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Lance Armstrong and the Science of Drug Testing

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the justice-versus-character-assassination dept.

Biotech 482

Hugh Pickens writes "As the media reports that seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong says he will no longer fight doping charges from the US Anti-Doping Agency, which will strip him of his titles and ban him from competitive cycling for life, Tracee Hamilton writes that the Lance Armstrong vs. USADA fight is a tough one in which to take a side, because to believe USADA means suspending belief in the science of drug testing. 'If you take personalities out of the equation, you're left with pee in a cup and blood in a syringe,' writes Hamilton. 'Armstrong never failed a drug test. He was tested in competition, out of competition. He was tested at the Olympics, at the Tour de France, at dozens if not hundreds of other events. And he never failed a test.' Instead Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the USADA, gathered a group of people who swear they saw Armstrong doping. 'If the results can be discarded in favor of testimony, then let's go right to the testimony phase and quit horsing around with blood and urine.' There has been no trial, no due process, but in the minds of many, that testimony outweighs the results of hundreds of drug tests. 'I don't know if Armstrong did the things he's accused of doing, and neither do you,' concludes Hamilton adding that it can't work both ways. 'Either a drug test is the standard, or it isn't.'"

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drugs (5, Insightful)

kiep (1821612) | about 2 years ago | (#41114501)

are awesome

Re:drugs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114869)

It's a shame you were modded down. I've done a lot of my best work under the influence of amphetamines.

Re:drugs (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41114989)

My grandmother relied exclusively on anecdotal sources of evidence, and she lived to be 104!

Drug test the final standard? (5, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | about 2 years ago | (#41114511)

I don't think anyone has ever believed that passing a drug test mean the person was clean for sure. Why do they store samples for X number of years in order to re-test them in the future, with better technology? It's because if it's found out later that somebody was doping, then his results are invalid.

If we find out some other way besides a drug test that somebody was doping, then his results are invalid.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114569)

This reminds me of the old line in (auto)racing... You never want to get too far behind or ahead in your cheating.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#41114585)

So, for a sufficiently large value of "X", X liars can trump science?

I hope this standard never propagates into criminal law.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (3, Interesting)

Godai (104143) | about 2 years ago | (#41114777)

He never said "liars", you did. He's just saying that the article is mis-framing the problem. I don't know anybody personally who believes the drug tests for these sporting events can't be beaten. That's not the same thing as saying that "If enough people say something is true, it trumps science", its a recognition that there are other ways to come at a solution,and the fallibility of the science we have. If we had video of Armstrong shooting up some kind of drug, or some kind of personal statement to that effect on tape or on paper, I think we'd all agree that trumped the test, wouldn't we?

In this, I don't know enough about the people who've testified. Maybe they're not trustworthy, in which case I'd probably agree with you on this one. But you're still completely misstating the OP's point.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (5, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41115017)

>>> If we had video of Armstrong shooting up some kind of drug, or some kind of personal statement to that effect on tape or on paper, I think we'd all agree that trumped the test, wouldn't we?

No.
He could be shooting a legal drug that's not banned. And a personal statement does not mean much. To add to my other post (below) I once had a security manager swear he saw me stealing. Turns-out he saw me handing brown packages to the postman. The security dope assumed I was stealing from the company (because that's what it looked like), but in reality the packages had been removed from my house, placed in my car, driven to work, and handed to the postman at 10am.

They had PS2 games inside them. Completely innocent of any crime but the manager's statement was "I saw him stealing packages from work". LIKEWISE just because a video or person claims to see Mr. Armstrong shooting-up does not prove a crime. We have no idea what he is shooting up. It could just be cancer medicine or insulin or sugar water (all legal per the rules).

Presume innocence until you can PROVE guilt. A video or statement does not prove anything.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (5, Informative)

Macthorpe (960048) | about 2 years ago | (#41114781)

No, that's not what's being said at all.

What the USADA is saying is that the kind of doping that Lance Armstrong was allegedly going through with (example, blood doping) is very hard to detect, and as such tests at the time and even now have problems picking it up. What they do have is more than a dozen people willing to testify that they saw him do it.

He already tried to block the decision via the US courts and failed. He still had plenty of options left to fight the charge, including actually turning up to discussions they invited him to and also involving independent bodies like the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but instead of that he's given up and said he can't be bothered. Whether that shows that he's just weary of being persecuted or he realised he can't win, or whether it's a tacit admission of guilt, will probably be debated for years to come.

As it is, he won't dispute the charge so he's guilty, and it's a sad ending regardless.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (3, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#41114969)

The tests were good enough to catch many many many other cyclists. Including the greatest cyclist ever, Edy Merckx back in the 60s.

Even if you follow their testimony to conclude he cheated...so did literally everybody else. The vast numbers of actual drug test fails speak to that clearly.

So in the end, he was perhaps better at hiding the cheating, but he was still massively better at actual cycling than any other cyclist at the time who was also very likely cheating as well.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115071)

Whether that shows that he's just weary of being persecuted or he realised he can't win, or whether it's a tacit admission of guilt, will probably be debated for years to come.

Or maybe going what he went through to fight cancer has made him realize that life is too short to worry about the USADA's shit.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115087)

No, that's not what's being said at all.

What the USADA is saying is that the kind of doping that Lance Armstrong was allegedly going through with (example, blood doping) is very hard to detect, and as such tests at the time and even now have problems picking it up. What they do have is more than a dozen people willing to testify that they saw him do it.

He already tried to block the decision via the US courts and failed. He still had plenty of options left to fight the charge, including actually turning up to discussions they invited him to and also involving independent bodies like the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but instead of that he's given up and said he can't be bothered. Whether that shows that he's just weary of being persecuted or he realised he can't win, or whether it's a tacit admission of guilt, will probably be debated for years to come.

As it is, he won't dispute the charge so he's guilty, and it's a sad ending regardless.

The way I understand it, USADA can't strip Armstrong of anything.

UCI would have to do that, and UCI doesn't seem too inclined to do USADA's bidding here [cnn.com] :

The sport's governing body said Friday it expects USADA to submit documents "to the parties concerned," as the case threatens to wipe a cycling icon almost out of the record books.

"The UCI recognizes that USADA is reported as saying that it will strip Mr. Armstrong of all results from 1998 onwards in addition to imposing a lifetime ban from participating in any sport which recognizes the World Anti-Doping Code," the Switzerland-based organization said in a statement.

"As USADA has claimed jurisdiction in the case the UCI expects that it will issue a reasoned decision" explaining the action taken, the UCI said, adding that legal procedures obliged USADA to fulfill this demand in cases "where no hearing occurs."

In other words, USADA has to put all the evidence it has out, and it has to be a "reasoned decision".

The question is, what is a "reasoned decision"? A group of cyclists who WERE caught doping testifying they saw Armstrong doping - but only making that testimony when threatened with a lifetime ban if they didn't?

Re:Drug test the final standard? (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41115107)

>>>He still had plenty of options left to fight the charge, including actually turning up to discussions they invited him to and also involving independent bodies like the Court of Arbitration

You mean a trumped-up kangaroo court. Like that James Kirk trial in Star Trek 6..... no good can come from such a situation where the person "invited to talk" is systematically framed & words twisted to make him look guilty. Either they have the evidence, or they don't, and in this case they don't. Which means they are trying to frame the man through dirty, underhanded tactics.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (4, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 years ago | (#41115115)

I am sorry organization like the USADA and the NCAA are total unmitigated BS for this reason. What you are basically saying is that the USADA had not in 10 years come up with any evidence better than hear say and questionably reliable testimony, and they get to find him guilty unless he decides to go on playing their games as long they wish to do so. Its totally contrary to our basic concept of the presumption of innocence which I really does not apply to such agencies. Still this is in many ways more like a criminal proceeding than other civil matters and I for one think the presumption of innocence is pretty fundamental to justice in general.

I don't see why they should be allowed to conduct a 10 year persecution, not prosecution, of someone and when that someone finally gets tired of it declare victory. I don't see why they should then be allowed to rewrite history either. The USADA does not want to recognize him as a winner, fine but don't ask me to recognize or respect the judgement of the USADA. Lace IS A WINNER no matter what they want print in their damned books.

Of course liars can trump science (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 2 years ago | (#41114793)

The question in criminal law is usually "beyond a reasonable doubt" in light of all the evidence. That includes drug tests AND testimony. If you have a drug test that showed a BAC of 0.0 and fifteen priests lined up to say they smelled alcohol on a driver's breath after he killed dear old Mrs. Compton, a guilty verdict is not an impossibility.

Re:Of course liars can trump science (0, Flamebait)

Nadaka (224565) | about 2 years ago | (#41114975)

I wouldn't trust the word of priests, they are indisputable liars if the dogma of their faith contains any contradictions. And I have not yet found a faith that didn't contain contradictions.

Re:Of course liars can trump science (0)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#41114983)

a guilty verdict is not an impossibility.

No but an Overturn on Appeal is guaranteed...

Witness testimony is horrendously bad.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114867)

That's not what's being said. At all. Drug testing isn't perfect... it's far from it. False negatives are as real as false positives. That, of course, is actually beside the point. He hasn't actually tested clean on every drug test he's ever had.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#41115013)

To my understanding he only failed "1/2" a test. Meaning his A sample failed, but his B sample didn't. Which is Passing the test. Only if BOTH samples fail is it considered a failed test.

Sources?

Re:Drug test the final standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114907)

Well, A, nobody said 'liars' except you. Do YOU personally know if the people giving testimony are lying? Didn't think so.

And B, this will never get into the legal system, since that would require it to overrule the 'more money = winner' system.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 years ago | (#41115147)

So, for a sufficiently large value of "X", X liars can trump science?

I hope this standard never propagates into criminal law.

We have this standard in criminal law today, and its a mainstay. Witness testimony is among the worst source of information on earth. If 10 people see something, all ten will have a different story, the story will change on its own over time, and influences to the witness can also change testimony.

Yet with a couple of people saying they saw you do something, even if all other scientific evidence says otherwise...guess where you're going.

Lance won and kept winning even against younger, superior talent. Something isn't right there. At his age, response time, peripheral vision and quickness just arent what they were 15-20 years ago.

Plus when you throw in the towel, it means you don't care or the allegations are correct. I doubt that he doesn't care.

Anyone else ever been in a situation where you knew you were right, had the evidence mostly on your side, and give up? Yeah, me neither.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 2 years ago | (#41114615)

exactly, cheating is cheating. Whether it can be detected by science or not.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114775)

Cheating is only cheating if you get caught cheating.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114967)

Cheating is only cheating if you get caught cheating.

Amoral people, such as those with your attitude, drag the world down
to a less pleasant and less desirable level. You are as such the enemy
of the vast majority of society, most of whom understand clearly the difference
between right and wrong does not hinge on whether you are caught.

.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 2 years ago | (#41115045)

Sadly, GP's mindset is common now. It's one reason why society is wallowing joyously in the cesspool.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (2)

belthize (990217) | about 2 years ago | (#41114997)

Of all the commonly held beliefs this is one of my least favorite. The idea that you've only committed a crime or cheated if you get caught takes the whole tree in a forest thing to an absurd level.

The effects of your actions are real and measurable regardless of whether you're detected.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115133)

Cheating is only cheating if you get caught cheating.

And murder is only murder if you get caught?

Re:Drug test the final standard? (2)

Firehed (942385) | about 2 years ago | (#41114645)

Sure - but trusting what someone thought they saw over science (very well-tested science, mind you - my understanding is that false positives are far more likely than false negatives, then multiply that by hundreds of tests) isn't necessarily a good approach. It's very common for people to swear up and down that they saw something when reality is something completely different.

I'm not making a statement either way, but I'm much more inclined to trust highly repeatable data than subjective eyewitnesses. People hold grudges, test results do not.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41114805)

What they saw him do may not have been testable. At the time were tests done to see if he was storing and injecting red blood cells?

Re:Drug test the final standard? (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | about 2 years ago | (#41115083)

Hey, chear up, it's the American way...

Re:Drug test the final standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114795)

Lance's blog claims that the USADA's mandate is 8 years but they are looking back 17 years.

http://lancearmstrong.com/news-events/lance-armstrongs-statement-of-august-23-2012

Re:Drug test the final standard? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41114895)

>>>I don't think anyone has ever believed that passing a drug test mean the person was clean for sure

No but it's better than word-of-mouth. I once had some idiot (manager) accuse me of "eating too much lunch". When I asked WHY this idiot thought that, he said he saw me carrying a humongous brown bag. Um. Yeah. A humongous brown bag full of a *week* worth of food that I carried 200 miles from my home Monday morning (so I'd have something to eat at work & in my hotel). Not just one day's lunch.

Point: Just because some people THINK they saw Mr. Armstrong doping does not mean it is true. People often jump to false conclusions based upon flimsy evidence. Like my idiot boss who jumped to the wrong conclusion I was eating a whole bag of food in just one sitting.

Re:Drug test the final standard? (1)

TemporalBeing (803363) | about 2 years ago | (#41114925)

I don't think anyone has ever believed that passing a drug test mean the person was clean for sure.

True. Just because you pass a test does not in fact mean you weren't doping. Dope addicts have ways of passing the tests, or invalidating the tests so they can retake them when they will pass them.

However, that has nothing to do with...

Why do they store samples for X number of years in order to re-test them in the future, with better technology? It's because if it's found out later that somebody was doping, then his results are invalid.

If we find out some other way besides a drug test that somebody was doping, then his results are invalid.

They store the sames in case a new drug test comes along to discover new drugs that they couldn't detect before, or for new tests that allow them to get a more accurate result, or a finer graint result (e.g. lower parts per million). They also store them in case someone disputes it so that they can be retested as part of the dispute.

He never failed a drug test? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114533)

Except for the alleged positives from 99 tour de france, 01 tour de suiss, and the BBC reporting that the USADA is claiming Lance's blood looked to have EPO/blood transfusions in 2009 & 2010?

Re:He never failed a drug test? (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | about 2 years ago | (#41114871)

Alleged. If he failed a drug test, you'd think that would be the evidence that the USADA would trot out and say "See, here's the proof"

Re:He never failed a drug test? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114915)

99 tour de france

That was corticosteroid ass-cream for saddle sores that was cleared with TDF before he used it then he tested "positive" for using the cream. Yeah, wow, shocker!

01 tour de suiss

He said, he said, he said? Need some evidence except "whisperings"

USADA is claiming Lance's blood looked to have EPO/blood transfusions in 2009 & 2010

And the evidence is where?? Oh yes, secret, to be revealed. I'll wait for evidence before I would start accusing someone of anything.

Right now this all looks like that JFK assassination conspiracy theory with a grassy knoll and the military industrial complex. Just because someone keeps repeating it, does not make it true.

If UCI and TDF look at the USADA evidence and deem it credible, that would be one thing. But for now, it is USADA vs. UCI. USADA has no jurisdiction to strip him of anything related to TDF. Not without evidence and hand waving jailhouse snitches ain't it.

Frankly, whom are the so called accusers? The dopers like Landis. Reminds me of witch trials.

Anyway, some people like Brunei (Lance's former team coach?) will attempt to go through the "process" and so USADA will need to provide some proof. But if this process is where circumstantial testimony is enough, then sorry, it is stacked.

Lies (5, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#41114545)

The sworn statements of people caught doping is of virtually no value at all. Once caught they'll swear to any thing you want them to. They are allready proven liars so why even bother with them?

Re:Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114691)

Except when some of those speaking out have not been caught, but have come clean of their own volitions.

Re:Lies (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#41115037)

Who among the testimony givers hasn't been caught? And how would you know if they tested positive but aren't being charged to get a plea bargain?

Re:Lies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114743)

Your comment is unrelated. Armstrong hasn't been caught doping. He has not yet tested positive for any banned substance.

Pee in a cup? (2, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#41114553)

For fuck's sake. You're the Washington Post. Can we not talk like we're five years old? Surely there's some other phrase -- if you think super hard -- than "pee in a cup" that a professional journalist for a big-time publication can use?

Re:Pee in a cup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114601)

Whats wrong with "pee in a cup". It seems straight forward enough. Would you have preferred a euphemism?

Re:Pee in a cup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114673)

I would have went with "urine sample" but I'm not a professional journalist.

Re:Pee in a cup? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 years ago | (#41115031)

I would have went with "urine sample" but I'm not a professional journalist.

Sure, but then we wouldn't know what kind of container was used, where as "pee in a cup" says it all.
Think man, think.

Re:Pee in a cup? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#41115117)

Oh, I don't know. Maybe because it's not the National Lampoon? That it's an actual journalist writing an actual article in an actual newspaper? Might as well just replace instances of "fecal matter" with "made a boom boom" and "pregnant" with "baby bump" or something equally as skin-crawlingly wretched. It'd be amateur and off-putting as a slashdot submitter's blurb. Same with someone's blog. But a fucking news article in a paper? Why not just write the fucking thing in txtmsg speak, while we're at it?

I mean, I know it's not the WSJ or something. But this isn't even befitting of a high school newsletter.

Re:Pee in a cup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114605)

How about if he pisses in your hand?

Re:Pee in a cup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114619)

Professional journalists for major papers target a 3rd grade reading level. "Pee in a cup" is perfectly accurate and descriptive of the test, as well as being easy to understand.

Re:Pee in a cup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114847)

It's 5th grade for the basics such as Washington Post and New York Times and 8th Grade for the Wall Street Journal. You're close but you need to follow up on your trollformation.

Re:Pee in a cup? (1)

mekkab (133181) | about 2 years ago | (#41114653)

exactly, it's the WaPo, not the Grey Lady. Lower your standards. They let Tracee get away with terrible lapses of judgement, especially around Olympics time when she tries to "blog" humor. Yech.

/still gets weekend delivery... sigh.

Re:Pee in a cup? (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | about 2 years ago | (#41114669)

It's the need to describe something in a more embellished fashion to sound more intelligent that creates most of the loopholes in law.

Peeing in a cup is literally what happened. How about urinating in a hollow, topless cylindrical container?

Re:Pee in a cup? (0)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#41115151)

So we're just going to write everything as if we're sitting on a bar-stool with a beer in one hand? What "literally happened" was that they took a urine sample. If I went to my doctor and he told me he need a "poo-poo sample", I'd walk out.

Re:Pee in a cup? (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#41114671)

You mean professional like the NY Post? [funnyjunk.com]

Re:Pee in a cup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114797)

What are you, an imbecilic cop [officer.com] ?

Re:Pee in a cup? (1)

0racle (667029) | about 2 years ago | (#41114837)

Urea, ammonia and other compounds suspended in water evacuated from a person being held in a small vessel doesn't give you the same image.

Honestly, what is wrong with pee in cup. That's exactly what it is. That's exactly what the doctor or nurse tells you what to do as well.

Re:Pee in a cup? (1)

bennomatic (691188) | about 2 years ago | (#41114887)

For some reason, I can't get that Chris Rock scene from "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka" out of my head now. The one where he's at the BBQ, just wants to buy one rib, only wants one sip of soda, and wants it in his hand instead of a cup, and then he asks if he can bread a $100 on them. "How much for one rib?"

Re:Pee in a cup? (1)

clong83 (1468431) | about 2 years ago | (#41115019)

It wasn't a technical article... It's mostly an opinion piece. I think the author very effectively used the somewhat juvenile connotation to convey how silly she thinks the whole deal is.

Agree with that thesis or not, but it's not bad writing.

He makes me so weak in the knees I flop in a fit. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41114573)

I thought this was the result of re-analysis of old samples, and that that was (?) allowed by the rules. Apparently not.

Welcome to the advanced science of the witch trial.

Re:He makes me so weak in the knees I flop in a fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114763)

Only allowed in a given time frame. If you found out too late that there was doping, it is supposed to be too late to matter.

USADA is full of horse urine (0)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#41114575)

They claim they have found blood samples which are '"fully consistent" with doping'. Now, if you have a doping technique which doesn't produce a detectable signature, ANY blood sample will be consistent with doping (it will also be consistent with not doping). They're being cagey, and that makes me mistrustful.

(I think Armstrong's guilty, but I think USADA ought to have to prove it)

Re:USADA is full of horse urine (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about 2 years ago | (#41114829)

UCI should have the last word and shall have the final ruling in this case. They know best what is in the interest of the sport and the cyclists. I am not sure I want some attention seeking lab to claim something so many years after the event. There should be a test window limited to 1-3 months tops.

Re:USADA is full of horse urine (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | about 2 years ago | (#41115103)

Armstrong is quite likely the most tested athlete in the history of sports entire and he's in, in its recent history, one of the dirtiest sports of all time.

And all the USADA has is testimony from witnesses, witnesses who themselves have positive test results.

So, frankly, fuck the USADA.

Witch hunt? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114583)

From what I've read, this has all the hallmarks of a witch hunt from a bunch of out-of-control bureaucrats. I can't blame Armstrong for giving up. He's been through the grinder.

Standards at the time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114595)

If somebody passes the test, having taken no substances banned by the testing body, they pass. If the standards are changed, they should have no claim over previously tested samples, as those samples were from competitors who were in compliance with what the standards had been prior to the change. In my mind, he's 100% safe. Best of luck Lance.

Re:Standards at the time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114897)

The standards haven't changed, we just have better tests to detect violations of the old standards. It's certainly possible that the USADA is justified here.

We don't need science; we have Laws. (1)

mekkab (133181) | about 2 years ago | (#41114617)

As there is ample legal president to support it [wikipedia.org] , law trumps in the face of science every time.


/The tomato is a vegetable.

Re:We don't need science; we have Laws. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114757)

The wikipedia article merely proves that the law is an ass - they used the courts to justify their position rather than correct it.

The proper action from someone with less face to save would be to agree that the tomato is a fruit, then change the tax law to reflect what was desired (but badly defined) by the original lawmakers.

Re:We don't need science; we have Laws. (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 2 years ago | (#41114791)

Since scientifically there's no such thing as a vegetable, your argument is invalid.

Re:We don't need science; we have Laws. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114903)

The tomato IS a vegetable. It is also a fruit. Vegetable is a culinary term. Fruit is a botanical term. They are not mutually exclusive. The two sets form an overlapping Venn diagram, where tomato, cucumber, squash, etc. fall in the intersection.

Politics, pure and simple is why... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114649)

Ever since Lance won race after race, instead of just considering the victories a success and moving on, the TdF has turned into an international pissing contest, where agencies keep stepping up to challenge Lance Armstrong again and again, they leave empty handed, and another agency steps up to continue it. This verges on just plain malicious persecution. In civil law, this would be vexatious litigation pure and simple.

So, I guess because these "agencies" which have as little to do with the TdF as a high school coach does with the Superbowl can wear someone down until they get tired of it and surrender.

Oh well, the TdF has lost any real relevance in bicycling because a victory by anybody who isn't French can be taken away by volleys of lawsuits and challenges which have nothing to do with hammering up the Alps.

Time for a car anology (5, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | about 2 years ago | (#41114683)

Suppose after you have been to the bar you are pulled over and pass a breathalyser test and the cop sends you on your way. A week later one of your friends gets busted for dui and testifies that you drank too much the previous week causing the loss of your license.

There is science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114685)

"A 15-page USADA charging letter first obtained by the Washington Post made new allegations against Armstrong, contending the agency collected 2009 and 2010 blood samples from Armstrong identified as “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or bloodtransfusions.”"

How is that not scientific? Unless you want to dispute their methods, but that doesn't seem to be what everyone is doing.

Re:There is science... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41114987)

It is not scientific because it is a lie. USADA refuses to release the actual test results, or substantiate their claim. And, their statement, if you parse it correctly, is fully consistent with a statement of opinion, and not scientific fact.

Lance Armstrong has never failed a drug test. That is a fact.

USADA has no jurisdiction to strip TdF titles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114701)

The USADA has no jurisdiction to strip Lance of TdF titles. That is the province of the ICU, which has backed Lance in the face of the USADA issues. I'm not a fan, supporter or anything like that, but the USADA has exceeded their own governing rules by even re-testing beyond the 8-year statute of limitations. So it's questionable at best, regardless of testimony or anything like that, if Lance is stripped of anything. This is a step to force the USADA to present their case to the ICU for such an action.

Re:USADA has no jurisdiction to strip TdF titles (1)

easyTree (1042254) | about 2 years ago | (#41114943)

USA. World [sports-] Police. Duh!

Vote with your wallet and a pen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114725)

Let any sponsors of any future TdF that you will not be buying any of their products and exactly why. That should have been apparent shortly after the start of the original witch hunt.

If we're not for science, what are we for. (4, Insightful)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | about 2 years ago | (#41114735)

Lance has claimed consistently that he has not doped. Every drug test he's ever taken has come back clean.

Beyond that the people who are testifying against him, were caught doping and were given the deal of "If rat out Lance, you get 6 months, otherwise it's a lifetime suspension."

I agree with the last sentiment of the article. If we're just going to ignore the science and go with what people have said, why even drug test.

I say he's innocent until proven guilty in a court of clear cut science. When one of his many numerous samples finally tests positive for a banned substance, then hang him by his own petard.

Re:If we're not for science, what are we for. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114821)

Second sentence is wrong. Third sentence is wrong. Try again.

Re:If we're not for science, what are we for. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114949)

How about asking the doctor he paid over $400,000 to what he did to earn that payment? The doctor is synonymous with doping and blood transfusions to hide cheats, mainly from the old eastern bloc.

When 9 (or more) of Armstrong's team and support staff turn against him giving evidence, there's clearly something to what's going on.

All the evidence is against him. 9 people have given testimony against him. He has a very costly arrangement with the world's most renowned doping doctor cheat. Armstrong isn't fighting this, he's given up knowing he's finally be trapped in a web of evidence.

Re:If we're not for science, what are we for. (4, Insightful)

dadioflex (854298) | about 2 years ago | (#41115091)

You've highlighted the chief problem with detecting sporting cheats. Millions of dollars goes into finding cheats. Billions goes into getting around the tests.

Re:If we're not for science, what are we for. (5, Informative)

An Ominous Coward (13324) | about 2 years ago | (#41115079)

That doesn't appear to be true. While the first test result for any given sample has come back clean, that potentially just means that he's been ahead of the curve on using doping methods that avoid detection. The USADA reports indicate that some of the re-tests on samples have come back as indicating doping. We'll probably find out more as they take their case to the ICU.

Of course this whole thing from cycling to baseball to the Olympics is ridiculous. With shades of Futurama, it'll be a relief when we can put all these stories behind us after performance enhancing drugs in all sports are mandatory.

Re:If we're not for science, what are we for. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115119)

The problem is that testing for drugs requires you to have a sample of the specific drug to create a test with. USADA doesn't have access to said drugs, so they don't have tests for pretty much any drug that he would be using. Drug tests are really just IQ tests and lance payed the best in the business to make it seem like he wasn't doping.

Overlooking something important... (4, Informative)

Kintanon (65528) | about 2 years ago | (#41114771)

The USADA doesn't actually have the authority to strip Lance Armstrong of anything. The UCI is the only organization which can strip his titles from him and according to them the USADA hasn't even come close to meeting the burden of proof they require. So this is all just a giant smoke and mirrors act by the USADA. Armstrong has stopped fighting them because their accusations are irrelevant to him.

Re:Overlooking something important... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115113)

tour de france is arranged by ASO they might very well choose to ignore uci and usada and let him keep his victories
Bjarne Riis admitted he used doping when he won, he has i still listed as the winner for 1996

Cheaters are winners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114815)

I think this is an analogy of modern society (and capitalism-blah blah)
These times, you have to be the best in order to survive. Everyone wants to do the same. In order to win, you have to cheat. But it's only cheating if you get cought.
So winners are (mostly) cheaters that don't get caught.

Why does this matter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114823)

Wait a minute. So, let's say for a moment that he did some stuff like his own blood transfusion and such.

1) If everyone does this, and when done professionally it is not dangerous, and it's not detectable by any real means, then why is that exactly wrong?
2) If something as natural as your own blood is considered doping, why isn't eating, sleeping, and breathing considered doping exactly? You could say that this nice breakfast you had before a ride gave you unfair advantage over the guy that didn't get to eat. Or perhaps we should ban titanium forks and carbon fiber frames, too, since that's too technologically advanced for someone from USADA?

This is complete nonsense. This is just one idiot trying to make (a rather stupid) name for himself at the cost of a guy who sacrificed his life to get to the pinnacle of his beloved sport, and at the cost of everyone who admires him.

I don't care what USADA thinks about this. This guy hasn't used any crazy substances. He used available medicine and technology as well as lots and lots of training to achieve amazing things. This is a walking proof what humans can do if they actually set their mind to it.

Re:Why does this matter? (2)

clodney (778910) | about 2 years ago | (#41115101)

Wait a minute. So, let's say for a moment that he did some stuff like his own blood transfusion and such.

1) If everyone does this, and when done professionally it is not dangerous, and it's not detectable by any real means, then why is that exactly wrong?

You make very valid points about where training/equipment crosses the line into cheating, but the part about "when done professionally it is not dangerous" is incorrect. A number of pro cyclists have died from heart issues, and there is at least some belief that EPO use is implicated. I don't know how credible the allegations are regarding EPO, but certainly overuse of steroids comes with very serious side effects.

Re:Why does this matter? (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#41115121)

My argument is that why is taking 'extra' Human Growth Hormone banned, yet NFL kick returns can suck on pure oxygen right on the sidelines after a long run so they can play again sooner?

Both are exactly the same thing...

So let's get a trial and get the evidence (2)

PastaAnta (513349) | about 2 years ago | (#41114839)

There has been no trial, no due process,

By giving up, Lance Armstron has ensured we will never get a trial and never be presented with the facts, evidence and witness testimonies - and the myth(?) of Lance Armstrong as a clean cyclist will live on.

Why the hell did he do that ?! (To keep the myth alive?)

Re:So let's get a trial and get the evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115015)

The reason it will never go to trial is there have been no criminal/civil charges to fight, not because Lance can magically avoid a court case.

They all cheat (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#41114845)

Most of the people at the top are cheating in some way, and all the is left is to find out how they are cheating. It's the unfortunate nature of sports.

drug test is not the standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114849)

'Either a drug test is the standard, or it isn't.'"

Passing the test is a good thing, but of course it's not the only thing. If you fail it, you've got a problem. If you pass it, you are still vulnerable to charges (and non-drug test evidence) that you have used and masked your usage of illegal drugs,

Doesn't pay to be good then? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41114889)

You have an athlete at the top of his game. Since he's #1, he must be using drugs. It seriously can't be because he an excellent athlete?

Champions are champions because they're all drug users? If this is the case then why bother having competition at all? Or better yet, automatically disqualify anyone who comes as the first in any event and ban them for life. #2 is the new #1.

Rumor and Inuendo (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about 2 years ago | (#41114899)

Perhaps there is a rumor that Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the
USADA, gathered a group of people to swear they saw Armstrong doping.

If not there should be.

Anyone that could live under the microscope that winning the Tour
that many times would have a vanishing small likelihood of doping.

Lance is in the impossible position of proving a negative.

The rules of the game... pee in a cup, submit to drug test.... sure
but not the presence of a handful of people willing to testify.
That simply proves that a handful of folk can convince themselves
of anything. We see it in conspiracy theory all the time...
example the collapse of the twin towers was:
      A: a Bush conspiracy
      B: the act of extra terrestrials
      C: the act of terrorists fully planning to bring the towers down
      D: the act of terrorists totally astounded by the success, expecting
                to see an aircraft tail sticking out of the building for months not
              unlike the old DC3 or what ever that crashed into the Empire State building.
      E: a CIA conspiracy
      F: an FBI conspiracy
      G: a KGB conspiracy
      H: an act of God.. striking the heathens down..
      I: a fraternity prank run amok.
      J: big Oil asserting their power
      K: big Pharm asserting their power.
      L: 19 hijackers acting in isolation with no guidance

Finite and Infinite Games (1)

sottitron (923868) | about 2 years ago | (#41114927)

Reminds me of James P. Carse's book Finite and Infinite Games. It is an axiomatic and brilliant book. Not sure which one Lance Armstrong is is forced to play in anymore...

There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play. ... A finite game is bounded temporally by time, space, participants, and outcome, and players must freely choose to play it. Also, players must have someone to play against. ... The rules of a finite game are the contractual terms by which the players can agree who has won. ... The agreement of the players to the applicable rules constitutes the ultimate validation of those rules.

contractual terms by which the players can agree who has won

Seems like if you win at something 7 times across 7 years and later they come along and say you didn't win 7 times, shouldn't they have figured out you were cheating after game 2 or maybe even 3?? Seems like people decided they wanted to change the rules for Lance Armstrong after he won. If you can't agree who won, what good is your game?

Blood transfusions aren't drugs (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#41115007)

There exists no urine test that could detect transfusions. Why take witnesses over tests? Because the tests don't detect all, and the goal is to find cheats. Why lock your doors if you have an alarm? You use both and the most strict wins. Same with tests. I don't know whether he did anything. He's smart enough to know what can and can't be detected. And he may have cheated in an undetectable manner. Or maybe he is so good because he has naturally high platelet counts (most uber athletes got there because of "natural gifts" that the rest of us don't have).

Who cares, it's all about a sport anyway. If it's such an issue, they should shut down all cycling events until they can detect whatever doping he is accused of.

Surely not a witch hunt (2)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 2 years ago | (#41115043)

Of all the cyclists and team mates Lance Armstrong has had on all those teams covered by the USADA's letter and "testimony" that it was rampant on each of those cycling teams surely there must dozen several, or even dozens, of other riders similarly being sanctioned?

Nope, just Armstrong.

Author needs to read up on blood doping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41115051)

The author/whiner of the article needs to study blood doping.

Armstrong is a cheat and he figured out exactly how to cheat without getting caught for many years.

Once he is finally stripped of his medals, the second place participants need to sue the shit out of him for PROFIT he made from all those endorsements he was doing, because his cheating prevented them from landing those endorsements.

Too bad this isn't even private justice (3, Interesting)

timothy (36799) | about 2 years ago | (#41115069)

Says Wikipedia: USADA is "is taxpayer-funded non-profit organization."

So, just like Congress spending time on baseball persecutions, this is tax money being spent on enforcing the rules in non-essential, voluntary, recreational activities -- even it's not an official government bureaucracy, funding means control, so this is essentially a gov't body.

Personally, I have no problem with any given organization (for Scrabble, for competitive waiting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op39GUkQhmc [youtube.com] , for concrete canoes -- http://concretecanoe.org/ [concretecanoe.org] , for particular religious beliefs http://www.lds.org/?lang=eng [lds.org] ...) setting whatever rules they want, so long as the people involved choose to accept it, or choose to challenge it, etc, so long as there's no coercion. If you don't like the big chili competition in Terlingua (as some didn't), you can break off and start *another* big chili competition in Terlingua (and some people did: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terlingua,_Texas [wikipedia.org] ). If the govt's going to get involved, it should be a matter of public safety, preventing fraud, etc. .

By contrast, I'm offended that so much as a single penny of taxpayer money went toward this.

It's silly... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#41115143)

This entire process is just silly. They do not want to catch offenders. At least not offenders that are currently competing and making them money. Notice they always go after the retired athletes? The fact is that they could test, and prevent steroid use. But they don't. They give warnings before the tests, if you fail you get second chances, they only test for certain things, it's just stupid. If they wanted to catch them, they would randomly show up at their door step, take Blood, hair and urine samples, and that would be it. Because of the lax system in place, I doubt there is a single professional athlete in this country that isn't using steroids. I personally am not opposed to their use... why not have "stock" and "modified" classes in sports? But to pretend that Men lifting weights the size of cars, or running at speeds that rival most wild animals is due to improved training techniques it ridiculous.

For anyone interested in a documentary on the subject I recommend "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" it's a great movie.
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