The role of Dr Don Catlin + His rsponse to SI Article on Lance Armstrong [merged]

May 13, 2009
3,093
1
0
One thing which I feel has fallen a bit through the cracks in our discussions is the role of Catlin and his lab. I think it is because the formulation of the Sports Illustrated article is a bit weird.

The scene is set with some positive remarks concerning Catlin's help in the Balco case among others, but that is contrasted with the stories of the terminated grant and the termination of Exum where it gives quite a bit of room to Exum's viewpoint.

But the relevant quote is the following

In May 1999, USA Cycling sent a formal request to Catlin for past test results—specifically, testosterone-epitestosterone ratios—for a cyclist identified only by his drug-testing code numbers. A source with knowledge of the request says that the cyclist was Lance Armstrong. In a letter dated June 4, 1999, Catlin responded that the lab couldn't recover a total of five of the cyclist's test results from 1990, 1992 and 1993, adding, "The likelihood that we will be able to recover these old files is low." The letter went on to detail the cyclist's testosterone-epitestosterone results from 1991 to 1998, with one missing season: 1997, the only year during that span in which Armstrong didn't compete. Three results stand out: a 9.0-to-1 ratio from a sample collected on June 23, 1993; a 7.6-to-1 from July 7, 1994; and a 6.5-to-1 from June 4, 1996.

...

But the high ratios had not led to sanctions. In his letter Catlin did not address the 6.5-to-1 result, but he wrote that he had attempted confirmation (a required step) on the 9.0-to-1 and 7.6-to-1 samples, and "in both cases the confirmation was unsuccessful and the samples were reported negative."
I don't think the writing here is very clear, maybe it suffered when parts of the article were taken out, or maybe we're supposed to read between the lines.

First of all, what does it mean when Catlin writes 'the lab couldn't recover ... test results'. Were the records lost? Were the samples thrown out? If so, was it normal for records/samples to be destroyed after a given number of years, or was it a problem connected to a specific rider/code number? The lab should really get just a code number. If selective records or samples were destroyed, that's a big deal. There's only very few people who should be able to match code numbers with names.

The second part seems even more serious. First of all, what does 'he had attempted confirmation (a required step)' mean? It can't mean opening the B sample, because that means the cyclist in question has to be informed and may supervise the analysis with his lawyers and experts. It doesn't seem it ever went that far. So what was the 'required confirmation'? A second test on the A sample in the same lab? Or in a different lab? Why didn't it support the first analysis? Did such a confirmation often fail or was it a singular experience for this particular cyclist? Again, remember that the lab supposedly only has a code number, not a key which links it to names. So if the confirmation was 'doctored with' there's a serious breach somewhere.

The section in the article is very vague and leaves many questions unanswered. I would like to see a lot of clarification. Right now, we have only speculation. But a lot of things don't add up. It certainly makes Catlin's lab look bad if it's just for failing to keep records and sloppy tests. In the worst case, there would be a mole with knowledge of code-number/name matching and access to samples/records/test equipment to produce desired negative results. Would Catlin be the mole?
 
May 26, 2010
28,144
2
0
Caitlin the Mole? in an espionage sense but for who? did he leak these to Feds or to Amrstrong?
 
Sep 25, 2009
7,527
0
0
i welcome this thread. it's important to understand his role and criticize him when deserved instead of nonsensical comparisons to ferrari.


indeed, catlin does not come across well in the article and appears to cover up.
the inability of his lab to confirm suspicious t/e screens is startling.

I will contribute more later depending on how the discussion turns.
 
Oct 25, 2010
3,049
2
0
Rather than a real scientist, Catlin was a USOC cheerleader. Goal: help deliver gold medals to the fatherland.
 
Dec 7, 2010
5,507
0
0
Good thread. This does needs it's own space for discussion. I had raised many similar points in the "Put a fork..." thread.
Granville57 said:
I'm not clear on Catlin's role here.
I agree with the OP, the SI article is a bit disjointed on Catlin, it's makes for an awkward read on certain points.

On this one, my interpretation was that Catlin was claiming not be able to locate the paper work (or computer files, etc) on tests previously performed.
Catlin informed USA Cycling that his lab could not recover five of the cyclist's test results.
If that is the case, what does that say about lab procedures, etc.?
 
Sep 25, 2009
7,527
0
0
Cobblestones said:
snip

The second part seems even more serious. First of all, what does 'he had attempted confirmation (a required step)' mean? It can't mean opening the B sample, because that means the cyclist in question has to be informed and may supervise the analysis with his lawyers and experts. It doesn't seem it ever went that far. So what was the 'required confirmation'? A second test on the A sample in the same lab? Or in a different lab? Why didn't it support the first analysis? Did such a confirmation often fail or was it a singular experience for this particular cyclist? Again, remember that the lab supposedly only has a code number,
ok let's clarify what can be clarified. all questions are relatively simple to answer. below, i'll just describe how a test is supposed to run and what 'confirmation means. no value judgment on catlin as i don't have his records or context...i will also stay away from too many analytical chemistry technical terms

..once a-sample bottle is open, it's split into five or six, 5- ml aliquots and whatever is left in the a-sample bottle. the 5 aliquots are sent for screening tests. in total, screens are conducted for about 400 substances and indexes.

a t/e screens (testosterone to epitestosterone) is one of the 400 and requires determining approximate concentrations of testosterone and epitestosterone. pay attention - screens dont require determining accurate concentrations, just approximate. if the threshold is reached or exceeded (t/e=> 4), an automatic red flag is generated.

only then a confirmation test, in fact three confirmation tests with aliquots obtained from the same a-bottle, are required.
unlike a general screen, the confirmation procedure is required to be much more specific, accurate and formal - the instruments are calibrated better, the reference/standard compounds are supposed to be controlled etc. etc. unlike a screen, wada requires that the confirmation test carry a 95% confidence level.


what catlin described was that his technicians failed to obtain a proper confirmation of two separate suspicious screens from early 90s. either the they mixed up sample clean-up/preparation or the instruments malfunctioned... indeed this is a rare enough occurrence but it happens. in fact, those in the know will recall that landis's t/e confirmation test has also not gone smoothly. his screen t/e was barely above the threshold but his confirmation test iirc, yielded 12. shyte happens but catlin's case is extraordinary.

so, this has nothing to do with the b-sample.
 
Dec 7, 2010
5,507
0
0
Some great info, Python. Thanks for that post.


One question about this:
python said:
what catlin described was that his technicians failed to obtain a proper confirmation of two separate suspicious screens from early 90s. either the they mixed up sample clean-up/preparation or the instruments malfunctioned...
So is it your understanding that...

Flags were raised on the original test.
Confirmation tests were run at that time.
The results of those confirmation test were invalid (for the possible reasons you laid out).
There is documented evidence of all of the above activity.

Would that be correct?
 
Aug 3, 2009
3,217
1
0
What is to be made of this paragraph?

During an interview with SI last week, Catlin was read his 1999 letter. He said that because he tested by code and not by name, he has "no clue which sample belonged to Lance," but he admits the data are disturbing. He explains that one failed confirmation would be a "once-in-a-blue-moon" occurrence. As for the three high T/E ratio results detailed in the letter, he says, "that's very strange." When Catlin's letter was read to Breidbach recently, he too expressed concern, saying, "Wow, that should not happen. If you find a nine and can't confirm, then something is very wrong with your screening test."
 
Oct 25, 2010
434
0
0
What I found interesting is Catlin's work for the USOC...it is described that the USOC would have athletes tested by him for performance enhancing drugs in an "informal" way...and when someone failed this was used "not to sanction them but to help them AVOID testing positive" in an official test. Catlin advised them (the USOC) just how to do that...IF that is all true, that seems to me astounding...
 
Aug 1, 2009
329
0
0
In defense of Catlin, kind of

Wrote this in another thread, where it got lost; relevant here:

----

Just to show that I'm an equal-opportunity offender, let me try to carefully defend Catlin from two of the implications of the SI article and discussion.

(1) The UCLA lab was reportedly asked to produce T/E numbers for rider X from several years prior to the request. This was personalized to "Catlin", though it was almost certainly a request of the lab. Some of the more recent values were located, but the the article says Catlin didn't think they could find the earlier values.

This strikes me as a perfectly reasonable occurrence, given that there is little apparent need in the anti-doping lab community to keep useful or accurate records of things, to be available on demand. We learned this through the Landis hearings, and how different this is from the approach of a criminal forensics laboratory, as evidenced by the testimony of Dr. Goldberg.

It's quite likely/possible that, having been deemed uninteresting, the records were wiped, or filed to backups, or left on machinery that became obsolete, making extraction difficult or unfeasable. I leave open the questions whether "deemed uninteresting" was a valid conclusion, or whether the record keeping would have been different for 'interesting" results.

(2) Catlin's current cagey comments (C^4) say he no longer has access to any of the records, and so can't properly discuss them. It's true he has no current access, and given the trickiness of the situation, it's probably wise -for him- to not talk about details. No good, for him, can come from that.

It hasn't in the past stopped him from making speculations not clearly supported by data, but that is when it is not his posterior on the line.

It's also true that I would not ever want to put Catlin on the stand for testimony, because I think he can out-think and out-parse any attorney asking questions. No one gets what they want from Catlin, and he's hard to corner.

I think he just wants to do his research, and has been trying to avoid things that get in the way. That may not have been successful, and he may have been compromised, but I don't think as simply and obviously as he's being painted.

---

Now, I do think the business about doing testing as "research" to help guys learn where limits are to avoid detection is kind of skanky, and that's worth pursuing.

-dB
 
Sep 25, 2009
7,527
0
0
Granville57 said:
Some great info, Python. Thanks for that post.


One question about this:


So is it your understanding that...

That flags were raised on the original test.
yes, this is my understanding. iow, the first t/e test is a screen. it's usually fully automated and the techs role is largely just loading the machines. that first test, a screening test, yielded a t/e above 6 thus automatically requiring a confirmation test in triplicate.
Confirmation tests were run at that time.
a normal procedure is to run a confirmation test within 24-36 hours of the suspicious screen. main reason - the a-bottle has already been thawed and it's desirable (for consistency) to obtain a confirmation aliquot before the bottle has been sent back to the freezer. also, bacteria will start developing at room temperature if the sample is kept unfrozen.
The results of those confirmation test were invalid (for the possible reasons you laid out).
yes.
There is documented evidence of all of the above activity.
i'm not sure what specific activity was documented and what records were available to the article authors. we only know that catlin said confirmation failed. keep in mind, a request from usa fed came in 2000 about the samples that were 6 or 7 years old. this was during the era of manila folders, well before scanners became a must in every lab.
 
I honestly never imagined Catlin as another "helper" on LA's charade-but looking back at the kick off of "comeback 2.0" when his involvement was announced with such enthusiastic manner by LA, and then "The missing sample" a month after the first testing,so then simply to "terminate" the program with the excuse of "an already on going program from Astana overlapping this one" was just too suspicious...
What needs to be exposed is aside from LA, what is the depth of Catlin on US cycling-whether he has only covering up for LA exclusively or he's doing it for "another teams".....
 
Jul 25, 2009
1,072
0
0
Cobblestones said:
'....'Or in a different lab? Why didn't it support the first analysis? Did such a confirmation often fail or was it a singular experience for this particular cyclist? Again, remember that the lab supposedly only has a code number, not a key which links it to names. So if the confirmation was 'doctored with' there's a serious breach somewhere.
I'm guessing from of this WADA technical doc (section 4) that samples would only be analysed in a different lab after an AAF was reported. Even then it would only happen if the first lab didn't have all the necessary equipment.

Why confirmation didn't support the first analysis is interesting. I would like to know if Catlin actually does the lab work himself (I doubt it), and if he knew that all the tests that were inquired about were from the same athlete. The probability of that happening due to random human error is so small, that it should have raised a massive red flag for any scientist with integrity. So if he knew, the way he responded to the information would tell me quite a bit about Catlin and his ethics.

I think we established in previous discussions that the athletes know their own "code' numbers. In principal, that makes it possible for an athlete to connect with a lab analyst and attempt to have their samples treated differently.
 
Sep 25, 2009
7,527
0
0
as i mentioned above, no lab director would normally be personally involved in conducting a test. i'm 99% sure that the confirmation tests in question were failed by his technicians.

another important point i made above, unlike confirmation tests that are largely manual and deliberate and slow, screening tests are automated and fast.

by code several techs are required to conduct a confirmation test. wada strictly requires that a different technician conduct different phases of the confirmation test. many a doper walked free when this technicality was violated.

in short, something was very strange about the confirmation test and i would not exclude incompetence, conspiracy or plain bad luck (though of low probability)
 
thanks for the great info Python.

It is an interesting question ... and given that the SI article mentioned something about only 1 T/E confirmation ever being posative, I would have thought high screening tests would have been given a fair amount of attention from higher up ... especially if they then could not be confirmed.

It begs the question of exactly how much they knew ... (not just whether it was Armstrong, but the implications of the suggestion in the article that USOC 'managed' results for ALL of its athletes)
 
May 13, 2009
3,093
1
0
python said:
as i mentioned above, no lab director would normally be personally involved in conducting a test. i'm 99% sure that the confirmation tests in question were failed by his technicians.

another important point i made above, unlike confirmation tests that are largely manual and deliberate and slow, screening tests are automated and fast.

by code several techs are required to conduct a confirmation test. wada strictly requires that a different technician conduct different phases of the confirmation test. many a doper walked free when this technicality was violated.

in short, something was very strange about the confirmation test and i would not exclude incompetence, conspiracy or plain bad luck (though of low probability)
Thanks to you and others for clearing up some of the mysteries. But there's still a lot which is unclear to me.

1) record keeping. I can understand that records get tossed after a while, that files are kept on obsolete electronic storage media which become unreadable etc. Fine. But it is not spelled out this is what did happen. It could just as well be that all is kept for decades in pristine manila folders and only the records of a certain athlete are lost. It would be interesting to know which it is.

2) the discrepancy between the screening test and the confirmation. This seems to baffle everybody. I can understand that 'once in a blue moon' the confirmation might fail. In this case, this seems to have happened twice or three times to the same athlete with several years in between. What is the probability for this? It would be interesting to know how often a confirmation has failed. Surely this is a number which is kept track of. If we know this percentage, we could calculate the likelihood of that happening to every(?) sample with elevated screening test results of a single athlete (it is still unclear what happened to the third sample with elevated values from the screening).

3) I think it is correct to say that the cyclist knows his code number for any given doping test. How easy would it be for a cyclist to call a technician in a lab to tamper with a sample between screening and confirmation? In particular when the cyclist knows which lab is doing the testing. Or if not tamper, then at least to deliberately screwing up the confirmation such that it shows a negative.

I don't think it looks good at present. It would be worthwhile digging a bit more. Hopefully we'll get clarification from SI or other journalists who would like to do some investigative journalism.
 
Excellent thread. But one question that still sticks out for me is, why was this request made in the first place? Is it normal for a cycling organization to request test information on a rider that goes back this far in time? If so, why? They would have to know when they made the request that the rider had not had any official positives during this period. So were they actually fishing for possibly incriminating information, which indeed came out? But why? What in the world would tip them off to the possibility of such information existing? And why would it matter, since no one outside the players involved ever would have known about this if not for the SI story.

I'm not surprised Catlin did not address the 6.5/1 sample. IIRC, the criterion for a red flag at that time was 6.0. I can certainly see how a sample that initially screened at 6.5 might on more careful confirmation testing prove to be below six. Even 7.6 is not that far out of the ballpark.

With regard to the other samples, Python says

what catlin described was that his technicians failed to obtain a proper confirmation of two separate suspicious screens from early 90s. either the they mixed up sample clean-up/preparation or the instruments malfunctioned... indeed this is a rare enough occurrence but it happens
The thing is, we don’t which test was actually flawed, the screening or the confirmation. One might argue that since screening is automated, it would be more reliable, but if that were really the case, confirmation would not require manual steps. Also, if I were a technician, and I knew that the screening had been positive (> 6), and I couldn’t confirm that, I would certainly review what I had done, and look for places where I might have made a mistake.

My reading of this is that it’s suggestive of doping, but not necessarily any indictment of Catlin or his lab’s technicians. As Python says, occasionally discrepancies occur, and we know that in Armstrong’s case there were a bunch of tests performed over that period of time.
 
May 13, 2009
3,093
1
0
Merckx index said:
Excellent thread. But one question that still sticks out for me is, why was this request made in the first place? Is it normal for a cycling organization to request test information on a rider that goes back this far in time? If so, why? They would have to know when they made the request that the rider had not had any official positives during this period. So were they actually fishing for possibly incriminating information, which indeed came out? But why? What in the world would tip them off to the possibility of such information existing? And why would it matter, since no one outside the players involved ever would have known about this if not for the SI story.

I'm not surprised Catlin did not address the 6.5/1 sample. IIRC, the criterion for a red flag at that time was 6.0. I can certainly see how a sample that initially screened at 6.5 might on more careful confirmation testing prove to be below six. Even 7.6 is not that far out of the ballpark.

With regard to the other samples, Python says



The thing is, we don’t which test was actually flawed, the screening or the confirmation. One might argue that since screening is automated, it would be more reliable, but if that were really the case, confirmation would not require manual steps. Also, if I were a technician, and I knew that the screening had been positive (> 6), and I couldn’t confirm that, I would certainly review what I had done, and look for places where I might have made a mistake.

My reading of this is that it’s suggestive of doping, but not necessarily any indictment of Catlin or his lab’s technicians. As Python says, occasionally discrepancies occur, and we know that in Armstrong’s case there were a bunch of tests performed over that period of time.
Great point on why the request for old documents was made in the first place. Maybe Lance or one of his cronies tried to find out how much documentation had survived regarding his old sins?

I don't agree with your assessment of the 6.5/1 result. If it were shown subsequently that it was below the limit of 6/1, then why not lump it together with the other two? Because that's what had happened to them. The confirmation showed nothing, i.e., a ratio below 6/1. It almost seems the 6.5/1 sample was never hand-tested which raises another flag.
 
Sep 25, 2009
7,527
0
0
novitzky should run with this

when after comeback 2.0 armstrong released the results of his tests, unlike the ‘crowd’ that thirsted blood, i kept calling attention to the foul odour emanating from his mundane urine, or more specifically i referred to some peculiarities in his urine t/e tests. ff course, my calls went unheeded.

in light of the SI article, it seems that now is an opportune time to revisit some of the facts i was pointing to a while back. imo, they are damming to armstrong and god-sent to novizky. let's review them...

i start with the key reference facts from the SI article:
armstrong tested above what was considered then the doping threshold (t/e=6) three times. quoting the paper: '9.0-to-1 ratio from a sample collected on June 23, 1993; a 7.6-to-1 from July 7, 1994; and a 6.5-to-1 from June 4, 1996.'

next, lets turn to armstrong’self-published T/E values:
http://cdn-community2.livestrong.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/9/10/c981f7be-e46c-4245-aa9d-d61ae110a264.Full.jpg

10/16/08 - t/e=0.4
12/3/08=0.5
12/11/08=0.6
12/16/08=.4
1/16/09=1.1 (!)
2/4/09=0.5
2/19/09=0.2
6/16/09=0.4
6/17/09=0.6
7/2/09=0.2
7/7/09=0.7
7/8/09=0.5
7/11/09=0.5
7/17/09=0.4
7/23/09=.7
(an important note: the above are all screening tests )


those with more more time on their hands can do the lohgitudinalanalysis, but it’s easy enough to eyeball that the average t/e was about 0.5 with 2-3 significant spikes both in terms of day-to-day changes and compared to the mean value.

none of the values above are abnormal but the trend is not good. why ? read below.

right away the big kicker jumping at you is that armstrong’s three suspicious values from the 90’s are over 1000 (one thousand !) percent above what should have been his average.

how stable are T/E ratios in a given individual ?

an unequivocal consensus answer: extensive multi-year research says that in a healthy individual it should be very stable throughout active life..

how much variation is abnormal and is considered a proof of doping ?

an unequivocal hard answer:
in males -30% (source: still current wada technical document TD2004EAAS).
http://www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/end_steroids_aug_04.pdf

iow, in the absence of carbon isotope ratio test, you will be sanctioned if your T/E collected over 3 months in just three tests exceeded 30% of the bases line (mean value).

And here is another significant fact, wada considers screening tests sufficiently robust to be included in the longitudinal studies along with confirmation tests.


now you can ponder all you want if armstrong’s 1000% variation from the 90s is bigger that the allowed 30% and if his body changed post cancer.

to me, armstrong’s t/e ratios (in total) represent as hard an evidence (if not more significant) as the infamous french EPO tests, armstrong doped and betsy was telling the truth all along.
 
Jun 1, 2010
48
0
0
Dr. Don Catlin Responds to SI Article on Lance Armstrong

Oustide magazine has posted a link from Catlin's Blog rebutting some of the evidence presented in the SI article.

http://outside-blog.away.com/blog/2011/01/don-catlin-response-to-si-article-on-lance-armstrong.html

The link to Catlin's blog and detailed rebuttal is below:

http://thecatlinperspective.wordpress.com/

It doesn't strike me as a particularly strong rebuttal of the SI article. I'm also not sure how the Armstrong camp will take this. Is Catlin a credible or discredited source according to team Pharmstrong?
 
I'm inclined to agree with you. Most of it is an effort at self-defense, and as a long time admirer of Catlin, I hope that the charges of helping Olympic athletes avoid positives is incorrect.

Wrt LA, a statement introducing the blog says that Catlin:

was not aware that the A samples allegedly testing high for testosterone in 1993, 1994 and 1996 were Lance Armstrong’s, if, in fact, that is the case. We have seen no evidence to suggest that it is.
I'm not sure who "we" is. The fact that Catlin himself, or anyone in his lab, didn't know is unsurprising. The ball goes back to SI. The burden of proof on them (or Novitzky) is to produce the someone who claims they were LA's samples. We shall see.

In the blog itself, Catlin says:

It was not an unexpected occurrence to have samples with screen T/E ratios between 6.0 and 7.5 not confirm. It would be less likely, however, that a sample that screens at 9.0 does not confirm.
I made this point on the SI story thread. Only one of the samples is really suspicious. though the fact that 6.0 and 7.5 might not have confirmed still doesn't mean they aren't evidence of doping. The criterion is purposely set very high to reduce false positives, and I believe in fact now it is 4.0. So those samples would very likely be confirmed positive today. But lack of confirmation then doesn't seem to me to be a reflection on hanky-panky in the lab.

Also, Python made a very good point about T/E ratios not changing much over time. Published T/E ratios of LA are 1.0 or less, so IF these samples were in fact his, that is pretty damning.
 
Oct 7, 2010
123
0
0
I realize Catlin's son Oliver works there too, I guess as a financial officer, but I also wonder if some comments are crossed up, and if Oliver also works behind the scenes at all as a tech? I see some reference to Oliver in the SI article, that Don left to other pastures and Oliver is still there. When I first read the article I had come away with the sense that Oliver commented on some aspects since he is still involved with ADR.
 
Dec 7, 2010
5,507
0
0
Thanks for posting this.
A couple of observations: This quote is informative and relates to what Python had stated about record keeping, and changing technology over time. It also seems to eliminate some of the suspicions raised by SI.
2 – On the request for data from five samples from 1990, 1992 and 1993:
In 1990, 1992 and 1993 we did not have the consistent electronic archive options that are available today. The data was stored on magnetic tape and other similar media that were not always consistent in their performance. When older data could not be found it was usually because the storage medium had deteriorated and the data was no longer in archive directories. In the 1990s, WADA did not exist and the labs were managed by the IOC. The IOC-accredited laboratories were not required to retain the data on samples declared negative, although it was our practice to retain all electronic data while I was at UCLA and respond to requests similar to the alleged request from USA Cycling if the data still existed.
I'm glad he mentioned the testing program for LA the was "attempted" for the 2.0 comeback but it still raises some questions to me.
Clarification on the intended Armstrong monitoring program:
We were aiming to collect from Armstrong on average every three days throughout the cycling season. Such a program would be very challenging logistically and would be quite expensive. It would also likely impact the activities of the international doping control process. We did not want to impede or interfere with the sanctioning bodies’ ability to test Armstrong, which we knew they would do frequently.
As negotiations were wrapping up, we did perform one collection prior to abandoning the program. The logistical and cost realities became immediately apparent. In addition, there were difficulties with the publicity surrounding the program.
The article says that “In its months of overseeing Armstrong’s testing program, Catlin’s lab had collected only one urine sample from him, … and it is clean.”
It is correct that only one sample was collected, however we had only overseen the program for one day, not months. The results were free of any blood profile abnormalities, the urine was negative for EPO analogues and had a T/E ratio below 4.
To the bolded part: I still don't understand how the apprarent difficulties and limitations of the effort wouldn't have been obvious to Armstrong before going public with the whole idea in the first place! By declaring his original intentions for this private program, only to later do a 180 degree turn-around, looked terrible. Armstrong certainly knows what to expect in terms of the required testing of a pro cyclist. This issue that there was concern over interfering with the, "sanctioning bodies’ ability to test Armstrong," seems genuine enough on the surface, but why wouldn't that have been obvious before Armstrong began splashing around publicly with his proposed plan?

And another thing that has always bothered me about this: The program would have been, "quite expensive." To who and by what standards? More expensive than Armstrong's legacy? Isn't that what this was all about in the first place? How much is "expensive"? Lack of funds doesn't ever appear to be one of Armstrong's burdens in life. So what's the deal? This issue has never sat well with me.

All that being said, this response from Catlin does throw the ball back in SI's court. They need to present some confirmation on some of their claims, IMO.
 
Aug 13, 2009
12,855
0
0
Dr. Catlin has been a huge part of Anti-doping for decades. He has earned respect. At the same time he has a couple weaknesses, he tends to become enamored of the athletes and often ignores the broader developments in doping and focuses on the lab.

Armstrong would not be the first Athlete to cast a spell over Catlin. Evelyn Ashford and Edwin Moses also had him wrapped around their fingers. He was convinced they were clean. Edwin, Maybe....Evelyn, no way.

As a cancer survivor and avid recreational cyclist it is not surprising he would be a fan of Lance. Perhaps this is what caused him to make such strange judgement calls. Educating a lawyer on the EPO test for the sole cause of denigrating another WADA lab is a bad move. Even worse is the fact that he used to talk often to Stapleton about "Testing". Did any other riders agent get access to Catlin to talk about testing? amazing.

Catlin also can be out of touch with what direction doping is going. About 20 years ago there was a large contingent of foreign track and field athletes were training at UCLA. At this time HGH was just starting to come on the scene and some of the athletes went to talk about it with Catlin. Some wanted them to find a test for it but others wanted to know if it worked so they could use it in their "programs". Catlin told them it was useless, had no value.

How out of touch he is was clear at the press Conference to announce the testing program. He was asked if he was going to use output as part of the program. It was a valid question as both Slipstream and High Road were using it. Catlin looked completely confused and had no idea why it would matter.

Why is it that Catlin can run the Internal program for Garmin and High Road, with a total of 4 teams and close to 50 riders from countries all over the world....but he could not do it for one guy? really?

Catlin was played.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY