**** Breaking News: Hamilton Tested Positive? ***

Discussion in 'Doping in Cycling' started by mareblu, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. Perro Loco

    Perro Loco New Member

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    Actually both conditions can be entirely benign and discovered incidentaly. A mutation in that results in loss of a blood group antigen at a 4 cell stage will lead to approximately 25% of that persons cells being negative for that antigen- thus showing a mixed population. Chimaerism from twin to twin transfusion has been described. What Tyler has no twin? It is possible from an aborted twin etc. I am oversimplifying this...
    However, these cases are extremely rare. And yes further investigatin would be able to ascertain if this is case without significant problem.
    That said, I will repeat these are extremely rare cases, and despite wanting to believe in Tyler, you have to also look at this logicaly..
    What is more likely- a cyclist extremely rare blood profile or a cyclist has been blood doping?
     


  2. philoakley

    philoakley New Member

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    You are having a laugh now surely? You can't be serious.

    This is not a question of mindset but about the physical abilities of the riders. The speed is detrmined by the physical capabilities of the riders such as oxygen uptake, power and recovery. It is not as easy as saying I am right on my limit here at 50 kmh but my mind wants to do 52 kmh so i will.

    You don't seem to understand that the racing style of the peloton has changed over the last ten years because riders are recovering better. The riders have always wanted to go faster that why they race so mindset has nothing to do with speed in my view. However, if you can recover faster (perhaps because you dope) your body will follow what your mind wants to do more easily than before.
     
  3. Frihed89

    Frihed89 New Member

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    It's like the arms race. The governing bodies increase their detection efforts; the riders increase their efforts to avoid detection. The problem is that the organisers like the money that increased performance and competition bring to the sport and so do the riders, so it's not clear that the organisers have as strong an incentive to rid the sport of doping as the riders do to use dope. That is why the national authorities (i.e., police) have stepped in.
     
  4. rob of the og

    rob of the og New Member

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    Bizarre. You're suggesting 2 things:

    1. TdF average speed can only improve by using drugs
    2. The effectiveness/prevelance of drugs has increased since 1989

    To address the 1st: In 1989 Lemond, Fignon, Delgado were racing a whole season, from Etoilles des Besseges to the Tour of Lombardy. The TdF was one (albeit important) rendezvous along the way. No-one used HRMs, SRM cranks hadn't been invented, there was no facility to download data for later analysis and the coaches were ex-cyclists. These days Armstrong, Ullrich, Hamilton show up for one race all year, having trained specifically and without fatigue. They have all the advantages of modern training technology and methodology and their coaches are sports scientists. Might speed things up a little.

    Secondly: If anything drug use has moved from the proven effective (amphetamines and the like) to the less effective but less detectable as the authorities have at least started to catch up. Witness Hamilton's (alledged) use of blood doping - much more primitive than EPO but (until now) undetectable. Laurent Fignon has all but admitted using drugs in the 1980's; the PDM team famously all had the stomach flu in 1991; Dr Ferrari's case book goes back to the early 90's and beyond; as many riders had one-off incredible improvements back then as they do now... should I continue?
     
  5. wadoflove

    wadoflove New Member

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    Sorry, I have been busy but the Dr is now in...

    1) So I have searched for use of this procedure in paternity testing on the web and have found one reference to it and that was a cost-effectiveness analysis by a company trying to sell the equipment to hospitals. That means it is not an established technique for paternity testing. This claim appears to be incorrect or overstated.

    2) I cannot believe that a technique that was published for the first time in a peer reviewed journal in November of 2003 can be a well established technique 6 months later. There would have to be a greater consensus in the scientific community. My wife works with this technique and she tells me constantly that it is very tricky and you can see whatever you want to in the results. The article on cyclingnews indicates that they are looking for an absence of signal on some blood cells as a positive indicator. There could be a number of reasons that some cells do not light up.

    3) "Length of time until a transfusion is undetectable? Up to 120 days; for athletes, probably less than 90 days because red cells have shorter lives in highly active individuals". If he tested positive a couple of weeks ago then they can do another blood test and have different labs analyse the blood and see if a consensus can be arrived at because apparently the first test was considered questionable by the lab that performed it until "outside experts were brought in to confirm it" (who were they I wonder?).

    It appears that the experts on this topic are the people that developed and published the test in the first place. I am not saying these are dishonest scientists but it may be that they unconsciously are aware that catching a high profile athlete with their new test could lead to a great deal of publicity and liscencing fees for their university... Also these people are extremely adamant that their test is basically foolproof and I would not trust any scientist that talks this way about their results. NOTHING IS FOOLPROOF! There are always exceptions and different interpretations of results. Especially with these sorts of biological reagents.

    For these and other reasons I would recommend an independant scientific study a decision that Phonak has taken already.


    4) So what do you do over there at Velonews AntoineG? :D
     
  6. wadoflove

    wadoflove New Member

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    I agree with you.

    But nobody mentions the fact (excuse me if someone already did) that nowadays riders are attacking in the opening Kms on each and every stage. This was nearly unheard of a few years ago when the team leaders controlled everything and dometiques were what their name implies. Now you have attacks and specialty teams like Fassa Bortolo chasing them down to bring their sprinters home for the win on flat stages where nothing used to happen (I know I slept through many a flat stage in the past). I think that this is the main reason for the increase in speed between the end of the Lemond era and the present era. Drugs were rampant back then especially amphetamines and painkillers.
     
  7. Perro Loco

    Perro Loco New Member

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    I brought up something along similar lines a while back. Unlike in the past, there are no off days in the Tour- every stage is raced all out. So much prestige is associated with just winning one stage. As you pointed out people attack from the gun. The green jersey competition has become hotly contested, involving whole teams tracking down and leading out.
    In the Giro you still see stages in which no attacks come for long periods of times.
     
  8. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    Same issues here...apparent lack of peer review, results at this time seem to be pretty "lab dependent", subjective and interpretative nature of the analysis. As most pathology depts will admit to, some days are more cancerous than others.

    And whoa, what is with this whole the "he's guilty but getting off on a technicality" bullshit I keep hearing. Sorry, the B test is not a technicality. The function of the B test is to confirm the A test findings ... to eliminate tester error, lab error, dog ate my homework error etc. Without the B test to confirm the A test, there is NO guilty.

    I'm curious as to why the A test results were publicly released when the IOC obviously knew they could never supply B testing confirmation. Second, was the Vuelta doping control staff notified at any time by the IOC of this A sample result....any "You might want to check Hamilton, wink wink, nudge, nudge". That is very problematic with an interpretative testing procedure. Pretty much introduces tester bias quite nicely, which is not malice but a well documented human phenomenon. It's why people bend over backwards so hard to eliminate it.

    Finally, an issue of pure curiousity...any published work on the differences in blood chemistry/physiology etc etc between physically active and sedentary persons that one can think of off hand? I know my husband often gets flagged for "trace blood in urine" in his routine physicals but on the secondary investigation, it's explained by his level of physical activity. The tests are so sensitive nowdays that they pick up everything, even what is "normal" for an athletic person.

    Has anyone found any peer-reviewed published articles on this technique other than the Nov 2003 Haematologica 88:1284-1295 article? 25 post surgical patients, orthopedic surgurgical patients none the less, and this is representative of the general population?? Does anyone think that a small sample of orthopedic patients might not be a highly physically active group? And is that relevant -- straight up question, I don't know.

    And what about the caveat attacted to the article in question? "In the absense of a monoclonal antibody-based panel of antisera, variations in the analytical perfomace of this test due to variablility in potency or specificity of the polyclonal antibodies remain a major concern. Rigorous standardization of the assay will be essential to obtain reliable results in different laboratories. The article was submitted for publication April 2003; it was used as a definitive testing protocol sometime prior to Aug 2004. In the intervening time, what work was done to develop the required standardization, who did it, and where is their work available for review?

    I'm not saying Hamilton is innocent. I'm not saying Hamilton is guilty. However, sometimes the devil is in the details and I'd like to know a bit more about the subject.
     
  9. philoakley

    philoakley New Member

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    Greg Lemond was almost entirely focused on the Tour in 1989 and in 1990. Whilst SRM's etc did not exist, the same principles of training that exist today existed then. Lemond was one of the smartest trainers around having been coached by both Cyrille Guimard and Paul Koechli (I don't think he was a pro-cyclist) and undoubtedly a clean athlete in my view. This guy was pure talent and had very high V02 Max levels. So all that has really improved is the monitoring of training rather than the training itself. I accept that this is beneficial but not as much as you claim. Both Greg Lemond and Andy Hampsten have made very enlightening comments about the role of drugs in cycling this year. Both individuals are far more qualified to talk about this subject than you or I. Yet, they are accused of sour grapes or of ignoring these large improvements in training technology. In short, exercise physiology has not made the massive leaps that you claim. What has changed is that Epo and other drugs have undoubtedly enhanced the ability to train harder and recover. I am not saying that there should have been no improvements but 1-2kmh in average speed is not credible. Additionally, the speed in the mountains is at least 1kmh faster (greg lemond says 2-3kmh) and I notice that you have no explanation for this large gain in performance. Do you think that head to head, Lemond, Indurain and even Pantani would finish 10 minutes + behind Lance Armstrong on a mountain stage?

    To say that Epo is less effective than amphetamines in the Tour shows that you do not really know what you are talking about as they are completely different drugs. EPO has much longer effects on performance ands oxygen uptake, whereas amphetamines provice a short-term boost and do not enhance oxygen uptake.

    So yes, I am saying that the increases in the Tour average speed is mainly due to drugs.Yes, the effectiveness and prevelance of drugs has definitely increased since 1989.
     
  10. Perro Loco

    Perro Loco New Member

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    While excercxise can alter subtley chemistries it would not be expected to alter expression of red cell antigens.

    It is very routine to see publication of an initial new test and not see publication of further validation and standerdization. It is often very difficult to find the records for standerdization. A lot of this data is submitted to the various approval agencies and does not become published in peer reviewed journals.
    From what I have read- in the initial article and subsequently in the NYTImes and Cyclingnews.com these people now what they are doing. Flow cytometry has been used in the past to detect fetal-maternal hemmorhage and is used routinely to determine subclassifications of lymphomas and leukemias. It can be tricky to get the settings right but is done routinely. Currently only two labs are authorized to perform the test. While I have no proof, I would bet that this has undergone further testing from the original article. It must stand up to legal challenges. It is interesting that way over 300 samples have tested at the olympics and in the vuelta (primarily the olympics) and only one positive individual.
    I suspect as legal challenges come more details about the assay will be made public.
     
  11. tamman2000

    tamman2000 New Member

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    How much slower do you think you would ride if you were on a 15 year old top of the line machine, vs a current top end machine?

    1.Now we have about twice as many gears providing for tighter gear spacing and wider ranges.
    2.We have much smoother/easier to opperate shifting.

    Those mean that the average rider spends much more time in gears well suited for the situation than they used to, and can get more power to the hub for the same energy expendature.

    3.We have better aero.
    4.We have lower rolling resistance tires and wheels.

    The last two mean they have to get less power to the hub for the same speed.

    Do you honestly believe that all of this doesn't add up to a measly 1-2 km/h?
     
  12. philoakley

    philoakley New Member

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    I doubt you would be much slower on a 15 year old machine. Bikes were pretty good back in 1989. Anyway, it is the rider that turns the pedals that makes the biggest difference. Aerodynamics give no meaningful advantages going up mountains. I do honestly believe that better technology doesn't add up to 1-2kmh. As for measly, 1 kmh over 90 hours racing in the tour equates to at least a 2 hours 15 minute time defecit which I think illustrates my point quite well.
     
  13. tamman2000

    tamman2000 New Member

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    What specifically do you think would be reasonable to expect as a speed change?
    No doubt, this is correct, but for the same rider on two different bikes, there are certainly differances.
    But gearing does.
    2 hours 15 minutes/90 hours
    == 1 hour 7 minutes 30 seconds/45 hours
    == 4 and a half hours /180 hours
    == 1 minute 30 seconds / 1hour

    it is the percentages that are important, the duration has little to do with the argument.

    Oh yeah, and:
    What do you think the tech adds up to?
     
  14. philoakley

    philoakley New Member

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    Speed Change? - Difficult to say. The world marathon record has improved by around 1.5% (it is possible that drugs have played a role here) during the last 15 years. So lets say 0.5kmh.

    Gearing? - 10 speed blocks against 9 speed. Certainly, there are bigger gears being turned on the flat with 11 tooth sprockets. Gears on the mountains have made little difference in my view.

    Technology in total? - a little bit but not a huge amounts. Lemond did 54.5 kph with tri-bars in 1989. This is just my opinion.
     
  15. antoineg

    antoineg New Member

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    You completely missed the point. If someone came along and did 1kph faster than LA in this year's tour, he would have won by over 2.25 hours.

    That is a lot *cough*. A 10 minute win is considered a huge blowout.
     
  16. gntlmn

    gntlmn New Member

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    But you completely miss the point too because 1 kph faster in the peloton is far easier than 1 kph faster when not in it.

    Maybe what is happening is that more riders are focusing on the Tour because of how much money is involved now compared to not long ago. Also, it's been long enough to have a whole new set of riders now, attracting a larger swath of people because of the enormous possible winnings compared to back then, when it was much more of a financial gamble for a cyclist to make a career out of it. Lemond was the first American to bring home huge cycling winnings and contract. He opened the door to a whole bunch of new riders who chose it as a career.

    To raise the ending speeds, it's more important to have depth in the peloton than it is to have a stronger winner due to the overwhelming advantage of a good draft. The faster the peloton, the faster the winner.

    And if you think that 1 kph improvement is like the winner riding away from the pack and finishing 2.25 hours faster, you missed the boat completely. If you placed Armstrong in the peloton back then, his final time would go down compared to now if the peloton chose to ride more conservatively then, as it may have done.

    You are not understanding the impact of the draft in the Tour de France. It is the single biggest factor dictating the outcome of the race. That's why you can have great multi tour champions who finish only a few minutes from the second place rider. It takes so much more effort to ride away from the pack rather than in it.
     
  17. tamman2000

    tamman2000 New Member

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    yes 10 minutes is huge, and what do people do when they get a 10 minute lead?

    they relax... they stop attacking on all the climbs, they start letting people who are far back attack unanswered, until their lead is in in danger.

    nobody, no matter how much better than the rest of the riders, will ever win by 2.25 hours, it is just unnessisary.
     
  18. gntlmn

    gntlmn New Member

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    The record win gap between 1st and 2nd was in the 1969 Tour de France when apparently the rest of the peloton didn't take Merckx seriously enough, and he won by 18 minutes. That is enormous by any year's standards. The remainder of his Tours he won, he won by a much smaller gap. When the peloton gets wise to you, it is not too forgiving of breakaway riders if they are gc threats.
     
  19. philoakley

    philoakley New Member

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    What about the pace in the mountains? In this environment, drafting has no benefit at all. Each rider is effectively racing their own time trial against the mountain. What's your explanation for average speeds in the mountain stages improving by 1kmh and the 15 minutes difference on stages that this would create.

    Just to throw some extra statistics into the debate. Lance Armstrong has VO 2 max of 83.8. Indurain recorded 88, whilst Greg Lemond has recorded one of the highest ever readings at 92. However, mountain stages in the late 80's were won at speeds that rarely exceeded 32.5 kmh. Now 33.5 kmh is common. Also at this higher average speed there are 30-40 riders at the bottom of the last climb compared with around half that level previously. It would be wrong not to accept some small general improvement, but given that the physical ability to ride and recover in the mountains is largely determined by genetic ability (VO 2 max etc) and training. How can we explain the significant improvement in speed? Given that training methods (not monitoring) have basically stayed the same, I don't see what can account for this. When you take into account that the riders have all ridden much harder on the flat stages than previously, I find it difficult to accept that the speed on the mountains has improved so much.
     
  20. gntlmn

    gntlmn New Member

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    Mountain stages, for the most part, are not mostly mountains. Most of it is flat. If you're going to compare mountain times, you need to remove the time on the flats. The rest will be mountain times.

    Pantani still has the record up l'Alpe d'Huez, and his was 1998. This was only 3 years later than Indurain. If they were going so much faster now, why didn't they break his record. They didn't this year.
     
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