Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Roundup

CyclingNews gets to the surgery
CyclingPost says Floyd is still the big headline of the month on their site.
New farthest report, IndiaENews carries Xinhua coverage.

Sports Blog notes the surgery, and runs down the default perception that he's one of many American drug cheats, denying, denying, denying.

PJ talks about the choice of hip prosthesis.

Daily Peloton Forum brings up cyclist Barry Forde, cleared by the Barbados Federation, but recently nailed by CAS on unchallenged results of an LNDD IRMS test. Starts at about article #24. Readings by Forum participants suggest pessimism for Floyd. We'd previously mentioned Forde on TBV here as an open case, so this is a new decision.

The CAS decision, dated 11-Sep-2006, goes against Forde.

On samples from 24-Nov-2005, he was T/E 8:1 and IRMS positive on the A sample. He received full A sample doc before the B was opened, and his attorney was present for the B. Section I.11 notes the attorney present, "did not make any comment on the course of the analysis", as if that may be considered significant. The Federation cleared him on grounds of medical treatment and blood tests on February 10, 14, 16, and 17 that showed abnormalities. (This would be a longitudinal study).

The UCI appealed, saying there was an exogenous rule violation shown by IRMS and the Federation erred in clearing Forde. The CAS summarizes part of the filing as, "The IRMS analysis in that respect is fully reliable."

The defense filing to CAS contains a lot of garbage, as well as an assertion summarized by CAS in the decision as, "the IRMS analysis is not a reliable methos to establish the exogenous origin of a banned substance. According to the scientific literature, the IRMS analysis is a very complexmethod, which has proven to be faulty. Further investigations should have been conducted, which was not the case."

At the hearing, dismissed the T/E variability and declared that the presence of exogenous testosterone was the main issue of the case. If so, further testing (the longitudinal study) is not required. In decision on the merits, the CAS discarded a complaint that UCI didn't translate the lab report from French to English for them.

The CAS accepted that LNDD is accredited and presumed competent. Forde's expert, Dr. Werner Wilhelm Franke confirmed IRMS is reliable when done properly by reliable people, but had no opinion about the lab report or the consistency of the reports as filed. He neither approved nor questioned the results. Forde made no arguments LNDD did anything specifically wrong, only made reference to the literature that said it was very complex. The CAS decided the defense had not made a case sufficient to shift the burden back.

The LNDD had found A and B samples two metabolites of exgenous origin, 5 alpha-androstanediol and 5 beta-androstanediol, and CAS agreed. Doping offense. Guilty. Cooler, 2 years.

The case seems pretty different to me from Landis in a number of ways, based on what we've heard of the defense:

  1. Landis is going to have a lot of specific method complaints about the way the tests were done, addressing a failure of Forde's defense;
  2. Three of the four metabolites tested were negative. That leaves one positive compared to the two in Forde.
  3. Landis argues all metabolites tested must be positive according to the protocol. It is not stated by CAS how many were tested for Forde, so we don't know if it was 2/2 or 2/4 metabolites that were tested.
  4. The accepted "best" metabolite for testing is the 5 beta-androstanediol that was positive for Forde, but was negative for Landis.
  5. One other metabolite result is claimed to contain obvious lab errors, invalidating the lot.
If the defense assertions are true, the Landis case is quite distinguishable from Forde, so the Forde precedent will not be much of a hurdle, I don't think, but there are some bumps. The argument that all metabolites tested must be positive may not fly, and there appears to be at least one metabolite that appears to be positive in the reported results. To completely succeed, the defense must either show it was wrong by lab error, or win the "all four must be positive" argument about the applicable law. The point about one of the negatives containing obvious errors is to invalidate the whole batch of tests, including the one that was positive.

We still don't know the measured results from LNDD or what metabolites were involved in the Landis tests. Someday they will come to light.