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Old 07-17-08, 11:48 AM   #1
bfromcolo
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why do the drug tests take a week?

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but the last 2 positive EPO tests were from stage 4 urine samples. As annoying as having these dumb asses caught and kicked out is, why does it take a week to analyze the sample and bust them? Take Ricco, wins stage 9 a full 5 days after giving the sample after stage 4, did officials let him race knowing he was busted, or did they really not have results back?
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Old 07-17-08, 12:15 PM   #2
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The samples are sent to a number of labs in various parts of Europe.

It's not like they have the equipment in the back of car driving from finish to finish and start town to start town.
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Old 07-17-08, 12:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by bfromcolo View Post
...Ricco, wins stage 9 a full 5 days after giving the sample after stage 4...
this to me is what is killing the ability to enjoy the tour these last years. I think they either need fool-proof, infallible and instant methods to test, or just forget it and let 'em ride up the mountains with an IV coming out of the friggin team car right into their veins.

It's not just that someone else gets the stage win now, but that excitement of watching Ricco, or Landers or whoever gets the big stage win must now somehow be dropped from our memory banks becouse a week or so later, they tell us that it doesn't really count now.
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Old 07-17-08, 01:11 PM   #4
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Instant tests? This isn't the magical world of CSI....the laws of physics unfortunately apply to us all.

People can explain things better than myself:
http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/2...g_analytic.php
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Old 07-17-08, 02:06 PM   #5
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Instant tests? This isn't the magical world of CSI....the laws of physics unfortunately apply to us all.

People can explain things better than myself:
http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/2...g_analytic.php
Good link. I skimmed it and just want to add there are some very basic issues with logistics. Even if a test was very simple for a well equipped lab, let's say it takes only 15 minutes from start fo finish (at the lab).

Races often end in small towns or at worst a mountian top with one road out in htemifddle of nowhere. Riders often finish poorly hydrated (despite their best eforts). It can easilly be an hour or more before an athelete can fill a bottle. Then getting the riders off the hill so they can eat, sleep and be ready fot the next stage is a priority. Unless the Tour charter a helicopter for each stage (and some mountian tops even that may not work) it is unlikely that samples get to the lab before midnight. Then which sample first?

Basically no way all samples can be done before the next stages start. Once that line gets crossed (eg a dirty rider gets one more stage) it would seem more important to make sure the paper trail is good rather than the result is one day earlier.

Remember this is not looking for something to diagnose a cooperative person, thsi is trying to find somethign the rider will be trying to hide.
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Old 07-17-08, 03:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
Good link. I skimmed it and just want to add there are some very basic issues with logistics. Even if a test was very simple for a well equipped lab, let's say it takes only 15 minutes from start fo finish (at the lab).

Races often end in small towns or at worst a mountian top with one road out in htemifddle of nowhere. Riders often finish poorly hydrated (despite their best eforts). It can easilly be an hour or more before an athelete can fill a bottle. Then getting the riders off the hill so they can eat, sleep and be ready fot the next stage is a priority. Unless the Tour charter a helicopter for each stage (and some mountian tops even that may not work) it is unlikely that samples get to the lab before midnight. Then which sample first?

Basically no way all samples can be done before the next stages start. Once that line gets crossed (eg a dirty rider gets one more stage) it would seem more important to make sure the paper trail is good rather than the result is one day earlier.

Remember this is not looking for something to diagnose a cooperative person, thsi is trying to find somethign the rider will be trying to hide.

+1 on the good link, and an additional comment from the science logistics side of things. If the EPO test is still the antibody protein detection method (Western Blot) that has been used in the past, that test takes a good 6 hours for 1 technician to run from sample receipt to detection. For QC reasons, maybe you can have the tech run at most 3 or 4 simultaneously. Once you analyze 10 or 20 samples, you're looking at 100 or so man hours of analysis. That doesn't even include the GC-MS analysis or whatever is done for other banned substances, like steroids.
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Old 07-17-08, 06:30 PM   #7
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The samples are sent to a number of labs in various parts of Europe.

It's not like they have the equipment in the back of car driving from finish to finish and start town to start town.
No, all the tests are sent to the LNDD/ASO lab in Chateau Malabry. It is a wholly owned facility, described to being capable of handling routine tests. In the Landis case a 22 year old with 6 weeks of training changed the baseline in a state of the art test because she didn't like the way the data appeared.
The reason that tests take so long is that we manipulate the data until the desired result is obtained.
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Old 07-17-08, 09:37 PM   #8
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The frenchies need time to alter the blood samples.
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Old 07-18-08, 10:14 AM   #9
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Another good read on the different generations of EPO:
http://www.sportsscientists.com/2008...rd-doping.html

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WADA + Pharma companies

Finally, to end on a positive note (pun intended!), another breakthrough is that WADA is beginning to work with drug companies to detect potential doping agents prior to those substances becoming available. This is the case for CERA. This indicates that perhaps the testers are beginning to think like the cheaters. We will not go so far as to say they are catching up, but this represents some proactivity on the testing side of the equation.
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Old 07-18-08, 10:20 AM   #10
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The frenchies need time to alter the blood samples.
Ah a true expert, one who doesn't even know what samples are taken.

You r homework assignment is to explain why blood samples can not be used. Hint, look at historical forms of doping and the rules on who is tested after each stage.
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Old 07-18-08, 12:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by beavertoof View Post
this to me is what is killing the ability to enjoy the tour these last years. I think they either need fool-proof, infallible and instant methods to test, or just forget it and let 'em ride up the mountains with an IV coming out of the friggin team car right into their veins.

It's not just that someone else gets the stage win now, but that excitement of watching Ricco, or Landers or whoever gets the big stage win must now somehow be dropped from our memory banks becouse a week or so later, they tell us that it doesn't really count now.
I'm sure Ricco would prefer they give instant tests or no DQ.

Last edited by meb; 07-18-08 at 01:01 PM.
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