Is the UCI's Biological Passport flawed?

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hrotha said:
It would make perfect sense if it was Andy, but while I'd be happy if he went down, part of me would be worried by the implications. You ever doped? Better keep it up for the rest of your career just to avoid any irregularities. Not exactly the best incentive to stop.

That said, there's no other way.
JTL as well got done for data from before he stopped juicing.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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mrhender said:
I'm not trying to attack Brailsford, he just happens to be the one to say it. I think this mentality in general I think needs to change.

"The worst scenario is to accuse somebody who is innocent, we've got to avoid that at all costs."
As far as the ABP is concerned, it seems that they are too worried about making wrong accusations, when making wrong sanctions should be the issue. We have seen the reluctance to investigate too often. While there may have been a secret "tell us you were sick while at altitude" letter, the process seems so worried about offending someone that they only inquire, not investigate.

I am not saying shoot first ask questions later, but instead to draw the gun, ask questions, then shoot. Instead, what we have now is a politely worded letter, and then possibly a follow up envelope with the bullet inside.
 
More Strides than Rides said:
I'm not trying to attack Brailsford, he just happens to be the one to say it. I think this mentality in general I think needs to change.



As far as the ABP is concerned, it seems that they are too worried about making wrong accusations, when making wrong sanctions should be the issue. We have seen the reluctance to investigate too often. While there may have been a secret "tell us you were sick while at altitude" letter, the process seems so worried about offending someone that they only inquire, not investigate.

I am not saying shoot first ask questions later, but instead to draw the gun, ask questions, then shoot. Instead, what we have now is a politely worded letter, and then possibly a follow up envelope with the bullet inside.
#1 the ABP system bends over backwards at every step in the process to minimize false positives to the point it enables some doping. If IOC sports were more transparent, then maybe it's time to look at it. But, not a high priority in the current environment.

#2 It's not the technical side of the system with the issue. The ABP process works as designed. The federation is in complete control.

#3 any article that uses JTL's excuse as credible "seed of doubt" is pure propaganda.
 
May 19, 2010
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For a sport losing its grip on credibility, the biological passport was viewed as cycling's saviour and was so good even Lance Armstrong said it "worked".

It was no surprise when athletics, football and tennis said they, too, would start using it.

So why are athletes, from all sports, still doping? There are 46 people currently serving bans in the UK alone.
Most athletes are still not in any kind of biological passport system. The one Brit who is serving a ban based on the passport was just barely in the passport system. If UCI only had waited a couple of weeks more to give him his first passport test he would have been safe home with a juicy three year contract with Sky, gained by spectacular performances done while outside the wherabouts and passport system. They are doping because they can.
 
Nov 2, 2013
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Regardless of its efficacy as an antidoping tool, the ABP is really useful as a propaganda tool for the benefit of the non sport media and casual fans alike:

"That was 2008, the same year cycling’s governing body introduced the biological passport — ongoing tests that track a rider’s blood and hormone levels for abnormalities, much trickier to fool than a straight drug test. For me, being in it, it’s impossible to dope and not be caught, eventually,” Hesjedal says.

- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/victoria-pro-cyclist-ryder-hesjedal-comes-clean-on-past-doping-1.1326391#sthash.bmowS8wf.dpuf

However his one time doping coach said this:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/biological-passport-only-puts-a-damper-on-doping-rasmussen-says

Biological passport only “puts a damper” on doping, Rasmussen says
 
Jul 11, 2013
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Dear Wiggo said:
Didn't and mostly still don't track hormones.
I'd say bury the damn thing..
At least in it's current use..

Huge amounts of ressources go into this.. And for what?
Nailing a few dopers here and there..

Basically I think this is more a tool for dopers than it is for the anti-doping cause...

What evidence is there that this is efficient..?
Originallly the rethoric was that the ABP was to aid the authorities in target testing etc...
But then why haven't the UCI attributed one positive test to it??

It's a fail...

I guess they were communicating to the peleton to slow down..
The result was that the peleton only sharpened their knives...

The idea of a ABP is in some ways good, but the way they handle it is basically the same as telling a shoplifter when the guard is on shift....
 
May 19, 2010
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The alternative is going back to no tool for limiting the use of blood transfusions and a lot bigger room for EPO (the detection window for the EPO test is very small). The passport is used for other things than just sanctioning for anomalies only. At least it can be used for a lot more, like targeting.

There is much room for improvement still. For instance Lars Bak was (blood) tested 17 times out of competition between February and the mid of July this year. According to himself it was because he lived on some sort of testers favourite route, which gave them maximum amount of tests for the money. Others on his team who lived in a area with denser athlete population have only been tested out of competition two or three time in their whole career. Anti doping Danmark admits that this is a problem.

UCI only takes so many bio passport blood tests in a year. There is ca 1000 riders in their testing pool. If Lars Bak gets 17 ooc blood tests in 5 months some other riders probably gets less than the average 5 or 6 tests a year.

http://politiken.dk/sport/ECE2341426/dopingkontrol-ikke-fair-lars-bak-er-testet-17-gange-i-aar/ (Danish)
 
Sep 29, 2012
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neineinei said:
The alternative is going back to no tool for limiting the use of blood transfusions and a lot bigger room for EPO (the detection window for the EPO test is very small). The passport is used for other things than just sanctioning for anomalies only. At least it can be used for a lot more, like targeting.

There is much room for improvement still. For instance Lars Bak was (blood) tested 17 times out of competition between February and the mid of July this year. According to himself it was because he lived on some sort of testers favourite route, which gave them maximum amount of tests for the money. Others on his team who lived in a area with denser athlete population have only been tested out of competition two or three time in their whole career. Anti doping Danmark admits that this is a problem.

UCI only takes so many bio passport blood tests in a year. There is ca 1000 riders in their testing pool. If Lars Bak gets 17 ooc blood tests in 5 months some other riders probably gets less than the average 5 or 6 tests a year.

http://politiken.dk/sport/ECE2341426/dopingkontrol-ikke-fair-lars-bak-er-testet-17-gange-i-aar/ (Danish)
When you only have to report summary figures (X total tests, n riders, avg tests per rider = X/n), they can glow with an erroneously valuable looking light.
 
May 26, 2010
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DirtyWorks said:
Even for sports media. Nobody wants their Olympic press credentials revoked.
No news organisation wants their press credentials revoked, so they play the game.
 
Dec 7, 2010
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Benotti69 said:
New anti-doping code may lead to cuts in the number of tests in the Netherlands - and elsewhere
Hmmm, it's an interesting dilemma. More accurate and aggressive testing equates to less testing. All the more reason for longer bans, which will also be implemented, but I'm not confident that that, in-and-of-itself, will be an effective deterrent. Especially if the likelihood of being tested at all is now reduced even further due to economic reasons.
 
May 26, 2010
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Granville57 said:
Hmmm, it's an interesting dilemma. More accurate and aggressive testing equates to less testing. All the more reason for longer bans, which will also be implemented, but I'm not confident that that, in-and-of-itself, will be an effective deterrent. Especially if the likelihood of being tested at all is now reduced even further due to economic reasons.
We have seen that plenty of athletes dont get tested often and places like Tenerife seem to be safe 'havens' from OOC testing so it is not going to make it more difficult for dopers. Plus you are allowed 3 missed OOC tests before a ban. Some fail safe logistics should mean a straight ride through any tests.
 
mrhender said:
I'd say bury the damn thing..
At least in it's current use..

Huge amounts of ressources go into this.. And for what?
Nailing a few dopers here and there..

Throwing out the system is not necessary. It works okay. You and others need to be clear where the problem lies.

-The technical system is very good. Bayesian analysis is an excellent tool for the job.
-There is a steroid passport module that is coming online, if it isn't already. It's going to close an obvious loophole. It will cover the hormone levels request and peptide doping.
-As the test precision increases, the chances to use PED's declines.

IMO, there are two major problem areas:
1. The sports federations run WADA. The sports federations are hiding positives.
2. The tests are behind current doping technology.

Until more people understand how the system actually works nothing is going to improve.
 
May 19, 2010
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Benotti69 said:
New anti-doping code may lead to cuts in the number of tests in the Netherlands - and elsewhere

http://www.insidethegames.biz/news/1023957-new-anti-doping-code-may-lead-to-cuts-in-the-number-of-tests-in-the-netherlands-and-elsewhere

WADA sure is anti doping, if you dont test for it there is no doping;)
The Dutch anti doping agency had 55 biological passport blood samples tested and registered in ADAMS in 2013, so they had ca 11 bio passport profiles. In all of Dutch sports. It was already a joke.

https://wada-main-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/resources/files/WADA-2013-Anti-Doping-Testing-Figures-ABP-REPORT-BLOOD-ANALYSIS.pdf (page 9)
 
May 19, 2010
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2 of the blood samples the Dutch anti-doping agency collected and analyzed for the biological passport program in 2013 were from judo.They did thankfully collect 3 times as many samples from their skaters. In February 2014 the Dutch speed skaters won 23 medals at the Sochi games, eight of them gold. So there were more Dutch Olympic golds in skating in February than there were Dutch bio passport tests among skaters the previous year.

3 in aquatics
13 in athletics
30 in cycling
2 in judo
6 in skating
1 in triathlon

(to be fair, the International Skating Union has a bio passport program, and the top Dutch skaters are part of that, just like the top Dutch cyclists are part of UCI's bio passport program. Still the bulk of the Dutch bio passport tests are in cycling. Clearly the doping must be in cycling, and not in skating, football or field hockey)
 
neineinei said:
The Dutch anti doping agency had 55 biological passport blood samples tested and registered in ADAMS in 2013, so they had ca 11 bio passport profiles. In all of Dutch sports. It was already a joke.

https://wada-main-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/resources/files/WADA-2013-Anti-Doping-Testing-Figures-ABP-REPORT-BLOOD-ANALYSIS.pdf (page 9)
The sports federations don't want to give NADOs enough money to catch anyone. This isn't the fault of the anti-doping agency.

The way this works is the sports federation does the testing. To dredge up an old example, the year of the London games, UKAD did no tests on WT cyclists, UCI reported testing. It's a great way to keep the anti-doping controversy under control.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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I'm confused. Wasn't Parisotto saying recently that the BP will catch those dirty cheats sooner or later?

To elaborate, Chris Froome criticised the
lack of anti-doping testing over a two week period during a key training
camp for himself and two other high level cycling athletes [21,22].
Similarly in 2011 it was reported by Gerard Vroomen (2009-2010 head
of Cervelo Test Team cycling), that ‘I have not heard of a rider being
tested for the biological passport between the end of the 2010 Tour
and April 2011’ [23]. This was later supported by Michael Ashenden
a member of the UCI passport panel that stated ‘It’s correct that the
observation made by Gerard Vroomen matches with my experience.
I have noticed a significant gap between tests in some of the profiles
I have reviewed’. This would therefore indicate that despite the
justification behind anti-doping policies, their goals are less likely to be
achieved if they are not even being performed
, irrespective of the issues
surrounding the system.
http://omicsonline.org/open-access/antidoping-systems-in-sports-are-doomed-to-fail-a-probability-and-cost-analysis-2161-0673.1000148.pdf?aid=32505
 
Jul 11, 2013
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DirtyWorks said:
Throwing out the system is not necessary. It works okay. You and others need to be clear where the problem lies.

-The technical system is very good. Bayesian analysis is an excellent tool for the job.
-There is a steroid passport module that is coming online, if it isn't already. It's going to close an obvious loophole. It will cover the hormone levels request and peptide doping.
-As the test precision increases, the chances to use PED's declines.
.
I can accept that it is an improvement, but does it "close" the loophole?

Is the loophole of microdosing with EPO closed?

http://omicsonline.org/open-access/antidoping-systems-in-sports-are-doomed-to-fail-a-probability-and-cost-analysis-2161-0673.1000148.pdf?aid=32505

Their research involved the intravenous injection of recombinant human
erythropoietin (rhEPO) into 10 subjects for up to 12 weeks. Results of
the study found that in microdose amounts EPO was undetectable in the
ABP
And to the new module:

In November 2013 WADA’s Foundation Board meeting [73]
decided on the introduction of a Steroidal Module into the ABP. This
method of profiling may change the effectiveness of the current antidoping
testing. At this point there is too little evidence to determine its
current effectiveness and so more testing and time is needed. One can,
however, say that if the same problems arise with the Steroidal Module
as with haemoglobin; the same scientific issues and ethical issues
are involved
, then the findings of this research will be strengthened.
http://inado.org/uploads/3/1/2/9/3129436/inado_update_53.pdf

ABP steroidal module and are still in the early stages of evaluation. A few issues concerning reporting of samples by the laboratories have needed to be addressed and many profiles include only a single test result. Due to the changes in the TD2014EAAS, only results since 1 January 2014 are automatically calculated by the adaptive model software to create new profiles.
Also:

The ABP haematological module is optional to all ADOs, which must decide how to integrate it into their testing programmes. A well-run ABP will permit a reduction in the number of tests for erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs) tests under the TDSSA

WADA states that it is important to note that even if the laboratory results are all automatically entered into ADAMS, the Adaptive Model software cannot match results and generate longitudinal profiles unless the ADO enters the DCFs. The recently revised TD2014EEAS (version2.0) addresses the issue when no longitudinal profile exists and includes specific criteria under which IRMS confirmation is to be performed. This is however, less efficient than the personalized approach through the application of the adaptive model.
And I was not ignoring the lack of incentives to sanction riders.
I am aware of that problem. I was commenting merely on the lack of effeciency versus cost/ressources..

From the study which you might find worth a read:

Even if there are more ADRVs in cycling, the actual number of athletes sanctioned because of the ABP remains extremely low. In this regards can it be said that the ABP is having the desired effect? If athletes who are under the ABP are being found to have questionable results, and as
such brought up on charges for anti-doping violations, but still are not
being sanctioned, then is the program really helping the state of affairs
 
Jun 5, 2014
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Dr. Ferrari will a write a comment soon regarding the bbc article about the bio passport. Or better..the bio passport in general.
 

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