Monday, April 23, 2007

Doping - Floyd's B Samples Non-negative

Apparently there are reports that Floyd's B samples were positive for exogenous testosterone (i.e. testosterone from the outside). Although a Floyd representative was denied access to the test, this doesn't bode well for the Mennonite's recent heavy duty "Run for President" PR campaign.

Although I like Floyd, seeing such evidence is hard to turn away. It's like Ullrich trying to deny that having his blood (based on DNA tests) at the Fuentes lab doesn't mean he doped. It's ridiculous. For what other reason would Ullrich give liters of blood to a doctor in Spain?

Yet Ullrich, at least in Spain, is safe. There is nothing wrong with doping as long as the dopee is unhurt. Germany, Switzerland, they're different, and what will happen remains to be seen.

In the same vein, Landis seems to be headed for trouble in one way, perhaps redemption in another. Never mind that there might be some room for protest. The B sample tests, although damning if accurate, don't provide any grounds for suspension. First off, tests for exogenous testosterone are supposed to happen only after a T:E ratio failure. (Note that doing a carbon isotope test to begin with skips that step.) And technically a positive (for exo testo) A sample means there's a "non-negative". The B sample is simply to confirm the A sample's findings and escalates the "non-negative" to a "positive". Without the A sample non-negative, the B sample tests are just fluff to fill some news sites, editorials, and blogs.

So as a blog type person I'm just using this rich, dark material for a post (can you tell I did some composting recently?).

What it boils down to is this: the whole debate on if Floyd doped based on the B sample tests is simply theoretical. The tests on the Stage 17 A sample and the follow up test on the B sample are critical and that's what has to be examined. If those tests are accurate and without fault, Floyd loses his 2006 Tour title. If the tests results are flawed, Floyd remains the 2006 Tour winner, regardless of what his other B samples show.

And although it seems the lab in France is trying its hardest to sway public opinion against Floyd (rather than in the lab's favor - the whole "if you can't prove you're good, prove the other guy is bad" philosophy), this doesn't change the protocols followed during the Stage 17 A and B tests nor the apparent procedure violations in those tests.

Floyd's situation reminds me of something I read in the paper a while ago. There was a DWI case in a nearby town. A police officer observed a car (an Audi A4 if I recall correctly) driving erratically. The officer put on his lights and pulled the car over. The driver was so inebriated that when he turned to the officer to ask what was happening, he vomited on the officer.

Now, for me, at first glance, that would be enough to pull the guy out of the car and arrest him. They did some sobriety test and the driver was pretty much unable to do anything right. His blood alcohol content (BAC) was something phenomenal. More ammunition against the driver - he didn't have a 24 hour flu or some other thing that would cause him to vomit, sway when standing, and peg the BAC meters.

Yet the court dropped all charges against the driver. Apparently the officer, in a vomit-covered distracted moment, forgot to check a particular box on his official report. Because the box was left unchecked, all other evidence against the driver became invalid.

And the driver went free.

After I read the article the first thing I thought of was, "Man I want to go toilet paper that guy's house."

But I didn't. Because the court was right. The letter of the law has to be followed even if the principle was broken. Otherwise we end up living in something like a Hussein world where rules are so ephemeral they might as well not exist.

And although there might be a lot of people convinced of Floyd's guilt, it's really up to the lab to prove that they followed all procedures correctly when they tested Floyd's Stage 17 samples.

The rest of it is just fodder for discussion.

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