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Astarloza suspended

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Wergeland said:
I read an interview with Kurt Asle Arvesen today, and he said that he had never seen a tdf stagewinner as happy as Astarloza was and he couldn't understand how he could react like that, knowing he had cheated.

Some rideres and teams (and perhaps even nationalities) definitely have different mentality towards doping than others.

It sounds overly naive, especially for a rider.
The point of PED is to enhance performance. Considering that the rationale seems that "you have to dope to even compete", and that dopers are often completely oblivious to guilt as a result... of course the guy is happy to win a stage.

If dopers were not happy to win, we sure wouldn't have many difficulties identifying them.
 
biker77 said:
I have no idea if Astarloza is clean or not. If you wanted to f*** with cycling he is the perfect target. I have absolutely no basis for this statement, other than the guy won a stage and was mentioned just enough in the stage commentary for your casual fan to have noticed.

Couldn't agree more.

You know all these people commenting on the internal controls of Euskaltel don't know for the slightest what they are talking about. Internal controls of Euskaltel do work. The fact that Euskaltel does not get as much media attention for it as the Garmin boys do does not mean that they don't have any.

When you people investigated for some seconds before posting your stupid comments about the internal controls you should have noticed that the team of Euskaltel was aware of strange blood values of Landaluze weeks before the UCI was. They did not select him for the Nationals, they did not select him for the Tour and didn't select him for the Vuelta of Madrid either. That was because they found the CERA things in his blood. He was positive in the same time interval as Mikel Astarloza. Mikel Astarloza was positive on (as far as we know) normal EPO, an older substance than the CERA thing. If the internal testing could recognize the values of Landaluze, it certainly could of Astarloza. But they didn't find any. Not for the slightest. Makes you think.

You know, the UCI and the WADA are crappy as hell. It is not that because they are the big institutions that they are right. They write their own rules, noone has control over that, and still they break their own rules. To give you an easy example: the A - sample of Astarloza was positive. Does not mean anything, only that he has to get a B - sample. When you have one positive sample there is now way the UCI can suspend you. Still they bring the news as if they already were certain that he did actually use EPO. Its completely against the rules. And this is just a simple example, I can come up with numerous more. So don't think the UCI and all that bureaucratic organisations are always right in their behaviours. They aren't.
 
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Arnout said:
You know, the UCI and the WADA are crappy as hell. It is not that because they are the big institutions that they are right. They write their own rules, noone has control over that, and still they break their own rules. To give you an easy example: the A - sample of Astarloza was positive. Does not mean anything, only that he has to get a B - sample. When you have one positive sample there is now way the UCI can suspend you. Still they bring the news as if they already were certain that he did actually use EPO. Its completely against the rules. And this is just a simple example, I can come up with numerous more. So don't think the UCI and all that bureaucratic organisations are always right in their behaviours. They aren't.
For some A samples, there is very few doubts when returned positive. Most of the cases which have a B sample negative were mostly the result of a mistake while testing the B samples. It was the main reason to remove the B sample confirmation.
 
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poupou said:
For some A samples, there is very few doubts when returned positive. Most of the cases which have a B sample negative were mostly the result of a mistake while testing the B samples. It was the main reason to remove the B sample confirmation.

Why then couldn't the A samples be positive because of incorrect procedure? Surely the drug testers are more likely to ensure they follow the established protocol to the letter when they know they are testing a B sample? Their reputation as a laboratory and the livelihood of the athlete in question is at stake. And to remove the B sample will definitely not happen. You cannot suspend someone from their profession without due process and sufficient proof. A single positive sample is not sufficient proof. This is where the Mayo case is so controversial: two out of three labs found his B sample either inconclusive or negative. The UCI hunted around until they found a laboratory which returned a positive result, funnily enough the same laboratory which analyzed the A sample.

And Arnout is correct. Cycling is the only sport in the world that publicly announces the results of the A sample and suspends the cyclist before the results of the B sample. I can see why they do it, but a positive result in every other sport is only publicly announced after the B sample tests positive.
 
poupou said:
For some A samples, there is very few doubts when returned positive. Most of the cases which have a B sample negative were mostly the result of a mistake while testing the B samples. It was the main reason to remove the B sample confirmation.

That's, sorry to say, nonsense. Because B usually confirms A, we should simply forget about B?

And ever thought about the following: when the B was negative there was maybe a mistake made with A.

Technically you're maybe right, but legally this is a stupid argument. Says enough about the UCI actually.

elapid said:
Why then couldn't the A samples be positive because of incorrect procedure? Surely the drug testers are more likely to ensure they follow the established protocol to the letter when they know they are testing a B sample? Their reputation as a laboratory and the livelihood of the athlete in question is at stake. And to remove the B sample will definitely not happen. You cannot suspend someone from their profession without due process and sufficient proof. A single positive sample is not sufficient proof. This is where the Mayo case is so controversial: two out of three labs found his B sample either inconclusive or negative. The UCI hunted around until they found a laboratory which returned a positive result, funnily enough the same laboratory which analyzed the A sample.

And Arnout is correct. Cycling is the only sport in the world that publicly announces the results of the A sample and suspends the cyclist before the results of the B sample. I can see why they do it, but a positive result in every other sport is only publicly announced after the B sample tests positive.

Thanks a lot. Couldn't express my thoughts better.
 
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elapid said:
Why then couldn't the A samples be positive because of incorrect procedure? Surely the drug testers are more likely to ensure they follow the established protocol to the letter when they know they are testing a B sample? Their reputation as a laboratory and the livelihood of the athlete in question is at stake. And to remove the B sample will definitely not happen. You cannot suspend someone from their profession without due process and sufficient proof. A single positive sample is not sufficient proof. This is where the Mayo case is so controversial: two out of three labs found his B sample either inconclusive or negative. The UCI hunted around until they found a laboratory which returned a positive result, funnily enough the same laboratory which analyzed the A sample.
You are incorrect. Only two labs tested Mayo's samples. One gave an inconclusive result. Even that sample was called suspicious. But the test result wasn't clear enough to legally say so. EPO tests are like pictures, the picture was fuzzy. That's why it was inconclusive. No lab gave him a negative result.

The B sample serves two purposes. One - to let the rider's representative watch the testing. Two - to have the sample testing done by a different scientist or scientists.

Probably all positive A samples are tested in duplicate so it is not like a sample is just tested once and called positive.
 
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not the sharpest tool in the box is he?

Astarloza returns a non-negative test for EPO, suggesting a few things:

1. The test for EPO must be more sensitive than the medical support currently believe (they would have been very naive not to use a microdosing regimen).

2. CERA is not in use during the season because of its long half life.

3. The date of the non-negative test is at the end of the realistic window for blood donation to use during the tour (see other threads).

4. Another spaniard is likely to be banned.

and Prudomme still has no TdF positives..........
 

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Arnout- I agree you on the principle that there should be no public announcement of a non negative A sample.

However what happened before was when a rider produced a non negative they were suspended, but the media often jumped on to any rider who was pulled from an event - hence the reason for disclosure.

Also it is in the UCI rules for the public disclosure of a non negative A sample:

"The identity of a License-Holder who may have committed an anti-doping rule violation may be publicly
disclosed by the UCI after notice has been provided to the License-Holder under article 206 or, where no
Adverse Analytical Finding is involved, under article 249."
 
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Epicycle said:
You are incorrect. Only two labs tested Mayo's samples. One gave an inconclusive result. Even that sample was called suspicious. But the test result wasn't clear enough to legally say so. EPO tests are like pictures, the picture was fuzzy. That's why it was inconclusive. No lab gave him a negative result.

I stand corrected. Thanks for the information. However, actually four labs were involved. The French laboratory tested the A sample. The analytical process was confirmed by the Lausanne laboratory. The B sample was tested in Ghent because the French laboratory were not available because of summer holidays. The Ghent laboratory consulted with the Sydney laboratory to again confirm the analytical process was correct. Because the RFEC considered the B sample negative, they closed the case against Mayo. The UCI persisted and had the French laboratory retest the B sample and this last laboratory returned the positive B sample. So two labs did the testing, but four labs were involved in the verification process.

Inconclusive v negative depends on which report you read and when it was reported. Initial reports from CNN and BBC were that the B sample was "negative". See http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/7057146.stm and http://edition.cnn.com/2007/SPORT/10/22/cycling.mayo/. Later this was reported as "inconclusive" by the Belgian and Australian labs and the UCI. It should also be noted that the Sydney laboratory more-or-less stated the sample was more positive than inconclusive when they stated "the distribution of EPO isoforms does not follow a distribution that is consistent with endogenous EPO."

The reason why many, and myself included at the time, thought that this was a witch hunt was because of the media reports that the result was negative rather than inconclusive, and Anne Gripper stating "To ensure that the rider could have the 'B' done more quickly, we transferred the sample, but the Ghent laboratory just couldn't get the sample to confirm the Paris result." This sounded like the UCI was shopping around until a laboratory confirmed the result the UCI wanted. Ultimately, it was a poor choice of words by Gripper and/or sensationalist reporting, but it certainly planted some significant seeds of doubt at the time.
 
Epicycle said:
You are incorrect. Only two labs tested Mayo's samples. One gave an inconclusive result. Even that sample was called suspicious. But the test result wasn't clear enough to legally say so. EPO tests are like pictures, the picture was fuzzy. That's why it was inconclusive. No lab gave him a negative result.

The B sample serves two purposes. One - to let the rider's representative watch the testing. Two - to have the sample testing done by a different scientist or scientists.

Probably all positive A samples are tested in duplicate so it is not like a sample is just tested once and called positive.

Yeah and I am still counting how many legal mistakes were made in that case. It was one of the worst episodes for the UCI. I mean, normally when a B - sample is not positive the rider is cleared. This time though they found a C - sample from somewhere (though I doubt that, it is more likely they just used the A - sample again) to test it for a third time which is legally not defendable.

Again have to agree with you elapid. It was a nightmare for the poor Gripper. Before the Tour started she already said that she would keep an extra eye on riders like Mayo. That's quite cool for an institution which is supposed to be unbiased huh.

And then the comment afterwards as you mention. I had to laugh about it at the time, but now I better cry. I am actually delighted Mayo didn't commit suicide. He performed very infrequently, and that was not because of the occasional EPO intake but because of his mental strength. He absolutely couldn't cope with the pressure put on him during the years, he is a very fragile person. After the "positive" test he has been depressive for 1,5 years. If it wasn't for his family I think he would not be on earth anymore. Now he still enjoys cycling but prefers the peace of his current life over the corrupt cycling world which betrayed him. I cannot disagree with him...

If you want I can explain the whole case to you. There are so many legal irregularities it was quite impossible for the CAS to declare him guilty. Still they did. It is one dirty mess at the top of the cycling world.
 
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Arnout said:
Yeah and I am still counting how many legal mistakes were made in that case. It was one of the worst episodes for the UCI. I mean, normally when a B - sample is not positive the rider is cleared. This time though they found a C - sample from somewhere (though I doubt that, it is more likely they just used the A - sample again) to test it for a third time which is legally not defendable.
No it's logical that a B sample will have more liquid to use because it is only necessary to test it for one substance. The A sample has to be checked for all kinds of banned substances using different tests so it tends to get used up. The B sample only exists as a check for whatever banned substance shows up in the A sample testing.

It's important to realize that the Mayo B sample which was called inconclusive by the Ghent and Sydney labs was suspicious. If you read the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision you will see that. If you want to show in court that your neighbor's fence is encroaching on your property you take a picture of it. If the picture is blurry you don't present that in court, you take another picture to get a clear image.

If the B sample is negative for EPO then the athlete gets off. That happened to Fabrizio Guidi and Marion Jones. But if the sample is inconclusive then it is tested again. That happened to Roberto Heras.

The new EPO confirmation test might make issues like this less common.
 
At first the B - test was negative. It was said in every newspaper and in every source available. Well, there is a chance the media made it from "not readable" or inconclusive to negative, but normally the media is not on hand of the presumed doper...

But lets say the test in Ghent was indeed inconclusive. Well, I actually quite never heard from inconclusive tests before and also not afterwards. Ghent sent it to Sydney, which confirmed they couldn't read it. Strange, because the test consists of some numbers and some diagrams and normally you never hear that there is a problem reading it. So my conclusion is: a. they messed up the B - sample. b. They tested it negative but under pressure of the UCI they changed it to inconclusive so the test could get back to the infamous Paris lab or c. The test was inconclusive in the first place.

Considering the other innormalities this case contains I personally go for option B, with holding option C open. What does it mean when option C is the truth? An inconclusive test. Well maybe it can happen but like I said I have my doubts. But when a test is indeed inconclusive, you are going to test it again. Sounds fair for a start. But why test it again in another lab? There is no reason whatsoever why they should do that. There is no single valid argument. By saying that the Paris lab has more possibilities in testing it becomes clear that the riders are not equally treated (which is actually true, I advice you to read the book of Landis) and that the Paris lab has different testing methods. The Paris lab is a lab which has a bad name in the sport world, multiple mistakes happened there in the past and the personnel is not well trained and equipped to work with the stuff in there. I'd call that at least dangerous. So sending the test to another lab would make no sense at all if the UCI is consequent (which they aren't because they did). That's why I choose for option B. The test was negative in Belgium and this was confirmed in Australia. Via a source this came in the media and the UCI didn't want that. The only thing they could say was that the testing was not yet completed (and while saying that, the result was inconclusive. Strange, an inconclusive result but the testing was not completed yet) and that they needed more time to get the test positive, because the UCI hates nothing more than apologizing for their own faults or confirming one of their tests and labs doesn't work. Saying that would give a mess in the sport world and UCI and WADA would lose control, and of course the bosses of the bureaucratic organisations don't want that. The same happened with the Landis case. It was so obvious that the testing was malicious like hell but the CAS didn't listen and said he was still positive because otherwise the whole anti doping sport business would be lost and out of control.

So this is how the occassional sporter gets punished for something he didn't use, to keep everyone quiet... Now we are only talking about that mad Landis and who cares about a single person. In the other case we would question all the tests and for the bigger picture some riders are sacrificed.


I know this is a story of ifs and buts but I have thought about this for years and the experiences of for example Mayo and Landis (among others) confirmed my thoughts. And now the same is happening to Astarloza.
 
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Arnout said:
I know this is a story of ifs and buts but I have thought about this for years and the experiences of for example Mayo and Landis (among others) confirmed my thoughts. And now the same is happening to Astarloza.
Or they doped. Landis was on a team that had a lot of doping positives and he had a shady soigneur. Mayo went from Euskaltel and Jesus Losa who was said to be an EPO supplier to Gianetti's Saunier Duval, a team known for doping. Two riders from Euskaltel have tested positive for EPO lately - Landaluze and Astarloza.

What is sad about this would be if Euskaltel stops their sponsorship. These days it seems like getting caught doping is much worse for your team than not winning.
 
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Arnout said:
At first the B - test was negative. It was said in every newspaper and in every source available. Well, there is a chance the media made it from "not readable" or inconclusive to negative, but normally the media is not on hand of the presumed doper...

But lets say the test in Ghent was indeed inconclusive. Well, I actually quite never heard from inconclusive tests before and also not afterwards. Ghent sent it to Sydney, which confirmed they couldn't read it. Strange, because the test consists of some numbers and some diagrams and normally you never hear that there is a problem reading it. So my conclusion is: a. they messed up the B - sample. b. They tested it negative but under pressure of the UCI they changed it to inconclusive so the test could get back to the infamous Paris lab or c. The test was inconclusive in the first place.

Considering the other innormalities this case contains I personally go for option B, with holding option C open. What does it mean when option C is the truth? An inconclusive test. Well maybe it can happen but like I said I have my doubts. But when a test is indeed inconclusive, you are going to test it again. Sounds fair for a start. But why test it again in another lab? There is no reason whatsoever why they should do that. There is no single valid argument. By saying that the Paris lab has more possibilities in testing it becomes clear that the riders are not equally treated (which is actually true, I advice you to read the book of Landis) and that the Paris lab has different testing methods. The Paris lab is a lab which has a bad name in the sport world, multiple mistakes happened there in the past and the personnel is not well trained and equipped to work with the stuff in there. I'd call that at least dangerous. So sending the test to another lab would make no sense at all if the UCI is consequent (which they aren't because they did). That's why I choose for option B. The test was negative in Belgium and this was confirmed in Australia. Via a source this came in the media and the UCI didn't want that. The only thing they could say was that the testing was not yet completed (and while saying that, the result was inconclusive. Strange, an inconclusive result but the testing was not completed yet) and that they needed more time to get the test positive, because the UCI hates nothing more than apologizing for their own faults or confirming one of their tests and labs doesn't work. Saying that would give a mess in the sport world and UCI and WADA would lose control, and of course the bosses of the bureaucratic organisations don't want that. The same happened with the Landis case. It was so obvious that the testing was malicious like hell but the CAS didn't listen and said he was still positive because otherwise the whole anti doping sport business would be lost and out of control.
A test can be said inconclusive because of a fault during the processus!
EPO test requires a lot of technical abilities, that is why there were a lot of problems at its begining.

LNDD is the world leader of EPO testing, so they probably have the best techniciens and the best equipment to do EPO testing, besides 2008 JO samples have been retested by them. GIRO 2008 samples, an Italian Justice decision, were retested by them too. So it seems that sport world and Italian authorities have more confidence in that lab than you have.
 
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In regards to Mayo's B sample, please read http://www.anado.org/documents/ANADO%20Legal%20Note%205.pdf. As I said in a previous post, the actual findings from the Ghent laboratory were "inconclusive". The Sydney laboratory confirmed that these results were inconclusive, but also stated that they were more than likely positive when they said "the distribution of EPO isoforms does not follow a distribution that is consistent with endogenous EPO."

The problem with the Mayo situation was that the results of the B sample were initially declared "negative" in the media and then Gripper made her unfortunate statement that seemed to suggest that the UCI were hunting for a predetermined positive result and would use as many labs as required until they achieved their desired result.
 
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Astarloza has always been a really good time trialist, so that wasn't a surprise. Neither was the win, He has had good form for about 3 years, this year wasn't even his best GC result, and a stage win was always going to happen eventually. Unfortunately, we will never know if that past form was 'form' or......'FORM'.
 
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wpsracing78 said:
Astarloza has always been a really good time trialist, so that wasn't a surprise.

So do you know if something happened in last years ITT? He was 2'13s faster this year than 08 (after adjusting for race length etc). Of the 79 riders in both years - that is the biggest improvement by 17s (excluding 3 who were young riders in 08).
 
2008 is not a good reference. He was way too tired in that race, I mean, he was only 38th on l'Alpe d'Huez, that's way below his level. He already did Pays Vasco, Romandie and Dauphiné on a high level, and in the second and third week of the Tour he was mentally and phisically too tired.

If you compare with 2007: He was the number 10 in the two big time trials and the number 14 in the prologue in London. So actually I never understood the comments about his exceptional time trial abilities this year.

And in the rest of the race he was no better than I expected either. He was just competing on his usual level by suffering a lot and being just able to follow the rest of the breakaway. I simply don't believe it.
 
Epicycle said:
Or they doped. Landis was on a team that had a lot of doping positives and he had a shady soigneur. Mayo went from Euskaltel and Jesus Losa who was said to be an EPO supplier to Gianetti's Saunier Duval, a team known for doping. Two riders from Euskaltel have tested positive for EPO lately - Landaluze and Astarloza.

What is sad about this would be if Euskaltel stops their sponsorship. These days it seems like getting caught doping is much worse for your team than not winning.

I know about the doctor of Euskaltel, but he was fired june 2004. Years ago. In 2007 Mayo didn't dope. I don't know, but I don't believe in organized doping at Saunier Duval. At least not in the year when David Millar was still racing with them (the year of 2007).

elapid said:
In regards to Mayo's B sample, please read http://www.anado.org/documents/ANADO%20Legal%20Note%205.pdf. As I said in a previous post, the actual findings from the Ghent laboratory were "inconclusive". The Sydney laboratory confirmed that these results were inconclusive, but also stated that they were more than likely positive when they said "the distribution of EPO isoforms does not follow a distribution that is consistent with endogenous EPO."

The problem with the Mayo situation was that the results of the B sample were initially declared "negative" in the media and then Gripper made her unfortunate statement that seemed to suggest that the UCI were hunting for a predetermined positive result and would use as many labs as required until they achieved their desired result.

What kind of source that is? Bejing, China in 2008? Enough time to make things up. I don't believe the UCI and their partners. And even if the test was indeed inconclusive they dealt with it wrong. Read my previous post about that ;)

I studied this case very closely while it was happening and it just was not treated right by the UCI, the WADA and the other organizations.

I wrote a paper about it about a year ago, with four pages of facts and non-facts that were wrong about this case. I'll try to look it up, hopefully I can still find it because it is some time ago and I forgot some of the details.
 
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Arnout said:
What kind of source that is? Bejing, China in 2008? Enough time to make things up. I don't believe the UCI and their partners. And even if the test was indeed inconclusive they dealt with it wrong. Read my previous post about that ;)

I studied this case very closely while it was happening and it just was not treated right by the UCI, the WADA and the other organizations.

I wrote a paper about it about a year ago, with four pages of facts and non-facts that were wrong about this case. I'll try to look it up, hopefully I can still find it because it is some time ago and I forgot some of the details.
Even if UCI and WADA dealt with it wrong, that never means that Mayo didn't cheat other people (riders, fans and sponsors).
 
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You know what would be interesting (and oddly refreshing)? If the B-Sample were negative (i.e. no dope). That would really cause a fluster within the UCI and WADA, and may shine a whole lotta light on their practices.
 
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Even more interesting is the fact that it could lead to the downfall of Team Euskadi-Euskaltel L'avenir d'Euskaltel en question and here in Spanish "El futuro del Euskaltel se complica por el dopaje"

Los casos del equipo vasco

Txema del Olmo. Positivo por EPO en el Tour de 2001. Fue despedido.

Jesús Losa. Médico del Euskaltel inculpado por David Millar en 2004 afirmando que le suministraba EPO. Fue despedido.

David Etxebarria. Arrojó un hematocrito superior al permitido antes del Tour de 2004, pero poseía un certificado UCI y corrió.

Gorka González. No apto para correr el Tour de 2004 por su hematocrito. Al final corrió y no dio positivo.

Aitor González. Positivo por anabolizantes en la Vuelta de 2005. Sancionado dos años y despedido, se retiró.

Igor González. Secretario técnico y director deportivo del Euskaltel desde su retirada en 2005. Fue vinculado a la Operación Puerto.

Aketza Peña. Positivo por nandrolona en 2007. El TAS le absolvió en 2008.

Iñigo Landaluze. Positivo por EPO CERA en el Dauphiné y en un control sorpresa este año. Se ha retirado.

Mikel Astarloza. Positivo por EPO recombinante en un control sorpresa. El equipo le apoya a falta del contranálisis, que se pedirá mañana al mismo laboratorio.
 
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Yeh they've sorta slipped under the radar in that respect huh!
Just keep ticking off those positives and in the end you have a pretty damning list.