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Significant paper on doping - New Pathways conference at Wold Championships

Feb 14, 2010
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I thought this deserved a fresh thread. We all know about the Deakin University Conference that Floyd Landis will attend. Part of the purpose of the conference is for the University to present a paper they've been working on.

They spoke to current and recently retired Australian pro cyclists about a variety of topics. They've also done research on things like the Whereabouts System (they discuss Michael Rasmussen at length), the Biological Passport, and others. I was just skimming the section on the Passport, and thought I'd bring it to the attention of those of you who are way more into the science of doping than I am. I mean that in a good way - science was never my strong point.

I know that a cyclist's values can be manipulated so that they can dope while maintaining clean looking Passport numbers. I didn't know that the first step of the evaluation process is done by software. Numbers go to the Lausanne Lab, get keyed in, then software decides which ones go to a three member team for evaluation.

I'll stop talking, but if anyone is interested, here is an excerpt, and the chapter titles and the link:

We are not sure that things are as black and white as Gripper and the UCI claim. Below, the extent to which the Passport uses principles similar to those used in forensic medical science is considered. In an earlier chapter in the context of the costs of anti-doping, the
reliability of testing to pick up doping was discussed. Bornø et al. (2010) provided evidence that a testing regime of much greater intensity than that undertaken for the Biological Passport was only capable of detecting the signs of doping in 58% of cases. The inference was that for the Biological Passport to achieve such a reliability rate the testing would need to be increased significantly. Notably, they did not conduct microdosing of EPO with their subjects, adding further weight to their conclusion (Bornø, 2010).


Chapter One My body is not a temple, but I have to live in it

Chapter Two Method, Rationale and Principles

Chapter Three A Portrait of a Cyclist as a Young Man

Chapter Four The Purposes and Rationale of

Chapter Five Whereabouts?

Chapter Six The Athlete’s Biological Passport

Chapter Seven An introduction to the Social Peloton

Chapter Eight Work, Career, Education,
Annex One Summary of Institutional Anti-Doping Instruments and their Rationales

http://www.newcyclingpathway.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/21-NOW-FINAL-.pdf
 
Feb 14, 2010
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I'll bump the thread once, then let it die a natural death. The paper has a lot of things. You can read what Australian cyclists have to say about the Whereabouts system and the problems with being part of it. You can see the step by step process of the Biological Passport system - I had no idea the first decision is made by computer software, not people. The Taljavec case, which is heading to CAS, is discussed in detail, with medical issues and altitude tents, and the experts. They look at the problems with trying to use the Passport as a way to legally ban people - affirming a quote that says they must be naming the less successful riders because a guy with more money could afford lawyers who could easily expose flaws with the system.

My title su.cks , so I thought I'd give people another chance to see if it might interest them.
 
theswordsman said:
I'll bump the thread once, then let it die a natural death. The paper has a lot of things. You can read what Australian cyclists have to say about the Whereabouts system and the problems with being part of it. You can see the step by step process of the Biological Passport system - I had no idea the first decision is made by computer software, not people. The Taljavec case, which is heading to CAS, is discussed in detail, with medical issues and altitude tents, and the experts. They look at the problems with trying to use the Passport as a way to legally ban people - affirming a quote that says they must be naming the less successful riders because a guy with more money could afford lawyers who could easily expose flaws with the system.

My title su.cks , so I thought I'd give people another chance to see if it might interest them.

I definitely want to read this, thanks for the tip/link...
Hopefully a bunch of interesting things to discuss afterwards so the thread doesn't die.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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thanks to theswordsman for the link.

honestly, i was not impressed with the bio passport chapter format and language. the scientific content also appears limited though some valuable thoughts (mainly from ashenden) and helpful legal clarifications are worth considering. The paper reads like a monotonous narrative for a law professional and is overloaded with legal terms and repeat statements as if a broken record.

they criticized cas’s approach to pechstein’s case and supported slovenian rejection of the uci’s charge against valjavec. i thought the authors position on the latter was reasonable as it appears the uci had missed or misinterpreted some reasonable alternatives for abnormal values in valjavec.
at least, it would seem the uci has not risen to the appropriate legal standard in their conclusions re. valjavec.

overall, this was the first write-up on biopassport in a long time i learn something new from. cant complain.
 
Jul 14, 2009
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That article is great reading. One young kid interviewed in the career path section basically says that his AIS director paid cash for old east German training logs/programs. He also says that doing 250k training rides was pretty hard on his young body. I loved a few of the comments that say there is no career path in cycling and all the guys that stay with it after they are done racing are lost.1 guy says he went back to Australia to join the regular work force he felt robbed because there was no cross over skills that bike racing brought to his new job. When he told employers that he was an ex-pro racer they just didn't give a chit. Most people thought he wasted his best years that he should have been in school working at a profession with almost no life span or big financial rewards. Lots of those interviewed said that they would take drugs without question
 
Mar 8, 2010
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I am really happy that the clinics main protagonists have their own world championships now.
Must be a real significant highlight for your. Wish you fun and don't feel disturbed by the roadraces and TTs, please.

Have fun !
 
Jun 12, 2010
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Cobblestoned said:
I am really happy that the clinics main protagonists have their own world championships now.
Must be a real significant highlight for your. Wish you fun and don't feel disturbed by the roadraces and TTs, please.

Have fun !

Is it normal for somone with no interest in a topic to be involved in discussion of a topic?.
Your motive generaly seems to be to poor scorn on things you largely have no real concen with iether way.
Strange.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Cobblestoned said:
I am really happy that the clinics main protagonists have their own world championships now.
Must be a real significant highlight for your. Wish you fun and don't feel disturbed by the roadraces and TTs, please.

Have fun !

Really? Why don't you try to read it?
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Interesting transition on Page 27 parallels developments in the US that the USADA may be uncovering:

"Charlie, yeah. So, there was quite a lot of, I mean, it was very, very ritualistic and very almost East German-like, in terms of approach".-referring to the heavy training and exposure conducted by AIS coaches in Mexico.

Reminds me of the Mammoth Stage Race with Jonathan Vaughters racing against Bobrik and group of Russians. Vaughters was still a junior but won the uphill prologue. His description and that of others of the Russian ability to ride into headwinds and destroy the field openned many eyes. The Russians were all under 23...
 
Jul 14, 2009
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Cobblestoned said:
Which one of all these conference threads ? :D All of them ?
The report is pretty long but worth it. It has lots of insight about doping and the reasons that lots of athletes choose to do it. Unlike the forum format it doesn't dwell on who is speaking. The person being interviewed is not the highlight but the substance of their statements. Just as Flyod's words could have been 1000's of times more powerful had he not made them for profit. Lots of statements in the conference document have to do with the prestige and reputation of the Australian Institute of Sport. Young and desperate riders go along with the program because that is how everybody else "made it". Just like the USA Cycling/OTC programs it's not if or when these new riders are going to drink the Coolaid it's where can they get more before the super small window to get noticed closes. The report is about the subject rather than the tarnished athlete who is doing the talking .I am guilty of Landis bashing because I don't like his motives but I respect the conference organizers for the format they used, and I still think using Landis as a subject expert is too distracting from the main objective. I am curious as to how they divided cycling into 3 eras 59-84, 84-90,1990-2001. 6 years is an era?
 
Jun 19, 2009
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fatandfast said:
I am curious as to how they divided cycling into 3 eras 59-84, 84-90,1990-2001. 6 years is an era?

It seemed to coincide with events that altered the next period like Festina, Armstrong's entrance/retirement.
 
Mar 8, 2010
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Oldman said:
No; the actual paper Mr Smiley Face.

I read this "program" and announcements a while ago. Looks good. Good intentions.
But i personally think there is too much theater made around that and especially too much theater around Mr Landis's appearance or non-appearance.
I know the reasons for that and the reasons are not the conference itself. Now it's too late. Too much porcelain destroyed right now - especially because of Mr. Landis's appearance.

I think the date is chosen "suboptimal" and disrespects the worlds. Thats the only problem I have with that.

But still a long way to go till 27 & 28 September 2020 ;-)
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Cobblestoned said:
I read this "program" and announcements a while ago. Looks good. Good intentions.
But i personally think there is too much theater made around that and especially too much theater around Mr Landis's appearance or non-appearance.
I know the reasons for that and the reasons are not the conference itself. Now it's too late. Too much porcelain destroyed right now - especially because of Mr. Landis's appearance.

I think the date is chosen "suboptimal" and disrespects the worlds. Thats the only problem I have with that.

But still a long way to go till 27 & 28 September 2020 ;-)

This thread deals with an actual study. While it is presented during the conference it's a separate subject; you'd read it like a small book and learn from it. See page 1 of the thread for the link.
 
Feb 14, 2010
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For people who might think they know what the paper is about without bothering to read it - here's an excerpt from page 25 that might surprise you.

Read this, then think in terms of the "How could you!" from Schlecklet to Contador at the Tour, then Contador using the unfortunate phrase "we reached an agreement", and then what was supposed to be the big stage of the Tour, but Contador didn't attack Schleck at the end and they rode off with their arms around each other.

Not long after, off the bikes, Andy was in a group, looking somewhere, Alberto kept calling his name, then grabbed his face and winked at him. I'm not saying that a deal of any kind had taken place, but I'm processing the events under a new light because I bothered to read through this paper.

There are probably 3 ways of cheating to a greater or less extent.

Say, two of you have broken away you can both ride, trying to win the race but then you risk having no winner at all because if one's faster, a better sprinter, the
other one is not going to work with him because he knows he will be beaten on the line, so they may sit on the back of the fastest sprinter and then the sprinter says,
‘Oh ****** you!! I am not working because you will drop me because I will have done all the work!’ and so it breaks down.

So then what you do is to try to increase your chances of winning and say, there are two alternatives: you can agree to work, you ride straight out, you both try to win, but then whoever does win will pay an agreed amount of money to the other one.

So in a sense, if you look at that from outside, if someone wins the race and pays to the other guy, could be cheating but it is not really because you just ensure that
you will continue to work together and then whoever happens to cross the line first, gets the benefit of the win and gives the other rider a certain amount of money.

Then the third way, it is really fixing the result, that is when a rider absolutely has to win cause he maybe does not have a contract next year, or is about to be ditched
out by the team, or whatever, and it is worth a lot more money for him to win than it is for the other guy and he would say:
'I will pay you twenty grand or whatever if you let me win but we have to make it look real'.

Now from the outside you would never have, there are a lot of occasions which have been fixed and the public has no idea, there are some occasions which have not and the public thinks for sure it is fixed, professional sport has got very good at making it look right.
 

Barrus

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Apr 28, 2010
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Then the third way, it is really fixing the result, that is when a rider absolutely has to win cause he maybe does not have a contract next year, or is about to be ditched
out by the team, or whatever, and it is worth a lot more money for him to win than it is for the other guy and he would say: 'I will pay you twenty grand or whatever if you let me win but we have to make it look real'.

I do need to say that this reminds me of a story of a certain rider (I no longer know which rider it was) but he always came to an agreement with the other riders he was up the road with. He would let the other rider win, if he would get a monetary reward. But they needed to make it realistic, so he would sprint along. Sometimes he made these agreements with several riders in the same race. At the finish line he did his best to win, that way he would either get the victory, or a monetary reward, in any case he would always "win".
 
Jun 12, 2010
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Race fixing is unfortunatly very commen.

As a first year pro in 88 I was involved in a "fix" in the GP Of Wales.
I hadnt intended to but was given little choice in the matter by my DS.
It went like this: I got in two man break, once the break was established and staying away till the end looked likely my DS came alongside and gave the ultimatum.
" Make sure your going to win or sit on"..in effect what he was telling me was I had to make the arrangement or the break was over.
My companion in the break( a top Amatuer riding in Great Britain colours) , fortunatly for me, was understanding of my predicement and agreed that we`d make the "sprint" look the part and so we continued to work together rather than both be pulled back.
In a real sprint ( my prefered choice) it might have gone iether way but in the position I was placed by my DS that choice was prety much removed.
Ok, it wasnt a big event by GT standards but it illustrates the kinda situation DS`s put riders in.
Not proud but thats the evil that is pro racing.
Fixing is almost as big a problem as doping.
 

flicker

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Aug 17, 2009
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Darryl Webster said:
Race fixing is unfortunatly very commen.

As a first year pro in 88 I was involved in a "fix" in the GP Of Wales.
I hadnt intended to but was given little choice in the matter by my DS.
It went like this: I got in two man break, once the break was established and staying away till the end looked likely my DS came alongside and gave the ultimatum.
" Make sure your going to win or sit on"..in effect what he was telling me was I had to make the arrangement or the break was over.
My companion in the break( a top Amatuer riding in Great Britain colours) , fortunatly for me, was understanding of my predicement and agreed that we`d make the "sprint" look the part and so we continued to work together rather than both be pulled back.
In a real sprint ( my prefered choice) it might have gone iether way but in the position I was placed by my DS that choice was prety much removed.
Ok, it wasnt a big event by GT standards but it illustrates the kinda situation DS`s put riders in.
Not proud but thats the evil that is pro racing.
Fixing is almost as big a problem as doping.

I would say that goes for most races and most sports.
 
Aug 24, 2010
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Thanks for posting the paper. I didn't read all of it for time reasons, but liked the riders insights. But did I miss any mention of the rules and the way they were enforced in cycling? The 10 minutes for steroids in the tour in the 80's, the race radio annoucncements of who would be tested until the last few years, the lack of chaperones, were all a pretty big message: "We don't really want to prevent use, just look like we do".

If it's elsewhere in the paper, I apologize, but if the riders did not see the effect of the UCI lack of enforcement, I doubt they have made any effort to get the UCI to tighten up. Or they were complicit in it. Either way, it shouldn't be a surprise that the riders haven't objected until recently. They're pretty commtted to their identity as cyclists, as the paper points out. But maybe we should be ready for that, and not count on rider support when these rules and enforcement need tightening up.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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mtb Dad said:
Thanks for posting the paper. I didn't read all of it for time reasons, but liked the riders insights. But did I miss any mention of the rules and the way they were enforced in cycling? The 10 minutes for steroids in the tour in the 80's, the race radio annoucncements of who would be tested until the last few years, the lack of chaperones, were all a pretty big message: "We don't really want to prevent use, just look like we do".

If it's elsewhere in the article, I apologize, but if the riders did not see the effect of the UCI lack of enforcement, I doubt they have made any effort to get the UCI to tighten up. Or they were complicit in it. Either way, it shouldn't be a surprise that the riders haven't objected until recently. They're pretty commtted to their identity as cyclists, as the paper points out. But maybe we should be ready for that, and not count on rider support when these rules and enforcement need tightening up.

Flicker had a "radical" idea to reduce the length and type of Tour stages. The reality is he is at least part right.
The gradual increase of doping by the rank and file riders allowed them to attend more races and perform to the level demanded by their DS. The 80's was even a more play or NO PAY era and I'm guessing you did what was necessary to get to the next race.
Now every GT is a must for Pro Tour teams and sponsors and middle sized squads looking to increase sponsorship. What's a pro going to do? If he's great enough to be protected he might have a choice in races and volume and might be able to do it cleanly. Domestiques are going to be challenged. Maybe the Rider's Union force the UCI to limit race days or something insane like that. There are plenty of pros to make the races so they shouldn't lack in attendance. Based on Schecklet and his other teammates from Saxo they weren't taking Tour of California or the Vuelta seriously; let some new rider get the shot.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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If the answer lay in reducing the length and difficulty of stages then why do 100 metre runners dope? Sad fact is there'll always be people who want to win at any cost and who'll use any means to do it.