Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Vino positive?

This posted less than an hour ago on l'Equipe's website:

By Philippe LE GARS et Damien RESSIOT

News to l'Equipe: Alexander Vinokourov, 33, leader of team Astana, tested positive for a homologous transfusion Saturday 21 July at the end of the individual Tour de France time trial whch he won at Albi. After analysis by the laboratory at Ch√Ętenay-Malabry, the blood taken at the finish showed the presence of two distinct populations of red cells in the A sample. In plain speech, this means that Vinokourov made use of a homologous transfusion shortly before the stage, utilizing blood from a compatible donor.

The Astana rider (about whom the Internation Cycling Union, in statements by its president, Pat McQuaid, had manifested its displeasure after he had admitted working with the sinister Dr. Michele Ferrari) underwent a new blood test in the late afternoon the day before yesterday, Monday, after his second victory in the 15th stage at Loudenvielle-LeLouron. This new sample is currently under analysis at Ch√Ętenay-Malabry, and could confirm the first positive result as early as tomorrow, since the two populations of red cells would still be observable.

Homologous transfusions, as distinct from autologous ones (in which the athlete's own blood is transfused) have been detectable since the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, by means of a method developed by the laboratory at Lausanne (LAD). American Tyler Hamilton was the first cyclist to test positive in this way, during the 2004 Vuelta.

PS. Following this revelation, team Astana, of which he was the leader, has decided to leave the Tour.


Update (7:25 pm Paris; 1:25 pm EDT.) Vinokourov has asked for a test of the B sample. Astana has said it withdrew its riders at the request of the Tour organizers. An emergency meeting of Tour de France team officials is currently underway.
(8:50 pm Paris; 2:50 pm EDT.) Twenty police are said to have carried out a search of the hotel in which team Astana was staying, and to have left with bags of evidence.

19 comments:

lenf said...

I think TBV shares some of the blame for the rapid decline of this sport. Defending one doper, rather than helping to clean up cycling, is, perhaps, a very wrong message to be sending.
And to claim an anniversary of Landis "winning" the Tour is simply another brick tossed through the window. Landis, and those who continue to defend him, are among the reasons cycling is so dirty.

Mike Solberg said...

Ugh. I now repeat what I first said about 4 months ago. The whole sport needs a "time out." They should cancel everything for one year, give everyone amnesty (with confession), and get the anti-doping system figured out: fix the labs, establish bio-parameters for every rider, get real rider buy-in to the system, commit more money to testing and research, then give it another go after a year. Somehow, they have to get rid of the ASO as well, in my opinion, but that might be difficult.

And lenf, that's just stupid.

syi

LuckyLab said...

-best sarcastic voice- Yeah, it's all TBV's fault. The power and influence of TBV encourages riders around the globe to dope. -end best sarcastic voice

Serously, though, be a little skeptical. Trial by media is no way to run a sport. The most powerful sports in the world try to limit the trial by media - see baseball, football, American football, et. al. I don't know if Floyd is actually innocent, but as a professional science teacher, the basis behind the current accusation is a bit sketchy. I wouldn't allow my students to make the mistakes LNDD made.

lenf said...

As I'm sure you understand, I did not state that it was *all* TBV's fault. Only that the site, in my opinion, shares some of the blame for how dirty cycling has become. Defending doping, by Floyd or others, contributes to the overall sport.

I've seen several comparisons to Floyd's comeback performance last year and Vino's comeback this year. It appears that while Floyd didn't actually loan Vino his Harley, he did loan his methods.

I would guess that a team of educational experts could assemble a fair list of mistakes you make in your teaching. That doesn't mean your teaching is bad. LNDD made mistakes, but that doesn't mean the tests were invalid.

Julie said...

before we all go jumping off the cliff, let's remember this is the same error prone lab doing the testing and the same people leaking the results. where's the outcry to certify the labs or stop the leaking?

Carlton said...

If confirmed, it's bad news all round.

But cos one man doped, doesn't prove another did.

There will be a lot of ink spilled over this but unless Vino admits guilt the final word should go to scientists, not commentators.

Shame it's LNDD, mind.

ddt240 said...

am I the ONLY one who has a problem with this comming out prior to the confirmation of the B sample?

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

ddt240,
No you aren't the only one who has a problem with these reports leaking out before the B sample is tested. I find this to be as disturbing as the actual doping.

From a testing standpoint detecting blood cells from two different people is way different than using mass spectrometry to measure T/E ratios so it should be a much more clear cut case once the B samples are tested.

This whole revelation is not good at all. If he is guilty, Vino was very, very stupid to think he would get away with it.

Quique said...

While relieved Vino is not in my fantasy cycling league this year, I am pissed that I have Kloden.

Thanks, you Kazakh bastard.

In order to clean up cycling, there must be baseline data gathered--over time--on EVERY rider who even hints at wanting to ride the big ones: Le Tour, La Vuelta, the Giro, the MS 150 in Santa Barbara...heh heh... the bottom line is no testy, no ridey, no glory.

("Eightzero") said...

I find it disturbing that the entire pro cycling community seems to be doig a lemming-esque swan dive off the cliff in response to a leaked lab report. I am not convinced that the established rules for handling AAF was followed in Vino's case, and still have many, many questions about how this was handled.

For any scientists out there, are there any *scientific* reasons why a doping control result can't be completed between a stage finish and the following day's start? Yes, I know this could be hugely expensive and difficult, but if we are serious about this, it is time to stop the half-measures that seem to protect only those with the power and money. We need to protect the sport, the riders, the fans, and all associated with the sport. This means multiple labs, increased logistics and all needed support to ensure both "A" and "B" samples confirm any result within hours of the conclusion of the stage - IOW, a 100% scientific surety of the testing methods. This is *expensive* for sure, but until it is done, ASO/UCI/WADA/IOC is most certainly going to get what they pay for.

And many fans will not.

wschart said...

Nothing I have ever seen here can be considered "defending doping". Of course, if you believe that Landis is guilty, this site can be seen as "defending a doper", but in this country, at least, we are supposed to believe that someone in innocent until proven guilty. Did all the people that believed that the Duke lacrosse players were innocent defend rape and rapists? No, they merely were saying that these particular individuals were innocent and that the evidence against them was flawed. This is basically what TBV, Rant and other pro-Landis sites are doing.

I would imagine that if good evidence existed that Landis did in fact dope, or if Landis was to confess, TBV would step up and say "I was wrong". However, at this point in time there are enough questions about the quality of work on the Landis tests that there is a possibility that he is innocent, or at least that the results are unreliable.

The teaching analogy is rather poor, IMHO. There is no one scientifically established "teaching method". There are scientifically established methods for conducting lab tests.

jrdbutcher said...

1) I don't think TBV condones doping and isn't part of the problem. It's probably more accurate to write that TBV may be a small ,but significant, fraction of a movement to substantially improve the situation.

2) Again, why do we know about the result of an A-Sample AAF ???????? There would be many questions about Vino and the whole Astana Team suddenly leaving the TdF, but that is just another example of the current problem with the rules. (a) the rule about confidentiality of A-Sample results is not respected by the anti-doping authorities and/or race organizers. We see repetitive leaks and there seems to be no enthusiasm by the anti-doping authorities to address the problem, identify the leakers, punish the leakers, or put in place a system that makes it difficult for leaks to happen. (b) with the Vino example, the system is fubar because an A-Sample AAF could easily be deduced by the withdrawal of Vino and his team. This is up to the anti-doping authorities to fix. Their rules make a superficial pretense toward protecting some of the most basic rights that should be afforded the athletes and then ignores their own rules when the wind happens to be blowing in a certain direction or when the mood suits them. This is not a description of a system that can be respected by intelligent people.

3) LNDD did the test on Vino's A-sample.Is it a surprise the result was leaked. Is it a surprise that many of us are suspicious of the result as we were so very impressed with the quality work LNDD did on Floyd's samples. (Serious sarcasm intended)

4) The facts are that we shouldn't be aware of any AAF's on A-Samples w/o the blessing of the source (in this case Vino) of said sample and an AAF on an A-Sample doesn't prove guilt unless the athlete accepts the result and does not request the testing of a B-Sample within the required timeframe. Vino is reported to have requested testing of a B-Sample.

5) If Vino has is not guilty, I hope he goes to the wall with it much as Floyd has done. If this eventually exposes more shoddy work by LNDD, then so be it.

6) I'm not pro doper and I'm not a doper apologist.

7) I'm also not pro "write a bunch of rules and then just follow the ones that are convenient for you".

8) For the anti-doping system to work, it must lead by example and those charged with carrying out the mission of the anti-doping system must show integrity in their work.

9) When the various alphabet soup authorities can demonstrate integrity, I'll be more anxious to metephorically hold the athletes' feet to the fire.

10) A hearty Brooklyn Cheer to those that have made the assumption of guilt based on a leaked result from a test conducted by LNDD, current TdF riders that fit the description included. Bravo! Very brave of you.

Michael said...

So...Ressiot writes:

underwent a new blood test in the late afternoon the day before yesterday, Monday,

and then:

Homologous transfusions, as distinct from autologous ones (in which the athlete's own blood is transfused) have been detectable since the Athens Olympic Games in 2004,

So which is it...was Vino caught by a 'new' test or the old one that supposedly caught Hamilton. But I've read that the test that caught Hamilton has been used since his case.

ArchPundit said...

==I think TBV shares some of the blame for the rapid decline of this sport. Defending one doper, rather than helping to clean up cycling, is, perhaps, a very wrong message to be sending


This is hogwash. How can one make a judgment about whether someone is a doper if even the most basic due process isn't followed? Chain of custody was broken on the samples and on top of that they violated basic rules of sample identification. These aren't small issues or technicalities--they go to the heart of whether one can say the samples are valid samples.

Beyond that, the lab has virtually no credibility in its repeated leaks of information. A lab that knows what it's doing stands by the work, it doesn't attack those who they test.

ArchPundit said...

===gain, why do we know about the result of an A-Sample AAF ???????? There would be many questions about Vino and the whole Astana Team suddenly leaving the TdF, but that is just another example of the current problem with the rules. (a) the rule about confidentiality of A-Sample results is not respected by the anti-doping authorities and/or race organizers.

In their defense, my reading of the article says the team and individual were informed and then they disclosed the information.

Would it probably have leaked from the lab? Yes. Did it? It appears to be a voluntary disclosure from the team.

bi_anne2001 said...

Again, I cannot believe the bias from some people on this site. A rider has tested positive, his team has leaked the news, and eightzero, jrdbutcher and the other Landis lovers are somehow blaming the labs as normal!! At least show a slight evenness in your postings.

BLAME THE RIDERS FOR THE CURRENT STATE OF CYCLING.

ArchPundit said...

===jrdbutcher and the other Landis lovers are somehow blaming the labs as normal!! At least show a slight evenness in your postings.

It's actually blaming one lab in particular. One that has broken the chain of custody, one that doesn't follow it's own procedures, and one that has repeatedly leaked information.

How do you plan on cleaning up a sport when you have a lab that cannot accurately test for cheating?

jrdbutcher said...

archpundit:

My points above were numbered for ease of reading and reference. Specifically, what do you dispute as being untrue and why?

jrdbutcher said...

Apology to archpundent, the comment below should have been directed to bi_anne2001:

My points above were numbered for ease of reading and reference. Specifically, what do you dispute as being untrue and why?