The barber of Seville. Clenbuterol and hair samples

Oct 25, 2010
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So much talk of Garmin-dopesitions, Anderson, Landis and Armstrong, we're missing the hair sample article:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/hair-tests-could-prove-deliberate-clenbuterol-abuse

"Clenbuterol sticks at least 20 times better to dark hair than to blonde," Detlef Thieme, director of Germany's WADA-accredited lab in Kreischa, told AP. After Ovtcharov's hair test was negative, it offered additional evidence that he didn't cheat. Had Ovtcharov been blonde, that result would have been "rather vague," added Thieme, whose lab performed the test.
 
Dec 7, 2010
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Great title Botany. :)

This also raises the issue of riders with shaved heads: Rasmussen, Levi, etc. It would seem like an easy work-around for some. I have to wonder if the UCI has ever considered dictating a minimum hair length. Stranger things have happened (then they could get stickers for their heads :D)

But to your original point:
AC's dark locks might turn out to be a deciding factor here.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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Granville57 said:
Great title Botany. :)

This also raises the issue of riders with shaved heads: Rasmussen, Levi, etc. It would seem like an easy work-around for some. I have to wonder if the UCI has ever considered dictating a minimum hair length. Stranger things have happened (then they could get stickers for their heads :D)

But to your original point:
AC's dark locks might turn out to be a deciding factor here.
It'll be tough to implement (or defend in court) if some riders' hair is more prone to making them test positive than others.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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hair analysis doesn't help AC. it is a PR move for the naive.

the ten second version:
...if large amounts of clenbuterol are found in his hair he is guilty of using regular therapeutic doses during the tour and would recieve a ban. he wouldn't likely present those results in his own defense unless he WANTS a ban but it's moot because that's clearly not how clenbuterol got into his body.

...if little or no clenbuterol is found in his hair we're back where we started. there is no way to distinguish it from contaminated meat or an autologous transfusion.

there is little or no comparison to a table tennis player who wouldn't likely use autologous blood doping to enhance performance. amounts less than a full therapeutic dose aren't likely to be anything other than contamination for an athlete competing in table tennis.

next question?
 
Not to defend AC, but, should there be zero threshold on clenbuterol? It appears that he certainly doped in the tour though the level was far below a therapeutic dose. Ok. The biological passport system is really just setting limits on how much a person can dope anyway. The whole system is just messed up.
 
Jan 18, 2011
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veganrob said:
Not to defend AC, but, should there be zero threshold on clenbuterol? It appears that he certainly doped in the tour though the level was far below a therapeutic dose. Ok. The biological passport system is really just setting limits on how much a person can dope anyway. The whole system is just messed up.
If you set a zero threshold for anything that could potentially appear accidently (e.g., through food, water, a result of a biological process unrelated to doping), you risk a bunch of false positives. These are damaging to the credibility of the testing agencies, and the associated media coverage is bad for the image of the sport. It sucks, but that's the reality of testing today.
 
datalore said:
If you set a zero threshold for anything that could potentially appear accidently (e.g., through food, water, a result of a biological process unrelated to doping), you risk a bunch of false positives. These are damaging to the credibility of the testing agencies, and the associated media coverage is bad for the image of the sport. It sucks, but that's the reality of testing today.
You wouldn't want innocent cyclists getting caught, would you?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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lean said:
hair analysis doesn't help AC. it is a PR move for the naive.

the ten second version:
...if large amounts of clenbuterol are found in his hair he is guilty of using regular therapeutic doses during the tour and would recieve a ban. he wouldn't likely present those results in his own defense unless he WANTS a ban but it's moot because that's clearly not how clenbuterol got into his body.

...if little or no clenbuterol is found in his hair we're back where we started. there is no way to distinguish it from contaminated meat or an autologous transfusion.

there is little or no comparison to a table tennis player who wouldn't likely use autologous blood doping to enhance performance. amounts less than a full therapeutic dose aren't likely to be anything other than contamination for an athlete competing in table tennis.

next question?
Forgive me if I'm missing something here--I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm just a little confused, but...

I thought the hair test would be valid because the assumption was that he used large amounts of clenbuterol prior to the tour, and some trace amount were left in the blood he had withdrawn and reinjected--which is why, according to this logic--he is in all this trouble. And it is the large amount taken prior to the tour that would show up in the test. By the same logic, if he had the hair test and the amount of clen found correlated to the small amount of his positive, wouldn't that show that he had not taken large amounts in the past? Micro-dosing with clenbuteral seems to be generally agreed to be pointless, so autologous doping is the suspicion here, and wouldn't the hair test clear that up?
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Remember when pro cyclists used to bleach their hair, Millar, Rogers, Backstedt, Virenque, Stevens etc, etc. Wasn't that due to the rumoured EPO hair test?
 
Oct 25, 2010
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Wallace said:
Forgive me if I'm missing something here--I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm just a little confused, but...
You're not missing a beat. Someone was trying to manipulate you. The subtle manipulation of fact, hoping you'll remember that manipulation AS fact.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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in reply to Wallace's post:

A precondition for AC's defense to be valid seems to be that he be able to come up with a negative hairtest. Without a negative hairtest, I don't see how he's going to be acquitted.
I mean, a negative hairtest would by itself not be enough for his defense (he could still be hanging even with a negative test), but it's a precondition, i.e. he must be able to show a negative hairtest for his defense to stand any chance in the first place. am I right?
 
Jun 22, 2009
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Wallace said:
Forgive me if I'm missing something here--I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm just a little confused, but...

I thought the hair test would be valid because the assumption was that he used large amounts of clenbuterol prior to the tour, and some trace amount were left in the blood he had withdrawn and reinjected--which is why, according to this logic--he is in all this trouble. And it is the large amount taken prior to the tour that would show up in the test. By the same logic, if he had the hair test and the amount of clen found correlated to the small amount of his positive, wouldn't that show that he had not taken large amounts in the past? Micro-dosing with clenbuteral seems to be generally agreed to be pointless, so autologous doping is the suspicion here, and wouldn't the hair test clear that up?
i believe the bolded to be the source of the problem and you don't come off as argumentative at all. i was trying to give the 10 second version but i'll stretch it out a bit.

AC wears his hair pretty short, it's unlikely the hair sample taken in august will contain evidence of anything that happened in early june or before when blood would have been donated - that hair/evidence is already on the barbershop floor. drugs like clenbuterol leach into hair shortly after they are consumed and will stop leaching into hair following cessation of that drug use. the hair test in august would probably only confirm that he didn't consume therapeutic doses in late july. if the blood he transfused in late july had been refigerated and stored for 1-2 months it's likely too much time has passed but if they went to the trouble of using frozen cells evidence of clenbuterol in hair is looooooong gone. his "defense" will get nowhere with this when they go to CAS but it sounds good to fans and supporters. you are very skeptical, critical, and well informed and it's confused you, what impact do you think it will have on people who want to think he's innocent?

the table tennis player is off the hook because his hair analysis demonstrated no pattern of clenbuterol use in therapeutic doses. the hair sample reinforced that the presence of the drug was very isolated and minute and there is little to no chance he was using transfusions which are common practice in pro cycling over the last decade. contador using it as an example is a red herring and not even a remotely clever one. furthermore, the ponger lives and frequently consumes food in a part of the world where clenbuterol contamination is much more likely. i didn't hate contador for doping, i don't approve of it but i understand it at the top level of the sport, however i think the his public "defense" is unconscionable.

the only viable defense i see working for contador requires that he produce contaminated food stuffs or supplements. apart from that type of evidence it is just histrionics.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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sniper said:
am I right?
yes, you are but we can safely assume that the largest amounts found have already been reported meaning it showed up randomly and only in small amounts. the hair test is just redundant.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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BotanyBay said:
You're not missing a beat. Someone was trying to manipulate you. The subtle manipulation of fact, hoping you'll remember that manipulation AS fact.
i hope you weren't referring to my post as manipulation but i've tried to clarify that further. if you were referring to the AC's public defense than i would probably agree.
 
Feb 14, 2010
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lean said:
...AC wears his hair pretty short, it's unlikely the hair sample taken in august will contain evidence of anything that happened in early june or before when blood would have been donated - that hair/evidence is already on the barbershop floor. drugs like clenbuterol leach into hair shortly after they are consumed and will stop leaching into hair following cessation of that drug use. the hair test in august would probably only confirm that he didn't consume therapeutic doses in late july. if the blood he transfused in late july had been refigerated and stored for 1-2 months it's likely too much time has passed but if they went to the trouble of using frozen cells evidence of clenbuterol in hair is looooooong gone. ...
Pretty sure he doesn't barber his pubes?:D
 
I have a hard time understanding why someone's motives who has the WADA-logo in his avatar is coming to a forum acting like he knows all. Do you know what AC's defense reallyis? Do you know which hair samples (if any) he provided? Do you know whther he can show that other teammates showed similar clen-positives? Do you actually know for sure they found plasticizers in hus urine or blood? Etc., etc.

You are making a lot of assumptions on file a meter high that non of us have seen so far, including you I presume, and passing them off as fact. So what's giving here?

As to the false positives, I have made my point of view very clear that false positives should be avoided at all costs, even if that means letting some dopers of the hook. From a legal point of view, punishing innocent people or willingly run the considerable chance of doing so, is simply not acceptable irrespective of whether that person is Contador or an obscure German pingponger of Chinese cyclist. It is just not on. And yes, I have heard all the arguments that it is not penal law we are discussing (people are getting punished nevertheless) bu t binding contact between UCI and the cyclist (notwithstanding the fact taht a cyclist is effectively blackmailed into siging that contract if he wants to make a living out of cycling).

Regards
GJ
 
Jun 22, 2009
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GJB123 said:
I have a hard time understanding why someone's motives who has the WADA-logo in his avatar is coming to a forum acting like he knows all.
you don't understand my motives when i'm broadcasting them as clearly as humanly possible? :rolleyes: i'll try not to make too many assumptions based upon your defense of contador and your sept 2010 join date. ;)

GJB123 said:
Do you know what AC's defense reallyis? Do you know which hair samples (if any) he provided? Do you know whther he can show that other teammates showed similar clen-positives? Do you actually know for sure they found plasticizers in hus urine or blood? Etc., etc.

You are making a lot of assumptions on file a meter high that non of us have seen so far, including you I presume, and passing them off as fact. So what's giving here?
as clearly stated earlier, i am only referencing AC's public defense which appears to be nothing more than manipulation. of course there are assumptions based upon the facts publicly available right now, when new info comes to light it's very likely i may change course. i haven't even mentioned the plasticizers in this thread, only that hair analysis is most likely a dead end, if you have a reason to think otherwise i'd love to hear it.

GJB123 said:
As to the false positives, I have made my point of view very clear that false positives should be avoided at all costs, even if that means letting some dopers of the hook. From a legal point of view, punishing innocent people or willingly run the considerable chance of doing so, is simply not acceptable irrespective of whether that person is Contador or an obscure German pingponger of Chinese cyclist. It is just not on. And yes, I have heard all the arguments that it is not penal law we are discussing (people are getting punished nevertheless) bu t binding contact between UCI and the cyclist (notwithstanding the fact taht a cyclist is effectively blackmailed into siging that contract if he wants to make a living out of cycling).

Regards
GJ
do you realize the irony in assuming the clenbuterol to be a false positive after what you wrote to me?
 
What I don't understand about hair testing is, why isn't it used by default? Back in 1998 the Festina riders went through blood and hair tests by the police, and they found traces of EPO, years before the UCI had a working EPO test.
 
Jan 14, 2011
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not the fish

Never thought I'd say this but...
Bring back the mullet.
The mullet is the answer
 
lean said:
you don't understand my motives when i'm broadcasting them as clearly as humanly possible? :rolleyes: i'll try not to make too many assumptions based upon your defense of contador and your sept 2010 join date. ;)
You try not to, but yet you do. Indicative of the way in which you seem to enter every discussion. You assume, then state its as fact and then continue on discussing based on your facts. It is is not a strawman as such, but it is mightly close.:rolleyes:

It is good to see that you haven't the faintest idea of what defense Contador offered, or at least not more than any of us, mere mortals. That puts your contributions n perspective.

Regards
GJ
 
GJB123 said:
As to the false positives, I have made my point of view very clear that false positives should be avoided at all costs, even if that means letting some dopers of the hook. From a legal point of view, punishing innocent people or willingly run the considerable chance of doing so, is simply not acceptable irrespective of whether that person is Contador or an obscure German pingponger of Chinese cyclist. It is just not on.
So when a clean cyclist loses a race to a doper, you don't regard that as "punishing innocent people"? I can understand if you want to argue that losing a race to a doper is less of a punishment than being suspended for a false positive, but how many races have to be lost by how many innocent riders before the cumulative punishment is arguably worse than one rider wrongly suspended? Didn't Bassons suffer a great deal of punishment? You could say that, in effect, he received a lifetime suspension from the possibility of winning. Seems pretty harsh to me. Maybe a false positive or two would be worth it to prevent something like that?

In any case, there is a number somewhere, whether the authorities are conscious of it or not, and that underlies the attempt to find some balance between false positives and false negatives. Because the only certain way to eliminate ALL false positives is not to test at all.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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lean said:
i hope you weren't referring to my post as manipulation but i've tried to clarify that further. if you were referring to the AC's public defense than i would probably agree.
The latter. Sorry for the confusion.

I will say this... On this forum, I see a lot of willful misrepresentations of fact on subtle details, in an attempt to get people making mistakes. The PR people are pretty crafty about how they do it. People, please be vigilant and point-out the misrepresentations.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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BotanyBay said:
The latter. Sorry for the confusion.

I will say this... On this forum, I see a lot of willful misrepresentations of fact on subtle details, in an attempt to get people making mistakes. The PR people are pretty crafty about how they do it. People, please be vigilant and point-out the misrepresentations.
I agree things can get skewed pretty quickly. This is only my opinion but i have a hard time following how hair can be part of the defense. I understand all to this point trust me i do. but as i see the case.
It has not been contested that AC had the drug in his system and the fact that heis responsible for making sure it does not get there seems to shift the burden of proof to AC.
He must(IMO)prove lack of intent(accidental ingestion)
However to provehis lack of intent he must now alsoprovethe precise moment of ingestion. It has to be one event, like eating the steak and then you prove it was accidental.
The prosecution only has to prove it was there(which is an ackowledged fact by both sides), force AC to prove how it got there (almost impossible)and then in addition prove that it was not inadvertant(again how do u prove lack of intent?)
it seems to me to be an insurmountable hurdle factually.
However if the authorities accept mere speculation as opposed to actual proof anything is possible.
 

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