Armstrong’s blood profile was never submitted to bio passport experts after May 2009
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Armstrong’s blood profile was never submitted to bio passport experts after May 2009

by Shane Stokes at 6:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
UCI says that Armstrong’s 2009 and 2010 samples didn’t get flagged by bio passport software

Lance ArmstrongResponding to a call today by Michael Ashenden to the other biological passport experts to verify if they were given the opportunity to scrutinise blood profiles deemed highly suspicious in the USADA report, the UCI has said that Lance Armstrong’s test results were not passed on to them for assessment after May 4th 2009.

The governing body has released a statement saying that the software used in the initial screening did not pick up any abnormalities and as a result, it was not deemed necessary to give Armstrong’s test results to the experts.

“Lance Armstrong’s profile was not flagged as being abnormal by the Athlete Blood Passport software at any time during the period 2008 to 2010. Consequently, it was not submitted to the experts again,” said the governing body in a communication issued today.

“It is the Athlete Passport Management Unit (AMPU), which is independent from the UCI, and not the UCI who are responsible for submitting random profiles and profiles with apparently abnormal values to the panel of experts.”

In its statement, it continued to attack Ashenden for his calling out of the UCI over this matter. “Dr. Ashenden has chosen to ignore his understanding of the basis upon which profiles are submitted to the expert panel while expressing personal opinions on the blood test results that Lance Armstrong himself published on the Internet,” the governing body continued.

“Dr. Ashenden’s suggestion that he was denied a legitimate opportunity to investigate concerns regarding suspicious test results is unfounded.”

Ashenden issued his own statement 24 hours ago, confirming the UCI’s assertion that he had been given Armstrong’s passport to review, but pointed out that the date range between October 16th 2008 and March 11th 2009 did not cover the period highlighted as highly suspicious in the USADA reasoned decision.

“I have checked my archives and I cannot find any trace of the profile BPT374F23 having been sent to me again after May 2009,” he said, revealing the code number used for Armstrong. “Whereas I had suspected this previously, it has now been confirmed that I was never asked to review Armstrong's suspicious blood results from the 2009 Tour de France.”

In releasing the number, he called on the other biological passport experts to check their files and to state if they had been given the opportunity to examine Armstrong’s data at a later point.

The UCI statement now essentially confirms that this did not happen, with the governing body saying that the software used in initially screening samples did not find anything suspicious.

However if this was the case, it throws up questions about that initial screening process. In USADA’s reasoned decision released last year into doping by Armstrong and the US Postal Service team, the Texan’s blood test results were examined by Professor Christopher J. Gore, Head of Physiology at the Australian Institute of Sport. He found them to be highly suspicious and had little doubt that the Texan had doped during his comeback.

“When Prof. Gore compared the suppressed reticulocyte percentage in Armstrong’s 2009 and 2010 Tour de France samples to the reticulocyte percentage in his other samples, Prof. Gore concluded that the approximate likelihood of Armstrong’s seven suppressed reticulocyte values during the 2009 and 2010 Tours de France occurring naturally was less than one in a million,” the USADA report stated.

It concluded that there was ‘a compelling argument consistent with blood doping.’

Robin Parisotto, who like Ashenden was part of the UCI’s biological passport panel during Armstrong’s comeback, has also said that he believes the former professional’s test results were consistent with doping.

The fact that a number of experts are convinced about the subject and yet the UCI states that the bio passport software didn’t throw up any concerns raises two questions. The first is how a profile deemed highly irregular by several experts slipped through the net in being deemed acceptable by that software, not even reaching the point where those experts were able to weigh it up.

The second is if other riders with similarly suspicious profiles were also regarded as normal by the software, and thus never passed on for assessment by the experts on the bio passport panel.


The full UCI statement is as follows:

The UCI has already confirmed that Lance Armstrong’s profile was among a random set of anonymous profiles submitted to the expert panel including Dr. MichaelAshenden on May 4th 2009 and that Dr. Ashenden reviewed the profile and noted it as “normal”.

Dr. Ashenden has now confirmed that he reviewed the profile.

Lance Armstrong’s profile was not flagged as being abnormal by the Athlete Blood Passport software at any time during the period 2008 to 2010. Consequently, it was not submitted to the experts again.

It is the Athlete Passport Management Unit (AMPU), which is independent from the UCI, and not the UCI who are responsible for submitting random profiles and profiles with apparently abnormal values to the panel of experts.

Dr. Ashenden has chosen to ignore his understanding of the basis upon which profiles are submitted to the expert panel while expressing personal opinions on the blood test results that Lance Armstrong himself published on the Internet.

Dr. Ashenden’s suggestion that he was denied a legitimate opportunity to investigate concerns regarding suspicious test results is unfounded.

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