In response to our post about Ashendon's "highly, highly unlikely" comment, we offered a figure from a presentation from Saugy of the Swiss WADA lab that challenged Ashendon's stated assumptions.
In response, there have been some questions where we obtained the numbers, and the answer was first by eyeball (proven good enough for Brenna), and now, by counting.
From this, we get 32/156= 20%, which sort of validates eyeballing as a methology (± 20%), at least in this case dealing with discrete samples.
Then, there is the suggestion that we should not look at the overall, but the specific case offered by Landis, of starting around 15.5 and ending up around 16.1.
From this, we'll suggest that 6/35 = 17%, which isn't quite 20%, but is certainly well above zero. One rejoinder to this is that we've drawn the boxes too wide, and that we should look only at individual columns and rows. We believe that would be an exercise in futility given the low number of data points and is overconfident in the margins of error in the source data.
At what point is something "highly, highly unlikely?" TBV professionally does highly-available computer systems, working between four and five nines as target reliabilities -- 99.99% and 99.999%. A motto here is "With a one gigahertz processor, one in a million is a thousand times a second." Whole percentages are not, to us, "unlikely", but virtual certainties. It's a matter of perspective.
Given that one of the reasons guys become GC contenders is because they recover well, one could argue the odds of a highly placed rider being in that group are higher too. Just at raw numbers, we've got 32 riders above the line, which is more than one per team. Who on each team is it mostly likely to be?
Another argument has been made that, essentially, the 25, er, 20% who went up were doping. While that is an improvement over the sentiment "they are all doping", it is unprovable. The purpose of Saugy's presentation was to identify things that needed to be considered in implementation of a "passport" program, and he didn't suggest these were anything beyond data to be considered -- he made no accusations.
Finally, there has been no counter-argument to the observation that the first week of a tour is a "rest" week for riders who did intensive training the week before. In a rest week after hard training, it is a reasonable natural reaction to have these values go up. We suggested and maintain that Ashendon's assumption that the first week of the tour is a "hard week of cycling" is physiologically incorrect, and therefore invalidates his conclusion. It does not disprove his conclusion -- there are still reasons to look further, which we acknowledge and accept.
We remain convinced that
- The comment "highly, highly unlikely" is hyperbole, because we have shown a substantial likelihood of natural occurance, and shown one of Ashendon's premises to be invalid;
- Ashendon is correct to draw no conclusions from the available data, a point missed by the strident.
- Ashendon is correct to suggest more study would have been needed.
- Additional blood tests done on Landis during the Tour also provided no conclusions.
- If the UCI didn't do even more blood testing, that is not Landis' responsibility.
- No agency or party has officially or openly suggested Landis did any specific oxygen vector doping because doing so would be inappropriate and legally unsupportable.
This will not stop people from making insinuations, but this discussion is now available for those who wish to look further.