UCI vs Ashenden

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Race Radio said:
http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/13931/Armstrongs-blood-profile-was-never-submitted-to-bio-passport-experts-after-May-2009.aspx

This is very disturbing. Armstrong's most questionable blood values, the ones that USADA say show he doped during his comeback, were never submitted to the BioPassport panel
Indeed, very disturbing. It strongly suggests what I have thought for a long time: that the passport software—because, as usual, it’s set to minimize the possibility of false positives—allows a lot of highly suspicious values to slip through.

Hoggie posted a link to a very interesting video yesterday, in which LA’s 2009 Giro and TDF values were analyzed and compared. The gist of the presentation was that his Giro values appeared more or less normal, with HT dropping during the three weeks, presumably due to plasma expansion; while HT did not drop during the TDF. The latter results, coupled with very low reticulocytes, were interpreted as strong evidence of blood transfusion. This is what all the analysts mentioned in the Velonation story have been pointing out.

The nub of the problem, I think, is this. The passport is basically an extension and further development of the off-score, which is a ratio based on HT and reticulocytes. To trigger a warning, this ratio has to exceed a certain level, which usually means reticulocytes have to fall below a certain level. As the analyst in the video RR linked to yesterday pointed out, while LA’s 2009 TDF retics were very low, they were above the level that would normally result in a ratio above the critical level. In fact, IIRC, none of LA's posted blood values following his comeback indicated an off-score > around 110, well below the 132+ that used to be considered a warning flag.

This is where EPO use comes in during transfusion. Transfusion suppresses reticulocytes, but by micro-dosing EPO (probably at doses, I add in passing, that would NOT be detected by that new EPO test discussed in another thread), one can keep the retics out of the danger zone. And thus not get flagged in the passport.

Another way of putting it is this: the passport compares ongoing parameters with a baseline previously constructed from older data. You get flagged if your values deviate too much from this baseline. But it’s possible to stay close to the baseline and still transfuse during a GT, because what transfusion during a GT is designed to accomplish is not raise your HT, but just stabilize it. Just keep it from falling as it normally does over the three weeks. And with the help of EPO, you also stabilize your retics, keep them from rising as much as they otherwise would when you make these HT-stabilizing transfusions.

This is very clear in that video. LA’s HT did not rise very much during the 2009 TDF, nor did his retics fall very much. So they stayed within the baseline. But they should have changed over the three weeks. This kind of change, as far as I can see, is not built into the passport program.

So who’s at fault here? I have trouble believing UCI suppressed a positive, because if the software had flagged his values, it would have been picked up by the Passport Management Unit, which supposedly is independent of the UCI. It seems that the passport software simply is not capable of detecting certain kinds of suspicious values.

Much has been made of the analysis by Christopher Gore that reportedly showed that LA's 2009 TDF values had a one in a million chance of resulting from normal fluctuations, not involving doping. I have always questioned this analysis, because I never saw any actual statistics demonstrating this published. According to VN:

When Prof. Gore compared the suppressed reticulocyte percentage in Armstrong’s 2009 and 2010 Tour de France samples to the reticulocyte percentage in his other samples, Prof. Gore concluded that the approximate likelihood of Armstrong’s seven suppressed reticulocyte values during the 2009 and 2010 Tours de France occurring naturally was less than one in a million
The implication of this is that there was a significant deviation from the baseline. Then why didn't the passport software pick this up? I can only guess that Gore used a different kind of approach. The passport software, as I understand it, compares each new value with the baseline, and determines whether it exceeds it. If no individual value exceeds the baseline, the profile is deemed normal or not suspicious.

Gore, I think, determined the possibility that a set of values could deviate from the baseline. So even though each value in isolation did not significantly deviate from the baseline, the probability that every individual value in a group of values, all during a GT, would come close to the baseline was determined to be highly significant.

This is my speculation. But in any case, Gore almost definitely used a different statistical approach. This raises an obvious question: why isn't this kind of approach used in the passport program? Why isn't UCI modifying its software? And why aren't Gore, WADA, Ashenden, et al. pointing out the need for this modification?
 
Sep 29, 2012
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Merckx index said:
The nub of the problem, I think, is this. The passport is basically an extension and further development of the off-score, which is a ratio based on HT and reticulocytes. To trigger a warning, this ratio has to exceed a certain level, which usually means reticulocytes have to fall below a certain level. As the analyst in the video RR linked to yesterday pointed out, while LA’s 2009 TDF retics were very low, they were above the level that would normally result in a ratio above the critical level. In fact, IIRC, none of LA's posted blood values following his comeback indicated an off-score > around 110, well below the 132+ that used to be considered a warning flag.
I have been saying the off-score is weak at best, and a joke if you want to be honest about its efficacy for picking up dodgy passport values, for 6 months or more now.

This is the graph I have posted, often, showing how difficult it is to trigger an off-score blip:

 
Merckx index said:
RR posted a link to a very interesting video yesterday, in which LA’s 2009 Giro and TDF values were analyzed and compared. The gist of the presentation was that his Giro values appeared more or less normal, with HT dropping during the three weeks, presumably due to plasma expansion; while HT did not drop during the TDF. The latter results, coupled with very low reticulocytes, were interpreted as strong evidence of blood transfusion. This is what all the analysts mentioned in the Velonation story have been pointing out.

The nub of the problem, I think, is this. The passport is basically an extension and further development of the off-score, which is a ratio based on HT and reticulocytes. To trigger a warning, this ratio has to exceed a certain level, which usually means reticulocytes have to fall below a certain level. As the analyst in the video RR linked to yesterday pointed out, while LA’s 2009 TDF retics were very low, they were above the level that would normally result in a ratio above the critical level. In fact, IIRC, none of LA's posted blood values following his comeback indicated an off-score > around 110, well below the 132+ that used to be considered a warning flag.

This is where EPO use comes in during transfusion. Transfusion suppresses reticulocytes, but by micro-dosing EPO (probably at doses, I add in passing, that would NOT be detected by that new EPO test discussed in another thread), one can keep the retics out of the danger zone. And thus not get flagged in the passport.

Another way of putting it is this: the passport compares ongoing parameters with a baseline previously constructed from older data. You get flagged if your values deviate too much from this baseline. But it’s possible to stay close to the baseline and still transfuse during a GT, because what transfusion during a GT is designed to accomplish is not raise your HT, but just stabilize it. Just keep it from falling as it normally does over the three weeks. And with the help of EPO, you also stabilize your retics, keep them from rising as much as they otherwise would when you make these HT-stabilizing transfusions.

This is very clear in that video. LA’s HT did not rise very much during the 2009 TDF, nor did his retics fall very much. So they stayed within the baseline. But they should have changed over the three weeks. This kind of change, as far as I can see, is not built into the passport program.

So who’s at fault here? I have trouble believing UCI suppressed a positive, because if the software had flagged his values, it would have been picked up by the Passport Management Unit, which supposedly is independent of the UCI. It seems that the passport software simply is not capable of detecting certain kinds of suspicious values.

Much has been made of the analysis by Christopher Gore that reportedly showed that LA's 2009 TDF values had a one in a million chance of resulting from normal fluctuations, not involving doping. I have always questioned this analysis, because I never saw any actual statistics demonstrating this published.?
I'll think you'll find I posted that video.

NOTE the use or altitude for the "free bio" pass.
 
Dec 16, 2012
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Context

Seems context is crucial.

I am basically ignorant on BP details.

Given the BP details given to the assessing panel are coded (so as to not identify athlete), I assume that there is no attached reference to that cyclist's concurrent activities?

LA's HCT/R from 2009 TdF appear to be "irregular" to this lay person by virtue of tight clustering without considering any other factors.

Considering other factors:

R clustered at bottom of range


However the matter is thrown into pin sharp relief when one is aware that this is all happening in the context of a three week tour! (again relatively ignorant observer speaking).

So back to my preface: I assume the "experts" only become aware of context, once the owner of the particular BP is identified??

Therefore yet another issue for BP authorities to consider?

Finish with: If Lance had been a little more cunning with micro dosage...????
 
Jul 28, 2009
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Race Radio said:
http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/13931/Armstrongs-blood-profile-was-never-submitted-to-bio-passport-experts-after-May-2009.aspx

This is very disturbing. Armstrong's most questionable blood values, the ones that USADA say show he doped during his comeback, were never submitted to the BioPassport panel
Whoa! Sh*t meets fan. It was pretty obvious that this was what happened otherwise the independent experts were dodgy. Obviously what they saw was filtered. One wonders what else was filtered out.

This indicates a wholesale review of all biopassport data is required using independent assessors.
 
Jul 28, 2009
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Merckx index said:
This is my speculation. But in any case, Gore almost definitely used a different statistical approach. This raises an obvious question: why isn't this kind of approach used in the passport program? Why isn't UCI modifying its software? And why aren't Gore, WADA, Ashenden, et al. pointing out the need for this modification?
Because the actual purpose of the biopassport program is to suppress doping not actually catch anyone.
 
Jan 30, 2011
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biker jk said:
Wow! Ashenden is tearing the UCI a new one.
Can't wait for the UCIs response to this one.

Seems Ashenden has bought a gun to this fight. The UCI only seem to have a very blunt knife so far.
 
Jul 28, 2009
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peterst6906 said:
Can't wait for the UCIs response to this one.
Let me help you with that: "Dr Ashenden has a personal vendetta...blah...blah..sour grapes....blah..blah...grudge etc" and other gems from the PR songbook of failure which the UCI seems to use.
 
biker jk said:
Wow! Ashenden is tearing the UCI a new one.
What is it McQuaid cannot understand about his petty, pathetic and intellectually dishonest statements, that make it abundantly clear he is simply incompetent and not qualified to head the UCI. You get the sense he is denser than a brick.

Why have the member associations of the UCI not called for his resignation? I have not read anything from for example USA Cyling or Cycling Canada or Cycling Australia or any of the European countries federations about concerns over McQuaid or have I just missed it?
 
Nov 27, 2012
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RobbieCanuck said:
Why have the member associations of the UCI not called for his resignation? I have not read anything from for example USA Cyling or Cycling Canada or Cycling Australia or any of the European countries federations about concerns over McQuaid or have I just missed it?
Did you see the statement of the President of Cycling Canada made 01/31/2013:

http://www.canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=25637

Maybe now he will issue a new statement saying "Phat Pat Must Go".
 
Sep 25, 2009
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i was reading the uci's latest retort last night and though to myself, 'there is no way ashenden will let so many obvious misrepresentations and deliberate misdirectins fly'...

i mean, even an educated clinic resident could see through the smoke - the lie about the lousanne lab being in charge in 2009, the misdirection about the uci hands off approach...:mad:
i mean it is hard to believe that the chief uci crook takes so many sane and knowledgeable people for idiots


but the good news is that ashenden seems to play according to some well thought thru plan where his next salvo has already been considered whilst the uci is blindly dodging inside their own smoke..;)
 
Jan 30, 2011
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python said:
i mean it is hard to believe that the chief uci crook takes so many sane and knowledgeable people for idiots
I think the UCI have failed to realise that lies have their own way of exposing the truth.

They've lied so much, the truth has become plainly obvious to everyone.
 
May 3, 2010
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rata de sentina said:
Whoa! Sh*t meets fan. It was pretty obvious that this was what happened otherwise the independent experts were dodgy. Obviously what they saw was filtered. One wonders what else was filtered out.

This indicates a wholesale review of all biopassport data is required using independent assessors.
Has anyone spoken to 'honest' Anne Gripper recently? What did she know of this process?
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Mrs John Murphy said:
Has anyone spoken to 'honest' Anne Gripper recently? What did she know of this process?
incorruptable Gripper. Time for her to take sides.

Gripper, who managed the UCI's Biological Passport programme until 2010, insisted there was nothing unusual with his blood profile at the time. She believes the Biological Passport has greatly cleaned up cycling.

she still publicly supports embattled president Pat McQuaid.
"My relationship with the management and Pat as president ... was (that) they were absolutely committed to the elimination of doping,'' Gripper said of the UCI.
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/anne-gripper-describes-armstrong-as-a-pathological-liar
 
http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/13932/Ashenden-The-experts-were-only-allowed-to-see-the-first-nine-of-Armstrongs-38-blood-results.aspx

9 of 38.

Pellozotti should sue.

Giving a reaction to VeloNation today, Ashenden has blasted McQuaid over the issue. He charges that the president misled the media, and also that other biological passport cases have proceeded without the software being triggered, such as that of Franco Pellizotti. “The facts have now been established and neither I nor any other experts were given an opportunity to review Armstrong's suspicious blood results during his comeback Tour de France races,” he said.

“Whether the profile triggered the abnormality thresholds is a deliberate red herring planted by the UCI, and its misleading for two reasons. First, because McQuaid stated that the experts had reviewed "all" of Armstrong's results. It is now clear that McQuaid's statement was untrue, because the experts were only allowed to see the first nine of Armstrong's 38 blood results. Specifically, it is now clear we were not shown Armstrong's suspicious results during the Tour de France races.

“Second, because the abnormality in Armstrong's profile was a series of flat results, not spikes in blood values, the software was not engineered to detect that abnormality. In other words, the abnormality does not show up in the software and would not have been flagged, but it does become evident to an expert when reviewing the raw blood results.

“A series of blood results can be suspicious and consistent with blood doping but not flagged by the software, which the CAS had already concluded and as can be found in its Pellizotti finding.”

Read more: http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/13932/Ashenden-The-experts-were-only-allowed-to-see-the-first-nine-of-Armstrongs-38-blood-results.aspx#ixzz2KmRq7aDL
 
northstar said:
Did you see the statement of the President of Cycling Canada made 01/31/2013:

http://www.canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=25637

Maybe now he will issue a new statement saying "Phat Pat Must Go".

Took him/them long enough, jebus. Good article, but this kind of(atleast from my view-which could be wrong and probably is) makes the canadian boys look as if they were Wonderboy/Phat supporters, then all of a sudden when the heats on, they dump them in hopes to save themselves embarrassment and credibility(like Wonderboys sponsors/endorsers did). Then again, I might be speaking out of turn as Im unfamilair with and admittedly dont know enough about canadian cycling feds. This is just my opinion, if Im wrong in thinking that way, please correct me gang.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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there are several people with the keys to the closet with those dead bodies that ashenden is trying so desperately to unlock.

the three most important are:
- gripper (the uci anti-doping tzarina at the time)
- saugy (the swiss lab director who cares/cared for almost 100% of blood passport)
- sotas (the creator and the custodian of the passport statistical model)

all three are currently under the stringent non-disclosure terms and can be sued if talking...

however, it's been my feeling long before the usada exposure of armstrong (hence the avatar) that gripper has been carefully looking for a legal loophole/way to expose the incompetence (read: corruption) of the uci.

this can be derived from reading into the MAIN wada/usada struggles with uci over the terms of reference for the (now disbanded) independent commission.

the uci flatly opposed the wada insistence on letting people with nda talk...

the saugy and sotas are in a different position. they are still subcontracted by the uci and THAT's the uci calculation behind keeping their current lies.

hence more obfuscations, more maneuvering, more lies.

one only has to wonder if the lone worrier ashenden - who has proven to me as seeing through the uci crap the best - has enough ammo..:(
 
Oct 16, 2010
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python said:
...
i mean it is hard to believe that the chief uci crook takes so many sane and knowledgeable people for idiots
...
+1

python said:
there are several people with the keys to the closet with those dead bodies that ashenden is trying so desperately to unlock.

the three most important are:
- gripper (the uci anti-doping tzarina at the time)
- saugy (the swiss lab director who cares/cared for almost 100% of blood passport)
- sotas (the creator and the custodian of the passport statistical model)

all three are currently under the stringent non-disclosure terms and can be sued if talking...

however, it's been my feeling long before the usada exposure of armstrong (hence the avatar) that gripper has been carefully looking for a legal loophole/way to expose the incompetence (read: corruption) of the uci.

this can be derived from reading into the MAIN wada/usada struggles with uci over the terms of reference for the (now disbanded) independent commission.

the uci flatly opposed the wada insistence on letting people with nda talk...

the saugy and sotas are in a different position. they are still subcontracted by the uci and THAT's the uci calculation behind keeping their current lies.

hence more obfuscations, more maneuvering, more lies.

one only has to wonder if the lone worrier ashenden - who has proven to me as seeing through the uci crap the best - has enough ammo..:(
all good points python.

wrt to him being a lone rider: it seems he chose to be when he left CCN.

anyway, I'm also worried whether he has enough ammo.

One of RR's twitters recently suggested Pat has some bad wheather coming up. Let's hope there is more to come.
 

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