• We're giving away a Cyclingnews water bottle! Find out more here!

Teams & Riders Froome Talk Only

Page 1359 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Froome got off on a drug where dozens of others got banned for. And that's just one thing in a looooong line of things.

Froome finishes a GT in 2nd but is later awarded a victory even though the winner did not test positive for a controlled substance. Contador wins a Grand Tour, doesn't test positive, and later loses that victory.

How can I pretend it's fair?

I don't like Valverde, and I don't pretend he's a good guy in this. But at least he did the time and at least the pretense of cleeaanz is gone.
Froome got off on the Salbutamol because he had the resolve and of course crucially the resources to stand up and challenge the case.

Without being expert enough in this field to fully interpret what limited info we got on the decision, to the layman the conclusion seemed to be that the test itself was inherently flawed.

Sure it sucks for those banned before him, but that’s not Froome fault. If he genuinely knew that he’d done no wrong then of course he’s not just going to roll over and accept a sanction just for the sake of parity with those who went before him.

My guess is we won’t see any salbutamol sanctions in the near future now with this precedent set. So rather than adding to the list of reasons to dislike him, maybe it’s a reason for some to thank him.

Of course if you’re of the opinion that he simply bought himself out of it, some kind of bribe, cover up etc, then there’s no answer to that really

And just out of interest, what part do you think Froome/Sky//Ineos had to play in the whole Cobo chain of events...do you really think this is something they pushed through?
 
Last edited:
Reactions: F_Cance
Contador wins a Grand Tour, doesn't test positive, and later loses that victory.
If you're referring to the Giro, it was a back-dated ban. He wouldn't have been able to ride in the Giro if his national ADA had come to the same conclusion that CAS did. In any case, if the Giro win had been allowed to stand, he would have had a longer ban going forward, and would not have been able to win the 2012 Vuelta. He was going to lose two years one way or another.

Without being expert enough in this field to fully interpret what limited info we got on the decision, to the layman the conclusion seemed to be that the test itself was inherently flawed.
That may well be. But the problem remains the total lack of transparency. UCI/WADA want everyone to accept the decision, but they won't offer any details supporting the decision.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: Grrr
If you're referring to the Giro, it was a back-dated ban. He wouldn't have been able to ride in the Giro if his national ADA had come to the same conclusion that CAS did. In any case, if the Giro win had been allowed to stand, he would have had a longer ban going forward, and would not have been able to win the 2012 Vuelta. He was going to lose two years one way or another.



That may well be. But the problem remains the total lack of transparency. UCI/WADA want everyone to accept the decision, but they won't offer any details supporting the decision.
Don’t disagree with that, especially after Froome himself had said the details would be released...but not sure who to blame here; UCI/WADA or Froome/Sky. Or both?

Not sure of the reasons to withhold either..could the details be seen as a blueprint for future doping, or were they (UCI/Wada) concerned about possible action from those unfairly sanctioned in the past?
 
Don’t disagree with that, especially after Froome himself had said the details would be released...but not sure who to blame here; UCI/WADA or Froome/Sky. Or both?
Some of both, I'd say. WADA did not want the details released (see below), but I don't think they could have stopped Froome from releasing them, or if they could, he should have pointed that out as a reason for not doing so.

Not sure of the reasons to withhold either..could the details be seen as a blueprint for future doping, or were they (UCI/Wada) concerned about possible action from those unfairly sanctioned in the past?
Mostly the former, I'm pretty sure. WADA mentioned this at the time. One problem with this is that athletes who are really taking salbutamol for a genuine need, and not to dope, would benefit from these details. They have a right to know what kind of risk they might have, what exactly the relationship is between the doses they're taking and the likelihood of triggering an AAF.

Froome's case actually makes this worse. His salbutamol levels might have been judged possible just from inhaling at the allowed dose, but at the very least we can say that most of the time that level would be indicative of going well beyond the allowed dose. How are you going to change the rules so that another Froome case would get off? You would either have to raise the maximum allowed urinary level, in which case far more abusers would slip through, or require athletes to show how much they inhaled and when (as Froome allegedly did). The latter is cumbersome--you're asking a lot of athletes to keep detailed records of their use--and athletes at the least would have to know a lot more about salbutamol than has been published to understand the situation.

Another point is that these details will come out eventually, anyway. There's talk about changing the salbutamol maximum dose allowed, or the dose per time, whatever. To do this, there has to be data showing that a new maximum is fairer, and will result in fewer false positives, while still catching abusers. But that data will have to get published. All the salbutamol studies by anti-doping researchers in the past have been published, and I don't see how that would change. I don't think WADA could announce a new maximum without any public data to back it up.

in fact, being secretive could increase the risk they're trying to avoid. An athlete who wants to take salbutamol for PE could challenge even the new rules, whatever they are, arguing that without public data to back it up, it could be unfair to genuine asthmatics. When you're dealing with a drug that can be taken under reasonable circumstances, for a medical need, but also as PE, you have to be transparent about where and how you draw the line.

Edit: I started out intending to write a brief answer, but the more I think about this, the more I realize how changing the salbutamol standards is going to be very difficult. I don't remember if it was you or someone else who said upthread that the outcome might just be there won't be any prosecution of salbutamol cases for a while, but I tend to agree. Even without knowing all the details of Froome's case, athletes do now have a basis on which to challenge any levels over the maximum.
 
Last edited:
I didn't know where to put this, but as it was the Dawg that prompted my brain to work, I shall put it here.

During the Dawg's treatment, if he is given medication that is banned by WADA. Does a TUE cover it?
 
rick, if you actually read my post correctly, instead of going full keyboard warrior radge then you would have seen it was a general question.

So just calm down, come off that high horse and settle down.
 
I didn't know where to put this, but as it was the Dawg that prompted my brain to work, I shall put it here.

During the Dawg's treatment, if he is given medication that is banned by WADA. Does a TUE cover it?
yes a TUE covers it. plenty of medical reason to use painkillers or other stuff that would require a TUE. I got Tramadol when I broke my femur. with the new Tramadol rules he´d get that too, and gets a TUE for it
 
Do I need any? This is the clinic, evidence doesn’t count
Not to comment on this particular squabble, but in general, that's nonsense. This place has been a tremendous source of evidence over the years. Proof is another story, but that's...well that's a different word, and a different standard.

Can't recall the number of posts I've seen demanding "evidence" when evidence abounds, when what they're actually asking for is "proof". Things like, "...if there's no positive test there's no evidence". I've seen literally hundreds of such posts over the years.

Generally trotted out when the poster is defending a favored rider against a particularly compelling mountain of evidence.
 
Reactions: SafeBet and F_Cance
...How are you going to change the rules so that another Froome case would get off? You would either have to raise the maximum allowed urinary level, in which case far more abusers would slip through, or require athletes to show how much they inhaled and when (as Froome allegedly did). The latter is cumbersome--you're asking a lot of athletes to keep detailed records of their use--and athletes at the least would have to know a lot more about salbutamol than has been published to understand the situation...
Surely this assumes that the test (collection and analysis of data) is working properly, and the major point that seems to have come out of Froome's case is that it isn't?

If the current test is inadequate you don't look to change the rules to account for this, you change the test.
 
Surely this assumes that the test (collection and analysis of data) is working properly, and the major point that seems to have come out of Froome's case is that it isn't?

If the current test is inadequate you don't look to change the rules to account for this, you change the test.
The test is perfectly adequate, in the sense that it accurately measures the salbutamol level in the urine. The problem is that the relationship between that level and the amount the athlete has taken can vary widely, depending on how much he inhaled, and when. This is just the messy nature of pharmacology, and isn't the fault of inaccurate testing.

Though I was never able to get the details, the gist of Froome's argument was that a) the urinary levels following a specific dose are logarithmically distributed, rather than randomly (normal curve) distributed, resulting in much more frequent outliers at the high end than WADA predicted based on its studies; b) Froome was inhaling every day, so the cumulative effect of the doses would be greater than assuming a single dose; c) the inhaler Froome used results in higher levels per dose than the inhalers used in the WADA studies; and d) the conditions of racing, and particularly dehydration, may have altered the dose-level relationship as generally studied in the lab.

The first of these, the logarithmic distribution, guarantees difficulty in setting a criterion that strikes a reasonable balance between false positives and false negatives. The immediate implication of this is that the cutoff urinary level should be set higher, but if you do that, there will have to be more false negatives. The only way to avoid this is by addressing each case individually, which brings in b) and d), which can only be considered if the athlete has detailed records. Froome's scientific expert, Darren Austin, made use of how much Froome inhaled every day (which almost certainly was guesswork, since Froome would not have kept the records), and factored in dehydration. By dehydration, I don't only mean the effect on the concentrations of substances in the urine, which is factored in already now, but the effect on metabolism in general.

My own conclusion, based on the data I was able to get, is that the probability of Froome's level was still quite low. I think in the end WADA accepted this because they felt that he would not have risked a positive by taking salbutamol orally, IOW, while the odds of getting this level following inhaling within the allowed dose limit was quite low, they felt the alternative possibility was even less likely.
 
Last edited:
The test (and I’m going to state again that this includes the data analysis as it seems you’ve ignored that) is implemented in WADA labs to determine if an athlete has taken more salbutamol than the permitted amount. If it can’t do this it’s inadequate for the intended use. That’s pretty simple logic.
 
...
My own conclusion, based on the data I was able to get, is that the probability of Froome's level was still quite low. I think in the end WADA accepted this because they felt that he would not have risked a positive by taking salbutamol orally, IOW, while the odds of getting this level following inhaling within the allowed dose limit was quite low, they felt the alternative possibility was even less likely.
I don't understand this thinking. Many athletes have done all kinds of dumb shite, risked positives, and gotten caught. Why would they arrive at such a conclusion?
 
The test (and I’m going to state again that this includes the data analysis as it seems you’ve ignored that) is implemented in WADA labs to determine if an athlete has taken more salbutamol than the permitted amount. If it can’t do this it’s inadequate for the intended use. That’s pretty simple logic.

Yes, by that definition it's inadequate, always has been inadequate and always will be inadequate. There has never been a drug test ever that I'm aware of that can tell within a very small margin of error how much of the substance the individual took. I thought that was pretty obvious. Which means no, you can't change the "test" as you define it, without a great deal more effort on the part of the athlete. That was never a possibility in the first place.

I don't understand this thinking. Many athletes have done all kinds of dumb shite, risked positives, and gotten caught. Why would they arrive at such a conclusion?
It's a matter of weighting the various possibilities. I don't know for certain that they reasoned this way, but I recall reading a statement by WADA or UCI that certainly implied that. Again, I'm limited by not having access to the data, but it seems Froome exceeded the maximum allowed level only once, which to WADA was more explainable in terms of being an outlier of a large sample of data points than doping only once, or only once at a very high level, during the Vuelta.
 
Last edited:
Yes, by that definition it's inadequate, always has been inadequate and always will be inadequate. There has never been a drug test ever that I'm aware of that can tell within a very small margin of error how much of the substance the individual took. I thought that was pretty obvious. Which means no, you can't change the "test" as you define it, without a great deal more effort on the part of the athlete. That was never a possibility in the first place.
So the test is inadequate then, we did finally get there. Suggesting the test can't be improved seems odd to me. It was improved as recently as 1st March 2018 when the deadline for the implementation of SG correction for all threshold substances, not just endogenous threshold substances, was passed. This suggestion also makes the assumption that the current standard of measuring free and glucurconjugated salbutamol by GCMS (I'm pretty sure this is still the approved method, but it's fairly irrelevant to the point) is the best test to use.

I don't understand this thinking. Many athletes have done all kinds of dumb shite, risked positives, and gotten caught. Why would they arrive at such a conclusion?
It's what happens when you start without all the relevant data and make assumptions, continuously have to correct those assumptions when new data becomes available, and, fail to accept that without all the relevant data, it's impossible to really determine why a decision was made.
 
It's a matter of weighting the various possibilities. I don't know for certain that they reasoned this way, but I recall reading a statement by WADA or UCI that certainly implied that. Again, I'm limited by not having access to the data, but it seems Froome exceeded the maximum allowed level only once, which to WADA was more explainable in terms of being an outlier of a large sample of data points than doping only once, or only once at a very high level, during the Vuelta.
I can't see a legitimate reason for an organization like WADA to make assumptions about why such a high level of a drug was found in an athlete's system. It was there. If Froome could prove it was there for some reason other than the obvious, then that proof should be all that is needed. Having an anti-doping organization look for excuses for an athlete isn't the way this should work, or has worked in the past.

I don't doubt you that they may have claimed this was the reason. My question is, does that stand up to even a modicum of scrutiny or skepticism? The simple answer there is no.
 
Reactions: Grrr
Suggesting the test can't be improved seems odd to me. It was improved as recently as 1st March 2018 when the deadline for the implementation of SG correction for all threshold substances, not just endogenous threshold substances, was passed.
That’s speculation. There’s no evidence I’m aware of that the sensitivity of the test improved, or at least remained the same, along with a greater specificity. Of course if you give an athlete two options to reduce his test level, there will be fewer false positives. But there also may be more false negatives.

Petacchi would have gotten off under the new rule. But the CAS panel seemed pretty certain at the time that his level couldn’t have resulted from inhaling within the allowed amounts. All we can say at this point is that if he had gotten off, there is some probability that a false positive was avoided, and some probability that a false negative was allowed.

Doping tests are always biassed to reduce false positives as much as possible, at the expense usually of increasing false negatives. Most people seem to accept that, but calling it an improvement is a subjective judgment. An objective improvement would be reducing false positives while at least not increasing the number of false negatives. I see no way in the near future to do that with salbutamol, short of, to repeat, involving the athletes in the process.

One possible improvement would be a test that clearly discriminates oral administration from inhaling. But as discussed extensively here during the Froome case, the test that is used for that doesn’t actually accomplish this. A better test might be developed, but as I recall, when WADA was talking about the need for changing the approach to salbutamol, that wasn't mentioned.

If Froome could prove it was there for some reason other than the obvious, then that proof should be all that is needed.
Froome’s team couldn’t prove anything conclusively. Their argument was that there was a significant possibility that his value was an outlier. In that situation, you have to ask, what are the other possibilities, and how likely were they relative to the outlier?

The CAS panel went through the same process with Contador. No one on either side could prove to a high degree of probability how CB got in his system. The panel decided that supplement contamination was the most likely, though Contador himself said he didn't take any supplements.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts