Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Doping - Floyd's B Samples

So Floyd Landis's B samples might get tested.

When I first learned that only after a ratio test failure do they test for exogenous testosterone, I thought "Why the ratio test? Why not just go straight to the source and do the exo test?". After all, unless your doctor screws up (or your favorite supplier suddenly gets a pure batch), your ratio can be carefully controlled.

Exogenous testosterone though, that's the ticket. "Exogenous" simply means "contained within but originating from the outside". Apparently there are two types of testosterone - the kind you make (human based) and the kind the drug manufacturers make, made from something like soybeans.

Because plant life isn't like mammal life, one can test the molecular structure of the testosterone to see if it is plant based or animal based. If it's all the latter, no problems. Thank you, sorry for the inconvenience, see you later.

If it's the former... Well now.

Unless you are sprouting twigs out of your head, plant based testosterone can only mean one thing - you took it. And the way the rules work, even if you claim you didn't know you were taking it, you're still guilty. The famous "my dentist's anesthetics has cocaine in it" excuse doesn't fly anymore.

Anyway, Floyd wants to have half the B samples (half of each sample that is) tested at a lab other than the lab that allegedly screwed up his first round of tests, Chataney Malabry. They're welcome to test the other half.

The weird thing is that the B sample test was initially suggested to reveal weaknesses in the original lab's processes. It's a bit odd as the lab is supposed to be accredited and therefore follows some well-defined testing procedures.

What they ought to do is toss in a bunch of other urine samples. Some should be positive, some not. This way they'll have a slew of positives and a chance to switch samples accidentally and whatever else they might do. This way if Floyd's results come back positive, well, I'm afraid that's that.

And of course, if they come back positive from the lab of his choice (where they should also mix up his samples with other people's samples), then that's really that.

A more likely scenario is that Floyd's lab finds he's negative and Malabry says positive. Then nothing has changed.

An unlikely scenario, based on the original lab's tests, is that both come up negative. This would probably be best for everyone concerned, excepting the lab of course.

Where would one get a lot of urine samples? A perfect opportunity to get a lot of samples is coming up - Tour of Georgia. In the quest to provide "Floyd's" lab with a lot of interesting urine samples (and blood?) samples, they ought to do a bunch of extra tests.

For kicks, they ought to go check out some local races. And some of the big group rides too. I think the results would shock people.

I was talking with a guy who I respect highly, someone who knows the sport and who's been everywhere in the racing scene. We were standing at Bethel watching the racers go by. We talked about this rider and that rider, this team and that team. After one of those natural pauses in conversation, I asked him what he thought would happen if local racers were tested (meaning Cat 1's to 3's). He looked at me and said that we'd lose half of our racers. Perhaps an exaggeration, he admitted, but not far from the truth. He didn't have any proof but a couple racers from the area were suspended for doping in the last few years.


The thing is that if local tests actually happened, the racer rising through the ranks would be clean. And if they made it, well, they made it on their own.

What a great concept.


Anonymous said...

It's crazy for them to test the B samples anyway since even if all of them tested positive then nothing would change since you have to have two positive tests to find a rider at fault. Even though this might suggest that Floyd was taking something it would also show the lab screwed up a bunch of earlier A sample tests.

Aki said...

Yeah this whole thing with Floyd is getting weird. It seems that the process for testing wasn't clearly defined (what to test and under what conditions). Then when someone wants to carry out more tests, it's not clear exactly what they'll accomplish.

I think the testing authorities want to show that the samples are positive even if the tests are outside of the "punishable" guidelines. If this were the case it would at least reveal that there are some unusual characteristics with Floyd's sample (for example, exo testo).

At the same time, rules are rules. If, based on technicalities, Floyd is not positive (and I think it may go this way), then even if there's everything in his urine/blood, it doesn't matter. By the rules he was legit, even if it seems that maybe he really wasn't. The whole "spirit of the rule" versus "the rules" idea.

The problem there lies with the authorities. Like blood packing at the 1984 Olympics. Illegal? No. Not really honest? Well, to me it seems that way.

Unfortunately this leaves the 2006 Tour unfinished. Not good. Everyone needs closure here. Floyd, the Tour organizers, the fans.