Today the IHT reported on a study that showed blind samples from EPO users didn't turn up positives at a number of WADA laboratories.
The cited study was to determine what PED effects EPO had, and turned up unsurprisingly significant gains for endurance events. While doing those studies, they also sent some samples from the subjects to WADA labs.
[W]ithout telling the anti-doping labs what they were doing, the investigators sent the men's urine samples for EPO testing.
One of the two labs, which the researchers refer to as Lab B in their paper, never declared any sample positive, even when the men were taking high doses of EPO every other day. Lab A was inconsistent. It found EPO during the high dose phase. But in the maintenance phase, it found EPO in only 6 of the 16 samples.
The omnipresent Don Catlin raises an eyebrow:
"The paper certainly is an eye-opener," said Don Catlin, the chief executive of Anti-Doping Research, a nonprofit group in Los Angeles. "It's quite remarkable."
The article notes only 9 of 2600 samples sent to a US WADA lab turned up positives. It might or might not be the UCLA laboratory of which Catlin was formerly the director -- when the EPO test developed by the LNDD was rolled out.
WADA predictably circled the wagons.
But Olivier Rabin, scientific director of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said his group had tested its labs, sending samples of urine from people who were taking EPO and from people who were not. In general, he said, the labs agreed. But Rabin added that when the agency sends samples to its labs, they are not sent anonymously — the lab knows the samples are from WADA.
The agency does not share data from the tests on its labs, so it was not possible to determine how the organization's research compared with the latest study.
Caustic remarks come from other experts:
The findings in the latest study should be no surprise, said Charles Yesalis, a professor of sports science at Pennsylvania State University. For decades, he said, anti-doping authorities have claimed they have tests that work and for decades athletes have been taking drugs without getting caught.
The anti-doping authorities, he said, "remind me of little boys whistling in the graveyard."
We note then, that when the ADA's do get what they think is a positive test, they rub their hands in glee and say, "We got one!"
Any marine creature that is caught by this net is going to get gutted, because the fisherman are desperate while they talking up what a good job they are doing with their targeted, out of competition testing.
On reading this report, many potential competitors in Beijing will be saying, "Game on!"