Is the UCI's Biological Passport flawed?

Page 3 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Nov 9, 2010
295
0
0
Ney the Viking said:
I thought Kohl said that having a clean biopassport was the easiest part of it all, you juse needed a good schedule?

So isn't this just UCI saying that the bio passport is the new 50% limit? Have a stable passport and we wont hassle you too much, good luck and have fun.

I may just be a cynic however.
+1

Just look at Ivan Basso. Back in 2006, nobody suspected Basso when he won the Giro, mainly because his team, CSC, had their own bio passport program which showed no suspicious blood values.

Today, UCI has adopted the bio passport, and Basso has yet again no suspiciuos values. Such facts makes you wounder. :confused:
 
UCI bolstering 'oversight?' Or Spin to silence the critics?

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/uci-announces-anti-doping-programme-for-2011

http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/509010/uci-more-anti-doping-tests-on-suspicious-riders-in-2011.html

"The UCI appears to have heeded the advice given to them in a recent report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency after its representatives accompanied UCI anti-doping officers during the 2010 Tour de France.

The report specified 57 recommendations to the UCI to tighten up its anti-doping programme, and one of the major points was that the UCI should target riders who are already under suspicion of doping rather than random controls across the board."
 
Feb 23, 2010
2,102
0
0
Ney the Viking said:
I thought Kohl said that having a clean biopassport was the easiest part of it all, you juse needed a good schedule?

So isn't this just UCI saying that the bio passport is the new 50% limit? Have a stable passport and we wont hassle you too much, good luck and have fun.

I may just be a cynic however.
Yes, re Kohl, I think that's right.

So if that is indeed the case, then they're going to use the bio-passport to pursue the strategy that bagged them Caucchioli, De Bonis, Bosisio etc. They're going to use bio-passport fluctuations to help them target individuals for testing, especially the out-of-competition hits.
 
kfaber said:
I don't recognize myself. Please be more specific: names of athletes, for example, that I 'defended', as if I'm a lawyer.
I am very interested in the answer to this poster's questions, especially if it is indeed Mr. Faber himself.

As a sidenote, I am happy to see that more and more people are being critical of anti-doping regulations, strict liability combined with (dodgy) statistics and probabilities instead of culpability based regulations. Like I said in other threads, form a legal point of view at least anti-doping regulations and practices are seriously flawed right now.

Regards
GJ
 
TubularBills said:
UCI bolstering 'oversight?' Or Spin to silence the critics?
Spin & PR propaganda so they can offset the current criticism. I wonder how the "specific targeting on riders with abnormal values" is going to be applied, considering the "unsolved" case of Pellizotti & his possible lawsuit.....
 
Oct 25, 2010
3,049
2
0
TubularBills said:
and one of the major points was that the UCI should target riders who are already under suspicion of doping rather than random controls across the board."
And don't forget to buy yourself a huge van that says "We're coming!"
 
Except..

GJB123 said:
I am happy to see that more and more people are being critical of anti-doping regulations, strict liability combined with (dodgy) statistics and probabilities instead of culpability based regulations. Like I said in other threads, form a legal point of at least anti-doping regulations and practices are seriously flawed right now.

Regards
GJ
The statistics aren't dodgy. You may not understand them and they are complicated procedures. But the stats are not dodgy. People love to abuse statistics in every way possible and in that way they show just how useful a tool they really are.

I actually agree with most of what's said, it's just that doping enforcement is a part of Pro sports theater. It gives the UCI a way to distract/deflect doping critics.

Let WADA keep and test samples for 10 years with the ability to enforce positives against those aging samples. Places 1-5 in many races will change as positives are detected over the course of those 10 years, but it would be absolutely worth it. Except the UCI won't do it. They like their actors doped. Not dead from PED's, but doped.
 
Oct 25, 2010
3,049
2
0
DirtyWorks said:
The statistics aren't dodgy. You may not understand them and they are complicated procedures. But the stats are not dodgy. People love to abuse statistics in every way possible and in that way they show just how useful a tool they really are.

I actually agree with most of what's said, it's just that doping enforcement is a part of Pro sports theater. It gives the UCI a way to distract/deflect doping critics.

Let WADA keep and test samples for 10 years with the ability to enforce positives against those aging samples. Places 1-5 in many races will change as positives are detected over the course of those 10 years, but it would be absolutely worth it. Except the UCI won't do it. They like their actors doped. Not dead from PED's, but doped.
I think stats are a great way to tell you where to look. But once you start looking, you should be required to use "classical evidence" to confirm guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

For example, it's been an abundance of statistics and other forms of evidence that have turned me from LanceFanBoy into something else. Even though I think he's likely to be guilty, I'm not willing to hang him based on the statistics alone. But I'm certainly willing to allow them as "supporting" evidence.

The bio passport is great (if put in the proper hands).
 
Jun 19, 2009
5,220
0
0
TubularBills said:
UCI bolstering 'oversight?' Or Spin to silence the critics?

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/uci-announces-anti-doping-programme-for-2011

http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/509010/uci-more-anti-doping-tests-on-suspicious-riders-in-2011.html

"The UCI appears to have heeded the advice given to them in a recent report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency after its representatives accompanied UCI anti-doping officers during the 2010 Tour de France.

The report specified 57 recommendations to the UCI to tighten up its anti-doping programme, and one of the major points was that the UCI should target riders who are already under suspicion of doping rather than random controls across the board."
The underlying meaning of UCI effort: "we are now committed to intensifying our effort to do nothing and will target those riders we suspect of doing nothing more frequently. Unless they don't pay up."
 
Jun 19, 2009
5,220
0
0
BotanyBay said:
I think stats are a great way to tell you where to look. But once you start looking, you should be required to use "classical evidence" to confirm guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

For example, it's been an abundance of statistics and other forms of evidence that have turned me from LanceFanBoy into something else. Even though I think he's likely to be guilty, I'm not willing to hang him based on the statistics alone. But I'm certainly willing to allow them as "supporting" evidence.

The bio passport is great (if put in the proper hands).
I'd agree. The bio passport has to be in independent hands. No 3 month "hush period" for positives and that crap.
 
Aug 27, 2010
970
0
0
Also something i noticed. From some of the other posts, people put in Wigans 2008 and 09 blood values up to and including TdF. But there was FOUR values each year, FOUR!

As you know here is 3 kind of lies: Lies, Bloody Lies, and Statistics. And with four values you can deduct almost anything you want.

If thats how the biopass is getting made. "Tracking" indivuduals will just be selecting what you want.
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,257
0
0
biopass said:
+1

Just look at Ivan Basso. Back in 2006, nobody suspected Basso when he won the Giro, mainly because his team, CSC, had their own bio passport program which showed no suspicious blood values.

Today, UCI has adopted the bio passport, and Basso has yet again no suspiciuos values. Such facts makes you wounder. :confused:
Talking about facts: get them straight!

CSC didn't initiate their bio passport program until 2007.
 
Nov 9, 2010
295
0
0
Magnus said:
Talking about facts: get them straight!

CSC didn't initiate their bio passport program until 2007.
Youre right about CSC initiating the bio pass program. Maybe Basso was the only one on some sort of a pre-bio pass internal antidoping program on CSC, i dont know. But when Riis was interviewed in june 2006 he stated "all tests, and all bloodtests are fine; nothing indicated that there was anything wrong." So CSC was monitoring Basso, and according to Riis, they didnt notice anything suspicious.

You can read the full article here: http://www.akinde.dk/michael/archive/ivanbasso.net/?paged=6
 
Feb 14, 2010
2,202
0
0
So, it's crunch time for the Bio Passport. Valjavec, Caucchioli and now Pellizotti are in line for CAS decisions. CONI has said that the BP can be useful for target testing, but not for sanctioning. The paper from the New Pathways Conference examined the Valjavec proceedings to show what the UCI is doing wrong. So what happens if the cyclists win all three cases, and Pellizotti sues for a million Euros for losing a year of his career? The BP is a big public relations item for pro cycling - hey everyone, look what we're doing that no one else is doing.

But does it have any real value to the sport if they can't use it to identify cheaters and punish them? Or if they can only punish guys who don't have the cash to fight back?

As for targeted testing, here's what Pellizotti had to say May 5th:

"I thought it [the biological passport] was started as an instrument to monitor the riders and hit at those suspected of cheating," continued Pellizotti. "It was like that in most cases. But this is what bothers me, after the Tour, they did only one surprise control, August 9, and another at our team camp in March 2010. If there were doubts, why did they not control me more?
He was notified in May that he had abnormal values the previous July, and only had two surprise controls during a time they should have been gathering evidence, or trying to catch him with an illegal substance in his body? They had a total of nine riders they were looking at for the first round of sanctions. Why didn't they test the heck out of them?

http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/453535/pellizotti-questions-biological-passport-s-methods.html

How might things be different right now if all the samples taken for Biological Passport only had instead been tested for EPO, CERA, etc? With that many more tests, might they have caught more than five guys, three of which have a chance of being found innocent?

It's obvious to a lot of people that it's impossible for the organization to promote and police the sport at the same time. If the CAS shuts them down to the point where they don't even bother trying to sanction based on Passport results, who believes they could successfully use it for target testing? Some quotes from the WADA/AMA Independent Observer Report from the 2010 Tour - Here's the quality of timely information available to the testers:

For the Tour ABP samples are sent to the Lausanne Laboratory in anonymous format, the results of which are then statistically analysed by the Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU) and sent to the UCI and the experts if necessary During the major Tours the AMPU in turn provides a commentary to the UCI regarding all of the riders’ profile identifying whether the profile was suspicious (using a 10 point scale with 10 representing the highest priority for testing and 1 the least) as well as recommendations as to the type of test to target the rider. The data that the UCI holds on each rider is hugely valuable in informing an intelligent testing programme.
And here's how they failed to use it, even with the AMA looking over their shoulders and taking notes.

During the Tour, a number of riders demonstrating suspicious profiles and/or showing significantly impressive performances at the Tour were tested on surprisingly few occasions and for three riders of interest did not provide a blood sample for the purposes of anti-doping in the whole Tour (instead each providing a single sample for the ABP). This was consistent with the IO Team’s view that at times more weight was given by the UCI to ABP samples than samples for the detection of the ‘presence’ of prohibited substances and/or methods.

A rider identified as having a priority index of eight (with ten being the highest and most at risk of doping) was tested only once (urine EPO) during the Pre-Tour period with no blood sample collected for the analysis of CERA, HBT, HBOC or other prohibited substances and/or methods. During the Tour recommendations from the Laboratory related to target testing for EPO did not seem to be conducted expediently or as appropriate (ie. the EPO test was conducted 6 days later while the blood sample was only analysed for hGH). Lastly, following a significant delay in providing an early morning sample and in conjunction with the intelligence already held on this rider, there seems no evidence of more intense target testing on this rider.

• For a rider identified as having a priority index of ten, no blood samples were collected following the Laboratory recommendations after interpretation of blood passport data from the first week of the Tour, with only urine being collected and no blood as recommended by the Laboratory. Further, a recommendation to target test the rider for EPO took seven days to be executed.

• A rider identified as having a priority index of ten was not tested for either urine or blood from 3 April to the start of the Tour. Recommendations made by the Laboratory following testing in the first three days of the Tour resulted in no further blood samples being collected but rather only urine and approximately ten days later. The IO Team became aware of the remarks made by the laboratory regarding the analysis of this rider’s specific sample that raised the suspicion of the use of proteases. No further information regarding any actions taken by the UCI for further analysis of that sample was made available.

• For a rider identified as having a priority index of eight, who was recommended to be target tested for EPO by the Laboratory, the UCI did not target test the rider and in addition a sample collected five days later was not analysed for EPO. Interestingly in this case collection of follow-up samples from this rider was initiated by the AFLD via the WADA Resolution.
So, they had quality intel showing four very suspect riders, and failed to do anything about it. To some extent, the Passport science was working, but the decision makers failed. And again, this was the only race of the year where anyone was watching the UCI actions. And of course, (as far as we know), unlike the AFLD, the UCI allowed all non-Contador samples to be disposed of. All that money spent, and all that's left is additional Passport data to go with the info they ignored in July.

The UCI outlined that it did not have a specific policy in place regarding the storage of samples post analysis (ie. outside of the standard 3 months storage period required by the International Standard for Laboratories). The UCI informed the IO Team that they would consider the storage of a few samples of selected riders based on final results of the Tour. The IO Team has not been made aware of any samples collected in the lead up to or during the Tour that have been placed into long term storage for reanalysis at a later stage (for example, the performance of the riders at the Tour could be a criteria that could trigger reanalysis of previously collected samples)
.

http://www.wada-ama.org/Documents/World_Anti-Doping_Program/WADP-Independent-Observer/WADA_IO_Report_TDF2010_EN.pdf

Just as Armstrong turned me from being a vocal fan to a very vocal detractor, the UCI has turned me from a staunch anti-doping proponent to hoping the whole system fails so someone will have to do it right. I have no idea what if anything Franco might have done wrong, but I'm 100% rooting for him and Taminelli. Damn The Man
 
theswordsman said:
... the UCI has turned me from a staunch anti-doping proponent to hoping the whole system fails so someone will have to do it right. ...
Well stated.

McQuaid sold us a bill of goods. And, this leaves two possibilities. Either he did this on purpose, or they are just incompetent.

In the end, it doesn't matter.

The UCI by itself will never, ever get rid of doping.

Dave.
 
Jul 28, 2009
2,135
0
0
User Guide said:
Quick and simple question here JV...
1, how many tests a year is the passport supposed to need to be effective.
2, how many tests actually happen.
thx in adv

Edit.. if anyone else knows the answers id be grateful,thx
From the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21204287

Finally, at least three blood tests are necessary in order to evaluate the entire sequence in addition to the single value. At the beginning of the programme in 2008 we planned to collect a total of 10 blood and 4 urine samples for each athlete both in- and out-of-competition. In 2009, this scheme would be the same for the new riders entering the programme, while the older ones would undergo a reduced number of tests (6 blood and 3 urine tests), unless other reasons (i.e. abnormal profiles, sport performance) dictated otherwise.
NB: 850 athletes x (10 blood + 4 urine) x 2 (in- & out-) = 23, 800



It is important to highlight two aspects: all of the 2165 out-of-competition urine samples were tested for rhEPO, and 851 blood passport samples were tested for CERA using the immunological assay screening test.
The parameters that are measured, within the hematological
module, are:
- Red blood cells (RBC)
- Hematocrit (HCT)
- Haemoglobin (HGB)
- Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH)
- Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Content (MCHC)
- Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV)
- Off-hr score (HGH - 60√RET%)
- Absolute number of reticulocytes (RET#)
- Reticulocytes percentage (RET%)
Only the HGB and Off-hr score are taken into account by the Bayesian model in order to define a possible anti-doping rule violation.
 
Nov 9, 2010
3
0
0
Only the HGB and Off-hr score are taken into account by the Bayesian model in order to define a possible anti-doping rule violation.
While all the scientific articles as well as presentations have referred to a Bayesian approach for many years, that is not the statistics currently underlying application of the biopassport. I found out when receiving material in the Pellizotti case. The anti-doping authorities (= not UCI) have replaced 'Bayesian' by 'adaptive' everywhere. Needless to say that the current method is undefined in terms of false positives as well as well as false negatives.

A private e-mail from Michael Ashenden (November 12, 2010):

Jesus H Christ, *****! What is it that you don't understand?????

Let me be really, really, really clear on this:

1) Yes, 'A forensic approach...' describes a Bayesian approach - as your friend William attests to.

2) The haematological module of the ABP software does NOT - let me be really, really, really clear on this too, NOT - utilise the approach described in 'A forensic approach....'.

Go and have a look at the WADA Guidelines (see page 7, 'Defined Terms Specific to the International Standard for Testing'), where the term 'Adaptive Model' is defined. Then have a look at 5.0 & 6.0 and satisfy yourself that it uses the ADAPTIVE MODEL. You speak English, so I'm assuming you rec ognise that the words 'bayesian' and 'adaptive' are NOT the same word. There is not one, not one, mention of the word 'bayesian' in the WADA Guidelines (do the word search yourself!).

I've told you that the (blood module) ABP software does not use a bayesian approach enough times that I am simply confounded you keep making this same fundamental mistake...Let me try once more.

THE ABP SOFTWARE DOES NOT USE THE BAYESIAN APPROACH OUTLINED IN THAT ARTICLE.
THE ABP SOFTWARE DOES NOT USE THE BAYESIAN APPROACH OUTLINED IN THAT ARTICLE.
THE ABP SOFTWARE DOES NOT USE THE BAYESIAN APPROACH OUTLINED IN THAT ARTICLE.
THE ABP SOFTWARE DOES NOT USE THE BAYESIAN APPROACH OUTLINED IN THAT ARTICLE.
THE ABP SOFTWARE DOES NOT USE THE BAYESIAN APPROACH OUTLINED IN THAT ARTICLE.
THE ABP SOFTWARE DOES NOT USE THE BAYESIAN APPROACH OUTLINED IN THAT ARTICLE.
THE ABP SOFTWARE DOES NOT USE THE BAYESIAN APPROACH OUTLINED IN THAT ARTICLE.


You could use the term 'from a bayesian perspective' or if you tried really hard you could argue that it was 'built upon' a bayesian approach, because it is true the software has that capacity. Indeed, I expect future modules of the ABP software may well utilise a true bayesian approach (e.g., steroid module). But I keep coming back to the fundamental point - the blood module does NOT (there is that word again, just to be clear!) utilise the bayesian approach. It does not utilise that capacity of the software. It does not use the bayesian statistics described in that article. It does not.....etc.
My opinion:

1) elite athletes are forced to give up human rights and deliver private data which are subsequently analyzed with suboptimal means,
2) the term 'forensic' is abused since no forensic scientist was involved in the development of the biopassport - to the best of my knowledge, and finally:
3) I would not blame the UCI for relying on advice from experts.
 
Sep 25, 2009
7,527
0
0
That you kfaber were confused about how the bp methodology is supposed to work, all despite the multiple open sources, seems to me not mikes problem...and since when publishing a private email is tolerated by the cn?
 
Jul 28, 2009
2,135
0
0
Here's the pretty graph as supplied to the Scince of Sport guys:



The things to note are:
1. < 0.4% reticulytes = bad (transfusion indicator)
2. > 2.0% reticulytes = bad (epo / blood removal indicator)
3. > 0.4% and < 2.0% = good

NB: Science of sport guys say:

a 'normal' or physiological range for reticulocyte percent is 0.5% to 1.5%. Anything outside these is suggestive of doping
Here's the same graph as it was published in the paper:



Perhaps the most disturbing thing for me with this graph is the reticulyte % between 2.4 and 3% is not shown. This is a graph in a published paper. There's a gaping hole in its representation.

The good thing about this graph, is that it is more evident that in 2008, after the introduction of the ABP, there were people with extremely low ret% (0-0.2%) which is not evident in the first graph.

Assuming all riders were tested, at the time when they were doping, the number of "doping" riders in 2009, looks to be around 0.5%

Based on 850 riders, that gives us 4.25 doping riders.

Guess we can all go home now.
 
Jul 28, 2009
2,135
0
0
This brought the number of athletes to 804 in 2008 and to 848 in 2009
On the other hand, athletes with a suspicious haematological profile are subjected to targeted out-of-competition tests. Twenty-two athletes were found positive as a result of these targeted tests: 20 for an Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESA) (9 in 2008, 11 in 2009) and 2 for exogenous anabolic steroids.
So the u-beaut graph people bandy around as evidence of a clean peloton, showing 0.5% bad reticulyte values is in fact irrelevant.

2008 9 / 804 in ~= 1.1% matches the graph.
2009 11 / 848 ~= 1.3% ie an increase, does not match the graph.

+2 for steroid use - doesn't say which year.

These are the guys that were caught.

I do not recall there being 22 sanctions in 2008/2009. Do we have a list of these sanctioned riders?
 
Nov 9, 2010
3
0
0
So, the peloton either adapted (high % false-negatives) or became clean (high % true-negatives).

Interview with Lausanne lab in 2007 (in German):

http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/sport/uebersicht/die-blutspur-des-radsports-1.536876

Some numbers:

1996: There are no controls; more than 80 percent of the riders use EPO.
1997 to 1999: The definition of a hematocrit limit causes unease among athletes, the number of dopers declines slightly.
2000: Everyone knows by now how to manipulate the hematocrit. EPO is again applied more broadly.
2001: An EPO test is introduced, which has dramatic consequences. «Before the Tour de France 2001 the peloton was practically clean,» says Pierre-Edouard Sottas. In the third week, however, again an increase could be identified - the win was at stake, and obviously they had already recognized the limitations of the test.
2002: At the beginning, the prevalence is still low, towards the end of year, it increases markedly.
2003: In the Vuelta the riders benefit of the lax attitude of the Spaniards. «You can almost speak of completely covering doping,» says Sottas. The reason: EPO in micro-doses and foreign blood transfusions are not detectable.
2004/2005: A test for foreign blood transfusions is introduced; Tyler Hamilton and Santi Perez are caught. This initially leads to a shock, but then they manipulated with their own blood. Nevertheless, the prevalence declines: around 50 percent of the riders manipulate, but among the best the percentage is higher. The percentages in the Vuelta are again higher than those of other races.
2006/2007: With Operación Puerto, the Spanish blood swamp is drained. The number of dopers is as small as ever since 2001. Less than a quarter of the 180 riders that started in the 2007 Tour de France pedal with manipulated blood. However Sottas says: «Among the top 30 in the overall classification, the prevalence is higher than in the lower ranks.»
 
Jul 28, 2009
2,135
0
0
Here's a quick table of Ret% vs Hgb and the associated off-score. Apparently the off-score cut-off is 134, but as you can see, it's impossible to achieve that without going outside the limits of Ret%.

But note the ABP test, as highlighted above:
Only the HGB and Off-hr score are taken into account by the Bayesian model in order to define a possible anti-doping rule violation.
...
Eachweek, 10 to 15 updated profiles are sent to the experts for
review
. Intheseprofiles theBayesianadaptivemodel has identified
the Hb or Off-hr score abnormal with a 99%probability (either for
the singlemeasurement as a function of previous results or for the
complete sequence) or with normal or lower levels of probability.
wtf, each week? And why only 10-15? Because that's all they can get through? :eek: Why not send ALL the dodgy passports. Broken.



If truly only the Hgb and Off-score are taken into account, then this is brilliant, as you can have Ret% stupid low or stupid high and still have Hgb and Off-score nowhere near a problem.

There must be an updated ABP document somewhere, this is dumb.
 
the big ring said:
Here's a quick table of Ret% vs Hgb and the associated off-score. Apparently the off-score cut-off is 134, but as you can see, it's impossible to achieve that without going outside the limits of Ret%.

But note the ABP test, as highlighted above:


wtf, each week? And why only 10-15? Because that's all they can get through? :eek: Why not send ALL the dodgy passports. Broken.

If truly only the Hgb and Off-score are taken into account, then this is brilliant, as you can have Ret% stupid low or stupid high and still have Hgb and Off-score nowhere near a problem.

There must be an updated ABP document somewhere, this is dumb.
You don't seem to understand the intention of the program.

1. With the limited resources WADA has, they have to pick and choose subjects and frequency. Again, this gets back to the IOC's *barely* funding anti-doping. Even then, testing everyone isn't really required. Beyond sampling a certain percentage of the population, the benefits decline steeply. I've forgotten all the math around this, but there's plenty of it.

2. The point of the system, as it is right now, is to provide viewers confidence that Olympic sports are contested fairly. The viewers don't care one iota about the deeply flawed process you are highlighting. That is by design. The IOC handle this brilliantly, until the next doping scandal.

There are elements of the program that are excellent. However they are restrained by all the other problems built into the system to minimize doping controversy. Catching dopers today will always be tough. Backdated testing and WADA having the authority to open cases on their own is essential to a legitimate anti-doping program.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY