happy if Froome is somewhere near but not near enough, beaten by class but not cups of urine or punches to the kidney. qv: Merckx, Thevenet. I'm not optimistic that this is going to be a good tour.
> It's uci's decision, not wada's. Is it even vaguely embarrassing to be so uninformed?
Careful. The crucial decision in this case did come from WADA, namely that their tests were nowhere near reliable enough given the circumstances and other evidence in this case. Very pedantic to then claim the UCI had a realistic decision on whether to sanction Froome given the advice they got from WADA
You know I like Froome but I agree with you, to see Bardet win would be great, the racing would be hopefully good, the tension, and seeing France absolutely loose it’s mind would wonderful in a nice way.
> You know I like Froome but I agree with you, to see Bardet win would be great,
And you can sing Bardet's name in a catchy pop song much more easily than Froome's!
Like you I don’t care about his riding style but wasn’t impressed by that Gel on Alpe d’huez, maybe should have been penalised more but it’s not as if he was hanging onto the team car like Nibbles.
Quite agree re getting the peloton to slow down, but the rest of them are idiots to fall for his tricks. Nor is it a long standing tradition, it’s a product of the Armstrong era. For example, Roche attacked in the feed zone and Bobet faked a toilet stop in the course of their tour wins. Not crashing is a vital skill. And given Sky’s budget the other teams should view mechanicals and punctures as consequences of marginal games gone wrong - and attack whenever and however the opportunity arises.
But my big bugbear with Froome is that he doesn’t ride one-day races, or races in his ‘home country’, especially the national championships. The greats of the past had a much wider palmares. Ok I can see why he didn’t do the spring classics this year, but I would like to see him do more in the future
From the press release "The UCI has considered all the relevant evidence in detail (in consultation with its own experts and experts from WADA). On 28 June 2018, WADA informed the UCI that it would accept, based on the specific facts of the case, that Mr Froome’s sample results do not constitute an AAF. In light of WADA’s unparalleled access to information and authorship of the salbutamol regime, the UCI has decided, based on WADA’s position, to close the proceedings against Mr Froome.".
Agree with all of that, especially the rest of the peloton cowing to the yellow jersey; there's a world of difference between being the patron of the peloton (Wiggo on the Mur de Pérguére) and demanding the entire race behave like domestiques.
Froome's primary concentration on the grand tours has a faint of whiff of Armstrong's focus on the TdF as if it was the only race that mattered. It was one of the reasons I never liked Armstrong, long before the psychopathic behaviour and the doping became clear. Froome can in no other way be remotely compared to Armstrong of course.
I'd apply the emphasis elsewhere:
"In light of WADA’s unparalleled access to information and authorship of the salbutamol regime, the UCI has decided, based on WADA’s position, to close the proceedings against Mr Froome."
I think the first important part of this tour will be making it through the first week or so of chaotic stages, narrow roads, wind, cobbles, the team trial, and so forth. What was that stage early in last year's TdF where Sagan and Froome, I think, were on the attack working together? very cool. I wouldn't be surprised at all if there are differences of several minutes between the top contenders before they even get to the mountains, and I in all likelihood one or another contender might be eliminated early.
That said, if Froome gets to the mountains within four or five minutes of his rivals, I think he will will. Doumoulin is so consistent but he seems to lack power and explosiveness in the high mountains. Nibali coudl turn the race upside down, but I don't know if he has the consistency. Quintana is the big dark horse--if he makes it to the mountains close on time, and his team supports him, I think he could be very dangerous.
But, as I said, my bet would be on Froome, as much as I don't like him.
The whole thing with the gel packet does not bother me at all--let the man eat.
In terms of controlling the pace of the peleton, or not attacking others in vulnerable situations, I think its a gray area. Sometimes it seems OK, and sometimes it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Anyway, we'll know the answer in a few weeks.
Yes, the UCI decided to accept WADA’s decision.
I just reckon you think twice before calling someone else “embarrassingly ill-informed.”
Chasm's remark was pretty funny at this point, but I've decided to ignore all that stuff.
Anyway, I do find myself wondering how all this will play out.
I would love to see all the contenders reach the first mountain stages in one piece, without loosing anyone, or anyone loosing so much time that they simply aren't in a position to win.
That will make it more exciting.
Now the race has actually started - discussions here - https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/biking/tdf_thread_non-doping-688807 - then maybe we can move on.
P.S. I don’t think Sir Chasm is actually a knight of the realm
Wada didn't make a decision. And I always think it's best to check quotes are correct.
I agree, and you should check the quotes from Lappartient
He says the UCI “had no choice” but to accept WADA’s decision
i would suggest your crowing that Bruno had made a mistake was, in your own words, embarrassing
I'm right behind you, i agree that it's terrible that people who should know what the process is apparently don't, Lapparteint really should know that it was uci's decision, but he got it wrong, or let's be charitable, you've read more into a "quote" than was intended.
1) Bruno has been very civil on this thread, you could be nicer.
2) very unimpressed with Lappartient’s comments - yes WADA left him with little choice, but he ought to accept that the evidence against Froome, given the weakness of the science, meant it was the only valid decision. He may not trust Sky, and he may be right, but as head of the UCI he should act upon evidence.
Interesting piece by Ross Tucker.
All more opinion pieces with an opinion by Porte who of anyone must be doping or fully aware of sky’s doping programme, no?
The article does make one very valid point about doping in general (why no one should be betting their house on things) but the rest is just gossiping opinion.
The pages written on this thread, I respect your passion to a point but it seems a waste of time. Either he’s clean or they will get caught or someone will whistle blow and they’ll be caught. As I said way back at the start, until then he gets the benefit of the doubt or is presumed innocent.
I agree that Tucker makes a good case about why we should view cycling skeptically.
I know people think he's biased, cynical, and so forth, but I don't think his voice or arguments can be so easily dismissed.
I actually disagree with his point that the WADA and the UCI have the most to loose by releasing a reasoned decision backed up evidence.
The whole "who should release the data?" question is depressing. They're all just maneuvering and playing politics, now.
I think it would benefit all of them--Sky, WADA, the UCI, to be as clear and transparent about this as possible.
Ive got a feeling Porte and Froome are no longer the close friends they once were. Porte claimed that sky riders had been told they couldn’t do training rides with non-Sky riders, but it seems it’s just him!
As to Tucker, I’m getting really annoyed by people like him over Bilharzia. I know it’s a very convenient explanation but Froome did cite it after that Vuelta - well over a year before he won his first tour. Sceptics have had more than 7 years to debunk it, none have done so. Yes Froome was a late developer, but the norm he is being compared to is someone who grew up in countries with the traditional talent identification and development systems, not Kenya.
And maybe he should weigh a bottle of water before dismissing Sky’s plan for Finestre.
Meanwhile Brailsford is calling out Lappartient.
Sky didn’t need to fund the best scientists- they just spoke to the one WADA used!
Is it just sky you think should release their data? It's just that to single out one team might, to some, appear a little biased.
Not at all--I made this point somewhere above, but I think it would be great if all the teams were as transparent as possible.
As a slightly random musing. I have just finished reading Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible'.
Although actually an allegory for the communist 'witch hunt' in the US in the 1950s, it could very easily be an allegory for the current state of doping control in cycling. (guilty until innocent, do you confess and lose your name (reputation) or hold your ground but end up condemned etc.)
If anyone else has read it, worth having a think about.
> As to Tucker, I’m getting really annoyed by people like him over Bilharzia. I know it’s a very convenient explanation but Froome did cite it after that Vuelta - well over a year before he won his first tour. Sceptics have had more than 7 years to debunk it, none have done so.
There simply is nothing to "debunk", no experiment designs or interpretations of data to criticize, nothing. It is a load of made up rubbish, and enough immunologists have said so at the time. The story is no more credible than the "too much sex the night before" excuse for testosterone doping, the difference being that the cycling authorities wilfully decided to ignore this fact. Same in the current case, actually.
So you belive there is nothing to debunk, it’s all false, and it’s a conspiracy with the UCI not to expose him.
so therefore at least one of the following statements is false
a) Bilharzia is a parasitic desease common in Africa
b) The parasites live in the blood stream and, amongst other nasty stuff, deplete your red blood cells.
c) Red blood cells are particularly useful for endurance athletes
d) Froome was diagnosed with Bilharzia in 2011, having probably contracted it in 2009
I’m pretty sure we’ve had this discussion before. Or rather i’ve asked these questions and you then disappear....
Yes we have been through that, but given that this is the TdF doping thread, here goes:
The "measurements" released by Sky at the time are better described as incomplete, selected data points. This approach is so obviously, blatantly dishonest, even if the individual measurements are correct (of which I have no doubt) that it would amount to scientific misconduct or misselling of a product in any other context.
None of the points that span the "interesting" transition of Froome from a guy who gets dropped at the Tour of Poland or some such race to a grand tour GC contender are consistent with an active Bilharzia infection in the shit years.
In any case, a parasitic infection of some type, especially if it is so bad that it affects red blood cell counts would have been readily spotted (especially as the blood of a pro cyclist is constantly monitored by team doctors for perfectly legit reasons), even if identifying the actual parasite could have taken some time.
Bilharzia infection is treatable, but involves glucocorticoids, for which a TUE would have been requested and certainly granted, but there is nothing.
I don't have my homework. Dogs sometimes chew up paper....
I cannot for my life understand why you insist on continuing to give Sky the benefit of the doubt. In your posts you come across as a well informed and critical person, but as far as Froome is concerned you seem to have swallowed the Sky propaganda hook, line, and sinker.
What measurements? Have I quoted measurements?
No, I have given you 4 statements and asked which ones you think are false. And you evade that question with circular references- along the lines of ‘Sky are liars because they are lying’ or ‘he can’t have had a disease because it would have been diagnosed’
here is a VeloNews story from 2013, but I distinctly remember reading about it more than an year earlier - after he was runner up in the Vuelta, before he was runner up in the tour
the treatment he is on, and the fact that it doesn’t require a TUE, is reported.
do you, with your amazing knowledge, think he is lying about his illness or his treatment?
i lack your extensive medical knowledge, but I think that given the detail he has given, and given the number of people who want to prove that he is lying, then someone will have disproved his story in the 5 year or 6 years since he made it.
No you have not, but Sky have. Remember the five point or so graph with the changes in VO2max and power output they released after CF was put under scrutiny? He has very much not "given detail", he has given hand picked data points (which I believe to be correct) in an effort to obfuscate.
Only when this was found to be ridiculous did they come up with the exotic disease explanation. Again, the issue back then was about a rapid change in VO2max and power per weight that turned CF into one of the top riders.
Indeed, the Bilharzia story was chosen because it is somewhat plausible (for exactly the points you raise), but if the disease had been so severe that it would have affected red blood cell production it would have been blindingly obvious already in 2009/10. For anyone with a little bit of expert knowledge the whole thing just does not add up.
This is exactly the MO Sky have been using since they started, Wiggins' TUEs and CFs Salbutamol are the same. Sky offer a somewhat plausible cover story, especially to those who want to believe their heroes are clean, but the undisputed facts are much more readily explained otherwise.
However, almost all biomedical scientist are, like me, not paid to prove this, and unfortunately the organizations that are appear to be not particularly interested in finding the truth. Nothing has changed at WADA and UCI since they allowed themselves to be bought by Armstrong. Why did they not request a PK study, merely stating that this would be asking too much? They did not have these worries in previous cases!
The whole Bilharzia (Bizzaria) story is a chapter in the Froome saga that I know little or nothing about.
I suppose the story is that he had this parasitic disease, and, when it was finally cured, he could fulfill his potential and become one of the best riders of his generations.
Like I said, I know little about this history, but, it seems just barely plausible. For sure, an athlete can have a serious disease, even more one that can remain in a chronic, low-level state (if that is indeed the case with Bilharzia). However, I am deeply suspicious that, if a rider had a severe parasitic condition, they could function as even a middle of the pack pro.
Also, just with a broader view, most if not all champions of Froome's stature showed at least some promise when they were children, if not in cycling, then in other sports (like Armstong in triathlon).
Greg Lemond, for example, was recognized to be a unpolished but world class rider from essentially his first trace when he was a young teenager, if I remember correctly, lapping the senior field in criteriums and circuit races with little apparent effort and a smile on his face, and so on.
I certainly think that riders can develop slowly, but, again, in such cases, like Miguel Indurain, it's more a story of gradually succeeding at higher and higher levels, until they are ready for the big stage.
Anyway, Froome's rapid transformation does seem suspicious, and adds to the doubt in my mind.
I will say this in support of Froome, or as an argument against the idea that he came from nowhere, and therefore this suggests he is doping.
Most riders who seem to suddenly spring onto the scene with amazing results, apparently from doping, usually do not have consistency. They race well for a season or two, and then disappear. In contrast, Froome has been remarkably consistent. This is not so much the profile that I expect from dopers. Unless is has also been a remarkably consistent doper....
Back to Bilharzia, certainly, his medical records exist (not cherry-picked data pointsabout power and VO2 max). There must be a blood test showing parasites in his body, or whatever the definitive test for this disease is. Has this ever been made public?
With a super-organized, absolutely-meticulous, every-single-detail attended to team like Sky (except fr missing medical records and lost computers) I would certainly expect these records to exist.
Why don't they just release them? It would certainly offer no performance benefit to his rivals at this point!
Instead, Sky and company seem to promise that all will be revealed, then drip-feed some distracting and incomplete information, and back track on their initial promises of full disclosure--exactly what happened in the salbutomol case.
Do you remember, just after Froome was exonerated, how he said that all the information would be released in the coming days? And then, when Sky realized that they did not need to release the information, and they could probably squeeze the WADA and the UCI by claiming it was the responsibility of these organizations, they started playing power games and politics, and conveniently forgot abut their initial statements that they would be transparent.
It's even possible the Froome wishes he could just release everything, but Sky will not let him. I wonder who all of his data belong to, him, or Sky?
As cb294 says, "Sky offer a somewhat plausible cover story, especially to those who want to believe their heroes are clean, but the undisputed facts are much more readily explained otherwise."
To me, it's a case of Occam's razor. What is the most parsimonious explanation? What is the most likely explanation, give Sky's history, and cycling's history?
My opinion is obviously clear by now. The Bilharzia backstory just adds more niggling doubt.
And it's back to the court room scene in The Crucible again.
So working through your waffle and obsfucation, you are claiming that Chris Froome never had Bilharzia, that this explanation is ‘ridiculous’.
And your reasoning is that Sky are liars, so they must be lying.
And yes, as with Salbutamol there are other explanations to the one that Sky have provided.
But standpoint is that unless you can disprove the story, as long as it is credible, then you shouldn’t simply dismiss it because it doesn’t suit your narrative.
And the cynics have had 6 years to debunk the Bilharzia story, but haven’t done so.
No, I believe that he had Bilharzia that was eventually treated, but it is obvious to any biomedical scientist that the sudden improvement in performance cannot be explained by this (in particular the timing does not add up with the power / VO2 data).
It does make for a convenient cover story, though, just about plausible and easy enough to understand so that fans may buy it, precisely for the arguments you have outlined in your four points.
With this I am off to the non doping thread....
edit: Unnecessarily rude comment deleted. Apologies, CB
There is a general principle that someone’s personal medical data is private, and thus allowing unfettered access to it would set a very dangerous precedent. We already demand significant intrusion into athletes personal life - look at the requirements for random drug tests. So it’s time to accept that 24 hr surveillance and full disclosure of their medical history simply isn’t reasonable.
furthermore, as should be obvious from CB264’s posts, releasing data does absolutely nothing to quell the cynics. Any data released by Sky merely fuels the flames. It’s incomplete, cherry picked or simply made up. And once they have decided it’s BS, it is then cited as proof that any other data is BS! Have we seen comparable data from his rivals ? Nibbles still uses Pantani’s doctor FFS, and no one bats an eyelid
Froomes late development is indeed unusual, but so was his upbringing, far the great cycling nations. And the sample size of multiple GT winners upon whom your can build a normal pattern is pretty limited. What was clear from his first appearance- the world TT he entered after hacking the Kenyan email - was that he had considerable confidence in his own ability and a ruthless determination to succeed. Such mental strengths shouldn’t be underestimated. And of course he crashed within 100 yards, indicating that his bike handling skills was an area where a lot of improvement was possible.
As with all of this there are credible legitimate explanations and credible illegitimate ones. Just because I don’t dismiss the former doesn’t mean I believe them, been watching the sport too long for that.
but if you believe someone is cheating simply because they are winning, you may as well give up watching the sport
> No, I believe that he had Bilharzia that was eventually treated, but it is obvious to any biomedical scientist that the sudden improvement in performance cannot be explained by this (in particular the timing does not add up with the power / VO2 data).
Has there been a study into the effects of Bilharzia on endurance athletes ? Do you have a citation ? How big was the sample size?
From what I have read on Bilharzia (and it doesn’t make pleasant reading) it is obvious that this isn’t the sort of thing that is resolved by a quick round of antibiotics. It lives in the blood stream and depletes your red blood cells - the opposite of EPO. And it isn’t consistent.
But what is the alternative hypothesis. That Froome took an undetectable wonder drug that could turn a carthorse into a thoroughbred. And that it remains undetectable, or that he no longer needs it. And that he alone took it. Yes it’s plausible, but it’s not exactly likely.
The thing that simply smells wrong is that CF was supposedly riding for two years with an undetected parasite infection that was, however, severe enough to affect his red blood cell production.
Yes, Bilharzia can do that, but if it was so bad it would have been spotted and treated at the first opportunity given the constant medical surveillance these athletes are under, especially as far as their blood and breathing physiology are concerned (parasite infections generate a clear immunological signature, even while it may be unknown which specific parasite is involved).
Much more plausible that the eventual treatment coincided with something else, and was then recycled as a convenient cover story.
would be interesting to see his bio profile
> It lives in the blood stream and depletes your red blood cells - the opposite of EPO. And it isn’t consistent.
the perfect excuse to mask EPO use. presumably his biological passport baseline was reset to a new 'normal' after he had fully recovered from it?
> the perfect excuse to mask EPO use. presumably his biological passport baseline was reset to a new 'normal' after he had fully recovered from it?
The EPO test was introduced in 2001.
Froome's breakthrough was ten years later in 2011 (wiki) so unless the UCI connivance ended for Armstrong but continued for a then unimportant Froome any EPO usage should have been found.
Microdosing - maybe, but might be detectable now.
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