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Who Should We Believe

Where is the trust problem in cycling

  • Stop taking about doping. I couldn't care less as long as I get to watch an exciting race.

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Mar 11, 2009
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A thought that has troubled me for a number of years:

Everyone comes down on the riders and teams for the doping issues. I can understand that, everyone needs to take responsibility. However, I think the problem is broader than that.

Let's look at the labs and cycling media.
As far as I understand it (perhaps someone can quote the WADA code of ethics for clarity), the process in terms of pronouncement of guilt in doping is as follows:
1. Riders undergo controls (2 samples are taken).
2. Samples are taken to labs for testing.
3. A samples are tested.
4. If found to be positive, the rider (and team management?) is contacted and asked if they would like their B samples tested, or if they'd like to admit to doping, or explain the values.
5. If they'd like the B sample tested, it is them tested with a witness there on behalf of the rider.

Up until this point, THERE IS NO ANNOUNCEMENT made.

6. If the B sample comes back positive, the rider is pronounced guilty and the process of discipline is followed.

This happens in other sports, but not in cycling. That leads me to ask who we can trust. If the labs are leaking evidence and not following the rules, then who is to say that (being dishonest in that) they are not tampering with the samples?

This is why I ask:
Riders dope to win
Winning means they are paid more.
Therefore, doping is about the money. If they doped only to win, it would not satisfy them as they would know they cheated.

Now the only reason someone in the lab would leak information would also be for money. Papers would pay lots of money to write stories before they hit the public.
Therefore they leak for money.

Now if they are corrupt enough to leak information, thus not following their own code of conduct (and doing this for money), who is to say then (as they can't be trusted either) that they would not tamper with evidence for money?

I don't know, but it seems like the core is rotten in more places than one!
 
Mar 12, 2009
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Not sure of your point, are you saying the labs get money from the papers by saying there is a posuitive test, so they "manufacture" positive tests?, I would think they are pretty independant of any other outside forces like that. You also say no announcement is made after the A test is found positive but yes it is, anyway if what your saying is just a long winded way of saying it's about money then BINGO, well done :p
 
Mar 13, 2009
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I guess I would ask, who has something to gain?
The cyclists have plenty to gain if they dope and get away with it.
What do the drug labs have to gain from positive tests?
Yes I agree the leaks are bad form but to make the leap to organised corruption really beggars belief. I'm sure there's enough fodder for the tech's to leak (for a fee if desired) without having to tamper with samples.
I know corruption can be found at all levels of society but on the balance of probability I'd say I'd believe the professionals in the labs before I'd believe the professionals in the peloton and their "trainers and advisers".
Be interested to hear other peoples views.
 
I don't really understand your point either. Do we think all riders are clean and the labs are screwing up by finding them positive? Or all riders dirty and the labs screw up by not finding them positive?

If some riders are using forbidden products, then that is hardly the labs' fault, is it?
 
Mar 13, 2009
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This has got to be the stupidest defense of dopers ever. It's da labs' fault! Not the riders, I tell you. The labs! Oh, yeah, and the newspapers. It's their fault too for having the audacity to print the truth.

Try producing one iota of proof that newspapers are paying for leaks. The reason why people who work in labs started leaking results is that they were disgusted with positive tests disappearing. Riders would test positive and nothing would ever come of it or bogus TUEs would be produced. The leaks make such corruption more difficult. The leaks are a good thing.

The truth getting out to the people is always a good thing. That is the purpose of the press in a democratic society. If we relied on the authorities to release everything then we would never receive news that was embarassing to the system.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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There have only been a few leaks. And sometimes it is not the lab, the rider gets told of the A-sample positive and it leaks out from his entourage.

But a leak isn't the problem. It's like a leak in politics. Yes it's unfair and wrong but the problem isn't the leak, the real issue is the doping. Sponsors aren't wary of backing cycling teams because of leaky labs, they are scared of scandal.

Blaming the labs is a version of shooting the messenger and like I say, only a few cases get leaked by lab workers.

The problem with doping is partly one of cost and benefit. For a long time the authorities have not been able to catch the cheats, for example there was no test for EPO until about 10 years after its use became widespread. So with almost no chance of being caught, the benefits of using it outweighed the costs.

Overall detection rates have been very low, often it's taken police involvement to expose things. For example, the police busted Festina and in the court case that followed, Swiss rider Alex Zulle testified that similar team doping schemes were in place at Banesto and ONCE but of course these were never busted.

Things are better now but there is still room to improve. The UCI, WADA and others are tightening things up and the blood passport scheme is great, a shame it took so long to introduce. French anti-doping boss Pierre Bordry said that he thought 80% of the field in last summer's Tour de France were clean, now we can worry about the 20% but that's a massive improvement.

We're getting to the point where we can begin to see doping stories moved to the background and we can return to racing and sport. Although there are three "Swords of Damocles" hanging over the sport:
- the Puerto case and Valverde's potential ban
- the UCI biopassport resulting in riders from 2008 getting bans
- the samples from the 2008 Giro are still in storage and there are moves to retest, to retro-test for CERA for example.

Escaping the past is a hard deal.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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The responsibility has to be solely on the riders and teams to try and clean up the sport internally.

But with that said, I'm highly suspicious of the labs and what, if any, kind of hidden agenda they may have. Furthermore, I'm also very suspicious of the chain of custody when they receive a urine sample, as inconsistencies in handling and testing have been mentioned in the past.

If cycling is serious about cleaning up, the whole system IMO needs to be fixed from top to bottom.
 
Mar 5, 2009
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cyclemad said:
Up until this point, THERE IS NO ANNOUNCEMENT made.
...
I don't know, but it seems like the core is rotten in more places than one!

This is probably true. One of the things to be pointed out is that the lab gets an anonymous sample and they will not be able to "target" a specific rider. Leaks must come at other places, sometimes even from the teams themselves (they will suspend the rider after the A-sample notification, which of course makes the news).

In case of Armstrong's 99 controversy, L'Equipe was able to match the sample to his name by getting access to the medical records (read more about it here and here).

This is currently Stefan Schumacher's defence, making a valid point: His samples were sent for re-testing through Europe unsealed and with his name on it, in violation of the regulation.

As you say I am waiting for a case in cycling where we only hear about the rider being positive after the B-sample, how it should be (although in most cases the B-sample confirms the A-sample)

bjorn
 
Mar 17, 2009
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They're all to blame. Cycling experienced an explosive growth, especially in terms of money, in the last 15 years. All that money flowing into what was previously a glorified club sport, something had to go wrong.

The UCI is to blame. They turned a blind eye to the early doping and let it get established. The club mentality - if we push it under the table, it stays there. And for a time, it did. And they've dragged their heels until it was almost too late. ASO is to blame, for attacking the UCI publicly when the sport was already in a weakened condition. Killing it to save it? Thank heavens the Amaury family stepped in before it was too late.

The riders are to blame. Here's the road to fame and fortune, just take the pill, the cream, the shot. Modern gladiators. But, put yourself in their cleats. How many of you would turn down a million dollars/euros a year, fame, and fortune, to ride your bike full time? Here's the money, and here's the dope. They should never have been offered that sort of temptation.

The team management is to blame. They organized and mandated doping, and later turned a blind eye to individual doping efforts. Could over a quarter of the pro peloton have been trooping to see Fuentes, and getting on the spot transfusions, without someone noticing?

The labs are to blame. There are fortunes riding on the outcome of dope tests, even riding on the basis of unproven accusations. Is it right to cry doper in a crowded peloton? Some of the labs are a bit lax in their procedures and their safeguarding of confidential and preliminary test results. LNDD seems to have a megaphone pointed at the L'Equipe offices, what else are they cutting corners on? We aren't talking about a casual THC screening of urine, these are very complex tests, and motive to skew them abounds.

FIFA and pro tennis are to blame. They pulled some very invisible strings and kept their people completely out of Puerto, even though quite a few athletes from both sports were apparently customers of Fuentes. Left cycling holding the bag. And no one seemed to notice that little sleight of hand. Knocking off this brash cycling upstart that was threatening their ad revenues? Like shooting fish in a barrel.

Actually, cycling is doing more about doping than any other sport. The greatest battle it still has to face is shaking off this negative attitude.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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lookkg386 said:
Not sure of your point, are you saying the labs get money from the papers by saying there is a posuitive test, so they "manufacture" positive tests?, I would think they are pretty independant of any other outside forces like that. You also say no announcement is made after the A test is found positive but yes it is, anyway if what your saying is just a long winded way of saying it's about money then BINGO, well done :p
My point is that we assume that the labs are trustworthy, but if the leaks are coming out of the labs, then they obviously arn't. SO then their word can't assumed to be right.
The fact that the A sample is made known is going against the WADA code which says that only after the B sample will the results be made known. That way, if the B test comes back negative, then no damage is done to the name of the cyclist, or to the name of cycling as a whole.

But yes, all this corruption is due to greed.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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I'm not saying that the labs are at fault and the cyclists not. I'm questioning the reliablility of what is said to be true, while not following one's own code of ethics. If you start bending the law (or your ethics), it's difficult to decide when to start. Where corruption exists, then the truth no longer is plain.

I am simply questioning what is stated as "the truth" by so many. I wonder how much is pure truth when there is corruption mixed in to this truth.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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cyclemad said:
The fact that the A sample is made known is going against the WADA code which says that only after the B sample will the results be made known. That way, if the B test comes back negative, then no damage is done to the name of the cyclist, or to the name of cycling as a whole.

The labs don't know who the samples belong to. The most they can do is leak that there as been a positive test. This helps keep hold the UCI's feet to the fire. In cases like the Landis one, it was his team that told the press it was Landis. They could have kept quiet until the B test had been performed if they had wanted to.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Tom Morris said:
This has got to be the stupidest defense of dopers ever. It's da labs' fault! Not the riders, I tell you. The labs! Oh, yeah, and the newspapers. It's their fault too for having the audacity to print the truth.

Try producing one iota of proof that newspapers are paying for leaks. The reason why people who work in labs started leaking results is that they were disgusted with positive tests disappearing. Riders would test positive and nothing would ever come of it or bogus TUEs would be produced. The leaks make such corruption more difficult. The leaks are a good thing.

The truth getting out to the people is always a good thing. That is the purpose of the press in a democratic society. If we relied on the authorities to release everything then we would never receive news that was embarassing to the system.
I in no way say that the riders are not to blame. Nor am I saying that they should be left alone.
My point is the same as that of Shogun:

If cycling is serious about cleaning up, the whole system IMO needs to be fixed from top to bottom.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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TrapperJohn said:
They're all to blame. Cycling experienced an explosive growth, especially in terms of money, in the last 15 years. All that money flowing into what was previously a glorified club sport, something had to go wrong.

The UCI is to blame. They turned a blind eye to the early doping and let it get established. The club mentality - if we push it under the table, it stays there. And for a time, it did. And they've dragged their heels until it was almost too late. ASO is to blame, for attacking the UCI publicly when the sport was already in a weakened condition. Killing it to save it? Thank heavens the Amaury family stepped in before it was too late.

The riders are to blame. Here's the road to fame and fortune, just take the pill, the cream, the shot. Modern gladiators. But, put yourself in their cleats. How many of you would turn down a million dollars/euros a year, fame, and fortune, to ride your bike full time? Here's the money, and here's the dope. They should never have been offered that sort of temptation.

The team management is to blame. They organized and mandated doping, and later turned a blind eye to individual doping efforts. Could over a quarter of the pro peloton have been trooping to see Fuentes, and getting on the spot transfusions, without someone noticing?

The labs are to blame. There are fortunes riding on the outcome of dope tests, even riding on the basis of unproven accusations. Is it right to cry doper in a crowded peloton? Some of the labs are a bit lax in their procedures and their safeguarding of confidential and preliminary test results. LNDD seems to have a megaphone pointed at the L'Equipe offices, what else are they cutting corners on? We aren't talking about a casual THC screening of urine, these are very complex tests, and motive to skew them abounds.

FIFA and pro tennis are to blame. They pulled some very invisible strings and kept their people completely out of Puerto, even though quite a few athletes from both sports were apparently customers of Fuentes. Left cycling holding the bag. And no one seemed to notice that little sleight of hand. Knocking off this brash cycling upstart that was threatening their ad revenues? Like shooting fish in a barrel.

Actually, cycling is doing more about doping than any other sport. The greatest battle it still has to face is shaking off this negative attitude.
I agree with you.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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hfer07 said:
looks to me like Lance Armstrong wrote this Himself-since he invented the "blame" on french labs alternative..
No defence for dopers here. I'm just questioning the morality of the whole system.
It seems that it is more than just the riders and teams that need to clean up their act.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Tom Morris said:
The labs don't know who the samples belong to. The most they can do is leak that there as been a positive test. This helps keep hold the UCI's feet to the fire. In cases like the Landis one, it was his team that told the press it was Landis. They could have kept quiet until the B test had been performed if they had wanted to.


Curious about the Landis test, how could A and B be so far off (numeric value, both positive though) and come from the same sample? Is that the way the test works (value means nothing test only gives pos/not pos)? Wasn't his name also written on the A sample?
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Susan Westemeyer said:
I don't really understand your point either. Do we think all riders are clean and the labs are screwing up by finding them positive? Or all riders dirty and the labs screw up by not finding them positive?

If some riders are using forbidden products, then that is hardly the labs' fault, is it?
If you note, I said that "the core is rotten in more places than one."
i.e. Let's clean up the whole lot.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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cody251 said:
Curious about the Landis test, how could A and B be so far off (numeric value, both positive though) and come from the same sample? Is that the way the test works (value means nothing test only gives pos/not pos)? Wasn't his name also written on the A sample?

The samples do not have names written on them. They have codes. The lab does not have the code key. In order to find out who a sample belongs to, you need a rider's doping control form. The UCI has that.

It sort of works like this. Rider gives a sample and the the sample is coded. The code is recorded on the doping form. The sample goes to the lab. The form goes to the UCI. If the lab finds a sample positive then they inform the UCI that sample code XXXX was positive. The UCI can then match the code to the rider using the doping forms.

This is what makes the Armstrong's 1999 samples that tested positive for EPO such powerful evidence. The lab had no knowledge of who had tested positive. It was more than a year later that a reporter was able to trick Armstrong into giving his permission to the UCI to release a doping form from the 1999 TdF. The reporter was then able to link the EPO positives to Armstrong.
 
I vote for none of the above (NOTA elsewhere;))
I blame the naive, idiotic apologists, who look for conspiracies, when none exist.
Who stubbornly refuse to believe those who speak out against doping, even to the point of character assasination.
Who coin terms such as "haters", to dismiss alternate viewpoints, because they have no rational defence.


And you can bet your bottom dollar, that these "fans" only staunchly defend certain riders; almost certainly all of whom are English speaking.
As for the rest? Well they are just cheating foreigners.
 
I'd say it's 95% with the riders, teams, and doctors.

The UCI has some culpability, but a smaller amount. The labs have a tiny amount, but mostly for leaks, as noted. One could note that the real, true problem is that there are too many false negatives in the testing, and if it were near foolproof, we'd have a lot less attempts at doping in the first place.

Tom - You make excellent posts, but you need a new avatar! ;)
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Tom - You make excellent posts, but you need a new avatar! ;)

Thanks. The avatar and the sig were facetious. I sort of decided that I like this place so I am going to switch to my usual username and 86 this one. I made a short post in the "Moderators, I beg you" thread that explains the situation.
 

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