ESPN's Bonnie D. Ford notes that even though we know the physical route the 2008 Tour de France will take, the moral and political routes may be a bit more obscure. With blood passports, and everyone making nice, no one wants to note the elephant in the room, that is the actual lab which will analyze the "passports":
The virtual document -- all records will be kept electronically -- is an Orwellian notion whose time has apparently come. If the various organizations involved stick to their plan, riders will have blood, urine and hormone levels tested consistently over time to establish a profile. Deviations in that profile, in turn, would hint strongly at blood doping or other performance-enhancing dodges.
And none of the agency heads are addressing the elephant in the room: the French laboratory that continues to leak test results with impunity and that was scorched for sloppy procedures in the Landis case. It's not enough to say that the underlying science is OK. Any lab with WADA accreditation needs to be above reproach.
The CyclingNews revealed today that Patrik Sinkewitz, who tested positive for testosterone use this summer and was subsequently suspended, will not be paying back his team salary as required by the UCI. Sinkewitz testified that team doctors had organized and supplied him with doping materials throughout his career. In a CyclingNews update it has been announced that John Fahey will head WADA replacing Dick Pound:
"It's an enormous challenge and I'm looking forward to giving it everything that I can to further that objective we all have – that's to have confidence that sport is being played and executed fairly," Fahey concluded.
And in other news Patrik Sinkewitz claims that members of T-Mobile blood doped before and during the 2006 Tour de France:
On the day before the 2006 Tour began, Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla and Rudy Pevenage were all suspended from the team on suspicion of being involved with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. The remaining seven riders were Andreas Klöden, Giuseppe Guerini, Serhiy Honchar, Matthias Kessler, Eddy Mazzoleni, Michael Rogers and Sinkewitz.
According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, part of the team was in Freiburg for treatments three or four days before the Tour started. Sinkewitz is said to have alleged that there were "repeated" autologous blood transfusions during the Tour
CyclingNews Letters from readers this week are full of righteous indignation about the "B" sample controversy in the Iban Mayo case.
Rant thinks that on paper the "Blood Passport" is a good idea, done in conjunction with regular testing when an indication of a problem arises. But, he sees big time problems with the lab analysis of the samples due to WADA lab inconsistencies, and lack of qualified personnel to do the testing.
Charles posts a great portrait of Floyd Landis by photographer Embry Rucker.
GymSkinz Triathlon Blog notes a survey of Olympic hopefuls many of whom would sacrifice the ultimate to get a gold medal. "Gym" also posts a picture taken at the Floyd Landis talk this week at the LA Triathlon Club, and an interesting article on gene manipulation, as opposed to garden variety doping, from professor Jim Rupert of British Columbia.
Belgian Knee Warmers talks mostly about Mayo, but tosses in this of interest to Landis watchers:
BKW spoke to a doping expert who requested anonymity for this story; he said it was curious the lab in Gent, Belgium, was chosen to test the B sample. According to the expert, the lab in Belgium isn’t particularly competent to perform EPO testing. On the other hand, he said that while the Paris lab’s IRMS group is “atrocious,” their EPO and blood group is “quite good.”and in comments:
The expert we spoke to (who has read many EPO tests) says a properly executed test is unequivocal in its result. If the work is a little sloppy, the results will be a little wavy, but clear enough to judge.Tip from an emailer.
Tarik and Art: We are told that unlike the IRMS test--which can be manipulated--the EPO test has no room for manipulation in order to force a particular outcome.
Smithers is of the opinion that Phil Liggett doesn't know what he's talking about as concerns the Landis case.