Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Armstrong & retesting

That's great that the lab that admitted it injected EPO into the same samples Equipe reported were positive* has offered Armstrong a do-over.

Seriously, only an idiot would agree to this. I mean, what's the upside here? There are 4 possible results (and I will use negative here to mean no evidence of EPO and positive to mean either evidence of EPO or the always great indication of doping but not a positive):

Armstrong doped, but the lab tests come back negative,
Armstrong doped, and the lab results come back positive,
Armstrong rode clean, and the lab tests come back negative,
Armstrong rode clean, and the lab results come back positive.

If the lab assiduously followed testing protocol, which it fully admits it does not (remember their argument is that they are so good they don't need to) and Armstrong rode clean then maybe this would be a good idea. The chance of any result except a negative would be very very low.

But the lab has been admonished by the CAS for sloppiness and threatened with having it's accreditation pulled. Further, it adheres to a civil standard not a scientific standard. And it has already admitted to juking Armstrong's tests once before.

So I would say the chance of Armstrong pulling a positive even if he was clean as being significant.

On the otherhand if the result does come back negative I doubt it would change anyones mind as the explanation will be the old he had better stuff than they can test for.

So I would say no way.

And for the record I think he was totally juiced. I am just saying that the lab isn't reliable enough to prove anything.

*the story of those "positive" tests is that the lab pulled a bunch of samples to use in a study of how many known positive samples would return negative finding. They injected the samples with EPO to ensure they were positive. Someone then took the results of the study and leaked them to the UCI which leaked them to Equipe which presented the results as a positive dope test.

In fairness, the lab never officially presented it as a positive. That said, the lab didn't object to the characterization of these tests and the story only came out when the UCI started a formal investigation, the results of which are here. The part about spiking the samples is Section 4 page 52. And there is some circumstantial, but convincing evidence, that the lab was behind the leak.

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