Tuesday, August 01, 2006


From the NYT:
Tests performed on the cyclist Floyd Landis’s initial urine sample showed that some of the testosterone in his body had come from an external source, and was not naturally produced by his own system, according to a person at the International Cycling Union with knowledge of the results.
If true, that's that. Sorry, Teddy. Sorry, Sister A. I understand if others want to keep riding the Free-Floyd train, but, if true, this would be the station where I get off.

Speaking of being let down, I wanted to believe in a Woody Allen return to form after Match Point--which I highly recommend--but I just saw Scoop--which I don't. I felt like I was five minutes ahead of the plot the entire way, except for a point of confusion toward the end, which was mostly because the part of the plot resolution ultimately makes no sense (sort-of spoiler in white-text, highlight to see: the poisoning and cuff-link that animate the movie's premise end up getting explained with a quick throwaway line that I didn't even understand; if someone else who sees this gets it, feel free to explain to me via e-mail.).


jholla said...

There is a detailed discussion of the Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio test, the World Anti-Doping Agency's guidelines on establishing evidence of testosterone doping and additional tests to detect exogenous testosterone (including IRMS) at Cyclingnews.com:


Sister A said...

I think this is more proof of Floyd's innocence, not guilt. I'm betting on cross contamination in the lab.

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

I'm still waiting for an explanation for one positive testosterone test from a cyclist in the middle of a race.

Anonymous said...

This is probably because I'm lame, but I've never seen the white-text invisible ink trick before, and I totally think it's clever. It's so Harry Potter! awesome!

Allen said...

Well, okay, here I am clutching at straws, but I'm still withholding judgment until I see the full report, and not just a leak from somebody at the lab. I really want him not to have cheated.

The test for exogenous testosterone relies on comparing the C13/C12 ratio in the testosterone found to that ratio in some other compound found in the urine (presumably one that would not have been ingested). Compounds produced in your body tend to have a consistent ratio of these carbon isotopes, while ones that you consume are likely to have a different ratio. Nifty little test; the ratios, aren't necessarily all that vastly different, though, so I guess I can cling to the possibility that they're isn't a statistically significant difference in this case. At least until I see some more info.
Technical abstract here:

If Floyd did cheat, it seems to me to support what I've been hearing on rec.bicycles.racing for a while now, that doping is pervasive in pro bicycling. Very disillusioning.

jeremy said...

The Inviso-text is a trick I've seen other places (e.g., Marginal Utility). An alternative is to set up something that pops up when you hover with the definitions for the "enunciation candy" words in my sidebar.

Teddy Love said...

Yes, from everything I know about pro cycling not only is doping rampant but any number of other dirty tricks as well. Sad, but true. Even when they're not intentionally dirty, most cyclists, like other pro athletes and serious amateurs, are definitely going to push the limits with nutritional supplements, etc. to gain a competitive edge and see how far they can push their bodies.

As for Floyd, good luck finding the Truth. There are any number of explanations for his result. Trust me, as a former medical lab tech (with a current interest in ethnomethodological studies of science), lab findings are themselves in a sense constructed, i.e., phenomena that can be lost and found even without any nefarious intent. For example, I used to run the HIV tests for the Boston Children's Hospital Blood Bank (we drew our own donor blood instead of relying on the Red Cross) and determining the cutoff for a negative result was anything but a straight forward affair (at that time particularly--early 1990s). That's aside from sample contamination, problems in transporting and storing the sample (temperature, etc.), preparing the sample for testing, and running the test, all points at which errors can occur. It's all a moving target and just as much "art" as "science." As for nefarious intent, Greg LeMond's wife Kathy tells the story that Tour de France officials notified them, I believe during the 1986 race that he subsequently won (in spite of his teammate Hinault) that they should carefully monitor everything LeMond ingested because someone was trying to poison him, in addition to contaminating his urine samples. Yeah, they've tried to clean up the sport with more drug testing, lowering limits of things like the T/E ratio test, etc. but some people are always going to cheat and everyone is going to do what they can legally do to improve their performance.

All manner of "reliable" sources leaked information about Lance doping but it was never proven and as far as I know he never had a "positive" test.

Even if Floyd comes up "positive", I refuse to believe he knowingly took a substance that he knew was banned. As for the Floyd train, maybe I'll be on that train alone or maybe it'll be me and sister A sipping a cup of tea and waving to you as we roll along :)

tina said...

Teddy Love, I don't know anything about anything on this topic, but Discovery News just posted this story that says that this particular test is highly accurate.