Monday, September 25, 2006

The B Sample

There has been a lot of speculation about the process of testing the B sample. Landis has alleged chain-of-custody problems around sample numbers. On hearing this, many have suggested that Landis' representatives at the B sample test should have said or done something. Let's review the situation as best we can.

The autumn is time of denunciations, complaints and meetings. link
The B sample testing was done on August 3rd. According to CyclingNews, there were representatives from Landis, the UCI and USADA. The report says that Buxeda, the Spanish attorney for Landis was present. It does not say who was present for UCI and USADA. We've heard that Landis was also represented by Dr. Douwe deBoer, a scientist at the Department of Clinical Chemistry at University Hospital Maastricht.

Landis' defense is only known through the summary of the ADRB filing. I keep asking for it to be released, hint, hint. There are chain of custody (CoC) complaints in filing. Many of those who are dismissive of Landis pooh-pooh CoC complaints. They typically say things like, "If there was a problem, why didn't Buxeda say 'STOP?' Was he a potted plant?"

There are a number of responses to this. First, the sample number mismatches may have happened before or after the steps that were being observed. Second, it wasn't Buxeda's job to do anything but observe, and presumably note the presence of Nazi Frogmen doing sabotage. Third, it was probably deBoer with the closest view. Fourth, if mistakes were being made, the smart thing for Landis' observers would have been to note them for later use in discrediting the test.

Finally, and this is the killer, if the Landis representatives should have noticed a problem and said something, should not also the UCI and USADA observers?

It has been suggested that DNA could be used to validate it was Floyd's sample that was tested, but there is no WADA protocol that would allow for such a DNA test. It is therefore as likely to happen as another B sample CIR being done at a different lab.

The sample identity isn't particularly relevant anyway. Landis' defense isn't claiming it wasn't Floyd's piss. It is using the botched CoC issues to demonstrate the general incompetence of the lab, which also shows up as incorrect results.

About deBoer and Landaluze

On August 1, before the B test was done, there was discussion on the Daily Peloton forum about a statement Buxeda had made about IRMS being unreliable:
Jose Maria Buxeda, Landis' attorney, contests the detection method via IRMS. "It's not reliable," he told French L'Equipe. "Most laboratories do not use it. In fact, the laboratory of Chatenay-Malabry must be the only one still using it."

It seemed to contradict what many other experts said about the IRMS method. But after reading about the Landaluze-case I could imagine that this will be the road that Landis' attorney wants to go. As I already pointed out in the old forum Landaluze's sample also tested positive with the IRMS method. It was the same lab. The Spanish Federation decided that Landaluze was innocent (but the IOC appealed) because the dutch expert Douwe de Boer somehow demonstrated that the lab didn`t applicate the test correct (according to El Pais).
This was big news to me, because I'd bought the "infallible" line put out by the LNDD director and pushed by all the media reports. Maybe it's even true, if it's done correctly and they keep the machine from getting contaminated. It makes sense then, that Buxeda would bring deBoer to observe. Recently, El Pais has fingered deBoer as a key figure in the defense using some of the Landaluze arguments. The Landaluze case itself is not resolved. The Spanish Federation cleared Landaluze, but the UCI has appealed to CAS and the result has not been released.

Update 2-Oct: B Sample experts for UCI and USADA discussed here.