Also, what do you think of his Hct values falling ~12% at the Giro months earlier? Shouldn't we see the same trend at the Tour?
While this consensus view has validity, this is partly a comparison between apples and oranges, because they were different Grand Tours of different importance, with different characteristics, with different time of year and different weather (hydration status, stress hormones etc. different). Whereas Tour was all-in-showdown for Lance, Giro was only a prelude for the Texan, so the physiological response might've been different. Not to say that the fall doesn't look suspicious, but were the comparison between two TDFs with half a dozen blood samples from both and the anomaly occurring only in other, then I'd be more convinced.
In addition, the documented 12 % fall of hematocrit as well as the reticulocyte data during Giro is based on only three
blood samples, all taken some week and half apart of each other and even one of them having exactly same reticulocyte count (0.7 %) as Lance had after both
of the alleged transfusions (ie. low reticulocyte count as an independent figure isn't necessarily that strange at all).
I could also add additional strange features in his 2008-2009 blood data than the Giro vs. Tour hematocrit:
- USADA based their "one in a million" - claim mostly on low reticulocyte count during the Tour, and the figure is indeed some 30-40 % lower than his other reticulocyte counts from 2008-2009 (mostly from OFF-season).
- Strange fluctuations of parameters (OFF-Score, hemoglobin) just weeks before the Tour as well as no reason for suppressed RBC genesis when reticulocyte count is low and his hematocrit is the highest
in the dataset (rEPO-treatment to recover from Giro or that had ended a few days earlier...?)
I am suspicious, but not "all-in" - convinced. There are red flags here and there, but still aside from a handful of reticulocyte counts and OFF-Scores, every
data is well within normal range even when there is some measurement noise ([de]hydration, machine calibration etc) here and there.