A worldview is a set of claims that purport to be based on ultimate reality.

Floyd Landis Blood Is the Key

Posted by ssbg on August 2, 2006

Sporting Gents

Hatched by Dafydd

Here’s an intriguing claim.

You all remember that American Floyd Landis won this year’s Tour de France in a tour de force run on the second to last day of the race, making up several minutes of time and sealing his victory. Within moments, it seemed, someone lodged the inevitable charge: that Landis had been “doping.”

As proof, “the French national antidoping laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry” said that the results from a testosterone test on one of Landis’ two blood samples (sample A) that day found an elevated ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone:

Landis’s personal doctor… did, however, acknowledge that the initial test found a ratio of 11 to 1 in Landis’s system. He and Landis are seeking an explanation for that high level.

“I’ve seen bodybuilders with numbers 100 to 1,” Kay said. “Although Floyd’s was elevated, it’s not off the chart or anything.”

The New York Times notes that a normal ratio is 1:1 or 2:1, and the cycling rules allow a 4:1 ratio.

However, Landis has denied all charges and called for his B sample from that same day to be tested. The lab will use a much more sophisticated test on sample B than was used in the preliminary test on sample A; the tests take several days and should be ready this coming weekend.

Now right away, there is something fishy about this. There is another drug commonly used by athletes called EPO; the big scandal that kept so many of the top cyclists out of this year’s Tour (on the basis of newspaper clippings about a list found that had some names on it) was about EPO doping, not testosterone, as we discussed in our previous post on this topic.

EPO, or Erythropoietin, acts by increasing the production of red blood cells: more red corpuscles means more oxygen to the muscles, and the athlete doesn’t tire as much and recovers much more quickly. EPO works its magic nearly instantaneously, boosting the rider the same day he takes it.

But with testosterone, you need a long period of use to gain any benefit at all out of it. You cannot simply pop some “Vitamin T” and feel instantly stronger.

So “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time” was that none of Floyd Landis’ other blood tests, from before or after that one day, came up with anything positive at all. If he were going to risk using testosterone, why wouldn’t he have used it for weeks before the race, when it might actually have done some good?

Therefore, not only are we to believe that he doped — we’re being asked to believe that he did so in a dopey manner, injecting himself with but a single, large dose of testosterone on a single day… knowing not only that it was sure to be discovered the moment the bloood test was performed but also that it wouldn’t even help him in the race.

So why would he do it? It doesn’t make sense on any level at all.

But along comes a spider now. A certain anonymous Dr. X , who says he works in the antidoping department of the International Cycling Union (UCI), has leaked what he terms results in a second test — of the original sample A. This test determined:

…that some of the testosterone in [Landis’] body had come from an external source and was not produced by his system, according to a person at the International Cycling Union with knowledge of the results.

Perhaps there was testosterone added “from an external source”… but was it added to Floyd Landis — or to Floyd Landis’ blood sample?

What fascinates me is the growing insistance from the anti-American faction that there’s really no need for a second set of tests to be performed on sample B at all; the sample A results are so clear and convincing (to those who don’t like Landis in the first place), why bother testing any others?

Dr. Gary I. Wadler, a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency and an associate professor at New York University School of Medicine, said that the result of the carbon isotope ratio test already proved that there was synthetic testosterone in Landis’s system. He said that the test needs to be done only once, on either an A or on a B sample, particularly if the athlete’s testosterone to epitestosterone ratio is found to be high or if that elevated level is inconsistent with previous test results.

Well, no: the carbon isotope ratio test proved that there was synthetic testosterone in Landis’ blood sample; it’s quite a leap from there to conclude that it must have been present in Landis’ system as well — especially when it’s nonsensical that any athlete would futilely inject testosterone on a single day.

More and more, I wonder what that B test will show… would someone trying to frame Landis go so far as to contaminate both of his samples from that day? And is the “sophisticated” test precise enough to be able to determine whether synthetic testosterone came from the original blood, or whether it was added later? I don’t know… but I think we may find out very soon.

What are the possibilities?

  • Landis is lying and he really did inject himself with testosterone. But why, knowing it would do nothing to help him?
  • Landis is telling the truth: either the testosterone arose naturally within his system, or else someone somehow induced him to eat something that contained it. But how? Wasn’t Landis suspicious?
  • Landis is telling the truth: the testosterone was injected into the sample , not the rider. But injected by whom? Who had access to Landis’ blood samples — except those working at “the French national antidoping laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry?” Including, of course, the anonymous Dr. X., who leaked to the New York Times the supposed results of the carbon isotope test.

That’s why it’s so important that we get the results of the testing on sample B before leaping to the conclusion that Landis is not only crooked but also thick-headed. First let’s see whether there is anything here to shoot down the “null hypothesis,” that there is nothing to explain, other than skill at cycling and the refusal of race officials to consider innocence a defense.



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