Monday, April 20, 2009

Armstrong and EPO: The Good News

In an interview in NY Velocity, Michael Ashenden (who studied Armstrong's positive EPO tests from the 99 Tour de France) offers compelling evidence that Amstrong's samples from the 99 Tour were clearly positive for EPO. Ashenden also takes on Edward Coyle's bogus research (that reputable journalists continue to cite) justifying how the 7-time champ improved without EPO. Ashenden's testimony is damning stuff for the man who "never tested positive."

But the good news is that of all the samples tested from the '99 Tour (a time when an EPO test did not yet exist), only 8% were positive, meaning that the use of EPO in the peloton was relatively limited (some of those 8% positives could have been from the same rider). EPO is expensive, to be sure, limiting access to it, but this number still suggests that many riders make a choice to stay off the juice.

But cyclists remain guilty until proven innocent....

2 comments:

Ophir Sefiha said...

It's funny how 'experts' come in and out of fashion. For years, esp in the late 80's and 90's Ed Coyle was one of the foremost medical authorities on cycling (look at the books he wrote). Along comes another expert to challenge his results. Of course this is the nature of empirical knowledge; that new info/techniques/results will contest or supplant old ones.

The larger, and more fruitful issue would consider who's science gets heard? Ed Coyle was/is a regular 'go to' guy for cycling related science for many journalists.

Just 8% (or less) riders using EPO during the 1999 Tour? I would argue that mountains of testimony and creditable anecdotal information would put the number far, far higher.

Knowing what we know about the reliability of testing procedures, not to mention the reliability of samples that were stored (properly?) for nearly a decade, i think it's ill advised to put too much stock in these tests.

Looking at the top 15 in the 1999 Tour, at least 8 of them have since been directly implicated in a doping investigation, admitted guilt and/or tested positive. This does not mean they were using PED's at the 99 Tour but it does give us a sense of the environment at the time.

M and G said...

Isn`t human nature funny? My wife simply surmises "we put `em on pedestals just so`s we can knock `em down". and certainly I find it ironic that the land who`s (?supposed) exploits in setting foot on the moon - and having instantaneous 2-way comms therefrom using 1960`s technology, claims which, nearly 50 years later STILL fund manys an academic career, on either side of belief divide - can still exert so much energy in meaningless, yet destructive rumour mongering. A lifetime cyclist, I would be disgusted, and in no way a defender, if Lance Armstrong turns out to be in the Floyd Landis/Marion Jones style; but I`m also a human being (some say from a `civilised` country) and no more than I would hang a `touted` Roman Catholic child molesting Priest, or a "reported" murderer (personally, I WOULD gladly hang a duly convicted performance-enhancing, drug-taking cyclist professional cyclist), would I even consider ANY action against ANYONE , on the basis purely of speculation - much less speculation largely driven by a nepotistic nation denied a genuine champion of their own.
Come on folks; get real. Of course the sport needs cleaning up, and there`s 50 things we could all do to-night to help (that`s 50 more than Pat McQuaid has come up with in 146 years, incidentally!), but we don`t need to snipe at one of our own, for no good reason other than his succcess in life. Do we? Really?