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bio passport is a farce

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Mar 13, 2009
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sars1981 said:
Points taken. However, there is already existing a strong distinction between what is an acceptable level of intrusion into ones life when one is talking about professional athletes as opposed to Joe Citizens. For example, if a police officer asked me for a urine sample, I would contact civil liberties. For athletes, though, it is not considered intrusive. Current thinking says that surprise blood tests by "vampires" are not an unacceptable level of intrusion (which is quite surprising really), either. So the question really isnt wheather it is ethical to subject riders to gross invasions of privacy, because we all seem to consider that part of the job description, it is only about the degree.
Personally, I don't see supervising riders around the clock to be far more zealous that what currently happens. But it would be far more effective. WOuldn get rid of doping entirely but it would get rid of all the blood doping and micro doping during Tours. That in itself would be a huge advancement.
+1 sars1981
 
Jul 10, 2009
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How long does it take for blood values to return to normal? I really don't know and was thinking the only way to get a true base line for individual riders would be to monitor them 24/7 until you know their values have normalized and establish a true base line. Then like Cobblestones has said set individual limits for the riders natural values. The monitoring would only need to be done once and you could start with the Pro Tour Teams then Continental Teams and on down the line. Make it a compulsory requirement for a UCI license. I realize this is improbable with the human rights, cost and logistics involved.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Titaniumtim said:
How long does it take for blood values to return to normal? I really don't know and was thinking the only way to get a true base line for individual riders would be to monitor them 24/7 until you know their values have normalized and establish a true base line. Then like Cobblestones has said set individual limits for the riders natural values. The monitoring would only need to be done once and you could start with the Pro Tour Teams then Continental Teams and on down the line. Make it a compulsory requirement for a UCI license. I realize this is improbable with the human rights, cost and logistics involved.

Blood profiles usually return to normal when riders finish the racing season. This is supported by a recent paper from Mørkeberg JS, Belhage B, Damsgaard R: Changes in blood values in elite cyclist. Int J Sports Med 30(2):130-8, 2009.

In 2006, a couple of professional cycling teams initiated their own testing programs. The objective of this study is to describe fluctuations in commonly measured blood parameters among top-level riders. From December 12th 2006 to November 30th 2007, a total of 374 blood samples and 287 urine samples were obtained from 28 elite, male cyclists. Blood was analyzed for hematocrit (Hct), hemoglobin concentration ([Hb]) and % reticulocytes. Seventy-six percent of all samples were collected out-of-competition (OOC). From December 2006 to September 2007, the average Hct and [Hb] decreased by 4.3 percent point and 1.3 g/dL, respectively. After the end of the competitive season, the values increased back to baseline levels. During the Tour de France, the [Hb] decreased by 11.5 %, with individual decreases ranging from 7.0 to 20.6 %. Hct and [Hb] values were lower in-competition (40.9 % and 14.1 g/dL) compared to OOC (43.2 % and 15.0 g/dL) and pre-competition (43.5 % and 14.9 g/dL). Our results suggest that when interpreting blood sample results in an anti-doping context, the sample timing (OOC, pre- or in-competition) and time of year should be kept in mind.
 
This is probably the only thing 95RPM's has ever posted that I actually agree with.

The whole blood passport system is a farce for all the reasons mentioned, especially about the parameters being to high and not defined on an individual basis.

To me, the UCI would love to be like World Cup Soccer, have it's power privledges and not have to be bothered at all with having to clean up sport, though obviously can't. Look at the major scandals from Festina to the Giro crack-down. They were not spearheaded by the governing body of cycing, but by the national drug trafficing police forces. Whereas what has the UCI done in regards to OP. Absolutely nothing. Because it doesn't want to expose the real nature of doping in cycling, lest their party (and bank accounts) would be ruined. And it's exactly why the sport isn't willing to have a completely independent body, which thus has no conflict of interests, assume the total responsibility of organizing and conducting the testing proceedures, etc. to regulate the sport. Any profit making organization that is also in charge of setting and enforcing the rules which regulate the coruption within it, when allowing it to foster or maintianing the status quo is much more prudent and will ensure a continuity in its fianancial outlook, is destined to be counter-productive and a failure. The UCI is identical to Wall-Street in this regard.

The UCI, under men like Verbrugen in the past just as under it's current direction, doesn't want to deal with its sports' doping problem, but has to put up a facade to convince the critical public that it wants to and is doing with great zealousness. The bio-passport, is the latest development in their propagandistic and farcical facade.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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blackcat said:
flawed thesis, no one is compelled to be a professional cyclist, there is no compulsory draft. In the Japan keirin racing, riders are quarantined for a carnival. They are not prisoners, or imprisoned, it is merely the price they must consent to, to ride in a lucrative professional race series, underpinned by gambling dollars.

Flawed basis for thesis. Can you please show us the documentation that proves the Japanese keirin circuit is any cleaner than the pro-peloton. The lock-in system is to prevent race fixing and is not designed to prevent doping. There's no point proposing an unmanageable system that doesn't even address it's goal. Even if most doping occurred in competition an effective lock down would be a logistical nightmare that would be full of holes due to the daily changes in accommodation.

The most credulous criticism of the bio-passport system is that the public are led to believe it's more effective than it really is. Your lock-down approach would fail the same test, only more so as it probably have a nett zero effect on doping.
 
Jul 11, 2009
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badboyberty said:
Flawed basis for thesis. Can you please show us the documentation that proves the Japanese keirin circuit is any cleaner than the pro-peloton. The lock-in system is to prevent race fixing and is not designed to prevent doping. There's no point proposing an unmanageable system that doesn't even address it's goal. Even if most doping occurred in competition an effective lock down would be a logistical nightmare that would be full of holes due to the daily changes in accommodation.

The most credulous criticism of the bio-passport system is that the public are led to believe it's more effective than it really is. Your lock-down approach would fail the same test, only more so as it probably have a nett zero effect on doping.

I agree. The Doping section of the Keiren manual simply says "Dont do it". There is very little, if any testing. Certainly no basis to believe that this would help professional road cycling.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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53 x 11 said:
The Doping section of the Keiren manual simply says "Dont do it".

What keirin manual are you quoting? I am fluent in Japanese and would love to read this. If you could provide a link, it would be appreciated. Also, I live in Japan and occasionally ride with some pro keirin riders and train at the local track. The subject of doping has never come up during any of our conversations. So I do not know what anti-doping measures they are or are not subject to, but knowing both the taboo against drugs in Japanese society and the lifestyle of the average keirin pro, it would very much surprise me if doping was rampant in their ranks.

By the way, keiren means "cramp" in Japanese. keirin literally means "wheel (rin) race (kei)"
 
Jul 11, 2009
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gregod said:
What keirin manual are you quoting? I am fluent in Japanese and would love to read this. If you could provide a link, it would be appreciated. Also, I live in Japan and occasionally ride with some pro keirin riders and train at the local track. The subject of doping has never come up during any of our conversations. So I do not know what anti-doping measures they are or are not subject to, but knowing both the taboo against drugs in Japanese society and the lifestyle of the average keirin pro, it would very much surprise me if doping was rampant in their ranks.

By the way, keiren means "cramp" in Japanese. keirin literally means "wheel (rin) race (kei)"

The information was from a racing book that is given to international keirin riders and has come to me via an Australian rider who raced in Japan for a season. So not on the internet, but you could try your luck with google.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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53 x 11 said:
The information was from a racing book that is given to international keirin riders and has come to me via an Australian rider who raced in Japan for a season.

Interesting. Were the international riders subjected to any testing while they competed here? Also, did they say if they thought doping could be a problem in Japan?

Also, is it possible that the manual given the international riders was a pro forma document? Perhaps, the Japan Keirin Federation gave them an abridged manual with an outline of rules expecting the internationals to follow the norms of fair play. International keirin races in Japan are not quite the same as the races with only local riders. Races excusively amongst locals have conditions where who will work and who will compete for the win are based on hometown, keirin school, time elapsed from previous win, and so on. So, it may not have been deemed necessary to give them everything that the Japanese may be subject to.
 
Jul 24, 2009
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badboyberty said:
Flawed basis for thesis. Can you please show us the documentation that proves the Japanese keirin circuit is any cleaner than the pro-peloton. The lock-in system is to prevent race fixing and is not designed to prevent doping. There's no point proposing an unmanageable system that doesn't even address it's goal. Even if most doping occurred in competition an effective lock down would be a logistical nightmare that would be full of holes due to the daily changes in accommodation.

The most credulous criticism of the bio-passport system is that the public are led to believe it's more effective than it really is. Your lock-down approach would fail the same test, only more so as it probably have a nett zero effect on doping.

How do you figure that lock-downs' would have a net zero effect of doping?
 
Apr 20, 2009
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sars1981 said:
How do you figure that lock-downs' would have a net zero effect of doping?

As I understand it, the riders are only sequestered for the weekends that they are racing and this is done to prevent any contact with gamblers.

I just checked the Japan Keirin site and found something interesting, though. While the riders are in keirin school their movements are strictly controlled 24 hours a day. They are not allowed cell phones and can only make calls from a public phone for a short time at night. They can receive calls in the following hour. Among many other things, they are not allowed to drink, smoke, borrow or lend money, buy, sell or trade parts, gamble, or talk with unauthorised or undesirable people.

So far, I have not found anything about anti-doping there, yet.
 
Jul 24, 2009
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gregod said:
As I understand it, the riders are only sequestered for the weekends that they are racing and this is done to prevent any contact with gamblers.

I just checked the Japan Keirin site and found something interesting, though. While the riders are in keirin school their movements are strictly controlled 24 hours a day. They are not allowed cell phones and can only make calls from a public phone for a short time at night. They can receive calls in the following hour. Among many other things, they are not allowed to drink, smoke, borrow or lend money, buy, sell or trade parts, gamble, or talk with unauthorised or undesirable people.

So far, I have not found anything about anti-doping there, yet.

Yeah, I did some searching around after blackcat mentioned it as well. It seems the point of it all is to stop race fixing rather than doping. However, for the purposes of whatwe're talking about, that is irrelevant. The point is that it happens..
 
Jun 16, 2009
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sars1981 said:
How do you figure that lock-downs' would have a net zero effect of doping?

Mainly because most doping now is during training, not in competition. Hence why Astraloza was popped for doping in June, not July, and why Michael Rasmussen in June '06 went for a training ride on the wrong continent.

Also have you ever heard of the prison herion trade? If it doesn't work in a high security facility how do you expect it to work in a three star french hotel.

You'd spend thousands and thousands of dollars making a lot of noise and achieving very little. Think about the logistics of a grand tour, 190 odd riders, 20+ teams with mechanics and soigneurs. Are you going to have chaperones for every time a rider takes a dump or stands in a shower? Are you going to pat down the soigneurs before each massage?

The passport system and targetted in and out of competition testing isn't perfect but it has a lot more merit. However we do need to see a greater willingness to retest samples as new tests are developed. It would be great to see a binding international treaty signed that would unify anti-doping statutes and policing across the world, and make pharmacutical manufacturers insert bio-markers in all scheduled PED's. However considering how hard it is to get binding treaties signed on important things like AIDS and C02 emmissions I don't think us armchair sportsfans are going to get what we want in a hurry.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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badboyberty said:
Mainly because most doping now is during training, not in competition. Hence why Astraloza was popped for doping in June, not July, and why Michael Rasmussen in June '06 went for a training ride on the wrong continent.

Also have you ever heard of the prison herion trade? If it doesn't work in a high security facility how do you expect it to work in a three star french hotel.

You'd spend thousands and thousands of dollars making a lot of noise and achieving very little. Think about the logistics of a grand tour, 190 odd riders, 20+ teams with mechanics and soigneurs. Are you going to have chaperones for every time a rider takes a dump or stands in a shower? Are you going to pat down the soigneurs before each massage?

The passport system and targetted in and out of competition testing isn't perfect but it has a lot more merit. However we do need to see a greater willingness to retest samples as new tests are developed. It would be great to see a binding international treaty signed that would unify anti-doping statutes and policing across the world, and make pharmacutical manufacturers insert bio-markers in all scheduled PED's. However considering how hard it is to get binding treaties signed on important things like AIDS and C02 emmissions I don't think us armchair sportsfans are going to get what we want in a hurry.
I would disagree. Getting a transfusion is not that simple, and supervision would prevent it.
 
Jul 25, 2009
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blackcat said:
Surely for every contention that the doping supervision compromises ones civil liberties, there are counter arguments on clean athletes having an equal right to enforce a clean sport. No individual is compelled to buy in to the supervision and testing. If you are against it, take up carpentry.

Balancing clean riders rights with riders civil liberties is a reasonable argument. Perhaps random surveillance / searches in competition and training camps would have a deterrent effect, while being affordable and not too intrusive. If surveillance substituted some of the other tests, perhaps riders would even prefer it.

As for the bold part though, lets abolish the minimum wage too. After all, if someone doesn't like what they get paid, they can always choose another profession....
 
blackcat said:
I would disagree. Getting a transfusion is not that simple, and supervision would prevent it.

OK... Let's look at it this way. If the UCI or ASO tried to implement such draconian controls (not that they would be so naive as to try), the riders would tell them to "F@#k Off", just like they did in the Race Radio issue at the tour. And they would have every right to.

I have no doubts that CAS or any judicial courts would back the riders civil rights completely. It seems the Peloton has discovered that since you can't have a race without riders, they actually have a voice in how business is conducted. They are not going to give it up now.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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VeloFidelis said:
OK... Let's look at it this way. If the UCI or ASO tried to implement such draconian controls (not that they would be so naive as to try), the riders would tell them to "F@#k Off", just like they did in the Race Radio issue at the tour. And they would have every right to.

I have no doubts that CAS or any judicial courts would back the riders civil rights completely. It seems the Peloton has discovered that since you can't have a race without riders, they actually have a voice in how business is conducted. They are not going to give it up now.
many stakeholders don't want doping. I do not see the practical "draconian controls". The Tour for 3 weeks off the bike, is one word. Recovery.

Recovery, recovery, recovery. You think they will be downloading jihadi texts, or borrowing Das Kapital from the local library? Please.

They want a comfy bed, a competent swanny, decent shower, good chef, and a good bed and sleep.
 
Back to the original subject.

Ninety5rpm said:
So, I'm thinking the whole bio passport thing is a farce based on the absurd underlying idea that "doping" in general is not what is banned, but, rather, only being "outside of a priori defined parameters".

How can the bio passport be worth anything if Armstrong can apparently transfuse blood, an expert can point out the unnatural pattern, and nothing is done. Maybe the riders cannot transfuse two units of blood at the same time like Hamilton did, so the amount of blood that can be transfused has been reduced; but even that is open to question because the UCI has not yet done anything that would show they would act. It seems to me that when a rider shows an unnatural pattern during a GT, like reticulocytes going dramatically down while hematocrit rises during a GT, the rider should be suspended for a couple weeks for unhealthy blood parameters, the same way riders used to be suspended for having a hematocrit that is too high.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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BroDeal said:
Back to the original subject.

How can the bio passport be worth anything if Armstrong can apparently transfuse blood, an expert can point out the unnatural pattern, and nothing is done. Maybe the riders cannot transfuse two units of blood at the same time like Hamilton did, so the amount of blood that can be transfused has been reduced; but even that is open to question because the UCI has not yet done anything that would show they would act. It seems to me that when a rider shows an unnatural pattern during a GT, like reticulocytes doing dramatically down while hematocrit rises during a GT, the rider should be suspended for a couple weeks for unhealthy blood parameters, the same way riders used to be suspended for having a hematocrit that is too high.

Correct.

How is it that a rider can show a 16.7% increase during a period of heavy training and racing and this is not questioned?
 

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Jun 19, 2009
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Race Radio said:
Correct.

How is it that a rider can show a 16.7% increase during a period of heavy training and racing and this is not questioned?

Exactly!
Well said BroDeal - this is my biggest argument about the Bio-Passport, while in theory it is a fantastic idea the 2009 model is falling way short of what it was designed to do.

This from the UCI website on the Biological Passport:
In addition, the detection of abnormal levels will cause a rider to be declared unfit and to be suspended from racing for an agreed period of time.

In its present format the Biological Passport is about as much use as a blind lifeguard.
 
blackcat said:
many stakeholders don't want doping. I do not see the practical "draconian controls". The Tour for 3 weeks off the bike, is one word. Recovery.

Recovery, recovery, recovery. You think they will be downloading jihadi texts, or borrowing Das Kapital from the local library? Please.

They want a comfy bed, a competent swanny, decent shower, good chef, and a good bed and sleep.

Is there a point here? Because it eludes me. No one wants doping in sport. But 24/7 surveillance or supervision, besides being expensive, impractical and an administrative nightmare, is a level of intrusion that you would not stand for in your life. Why should a professional athlete?
 
Mar 13, 2009
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VeloFidelis said:
Is there a point here? Because it eludes me. No one wants doping in sport. But 24/7 surveillance or supervision, besides being expensive, impractical and an administrative nightmare, is a level of intrusion that you would not stand for in your life. Why should a professional athlete?
keirin does it.

this would only be under certain circumstances. Preventing the doctors and handlers who transfuse blood, and the 32 injections per stage. Seems a fair trade off.

Cheaper than the blood passport.

Can you prevent intra Tour doping via this method? If you can, is it worth it? What are the real compromises in ones liberty? The Tour is about recovery, it should not compromise your recovery. It should maintain an even playing field. I think most riders would want an even playing field, and be willing to sacrifice their enhancement, if they know that everyone else cannot boost inside the Tour weeks.

So was is the practical imposition on one's liberty? I do not see it.

Riding the Tour is an invitation, for around 200 riders, of a pool of professionals 10 times that, and most are probably not doping. Riding the Tour should not be an invitation to dope free from scrutiny. If you can prevent it, without paining the existence of the athletes, you do it.
 
blackcat said:
Cheaper than the blood passport.

Can you prevent intra Tour doping via this method? If you can, is it worth it? What are the real compromises in ones liberty? The Tour is about recovery, it should not compromise your recovery. It should maintain an even playing field. I think most riders would want an even playing field, and be willing to sacrifice their enhancement, if they know that everyone else cannot boost inside the Tour weeks.

So was is the practical imposition on one's liberty? I do not see it.

Riding the Tour is an invitation, for around 200 riders, of a pool of professionals 10 times that, and most are probably not doping. Riding the Tour should not be an invitation to dope free from scrutiny. If you can prevent it, without paining the existence of the athletes, you do it.


So what's the practical imposition?... You're advocating 24/7 personal supervision. So a team dinner for 12 now becomes 21 because you have 9 "voyeurs" in attendance. If three teams stay in the same small rural hotel you now have 27 more bodies in the building (actually 54 as you'll need two shifts) If you're doing the math at home that's 360 trained and paid employees, with security clearance and credentials moving within the Tour retinue with impunity (540 if you need 3 shifts per rider).

How well would you recover with a complete stranger attending you post race massage, or sitting in your bedroom watching you read, or deal with your email, following your every move from press conference to team meeting. What kind of serious discussion for team strategy is going to take place with 9 strangers in attendance? Will these people all just stand up in the team bus on the 45 minute drive to the start?

I'm sure that having to leave the bathroom door open as I relieve myself would add no stress to my attempts at recovery, or having some stranger sitting in my room with me as I attempt to sleep. Hmmm, conjugal visit from the spouse or girlfriend during the race... well they could probably just use video surveillance for that. I'm sure the tapes would be safe and secure from any internet exposure.

You need to think about what it is that you are advocating here, and ask yourself if you would tolerate that kind of intrusion into your life as a condition of your employment. My guess is that you would not. The expense would be ridiculous, and the security issues unresolvable . Neither the UCI or ASO will take on the expense or the liability and security issues, so the point is moot. There is an expensive and pre-existing program in place that monitors the riders for 12 months, and unfortunately already catches more cheats than we would all like to see.

The Tour is an invitation to 180 riders from and elite pool of maybe 300. It's safe to say that if this year's field walked away over this issue, the replacement field would not provide an interesting alternative for most fans. Both the riders and the organizers understand this point all too well. I wouldn't hold your breath that this suggestion will be seriously tabled as a viable option in professional cycling any time soon.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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VeloFidelis said:
So what's the practical imposition?... You're advocating 24/7 personal supervision. So a team dinner for 12 now becomes 21 because you have 9 "voyeurs" in attendance. If three teams stay in the same small rural hotel you now have 27 more bodies in the building (actually 54 as you'll need two shifts) If you're doing the math at home that's 360 trained and paid employees, with security clearance and credentials moving within the Tour retinue with impunity (540 if you need 3 shifts per rider).

How well would you recover with a complete stranger attending you post race massage, or sitting in your bedroom watching you read, or deal with your email, following your every move from press conference to team meeting. What kind of serious discussion for team strategy is going to take place with 9 strangers in attendance? Will these people all just stand up in the team bus on the 45 minute drive to the start?

I'm sure that having to leave the bathroom door open as I relieve myself would add no stress to my attempts at recovery, or having some stranger sitting in my room with me as I attempt to sleep. Hmmm, conjugal visit from the spouse or girlfriend during the race... well they could probably just use video surveillance for that. I'm sure the tapes would be safe and secure from any internet exposure.

You need to think about what it is that you are advocating here, and ask yourself if you would tolerate that kind of intrusion into your life as a condition of your employment. My guess is that you would not. The expense would be ridiculous, and the security issues unresolvable . Neither the UCI or ASO will take on the expense or the liability and security issues, so the point is moot. There is an expensive and pre-existing program in place that monitors the riders for 12 months, and unfortunately already catches more cheats than we would all like to see.

The Tour is an invitation to 180 riders from and elite pool of maybe 300. It's safe to say that if this year's field walked away over this issue, the replacement field would not provide an interesting alternative for most fans. Both the riders and the organizers understand this point all too well. I wouldn't hold your breath that this suggestion will be seriously tabled as a viable option in professional cycling any time soon.
I agree with what you have advocated Vf. But you erected a few strawmen, to go hyper draconian.

All it requires is clean hotel rooms, and prevention of handlers bringing gear in. One or two members can address the strategy meetings, but more are needed when the riders segregate.

The problem is when the docs get out the hypodermics and the blood bags. You just need a few guys placed at strategic positions, that know what is going in, and where, and what type of contact people can have with the riders. IE. no contact where a wife brings a full suitcase and has no supervision, partners can obviously be free from scrutiny, and do not need to be pat down, but cannot bring in a potential hive of PEDs.

Is there any protestations at the cameras in Rebellin's room? I am not for that. I just am against the doctors bringing in a wealth full of hormones.

I do not think the riders want to dope, if there is a level playing field. Goes to the draggers versus pushees paradigm that JV and Walsh evoked. I think that is correct, Armstrong and a few others seek out advantage, they drag the peloton in that Red Queen effect. Riders charging so they tread water, to neutralise the disadvantage. They are pushed into it, by the draggers, who seek the newest and experimental substances.

Perhaps you went too far, suggesting I advocated supervision when one is releasing their bowels. I was also clumsy with the "stakeholders are against doping". I meant to hold up the contention, that if there is an effective solution, it should be pursued. Can you not compromise personal liberty, afterall, the Tour is an invitation, not a fundamental human right. Just ask Floyd and Tyler.

http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/tour-like-a-mobile-pharmacy-10544

Doping is an archetypal externality, a massive barrier to entry, and saps potential economy. The tests do not work, so could this work, without significantly encroaching on the riders personal liberty. Because I am the first to concede, cameras, and the model you propose, does just that.

And in my model, I am sure they could be smuggled in the smaller sized sharps. There would be some self applied enhancement. But can you minimise any gains to immaterial? I just think the power outputs have demonstrated that the blood passport has had no significant effect to those riders who have sophisticated enhancement advice and treatment.