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Much Ado About Something

Chris Froome goes from persona non grata to all clear in the space of a couple of days, the UCI has announced the salbutamol case from last year’s Vuelta has been closed. The *asterisk of pending resolution is deleted, the Sword of Damocles sheathed and ASO suspend the action they began three weeks ago to block Froome from riding the Tour de France. But all the same things won’t return to the state they were when things were normal.

First that eruption. It was leaked at the beginning and it leaked at the end. It’s taken a long time but previous salbutamol cases took months too. There had been gossip in the last week the verdict was due, then that it would rule in support of Froome and finally this morning La Gazzetta broke the news. Moments later the UCI supplied the official press release. It’s not a good look when the media leads with the story rather than the governing body.

The UCI’s statement doesn’t say much beyond Froome and his entourage presented evidence and the UCI accepts it, having consulted with WADA. WADA joining matters because the agency has taken sports federations to task over the years, including the UCI time and again. But this time they’re supportive of the UCI indeed reading the UCI’s statement it reads like the UCI passed on the case to WADA.

WADA issued a press release which is worth reading as it is more informative. In giving more detail it poses more questions though. Froome’s urine samples exceeded the permitted level for salbutamol and WADA’s statement points out that normally this…

is presumed not to be an intended therapeutic use of the substance and will be considered as an AAF unless the athlete proves, through a controlled pharmacokinetic study (CPKS), that the abnormal result was the consequence of the use of the therapeutic dose (by inhalation) up to the maximum dose indicated above

There are two things to note from this quote from WADA today which is borrowing from its own Code/Prohibited List: first the presumption (“it is presumed”); and second a CPKS is needed to prove otherwise. Only in a later line of the WADA statement Froome is exonerated from the CPKS because it’s impractical to replicate the conditions of a grand tour. So is a CPKS not suitable for stage racing and if so is the rule going to be re-written?

Now back to the presumption because WADA says it…

concluded that the sample result was not inconsistent with the ingestion of inhaled Salbutamol within the permitted maximum dose

In the absence of the required CPKS, WADA is not presuming guilt any more, instead it is finding matters “not inconsistent”. This is a subtle difference perhaps but the semantics matter because we go from the athlete having to prove they’re in the clear to WADA accepting something being “not inconsistent with” which is a different burden of proof to the one WADA’s rule seems to evoke.

What evidence did Froome provide to satisfy WADA? We’ll probably never know the full details. Because this wasn’t a conviction, nor a case heard in front of an appeals panel, there will be no published “reasoned decision”. One aspect to read between the lines from WADA is “specific to the case of Mr. Froome… …demonstrated within-subject variability in the excretion of Salbutamol” which at a guess implies salbutamol levels from the other stages of the Vuelta when Froome was tested were examined: he might have read close to the threshold, the salbutamol levels may have been given stochastic results? But this isn’t being spelled out so we’re left guessing.

Froome, Sky and the UCI may find they’re fielding a lot of questions over the next few days as much as they might like to “move on” and point the media and fans back to today’s statements. This reaction on their part would be a pity, ideally someone would volunteer to sit down and go over everything in detail to the point of boring us all. But this sounds unlikely bordering on fanciful. During the whole process there’s been little to no communication and education about the procedures so why would anyone spend July elucidating?

As well as the specifics of the Froome case there’s the systemic element. Is WADA binning its salbutamol rule? Does it not stand up to sustained legal scrutiny? Or can laying siege to the WADA Code with lawyers bring outcomes that amateurs held to the same rules cannot expect? This blog, like others, has pointed out salbutamol levels can vary so will the likes of Diego Ulissi and Alessandro Petachhi be considering their options based on this precedent? Maybe but it’s up to them to provide evidence and if WADA implies it relied on Froome’s Vuelta numerous urine samples – as race leader he’d be tested every day in the red jersey – the irony might be that neither Ulissi or Petacchi had enough anti-doping controls to establish this.

The UCI’s concluding words from its statement say:

The UCI understands that there will be significant discussion of this decision, but wishes to reassure all those involved in or interested in cycling that its decision is based on expert opinions, WADA’s advice, and a full assessment of the facts of the case. The UCI hopes that the cycling world can now turn its focus to, and enjoy, the upcoming races on the cycling calendar.

This “trust us and move on” from a sports governing body is odd, for starters it is possible to focus on upcoming races and still ask a few questions about this matter. With so many unanswered questions this matter won’t be going away just yet.

Conclusion
Case closed, Chris Froome is clear to to ride the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana result stands. It has taken time but it’s been more than a procedural parenthesis given the results of the last two grand tours have had an asterisk over them. The UCI closed the case but didn’t explain and appears to have passed the baton for the case and the reasoning to WADA which provides only a high level summary while appearing to contradict its own procedural rules on the burden of proof which if so surely requires greater explanation. So it’s more than a matter of “much ado about nothing” to anglicise Tour boss Christian Prudhomme’s “tout ça pour ça” interview on French radio today and more “much ado about something” because sports lawyers will be pouring over this. What on earth the public makes of this remains to be seen, judging by social media – a poor mirror sometimes – people seem to have made up their mind in advance anyway either way which is surely all the more reason for WADA and others to explain their decisions.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • The Inner Ring Monday, 2 July 2018, 9:43 pm

    A quick note to say that blog posts mentioning Team Sky seem to turn into a flame war in no time to the point of me thinking twice about covering topics because it gets boring/hogs time monitoring things.
    – if comments end up in the usual trial of Team Sky via blog comments they can get zapped
    – comments will be closed overnight to save people from winding each other up into a frenzy

    …so try to stick to exploring matters like thresholds, salbutamol, the burden of proof if possible.

    • CA Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:58 pm

      Thanks for covering this topic.

      In one way it is fitting that there is a level of rule breaking associated with another of the sport’s top champions. So this conclusion which offers little closure is about what I expected.

      Thanks again Inrng

      • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:37 pm

        Didn’t Merckx have a ban overturned/reduced just a couple of weeks before one of his Tour victories?

    • Adam R Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 7:29 pm

      Thanks for this information INRNG & for allowing a wide variety of opinions to be aired. As a daily reader of this blog, CW, CT & CN amongst others it is here I always return for balanced reporting, summary’s & previews. In CN in particular they have lost a reader today due to the consistent negative & baseless reporting for most of the last 9 months.
      I’m not sure how you keep a lid on the contributions of readers as I see many of the sames names posting on all these sites.
      Thank again & bring on Le Tour

    • steveh Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:33 pm

      It seems the person who designed the salbutamol tests currently in use believes they are not fit for purpose, particularly not for cycling:
      https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/i-made-terrible-blunder-says-drug-test-adviser-lxcnbrd8f

  • Kevin Curry Monday, 2 July 2018, 9:55 pm

    “Or can laying siege to the WADA Code with lawyers bring outcomes that amateurs held to the same rules cannot expect?”

    Why even drop that far. Does anyone really believe that Joe pro-domestique wouldn’t be sitting out for this same offense. Therein, lie the rub. The rules are not applied equally and that’s a problem.

    • Ecky Thump Monday, 2 July 2018, 10:49 pm

      But if the rule is found to be at fault, what then?

      • Ben E Monday, 2 July 2018, 11:21 pm

        Legal decisions often come out in favour of compelling evidence that due diligence was put in by the accused to ensure they did not commit the violation. Anti doping hearing often take account of internet searches and globaldro checks made by the accused trying to ensure they did not break any rules.

        If Froome had documentation detailing every puff of inhaler he had taken over one or two grand tours, as well as being able correlate this with near daily dope controls, (which is what appears to be the case) he is always going to fair better at hearing than a less professional, more amateurish, approach of not having a diary for dosage, or even not having documented the dosage at all. In both Ulissi’s case and Petacchi they could not reliably demonstrate that they’d adhered to the prescribed maximum dosage, so it seems they didn’t keep detailed notes. In this case Froome did have compelling evidence to defend himself and show he took under the permitted dosage.

        It was always an anomaly for the salbutamol limit that cycling is the only sport where events can require 21 days of competition over 3 weeks averaging 4-5hrs a day. Grand slam tennis is 7 matches, to win, over 2 weeks. Marathons and race walking aren’t even 4hrs long at the sharp end. It’s hardly a surprise that metabolic secretion of a set dosage becomes more relevant to test levels in an event 3weeks long.

      • ErnieC Monday, 2 July 2018, 11:31 pm

        Then other riders found guilty of failing the same test got screwed over for one.

        • DAVE Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:13 am

          True. But…

          …if the rule can be proved to be not fit for purpose, as it might be banning innocent riders, then it’s the rule at fault not the rider or lawyers – and rather than it not being applied equally, those who have the money to fight it have done a favour for everyone as it may be rethought and here on out not be used to ban the innocent…?

          Anyway… I felt that this entire situation has been a lose-lose for everyone even of it’s been handled poorly across the board IE:

          >The UCI don’t have the money to fight riders armed with to the teeth with the best lawyers.
          >They possibly don’t have the cash to keep up with new and futuristic ways of cheating, which possibly result in poorly conceived unenforceable rules.
          > Then they get battered unfairly trying to adhere to their own rules by ASO, Hinault et al (even their own President seemed to undermine their own process of allowing a rider to race while investigated)
          > Froome is put in an impossible position of being pushed to police himself in the prime of his career where (if we believe him) he feels he’s done nothing wrong.
          > Sky as always are damned if they do damned if they don’t.

          It seems from the outside that everyone’s done their jobs correctly except for the person that leaked it and those that battered them without knowing the facts. I’m willing to believe this is a very complicated issue that takes time and if it’s a known treatment of a medical condition with minimal racing benefit it seems reasonable to allow riders to race while its investigated?

          One thing I’m very interested to know – was Hinault as vocal during the Armstrong/Ulrich etc years, and Virenque…?

          He seems to have come in hard without being fully informed, and having read Slaying the Badger, I wouldn’t put it past him to throw shade at a rider who’s just joined he and Merckx as the only threesome to hold all GT’s at once!!

      • Paul Jakma Saturday, 7 July 2018, 12:13 pm

        Then the rule needs to be changed.

        The problem is when the rules are applied to the less powerful, but then just dropped for the rich and powerful. The whole /process/ stinks. Given riders previously, with lower urine concentrations, have followed the “do a PK study to prove otherwise” rules and still been sanctioned, then to clear Froome the process should have gone to a reasoned decision.

        It is the back-room, non-transparent, dealings here that totally destroy all credibility in the WADA/NADO system.

  • JT Monday, 2 July 2018, 10:09 pm

    I think the rules need changing. I think we need more transparency and banned from racing until cleared. It would have made the situation better.
    What wpuld have also made the situation better would have been an impartial UCI president. David Lappartient wants to be popular so had decided to criticise sky. In the Moscon case he was talking about how to punish him not if. In this case he made too many comments criticising Froome/Sky. It would have been better if he had just said that he was following the procedure.

    Anyway this has damaged cycling but hopefully there will be changed to make it better.

    • madblack Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:56 pm

      Ironically if rules had been followed to a tee we wouldn’t even be here talking about it as it would have been an entirely closed door process that led to no suspension.
      All this arguing for 6 month for no reason. Sometimes I believe the world seriously is better off without the media.
      PLEASE, let’s just move on and enjoy the tour now.

      • mendip5000 Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 6:30 am

        I put this point of view to a respected cycling journalist. His response was to consider the damage that the reputation of cycling would have sustained had the story not been made public and Froome later found to have breached WADA rules. He also had concerns that his profession would then have been accused of a cover-up. Many of us can remember how that looks to the wider world! (LA).

        There are rules to protect medical privacy and rules to protect sport from athletes that use PEDs. Both sets of rules fail. Faced with that dilemma should WADA change the rules around revealing AAFs?

        Ultimately it’s hard to offer an informed opinion, as we don’t truly know whether Froome’s position is unique or common. I’d like to understand the numbers of AAFs and proportion that are dismissed before changing from one poor situation to another.

        • Paul Jakma Saturday, 7 July 2018, 12:18 pm

          Medical privacy may simply be incompatible with effective anti-doping rules that protect the integrity of sport.

          Riders willingly sign up to the WADA Code (torpedoed as that may have been by WADA itself) in return for their race licence and the chance to compete for glory. It is perfectly possibly for them to agree that they give up medical privacy, so far as needed for the integrity of sport, in return for that.

  • Anonymous Monday, 2 July 2018, 10:14 pm

    One thing that stands out to me is that this vindicates the UCI’s rule that cyclists with an AAF hanging over them can compete. Ignoring the Giro (and let’s be honest, I think we’re all grateful for seeing *that* stage), can you imagine if this decision came out in the middle of the TDF, and Froome had been banned from competing? It would have overshadowed the whole race, and, perhaps ironically, would have left a huge asterisk over the eventual winner.

    I know that many people don’t like that rule, but this ruling would seem to be a prime case of why it is there.

    As regards the above, I think what an AAF is should be specifically kept in mind here. If you are going to permit drugs in certain quantities and your test isn’t definitive (because of dehydration, illness, yada-yada-yada), then there is too high a possibility that you are punishing someone not only for something that isn’t their fault, but also that is potentially your fault. In that situation you simply must give the cyclist a chance to defend themselves before taking action.

    As for the burden of proof – I honestly don’t know how else a rider can show his innocence other than by presenting plausible explanations that can cover the facts. Presumably if they knew what had caused an anomalous reading, they wouldn’t have done it in the first place. I think it’s probably the ‘plausible’ bit that is key – that is: both possible and not unlikely.

  • Neil Titterington Monday, 2 July 2018, 10:20 pm

    I have heard Froome himself state more than once that when the public know the details of this case then they will realise that there was no case to answer. As a member of the public, I feel no more informed about the case itself than I did before the UCI and WADA announcements. As such, how are we expected to feel any sense of ‘closure’ on this one?

    • Davo Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:37 am

      Totally agree with above. UCI, WADA, ASO, Froome himself, genuine cycling fans, fanboys, haters, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all are all agreed that the process has taken far too long. And yet, after all that, we are left with a feeling that somehow an expedient clearing has been cobbled together in the hope that all the noise would die down.
      The result is an irrelevance to everybody bar Chris Froome but the process has got to more transparent..
      Have these people learnt nothing?
      Sadly, it also puts a bit of a dent in the stance of the MPCC teams. Are you going to sit out a large chunk of your career by choice or hire an expensive lawyer to try and drive a bus through one of UCI/WADA doping regs?

  • Anonymous Monday, 2 July 2018, 10:21 pm

    The requirement is apparently that the burden is on the athlete to prove innocence. But should this mean that flawed, lazy testing techniques be tolerated? If Sky’s wealth has exposed a genuine fault in the testing or analysis then I think that’s good for sports.

    But do UCI?WADA just walk away and test less wealthy athletes as before? Surely not, the procedure needs to be tightened, and we need to see how, where and why changes are happening (preferably in the context of Froome’s results.)

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:18 pm

      What is the percentage of pros that are asthmatics?

      Mark my words: Eventually, after a long, slow period of degradation, Professional Cycling will be the first sport to completely do away with all rules against performance enhancement.

      • Pilgrim Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 4:45 pm

        I think baseball, basketball, golf, tennis and track and field athletics might be ahead of the queue there.

        • fuggitivo Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 8:45 pm

          You missed a couple: football and rugby

      • Paul Jakma Saturday, 7 July 2018, 12:21 pm

        Further, we have the perverse situation that the stronger the rider (in terms of watts/kg), the sicker they seem to be (in terms of medicines they need to regularly take).

        I would love to know which rider can get to Paris first, without having taken any medicines in the last 3 months. Give that rider a jersey!

  • Eskerrik Asko Monday, 2 July 2018, 10:30 pm

    I find it easier to accept the outcome (i.e. that Froome can ride and win The Tour and keep his Vuelta and Giro triumphs than the decision as such. The decison smells bad, nay, it reeks of something (that I cannot quite recognize) – unless you are greatly pleased with it for all the wrong reasons.

    I’m inclined to think that there weren’t any winners in this case, not even Chris Froome.

    • Larry T Monday, 2 July 2018, 11:01 pm

      +1 Now I can hope that Froome proves to be a non-factor in this Tour. In a way this is good as his fans will not be able to discount a win by someone else as due to Froome’s absence. On the other hand, I’m in agreement with Robin Parisotto http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/chris-froome-salbutamol-case-decision-is-a-big-moment-for-cycling/
      Pro cycling’s the big loser here – the dope test results leaked and now “nothing to see here folks” from the authorities. How this will increase interest in pro cycling is beyond me – it seems to imply (again) that the sport is rotten to the core with the big players immune to charges of cheating while the little fish bear the brunt of the so-called fight for clean sport. Hein Verbruggen must be resting comfortably in his grave.

      • RonDe Monday, 2 July 2018, 11:32 pm

        Why so hard to accept a guy was innocent? Is it so impossible? If this was Joe Anonymous the Domestique no one would even care. What really hurts cycling is that no one trusts anyone anymore. If WADA and the UCI had produced 1500 pages of Reasoned Decision there are many who have already made their minds up based on base prejudice and innuendo rather than any actually evidence at all.

        How does that “increase interest in pro cycling”? It makes those outside the sport regard its fans as overly partisan loons. If we are no longer going to accept decisions then its time to pack up and go home.

        • DAVE Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:25 am

          I loved the way Cyclingnews put that article online a few hours after it was announced… was waiting to see someone quote it here…

          I read Cyclingnews and the Guardian daily and really like both – but you cannot get past the fact both are incredibly biased against Sky and Froome, I’m not exactly sure why, I just read everything they post with a pinch of salt – whilst knowing all I enjoy about cycling could easily end up being a lie.

          I can imagine Cyclingnews rummaging around every big voice on the issue (David Walsh, Paul Kimmage, Pat McQuaid, anyone old from WADA, Hinault, Marc Madiot…) and came up with Robin Parisotto… ouch.

          From afar it seems like this was a difficult rule to enforce and a difficult case, and the UCI followed their procedure and now have the backing of WADA (which makes a huge change from previously) so I’m willing to believe this is true. As I’d be willing to do so for any other rider… unless they’d been cycling under Bruyneel post Armstrong.

          • BenW Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:30 am

            Entirely what I think regarding CyclingNews and The Guardian. They’ve both really got something against Brailsford, in particular, and with it Sky and Froome – and I’m not speaking as a particular fan of any of those. It makes a tough read sometimes, Kelner and Ingle in particular.

            I suppose somehow it’s worse to go back on your word of transparency than to simply not be transparent in the first place. Sky made a rod for their own back with the public pledges and whatnot.

          • JEB Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:56 am

            I noticed the same thing about their reporting. I don’t normally mind, it’s normally pretty harmless but after *that* giro stage, when they came out with some really illinformed rubbish articles that just pretty much spelled out that they wanted to fuel the believe that “Chris Froome is on drugs” just went too far. It was refreshing to read about a more considered analysis of the stage here and on Cycling tips (secret pro article on it). I thought it was really damaging to the sport what they were writing and a real dissapointment so I vowed to stop reading them and look elsewhere. But, alas, regrettably if you want to read about cycling and if you want up to date news then you can’t really avoid them. 🙁

          • Rooto Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:26 pm

            @DAVE
            I agree that the sense of disappointment in the Guardian article yesterday was almost tangible, but I put it down to the paper – and Sean Ingle – being frustrated that a story broken by them had come to ‘nothing’ rather than it being personal against Froome.

        • Larry T Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:27 am

          Why so hard to accept a guy was innocent? I’ll assume this is a serious question so my response is:
          The dodgy reputation (when it comes to respect for the rules combined with their general hypocrisy and hubris) of the team the man rides for combined with the questions raised by Parisotto.
          I think that’s enough, though the general public will just wonder how the guy who tested so high for this sort-of banned substance only was then declared innocent just-in-the-nick-of-time to compete on pro cycling’s biggest stage.
          That will NOT increase interest in the sport from the general public IMHO and if Froome ends up on the top step of the podium in Paris the stench will be even worse. It’ll be too easy for casual spectators to decide that pro cycling learned nothing from the BigTex scandal just as it learned nothing from the Festina scandal, etc. Same s–t, different day.
          Verbruggen’s corpse must have a smile on its face about now.

          • DAVE Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:12 pm

            I dunno Larry, I just think you have this wrong.

            You’re going to disagree, but at least take a chill pill. Things are more difficult and complicated than you give them credit for.

            I, as I’m sure everyone here, found the McQuaid/Verbruggen era alongside Armstrong et al difficult to handle. In hindsight, I think it’s fair to cut the UCI a little slack because they simply didn’t have the means to fight the drug epidemic despite it seeming as though their management took some terrible decisions in efforts to do their best and were not the best people to be in charge.

            Today, I just think you’re going after Sky with the same ferocity as many did or at least should have gone after Postal and yet it just doesn’t seem as though (as it stands currently) you’re going the pay off that was so obviously coming with Armstrong.

            With Armstrong there was a torrent of very clear pointers, with Sky there’s some bad press relations and questions that seem a little dubious but no one can answer currently, and could just as easily be nothing as something – just in my opinion, many seem to be going off on Sky with delayed anger they wished they’d been able to fire at Postal – along with a British MP looking to make a name for himself.

            Which makes sense, but today is so different from Festina and Armstrong, and even if things are being done and there is cheating to be uncovered, I think it’s a shame not to acknowledge times have changed dramatically.

          • Jim C Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:32 pm

            The “casual” fan at least here in the States hasn’t even heard of the issue. Cycling news if covered at all is buried so deep most people don’t see it. TV coverage is minimal if available at all. They don’t obsess on cycling and follow cases such a Froomes or Contadors. They tune into the races they can and enjoy them. That’s what makes them casual.
            If I didn’t VPN to Eurosport I’d have the option to watch the TDF, Califorinia, and maybe P.R.

            I don’t know and have never met anyone who reads the cycling sites year round much less watches more than a few races a year here. Doping is not the issue with creating new fans. Our major team sports are proof of that.

        • Chris James Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:21 pm

          ‘What really hurts cycling is that no one trusts anyone anymore’ – you’ve hit the nail on the head there RonDe.

        • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:35 pm

          Why?
          Because the sport has a history of being crooked, since the beginning, as the norm.

          Why right now, with this individual case?
          Because Froome has been a whinging wanker since the beginning.
          His wife was a corporate spy.
          Preceded by Sir Wiggins.
          Transparent Brailsford is anything but.
          Cookson.
          It feels (and I realize that’s subjective) like Sky is just the new Postal, or Festina, or every other team.

          Professional athletes cheat whenever they can. In every sport.
          It is delusional to think otherwise.

  • Alex TC Monday, 2 July 2018, 10:41 pm

    The only thing I can get is that all this drug ruling stuff can be made absurdly simple or surrealy complex, depending on who or what is better serverd by either, at one instance or another.

    • DAVE Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:28 am

      I can’t remember one time it’s been simple?

      Contador took ages, Armstrong longer…?
      And those who were cleared, Van Avermart, Froome etc, were also complicated and time consuming?

      Any sort of rule breaking that doesn’t involve an eye witness is always a difficult process, there’s nothing wrong with that?

  • Lanterne_Verte Monday, 2 July 2018, 10:58 pm

    The timing of it all strikes me as very strange, the way it seemed to be dragging on forever then was all over in a flash. I wonder why the UCI LADS didnt call bluff in february or march and let it go to CAS, surely this would have been cheaper than retaining lawyers until July? I’d be interested to hear what renologists have to say about this, after all there are worse things for the body than the fatigue of a GT specialist (severe dehydration, massive injury, disease), is it credible that kidneys will secrete this substance differently when under stress, or do they just do their thing?

    • Lanterne_Verte Monday, 2 July 2018, 11:11 pm

      *nephrologists/urologists

      • DAVE Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:32 am

        +1

        It feels like the worst possible timing in so many ways.

        Too close to TDF for those who’ve made up their minds to pay any attention.
        Too close to TDF to not seem suspect – either rushed or fabricated or forced.
        Too soon after Giro for people not to question why it wasn’t before and we had to wait to believe the result.

        It doesn’t really seem like anyone’s fault currently, aside from those who’ve drummed it up in the last two weeks to make it a bigger issue than it needed to be.

        If all this could have come before Hinault’s comments it would have saved a lot of bother. Or Hinault just keeps his mouth shut…

        • Trevor Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:30 am

          The thing with the cycling calendar is there is always something going on. When would have been a good time? During the Giro? Immediately after? Wait a couple of weeks and then we’re back too close to the Tour again. I can’t find a good point in the calendar for it to have been resolved.

          • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:58 am

            For GT riders? February/March would be fine for a decision on an AAF discovered in August/September.

            Thought experiment: would the “impact on the image of cycling” have been greater or worse if we had only found out about this (some time) after Froome had been cleared? I reckon it would have been worse, as the cover-up narrative would be almost irresistible.

          • BenW Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:02 pm

            Nick: to answer your thought experiment, it’s a tough one to judge what the fallout would be – the “cover-up narrative” would only exist in the eyes of those who don’t understand that an AAF isn’t the same as a Positive Test, that Salbutamol isn’t in the same class of censure as EPO or anything like that, and that an AAF isn’t revelaed while investigated but a Positive Test is. As we’ve seen, there are plenty of those people about.

            The rules regarding disclosure are there in black and white – I’m not saying they’re right, or shouldn’t be changed, but the rules are there and as such there’d have been no “coverup” if The Guardian hadn’t revealed anything.

  • Steve L Monday, 2 July 2018, 10:59 pm

    I’m sure this won’t be the only time that this is said, but this conclusion says more about the UCI (and maybe WADA) than it does about Chris Froome or Team Sky. Consistent application of rules, poorly drafted regulations, press leaks etc etc. Everybody in professional racing would benefit if they were a better regulator.

    • DAVE Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:33 am

      THEN FUND THEM PROPERLY.

      They’re making do on buttons and beans.

      When you have ASO, RCS *(I’m not saying they’re making bucket loads) and the UCI is the third wheel trying to regulate companies who tower above it, then you’re onto a loser.

  • Frood Monday, 2 July 2018, 11:09 pm

    There is a desperate need for more information. For starters the threshold is 1000ng/l, the decision limit is 1200, and froome was measured at 1429 adjusted. Even if he was getting close to 1000 or 1200 in previous stages 1429 is considerably over the legal limit. You can argue that 1201 is illegal and a slam dunk ban. That’s the broad brush view.

    Without knowledge of the variation it’s hard to be certain that 1429 is not exceptional (there were need to be very high variance including values over the threshold for 1429 not to be an outlier). However, my understanding was that the threshold is generous to allow for irregular dosing. So in order to have values near 150% of the threshold is stretching the limits of credibility. This is where the burden of proof should fall on froome to prove his innocence.

    Finally, if he dosed massively just before the test then you can consider this to be his error. Many athletes have made errors (Sharapova?) and suffered serious consequences.

    I was a fan of froome and I believe he received a tiny performance advantage, if any, from salbutamol, but there is nothing about this case that makes me think he/his team have not messed up big time. They should have been punished. The murkiness of it all is really troubling and the main feeling is that the uci have rushed it through to appease the ASO. It doesn’t look good.

    • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 8:50 am

      Regarding the timing, I wonder if this was ASO’s way of making their feelings known – hard to believe they didn’t know what the result was going to be. This way they could make a point about how much they believe in Froome without having any legal ramifications as they knew it would all be dropped the next day.
      But maybe not. They’ve said that they told Froome/Sky three weeks ago that they were banning him and one wonders how much effect this had on the decision being made before the Tour de France. When did WADA/UCI make their decision?

      • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:06 am

        People have made this but reports say ASO started their procedure three weeks ago when Froome’s case being resolved wasn’t on the grapevine.

        • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:17 am

          But they only went public on the 1st? So, maybe they got wind of what was coming on the 2nd?
          It is only a (conspiracy) theory.

          • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:06 am

            I suspect that, like other things in this case, ASO’s decision to start the process was leaked on the 1st, rather than being formally announced by them.

          • Mark H Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:21 pm

            It became public because the French Olympic committee scheduled a hearing for the appeal from Froome and Team Sky against the ASO’s exclusion of Froome (a hearing which was due to take place today).

            Sky’s supreme confidence in the outcome of that appeal tends indicates that the UCI informed Froome and Team Sky late last week that Froome would be cleared and that the UCI was planning on making a public announcement later this week .. but that the timing of the announcement had to be accelerated in order to preempt the appeal hearing (and hence the scant details provided by the UCI at this stage).

        • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:09 am

          I believe that’s a separate procedure where ASO went to a court to demand more information. Their decision to exclude Froome can be made at any time.

          Given the History btw ASO & UCI, not surprised that ASO was not notified immediately.

      • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:06 am

        Given historical infighting btw ASO & UCI, not surprised by ASO not being notified.

    • Zomba Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:13 am

      According to how the rules are drafted your reading could be 2000 and if you can explain why then it still won’t be an AAF. The point is that the rule allows the athlete to explain the reading as it is not a banned substance. WADA in their statement agreed that they accept athletes will have different excretion rates and this is why they allow individual athletes to offer their explanations. In other words, this is not a precise matter and the amount of Salbutamol in excreted urine is far from relevant factor (as many seem not to understand). Froome’s advantage here seems to have been he could afford to better explain his reading than past others and not least because he is tested so much – 21 times in that Vuelta.

      • Zomba Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:14 am

        “far from the only relevant factor” that should read.

    • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:28 am

      Just want to point out that both high readings (indicating illegal behaviour) and extremely low readings compared to the mean can increase the variant. Froome’s reading probably went all over the place below the threshold, so much so that the abnormal stage 18 reading looks plausible.

      • frood Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:17 am

        That doesn’t make sense statistically. if he has multiple readings ranging from, let’s say 400ng/L right up to 999 (i.e. none over the threshold) that means 1429ng/L is an outlier. my point is that we need to know what his other readings were (even the mean or IQR if they don’t want to get too personal) in order to be convinced 1429 is not a massive outlier.

        the rules say an athlete should under PK testing to try and repeat the flagged result – we know that didn’t happen so it is incumbent on the sport to fill us in on the detail. one suggestion is that he dosed massively just before the test (if someone can puff ~1600mg in that space of time) which, as a previous study showed, can make the kidneys release more than 1200ng/L. however, as i pointed out this is his error – akin to someone rubbing the wrong steroid cream on a saddle sore. no advantage was gained but he should still get a (small) ban. simon yates got a smaller ban because he was deemed to have taken another asthma drug accidentally. I think many people would buy that – but the current ruling on froome has no precedent or logical explanation.

        I realise most fans are probably not super interested in the nitty gritty of the science behind it, but some of us are, and journalists can bridge the gap to the rest. as it stands, we are being told to just trust their opaque decision. people are saying that there will never be enough evidence for some – for me that is not true: the more we know, the better.

        • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:59 am

          More data will be helpful and hopefully they shall be released as promised.

          On the other hand, I don’t quite agree with your point on the error. As long as he can prove that he inhaled less than 1600, he should be clear.

        • Graham S Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:19 am

          “That doesn’t make sense statistically. if he has multiple readings ranging from, let’s say 400ng/L right up to 999 (i.e. none over the threshold) that means 1429ng/L is an outlier.”

          You are missing that Froome admits to increasing his intake before failed test. If the results are ranging from 400-999 while he takes his normal dose of say 50%* of the limit and then he starts taking 75%* of the max dose does 1429 look like an outlier then?

          *I forget the claimed number of puffs he said was normal and what he increased to.

          • Eskerrik Asko Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:24 pm

            Graham S: “Froome admits” is a little bit funny way of putting it: it was never particularly disadvantageous, embarrassing or compromiseng or whatever for Froom to say that he took the largest legal dose within the shortest legal period and all just before the test that produced the AAF.

            It is true that although Froome has probably more post-race test results than a hundred random riders combined, the total number still isn’t large enough to give a “perfectly statistically correct distribution”.

            What beggars my belief is the suggestion that this was the first, the one and only time when Froome did the largest+shortest combination in a very similar state of dehydration and post-race kidney function before he was tested. And according to my “unscientific hunch” such a combination “should” have produced an AAF, albeit perhaps not such a high one.

            PS I can accept the possibility that Froome was innocent, it is just that unlike some, I cannot see how the UCI decision and the reasoning behind it actually proves he was innocent. It simply explains – in a manner that is annoyingly open to interpretation – how the burden of proof was dropped or removed from Froome’s shoulders and put on those of UCI and how WADA then told UCI that there is no way they can present a proof that would survive a CAS hearing.

          • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:46 am

            Eskerrik Asko: +1 your last paragraph.

            Still, Froome has said that the public will believe him when they see all the information. So, now all he has to do is release that information.

        • Tovarishch Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:28 am

          I hope you don’t get involved in statistical testing. A mean will tell you nothing and even 21 tests will not give you a full picture. In order to properly measure the Standard Deviation of normally distributed data you need 30 data points from which you can infer an SD. I am sure no one would want me to go into a full treatise on the subject but even with full data you won’t be able to draw conclusions.

        • DAVE Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:26 pm

          I see what you’re saying Frood but, INRNG has made the point many times here that more information usually just leads to more arguing as most people are not equipped to analyse it.

          Numbers that to us might seem dramatic 999 vs 1429 or whatever, may be perfectly explainable to a trained eye but will cause an endless stream of arguing for years to those who don’t.

          I agree with INRNG on this and think more info wouldn’t solve anything – those who’ve made up their minds have made up their minds, it won’t change with more info.

          • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:31 pm

            I’d like more info, but not sure it would stop the to and fro for many.

        • Benoit Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:10 pm

          “one suggestion is that he dosed massively just before the test (if someone can puff ~1600mg in that space of time) which, as a previous study showed, can make the kidneys release more than 1200ng/L. however, as i pointed out this is his error – akin to someone rubbing the wrong steroid cream on a saddle sore. no advantage was gained but he should still get a (small) ban”

          – This is clearly not an error – the rules state he can take up to 800ug every 12 hours, so it’s within the rules to take all 800ug in the 5 mins before the test, if that’s all he takes in the 12hrs (easy to do, just 8 puffs, and the NICE guideleines for treatment of asthma are up to 10 puffs every 20mins (!!) https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/salbutamol.html).

          If this is what happened, why should he “still get a (small ban)”?
          The rules were clearly stupid, and it was only a matter of time before someone with the means to challenge them fell foul of them.

          • ErnieC Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 10:59 am

            Why would he dose so heavily just before the test though? If he has exercise induced asthma would he not need the dosage when on the road? I am not asthmatic so not sure how and when he would need take his meds.

          • Benoit Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:23 pm

            He probably wouldn’t. The point is, it would be perfectly within the rules to do so, despite the fact it would seemingly be very likely to trigger a test result over the specified limit. This was a response to Frood, and J Evans arguing that a ban should still result from taking an allowable amount, albeit at a time which would be likely to result in a flagged test, because taking an allowable amount at an inopportune time would somehow be the athletes fault.

      • Tovarishch Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:46 am

        Agreed. I would guess that was exactly the point. The debate would have been about what limits of probability were reasonable to base a finding on. Medical researchers argue endlessly about whether you accept 95% or 99% probability as being a reason to reject the null hypothesis. Where the consequences of rejecting it would be a ban for the rider concerned but accepting it would have very few consequences, I am sure they took the 99% (or more) case.

        • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:36 am

          The test should be “comfortable satisfaction”, which to me means more than just a 50/50 chance, but less than 99% sure.

          Also Froome must have been in a leader’s jersey, and therefore tested, well over 21 times in his career. So they could have enough information to estimate the deviation, as well as the specifics for this race.

          It really would be helpful if they provided more info, though.

          • Tovarishch Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:15 pm

            The problem, particularly if you want to to use Pharmacokinetic techniques, is that you have to have recorded all the dependent and independent variables to perform the appropriate multi-variate analysis. Whilst the results of testing may be available I doubt that the supporting information would be suitably comprehensive.

  • Anthony C Monday, 2 July 2018, 11:14 pm

    If I understand things correctly, the public should never have known about the Adverse Analytical Finding to begin with. If the AAF case had been allowed to run its course behind closed doors in the confidential manner which should have been afforded to Froome, then none of us would have been the wiser and thus there’d be no controversy. Per WADA and the UCI, the AAF turns out to not be an AAF so perhaps now Hinault and other Froome detractors can stop talking about this non-issue.

  • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 8:46 am

    In WADA’s own words – from their press release – Froome has been treated differently from the norm.
    The most basic point is that normally in anti-doping, once you fail a drug test you have to prove your innocence.
    It’s not ‘innocent until proven guilty’, as so many seem to be claiming (comparing it to legal systems). The test means you’re guilty – unless you can prove otherwise. That’s true in all doping cases.
    Froome was unable to do this, so why has he been pronounced innocent?
    WADA/UCI need to explain that if they are to have any credibility whatsoever, although for many that ship sailed some time ago.
    As it is, WADA’s rules on salbutamol are in tatters: you need a CPKS to prove someone’s guilt/innocence, but a CPKS is impossible to do when it comes to grand tours. What’s to stop any rider saying that they are a ‘rare case’?

    This is a bad decision for cycling. Most people will judge the balance of probabilities and ask themselves ‘What’s more likely to have happened here?’ Weird, anomalous result (that will remain unexplained); or money/power?
    Does anyone believe a less rich/powerful cyclist/team would have got this decision? If not, the rules are not applied equally.
    As for Froome having notes on what on how much he puffed and when, that’s not evidence – what proof is there that he is not lying?
    The same goes for the claim that he took a big dose just before the test: we have no idea if that’s true. And even if it is true that’s still his fault.
    A lot of this decision seems to have been based on trust in the accused – the rules have seemingly not been applied.
    As it stands, no-one knows if Froome cheated or not – people only have opinions.
    That’s bad for cycling because it continues the many years of distrust in the riders.
    The whole process being shrouded in secrecy (without the leaks) also produces distrust.
    Rules need to be black and white. Over the limit? You’re out. (If the limit is wrong, you have to change the limit – unless you ban the drug completely.)

    Look at what the likes of anti-doping experts, Jack Robertson, Michael Ashenden and Robin Parisotto say about how much the authorities want to stop doping. They all left the anti-doping authorities because they said those authorities didn’t want to catch the cheats. (And it’s not just cycling – far from it, as we know – but cycling is going to remain the fall guy.)
    Yet again, it all looks a lot like the people in charge wanting to keep the money flowing in and that means hiding the truth of drugs in sport.

    • Fair-Minded Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 8:59 am

      “In WADA’s own words – from their press release – Froome has been treated differently from the norm.
      The most basic point is that normally in anti-doping, once you fail a drug test you have to prove your innocence.
      It’s not ‘innocent until proven guilty’, as so many seem to be claiming (comparing it to legal systems). The test means you’re guilty – unless you can prove otherwise. That’s true in all doping cases.”

      This is straight up FALSE.

      Yes, Froome has been treated as an individual with an individual body chemistry. But that is point of the entire Salbutamol testing regime. See the second point WADA make in their statement: “WADA recognizes that, in rare cases, athletes may exceed the decision limit concentration (of 1200 ng of Salbutamol per ml of urine) without exceeding the maximum inhaled dose. This is precisely why the Prohibited List allows for athletes that exceed the decision limit to demonstrate, typically through a controlled pharmacokinetic study (CPKS) as permitted by the Prohibited List, that the relevant concentration is compatible with a permissible, inhaled dose.”

      Read that statement: the law expressly and specifically allows athletes to make individual cases. So you cannot complain someone did exactly that and it was accepted. Bodies ARE DIFFERENT.

      Second deliberate falsehood: Froome failed no test. It was questioned if he had returned an AAF. WADA have now said it wasn’t an AAF at all. Get your facts straight.

      Third twisting of words: the test does not mean you are “guilty”: it means you have a case to answer. It is like being accused in a court and NOT like being convicted of a crime before you’ve had chance to have your say.

      Analysis like yours J Evans is why people less interested in cycling just think everyone is guilty. Because it seems very much like you just do think everyone is guilty. Justice is never served by such an attitude.

      • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:12 am

        I’m not even going to bother replying. I’ve made my points, you’ve done nothing to refute those.
        Both here and in your comment as ‘RonDe’ below you’ve shown no objectivity. You seem so overwhelmed by your emotions that you’ve convinced yourself that all others who have doubts have an axe to grind – and I think it’s fairly clear to most that this is not a cut and dried matter.

        • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:16 am

          You have bothered to reply and we just end up with a stale argument between readers again where people snipe at each other rather than address the arguments.

          Both “Fair-Minded” and “J Evans” can explore why Froome was excused from the CPKS when the rules stipulate it; or why the burden of proof was shifted? These are the angles to explore but people are getting shouty.

          If people keep taking pot shots at each other it’s much easier for me to close the comments.

          • jc Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:44 am

            Apologies, dont want a flame war

          • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:46 am

            WADA (nor anyone else) haven’t provided us with any evidence.
            All we have is their statement.
            You need a CPKS to prove your innocence, WADA say. But a CPKS can’t be used to recreate grand tour conditions, WADA say.
            Ergo, the rule is borderline useless – at least for use with cyclists in grand tours.
            So, Froome’s innocence is unproven, as is his guilt.
            None of us have any idea – despite what many (on both sides) are claiming.
            Seems like maybe WADA came to the realisation that their rules weren’t up to the job – perhaps because Froome’s lawyers/scientists made this clear to them.

          • Fair-Minded Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:48 am

            @INRNG

            Do the rules “stipulate it” or do they merely state it is the “typical” course of action? The whole point of substances like Salbutamol, and their testing within the anti-doping regime, is that cases are individual. I see nowhere in the WADA rules where it says athletes MUST undergo a CPKS.

          • Ferdi Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:21 am

            It does state it. In the absence of CPKS it is not therapeutic use, full stop. So it is doping.
            My two pence:
            1) This ad hominem shifting of the burden of proof smells so foul that it is going to drive away more fans than Festina, Puerto or Armstrong, when in the end cheaters suffered consequences. Now we’re talking about big-fish expensive-lawyer negotiated impunity. Most destructive.
            2) The shift in the burden of proof was what Contador was demanding. The comparison between the two cases is striking. Froome hasn’t ended up hearing “look, these are the rules, so whatever you say was possible, we don’t care, you’ve proven nothing, so off you go”, which is what Contador was told.
            This is all an enormous disgrace, and I hope there are records of all UCI and WADA’s dealings with the rider’s representatives, for all of us to see.

          • Tovarishch Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:19 am

            How you can draw comparisons between a case involving a banned substance (not just for sports) and one involving a controlled substance is beyond me.

          • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:45 am

            The comparison between Froome’s case and Contador’s reflects the comparison between the substances in their bodies: you are allowed to take a certain amount of Salbutamol; you’re not allowed any Clenbuterol.

          • DJS Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:15 pm

            The other comparison is that if, in hindsight, Contador was treated in a way that people (UCI/WADA) nowadays would perceive as incorrect because the explanation of contaminated food did make sense (I know, it could have been doping as well), it is maybe a good idea not to stick to arcane rules – ie insight has moved on and Froome gets treated differently because that is just a better way to treat people.
            I’m not taking a stand on this -just pointing it out. And I know full well that clenbuterol and salbutamol fall into different categories.

            Sorry -repost – I replied to the wrong thread

          • Ben Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:16 pm

            While food contamination was shown in other cases around the time (Tour of China official meals) Contador failed to show there was a likelihood of contamination from the particular Spanish herd/farm his beef had come from. CAS chose to ignore compelling evidence of plasticisers (suggesting blood bag use), refusing to consider that argument, and instead substituted their opinion that the most likely cause of ingestion was contaminated supplements (Contador was reportedly using some 20+ supplements at the time). Contador’s intention with the beef argument was to play for an exhoneration rather than take the small ban he would have got from arguing contaminated supplements as the cause of his ingestion of clenbuterol.

          • DAVE Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:19 pm

            Sorry this is 100% incorrect.

            His explanation did not make sense.
            Those who were cleared during Clenbuterol cases in the Olympics 2008 were done so because China uses Clenbuterol in meat production so it could conceivably have entered the food chain.
            European countries do not.
            His explanation did not make sense.

            Clenbuterol is also a drug used mask other drug taking so is in a far more suspicious category that salbutamol.

            On a completely different note Contador had also come through under Brunyeel after he’d been managing team wide doping with Armstrong and it’s very hard to accept that after 7tours back to back Brunyeel suddenly switched tactics with a rider who was beating riders who’ve been busted for doping soon after.

            Not that that should or did play into their verdict but the Contador case was not treated incorrectly at all. I see what you’re trying to say and agree on the later but overall it’s incorrect.

          • Ferdi Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:59 pm

            Absolutely not the point. The point is, regardless of the different regimes for the different substances, that it is equally up to the rider to prove that, like Contador, he did not take the clenbuterol through fault or negligence of his own, or, like Froome, that he did not take an exorbitant amount of salbutamol. Both had the burden of proof on themselves, and both failed to prove anything, and in fact stated that it was imposible to prove anything. Same situation, opposite decisions.

          • jc Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:56 pm

            In all your comments you seem to have a basic misunderstanding of this case (you are not alone in this a lot of the media does too). Chris Froome did not fail a drugs test (Alberto Contador did), if he had he would have been stopped from riding on the spot. He got an Adverse Analytical Finding. This is an administrative procedure whereby the testing regime throws up an anomaly which the rider is asked to account for. The athlete is asked to provide an explanation, if they cannot do so satisfactorily (a majority of the cases) they get a sanction but if they can (a minority of cases) that is the end of the matter. A recent example would be one of the Yates twins (sorry cant remember which one) who was banned for a few months after the team doctor forgot to file the correct paperwork for a TUE. There was no issue with the TUE in itself but the correct procedure had not been followed hence the sanction.

            You can argue the whole salbutamol regime is flawed (I tend to agree), or that the whole unholy mess has been handled badly by the UCI (again I tend to agree). However there is no evidence that Chris Froome has done anything outside the rules, he did not need to prove his innocence only that he had kept within those rules (a subtle but important difference ). Maybe the rules are wrong but again that is not the responsibility of Chris Froome or any other rider.

          • jc Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:57 pm

            sorry hit wrong button, reply to Ferdi

          • johnny Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:08 pm

            @Ferdi Read the WADA statement again. Froome absolutely did prove, to their satisfaction if not yours, that his results were not inconsistent with legal ingestion of Salbutamol. Doesn’t matter how many times you deny that it changes nothing.

          • Ferdi Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 4:14 pm

            @johnny : read the code and read Inrng’s explanation of WADA’s statement. “Not inconsistent” does not and can not mean “proven”. And the code talks of proof (and even states the only accepted means of proof), and not of no-inconsistence. Where is strict liability here??? Where? Contador’s clenbuterol (which, by the way @jc, was as much an AAF as Froome’s salbutamol when it was found, just like all such findings are AAF until sanctioned) was “not inconsistent” with food intoxication but who cared.
            Why is Froome not simply read the rules back to him?

          • Alan Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:53 am

            It has already been said – data from daily testing (particularly if accompanied by a dosing record) in the unique conditions of a Grand Tour has been judged by WADA to have more validity than a ‘laboratory’ CPKS. That can surely be understood by anyone who has ridden a bike in the mountains for a day and will perhaps indeed lead to a changing in the wording of the rules. Good.

            Having lawyers involved has perhaps ensured that all the whataboutery hasn’t influenced what on balance, to a neutral, seems like a reasonable decision. Yes, lets see the data, by all means, but the saddest thing about this fiasco has been the wholesale slightly hysterical pre-judging of what quite sensibly is normally a confidential process.

          • ErnieC Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 11:11 am

            Who provides the dosing record and who verifies the dosing record?

          • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 7:25 pm

            The saddest thing about this fiasco is the wholesale, wholly hysterical post-judging that Froome is guilty anyway no matter what and that WADA must have been paid off.

            It’s a win-win for confirmation bias and Fake News! Donald Trump wins.

            The likes of J Evans will dispute it until they are blue in the face but Chuffy nailed it up-thread: “The way some cycling fans conduct themselves re: experts and authority reminds me of Trump’s supporters – everyone is crooked unless they say exactly what I choose to believe and to hell with facts & evidence.”

          • Anonymous Thursday, 5 July 2018, 2:35 am

            See the actual points people have made: very few have said he’s guilty. Most just have doubts.

            You’ll find that most of the hysteria on this page comes from those desperately proclaiming his innocence and trying to ignore any other issues involved.

            If there’s one thing those attempting to bully others like more than anything else it’s ‘permission’ from those in authority that they are correct and justified in choosing their target.
            But your words are precisely that – yours.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 5 July 2018, 2:36 am

            Anonymous July 5, 2018 at 2:35 am
            was in response to
            Anonymous July 4, 2018 at 7:25 pm

          • Anonymous Thursday, 5 July 2018, 2:41 am

            Anonymous July 4, 2018 at 7:25 pm – you do know that ‘fake news’ is a Trump-ism, right?

          • Chris James Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:17 pm

            I don’t agree about the burden of proof shift. Froome agreed that he had taken salbutamol, the argument was about how much.

            For Contador, clenbuterol is banned in ANY amount. Contador claimed that he ingested it while eating a Spanish steak, despite Clenbuterol having been banned in the EU food chain since 1996. I am not aware that he produced any evidence of any Spanish meat that had been contaminated by the drug.

            Michael Rogers was cleared of doping, despite testing positive for clenbuterol, as he had been racing in China, where there is ample evidence of the drug being in the food chain, including several mass poisonings.

          • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 4:03 pm

            Just because Clenbuterol is banned in Spain doesn’t mean they don’t use it in the beef industry.

            Just because Froome’s and Sky’s lawyers have chosen a different tactic for their defense, doesn’t mean they’re not cheating also.

          • Steve Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 7:33 pm

            The Mexican football team recently said they couldn’t risk taking home produced meat to Russia for the World Cup because of the prevalence of clenbuterol in cattle feed. Which leaves me wondering whether any players there would pass a doping test. If football actually did them, that is.

          • HIM Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 1:20 pm

            Equally, it does not mean they are cheating.

          • RQS Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:13 am

            What we have here is just another ‘50% hematocrit’ test to the extent that this marker was artificially high because they didn’t have a test for artfiicial EPO.

            Salbutamol is not naturally occurring, but by permitting use they’ve then put an arbitrary limit on it they invite riders to maximise its potential. From a starting point this is a lousy way to conduct a test to catch cheats, because you’re always open to suggestions that it’s ‘allowable’.

            As INRNG’s previous blog informed us, even under normative testing some adverse findings have been made which exceed the prescribed dosage. This no doubt has left the window open for challenge, and that’s where the size of the pocket book counts.

            Whether Froome exceeded the dosage (and “cheated”) or not, maybe unknowable and so the question is: should they even allow exogenous substances in athletes? A zero tolerance position then becomes definable (and likely excludes asthma sufferers from professional sport), but then open to situations where inadvertent contamination occurs – anyone for cough medicine. It’s a minefield which of course line the pockets of lawyers.

            The whole affair does no one any credit sadly.

          • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:15 am

            The WADA prohibited list says “The presence in urine of salbutamol in excess of 1000 ng/mL or formoterol in excess of 40 ng/mL is not consistent with therapeutic use of the substance and will be considered as an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) unless the Athlete proves, through a controlled pharmacokinetic study, that the abnormal result was the consequence of a therapeutic dose (by inhalation) up to the maximum dose indicated above.”

            This implied to me that a controlled pharmacokinetic study was the *only* way in which an athlete can show that the result was caused by a legal dose, but it is now clear from this decision that athletes can use other methods as well. (Though not clear if the other methods are only available when a CPKS is impracticable.)

          • Tovarishch Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:18 pm

            I’m not convinced anyone here, or in WADA for that matter, understands what Pharmacokinetics is.

          • Chris James Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:35 pm

            From my reading the rules don’t stipulate a CPKS. They say that it is up to the rider to demonstrate that the reading can be achieved by a legal dose ‘typically’ through a CPKS. But that still leaves options open for other methods of proof.

            WADA accepted Sky’s technical submission instead of a CPKS, as they said a CPKS was impractical. Whether that is true, or should be acceptable, I have no idea, but I don’t think WADA were breaking their own rules.

          • Chris James again Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:43 pm

            I’ve just seen Nick’s comment and checked the prohibited list and can see that he is completely right and I am completely wrong!

          • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 4:42 pm

            Chris James: it’s easy to be confused because WADA’s rules/Prohibited List says it’s the CPKS exclusively, but WADA’s statement says “typically” with a CPKS which is a significant gap.

    • RonDe Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:09 am

      J Evans you say “Does anyone believe a less rich/powerful cyclist/team would have got this decision? If not, the rules are not applied equally.”

      No, I don’t believe it. And I thank God in heaven that Froome was rich enough to defend himself to the level that many could not. The reverse of your point should actually be kept in mind: justice only comes if you can afford it. How many less fortunate get their careers blighted because they cannot afford to prove they did nothing wrong? It is clear to see you prefer to tarnish people, even if that includes a few who didn’t overstep the rules, rather than let anyone prove their innocence. I prefer it the other way around and without any shame whatsoever.

    • jc Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:41 am

      You have your basic facts wrong here. The whole point of the AAF system is that it is different from a “normal” doping failure.

      If cocaine is detected, there is no possible reasonable explanation as all athletes are responsible for what goes into their bodies, no sort of “someone spiked my spinach shake” explanation works.

      AAFs are administrative. If a potential (note potential) breach is suspected the athlete is asked to provide an explanation. In a majority of cases that results in a penalty of some sort but in a minority of cases NO breach is deemed to have taken place. It is not a question of presumed guilt or innocence. This is why the whole process should be kept confidential and also why athletes are allowed to continue to compete whilst the matter is looked into.

      I do not dispute that the test in this case is open to question nor that the actions UCI and WADA are above reproach. However throwing around accusations against the top cyclist of his generation based on extremely thin evidence is not helpful to anyone. Easy to come up with conspiracy theories (its all those dastardly French who want to ensure the brits stop winning Le Tour 🙂 ) but better to stick with what actually happened.

      • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:52 am

        jc – For me, the difference between AAF and a drug test is mere semantic, but I see your point.
        It’s worth noting – generally and not in response to you – that I haven’t said that Froome is guilty: I haven’t thrown around any accusations. I’ve said he hasn’t proved his innocence (WADA say a CPKS is needed for that) and we’ve seen not evidence for it.
        I think being completely open – including all AAFs – would be a much better way to go about things, for reasons I’ve mentioned above: i.e. trust.

        • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:18 am

          “I’ve said he hasn’t proved his innocence (WADA say a CPKS is needed for that) and we’ve seen not evidence for it.”

          I think this is the key part. In their press release, WADA accept that Froome *has* established that his results were not inconsistent with a legal dose, without going through a CPKS. So, while they haven’t really explained *why* they think that, they do say that he has effectively proved his innocence.

          • Ferdi Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:43 am

            CAS also said that Contador’s clenbuterol was not inconsistent with food intoxication, and went so far as to say that it was the most likely origin (that I don’t believe). Yes I know salbutamol and clenbuterol don’t fall in the same category. But procedurally, there’s no difference whatsoever: it is an AAF that will be considered doping unless the rider proves otherwise. Now, Contador said, just like Froome: “this can’t be proved, it’s “probatio diabolica” you’re asking me for, I can only say what is possible or probable”. The answer Contador gets: “that’s your problem”. The answer Froome gets “oh, I see, well okay then”.
            No, Froome hasn’t proved anything. He has only been exonerated from having to prove anything, which is the opposite, and that’s why we should all of us be indignant. Especially when all of us are deep down inside certain that he did inject that salbutamol and that he did it for performance.

          • anon Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:03 am

            “Especially when all of us are deep down inside certain that he did inject that salbutamol and that he did it for performance.”

            Don’t include me in your hate rant Ferdi.

          • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:07 am

            Unless the authorities produce the evidence, there is no reason to place such faith in them, particularly given their history in these matters.
            See the opinions of their previous employees, the three anti-doping experts I name above.

          • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 7:23 pm

            @Ferdi, not all of us believe that unfounded accusation, please don’t represent us.

            Regarding the Contador case, I believe banned substances and specific substance are treated differently.

            With banned substance, you need to prove that’s what happened. That’s what could happen won’t cut it. eg. Impy had to prove that his parmachist’s hand was contaminated to clear himself, “could be” would not cut it.

            On the other hand, even if a result was recreated in a CPKS, it only proved that legal ingestion could have caused the reading. By current WADA rule, they are willing to accept this as a proof of innocence. Not saying whether this is right or wrong, just that it is the rule.

    • Benoit Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:23 am

      “Most people will judge the balance of probabilities and ask themselves ‘What’s more likely to have happened here?’ Weird, anomalous result (that will remain unexplained); or money/power?” – That’s an obvious false dichotomy. Both being true send the most likely to me. WADA’s salbutamol rules are obviously flawed (regulating intake, but measuring excretion as though the body is a simple pipe), and scattergun test values despite consistent dosage seems plausible, but obviously the irrational and unenforceable nature of the rules was only going to be properly challenged by someone with the considerable means required to take on the system. Whatever you think of Froome, the outcome of this case should be improved, more rational rules on specified substances, which will hopefully spare athletes without Sky’s clout behind them an unfair decision. Ulissi and Petacchi can probably feel very hard done by, and can hopefully appeal, but at least we can hope they’ll be the last that can suffer this kind of decision.

      • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:06 pm

        Almost all of the criticism in my post is aimed at WADA.
        I don’t think suggesting they produce their evidence, rather than everyone just believing what they say is unreasonable – particularly when you consider that their rules seem to have been inadequate here.
        The faith people have in WADA doesn’t seem to be based on their previous actions. Is it just based on them being ‘the people in charge’?

        • Benoit Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:27 pm

          “Almost all of the criticism in my post is aimed at WADA.”

          -So why aren’t you pleased that someone with the means to challenge them has done so? If this hadn’t happened to Froome, it would have just meant (more?) innocent athletes (possibly including Ulissi, Petacchi) getting bans when in fact they adhered to the rules (which allow for taking 8 puffs in the 5 mins before the test, as long as no more are taken for 12 hrs – so that wouldn’t be “his fault” as you state).

          It’s obviously not ideal that only a top rider with heavy corporate backing could correct these rules, but you seem to think that’s Froome’s fault too, and it’s better than nobody being able to challenge them.

          • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 4:57 pm

            That relies fully on the idea that this ‘correction’ of the rules was in fact justified.
            We have no evidence for that.

          • Benoit Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:49 pm

            Of course we do. Wada have now stated that is possible for an athlete to ingest an allowable amount and still test over the limit. They’ve also stated that the only means for an athlete to prove that this is what happened, a CPKS, is not practical in the case of grand tour cycling. So the rules are useless and need correcting. None of that relies on seeing the evidence Froome presented-it’s by the admission of the authority that makes and enforces the rules. The only alternative to correcting these irrational and unenforceable rules is to risk innocent athletes getting a ban, so it’s unarguable that Froome, whether guilty or not, has done cycling a favour in the long run by mounting his challenge.

          • Benoit Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 11:28 am

            “That relies fully on the idea that this ‘correction’ of the rules was in fact justified.
            We have no evidence for that.”

            -Of course we do. Wada have now stated that is possible for an athlete to ingest an allowable amount and still test over the limit. They’ve also stated that the only means for an athlete to prove that this is what happened, a CPKS, is not practical in the case of grand tour cycling. So the rules are useless and need correcting. None of that relies on seeing the evidence Froome presented-it’s by the admission of the authority that makes and enforces the rules. The only alternative to correcting these irrational and unenforceable rules is to risk innocent athletes getting a ban, so it’s unarguable that Froome, whether guilty or not, has done cycling a favour in the long run by mounting his challenge.

          • Fair-Minded Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 11:49 am

            J Evans, there could be no “evidence” for WADA’s interpretation of their rule in this case. It is precisely their INTERPRETATION of the rule in this specific case. They even point this out in their statement. Legal matters are not simply blanket rules uniformly applied. Each is a matter of legal interpretation as any student of law knows full well. That is why a CPKS was impractical: their rules are inadequate to mimic the situation that Froome was tested in and so this requirement was voided in Froome’s case. Ken Fitch, the scientist behind the creation of the Salbutamol test, has even praised WADA here for finally recognising that what you put in is not directly or simply related to what comes out anymore and has called the test he helped create which was used here as not fit for purpose. He has therefore defended Froome in this case and says that Petacchi was also innocent as well.

            In short J Evans, you are asking for something that will never be provided. You want evidence but there are here only interpretations and reasons.

    • Thelonius Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:37 pm

      TBH – it looks like a bad decision for J Evans rather than ‘a bad decision for cycling’ (how pompous can you get)..

      • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:35 pm

        Yeah, everyone else is delighted about it.
        Awful lot of points I’ve made that have not been argued against, but you’ve chosen five words.

      • anon Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:54 pm

        Unless J Evans sees the documentation we cannot consider this matter closed. Pompous? Surely not.

        • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:19 pm

          Grow up.
          If there’s one thing bullies like more than anything else it’s ‘permission’ from those in authority that they are correct and justified in choosing their target.

  • RonDe Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 8:50 am

    The last six and a half months (roughly) since mid-December 2017 when Chris Froome’s case was made public by opportunistic journalism have been a very stressful time. I wonder if the “journalists” (I’m more minded to regard them as black-hearted opportunists in truth) at the centre of that revelation have felt any responsibility for the hate and vitriol that they and they alone were responsible for unleashing since then? The process was meant to be private. It was meant to be private to allow it to be just. And now, half a year later, we also know it was utterly needless and FOR NOTHING. Chris Froome has been declared innocent of breaking any rules. Despite the best efforts of people who have chosen to be his enemy and to willfully misunderstand as much of the case as they could, both WADA and the UCI (two independent bodies and not just one) have confirmed that there was, in fact, no AAF. There was no breaking of the rules. Froome is not judged to have cheated IN ANY WAY. Froome himself says he knew that would be the outcome because he knows he never cheated and, besides, he gets tested basically every day. So its funny that a rider supposedly cheating all the time (according to people on the Internet who between them don’t seem to understand even basic facts let alone anything about Froome) has never recorded any other reading which has raised any suspicion. Of 21 tests in that Vuelta only 1 required further questions. One imagines the 20 others that didn’t help play a part in his eventual vindication. But one also imagines that for many people this is not so much “Much Ado About Something” as “A Midsummer Night’s (Bad) Dream”. They wanted a man guilty only of being the best brought down and seemingly without any care for the facts or the truth. Just make the Sky guy I don’t like go away.

    People say a lot in these pages about “the image of cycling”. But they never ask what part they play in that when they bray online about riders and teams they have an irrational and non-evidential grudge against. Like journalists who by irresponsible journalism (and releasing Froome’s case to the public was exactly that) put riders in danger (and many have said they fear for Froome on the roads of France), they play with other people’s lives. Can anyone for even a single second just step out of themselves and imagine what being Chris Froome must have been like – and what it will be like for the next 3 weeks? Even if he had been guilty does that mean he gets to have any **** possible thrown at him? Must these debates always be conducted in the gutter? Chris Froome, I must inform everyone, is not Lance Armstrong. His case is not remotely comparable. Yet many act as if Froome is the most evil man in sport. He is put under the microscope and many rush to judgment. They express their wish, their hope, he will be tripped up somewhere, somehow, because they have become so obsessed with their own baseless opinions about him that the truth actually ceases to matter anymore. It is a bad place cycling is in and its largely there because cycling has been turned into a reality TV show where the crowd end up baying for someone’s blood just to be entertained. That, as far as I’m concerned, is a sickness, a cancer, at the heart of the sport. Froome is pronounced innocent so now we won’t believe that, evidence doesn’t matter, we’ll just believe the process was corrupt instead. We’ll submit WADA and the UCI to every pedantic question we can think of and demand they answer us. No. Enough. This isn’t reality TV. They made a judgment. You can’t ask for a re-run if you don’t like the result or until you get the result you prefer.

    Froome won the Vuelta 2017. He won the grand slam, three in a row. He is a remarkable talent. But he is also just a sportsman, a father and a husband and, if I may say so, quite a humble person as well and with the patience of a saint it seems. He does not deserve to be a hate figure and no reasonable human being, let alone him, deserves what he gets. If you want cycling to have a better image then start by basing any views in established facts not online innuendo much less irrational dislike. Because if all cycling fans are is people who want to bring the next guy down forever then what a truly sick sport it has become and how sick we are.

    • frood Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:32 am

      A lot of what you say is true and I agree froome himself has handled himself well throughout (he certainly does not merit the abuse he gets) – however, you make some suppositions which are contestable. if he was tested 21 times or once it makes no difference – the rules are clear. if he made a mistake with his dosing that is his fault and many riders before have done the same and been punished.

      the image of cycling has not been tarnished by journalists (they have not polished it either admittedly). it has been tarnished by cheating, obfuscation and corruption. once this story was leaked, the rules of the game changed and all parties should have been more open. yes, it was meant to be private, but privacy is a fluid concept in the modern world. a rider on an MPCC team would have been pulled out of competitions – this would have been good optics and done the “image of cycling” some good.

      and finally, his case was dropped. he was not found to be innocent. furthermore, one of the bodies you cite is the UCI who have a history of ‘finding innocent’ a littany of cheats. it is churlish to feign dismay at the fact others have difficulty trusting these decisions.

      • Tovarishch Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:57 am

        But Froome has made it quite clear that he didn’t make a mistake and didn’t break the rules. UCI/WADA have made it clear there is no case to answer (it is not about guilt or innocence). You are proving RonDe’s point by continuing to point the finger. I disagree with much he posts but here I am in total agreement.

      • RonDe Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:13 am

        @frood

        “it is churlish to feign dismay at the fact others have difficulty trusting these decisions.”

        It could be churlish. But I judge it not churlish when those who have decided to never be satisfied until a man is found guilty have shown repeatedly that no decision or evidence will ever be believed unless it is in agreement with their own cack-handed understandings of what has happened. In effect, they are like those who are asked to disprove the existence of God but can’t because such a thing is logically and empirically impossible. As I stated above, if yesterday’s announcement had been accompanied by a 1500 page Reasoned Decision there would still be plenty refusing to accept even that. No, some just want a guilty verdict and nothing else will do and that is simply corrosive not just of any concept of justice but of the human spirit itself.

        • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:01 pm

          Ronde, you don’t get decide why other people think what they think.

      • Larry T Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:37 am

        +1 for Frood

        • DAVE Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:25 pm

          Hang on… how can you say +1 when Tovarishch has just completely negated that specific argument? I’m not on RonDe side with everything here but as Tovarishch points out, Frood is clearly wrong on this one.

          • Larry T Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:53 pm

            Dave – I read Frood’s post again (and the so-called negation by Tovarishch) and stick by my +1 as I don’t think Froome/WADA/UCI have much credibility these days. Seems that both Parisotto and Tucker are pondering this as well? For some reason they’re slagged as Froome-haters having “an agenda” rather than the established experts in this field that they are. I agree with them.
            Sadly, this discussion is starting to go the way of the BigTex scandal with supporters and detractors lining up on opposite sides and doing a lot of name-calling. No matter which side you line up on, there’s little argument that this is not terrible for the image of the sport and makes one think little has been learned since BigTex’ massive fraud was revealed.
            I expect Mr. Inrng to pull-the-plug on it sooner rather than later.

          • Tovarishch Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:10 pm

            For what reason do you think Froome lacks credibility? Name a single occasion when he hasn’t been open and honest? I would class myself as ambivalent regarding Froome but I do believe in due process and the necessity of treating data in an unbiased fashion.

          • Odlid Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 11:27 am

            He did say all the data would be made available and then hey-presto, not happening. There is one instance.

          • Labradorofperception Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:18 pm
          • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:50 pm

            @LarryT

            It is preposterous that there is even a discussion regarding whether or not Anyone in Pro Cycling has any credibility.

          • Larry T Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 7:06 pm

            https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/paul-kimmage-chris-froome-in-the-eye-of-the-storm-part-2-30394950.html
            Froome bobs and weaves in this interview when Kimmage tries to drill down to some real issues of ethics and cheating, what he knew and when he knew it. He seems to have a faulty memory when it’s convenient.
            Some of his fans hold him up as some sort of choir-boy..the same kind of stuff Tex fans used to do. My fave is the old trope “family-man” which I think has been used on this forum a time or two? Then of course there are those who somehow “know” that he’s a nice guy….perhaps as nice as Tyler Hamilton?

      • PaulG Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:08 pm

        “the image of cycling has not been tarnished by journalists ”

        So, when the information was leaked to the Press why did they not say ‘This should be private, we won’t publish it’……Instead of publishing it to sell their papers….which is all they are after.

        Of course journalists tarnish the image of cycling as they do other area’s of life…Looking for, making up or exaggerating stories to sell there papers and advertising space.

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:59 pm

      Looking at this page, most of the hate and vitriol has been reserved for those who have questioned this decision.

  • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:10 am

    Statistics were not my strong suit when at uni and I haven’t used it frequently since, so I might get things wrong. Correct me if I did, but the following is my understanding of Froome side’s argument.

    The basic premises is that if Froome ingests the legal amount of salbutamol daily, he’s urine test result would still vary significantly from day to day. Using the diary of test results he’s had (he’s truly luck in that regard), they worked out what is the plausible range of variation if he is indeed only ingesting the permitted dose. Some how the stage 18 test result (possibly the revised down one) falls within the plausible range of variation. It is also worth bearing in mind that variance can be increased both as a result extremely high reading which will indicate illegal activity, and an extreme low reading compared to the mean and given ingested dose.

    What this proves is that it is plausible the abnormal reading is caused by legal ingesting of permitted dose of salbutamol.

    I haven’t read the relevant regulation, neither is English my mother tone, so I probably won’t deal into the semantics regarding burden of proof. But I’d like to point out the following:
    If an athlete does reproduce the abnormal reading in a CPKS test, all it proves is that it is “plausible” an abnormal reading could be caused by legal ingestion of permitted dose. Since the statistical methods used here proved the same plausibility, it should be considered equivalent to reproducing results in a CPKS test.

    It in no way directly proves that the abnormal reading was indeed caused by legal ingestion. It could be the case that both legal ingestion & illegal ingestion can lead to the same abnormal reading for an athlete and no one can really tell which is which. WADA could require an athlete to prove that should they ingest an illegal dose, their reading would be much higher. But WADA did not require that and there are all sorts of legal/ethical land mines in that requirement.

    I don’t think Froome’s result invalidates the WADA salbutamol test. Rather, it provides another way to prove plausibility of abnormal reading caused by legal ingestion of permitted dose other than the painful & sometimes fruitless CPKS test.

    Would that mean going forward everybody using salbutamol would need to be voluntarily tested daily? Would WADA/UCI have enough resources to do so many tests? Could testing results post the initial abnormal reading be used to established allow variance? These are questions needs to be answered if procedures going forward are going to utilise the knowledge gained here. And it would rather be a shame if we didn’t learn something from this case and make the anti-doping procedure better.

    • RonDe Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:35 am

      A relevant comparison here is with caffeine, a stimulant that no one doubts is a stimulant, and which was made legal because it was simply impossible to police it being not so. People may bleat about drug testing but if it is utterly impractical to police a substance then doing so becomes a nonsense.

      It is not just a case of “make a rule” as so many people seem not to have understood.

      • Larry T Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:44 am

        RonDe – would you say salbutamol should be put in the same category as caffeine then? Let ’em puff/inject/swallow as much as they want? I’d go the other way and put it in with clenbuteral. Same with insulin as the pro riders have too often demonstrated the old “Give ’em an inch and they take a mile” attitude to anything they think will give them an edge over their competitors.

        • RonDe Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:36 pm

          Would you put caffeine with clenbuterol too? Salbutamol is only allowed to be puffed so the injecting and swallowing comments are not relevant as this is already illegal.

          • Larry T Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:39 pm

            C’mon RonDe! The age old “answer a question with a question” trick? Please.
            Correct me if I’m wrong in the idea the salbutamol limits were set based on the inability to detect oral or injected use where the stuff may really have benefit, perhaps like clenbuterol.
            Caffeine I would not ban as it’s used in social settings all over the world and is not a Beta2-andrenergic agonist while salbutamol (which is) use is limited to those who have (or claim to have) asthma. As noted elsewhere this may make it impossible for asthma sufferers to be pro bike riders, but to me that’s a small price to pay to end abuse of this kind.
            So tell us – does salbutamol belong with caffeine or clenbuterol…or should it be left to be exploited by those with high-priced/powered lawyers to go with their strong legs and lungs?

          • RQS Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 7:52 pm

            I would probably ban Salbutamol because it is not something you would or should find in every rider. Why make your task of policing any harder?

            This morass was created by whichever genius decided that an exogenous drug not naturally formed in the body, but with potentially beneficial athletic side effects would be reasonably tolerated.

            I guess it’s almost like saying I’ve got a flat foot, so can I wear spring loaded shoes to help me run the 100m.

            I feel for the UCI a bit. A lot of this nonsense is passed down from WADA which is a largely ineffectual body which lauds over all sports.

            My personal outlook is that the hypocrisy of drugs in sport is everywhere and it should be exposed as often as possible. Most cases of successful doping convictions seem to be the result of chance and not the result of testing. Footballers never have blood tests, it’s just a piss take….

          • Tovarishch Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:07 pm

            Well you are not paying the price so, for you, it is small.

  • jc Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:14 am

    After this I cant see how WADA (or whoever) can uphold Salbutamol or similar tests which must be viewed as flawed. Here is a situation where athletes can take up to an approved amount of a medicine during competition for perfectly valid reasons. What is tested is not the input into their bodies but the output. However there is no clear linear relationship between input and output. The output can be affected by a whole range of factors beyond the control of the athlete and unknowable to the testers. How can you set an output level that covers all circumstances? Basically you cant without the whole thing becoming meaningless. Either it is set so low as there is no point in taking the medicine or so high it is open to abuse. It is a field day for the legal profession, in my view WADA ducked out of all this as they did not believe they could win in the courts, far less damaging to say “no case to answer” than have the whole testing regime open to question.

    What is really annoying in the whole mess is the thought that a good number of athletes could have been failed by the system simply because they could not afford the legal representation necessary.

    It seems to me that the UCI have handled the whole thing pretty badly, where did the leak come from? Once it was leaked they should have made very clear that this was supposed to be a confidential process and that things would continue as if it were. Instead we have had months of ill informed speculation aided and abetted by comments from M. Lappartient (though he has sounded far less sure of himself in recent times). Where was he today? He should have been fronting up the announcement, instead of which it was leaked to the media yet again.

    The UCI must have been aware a number of days (if not weeks) ago what the outcome was going to be (and had clearly been talking to various journalists). Why did they not suggest to ASO that any legal action on their part was likely to end in a mess? Christian Prudhomme has been left looking pretty stupid and is clearly annoyed.

    Nobody has come out of this looking good and it has badly affected the reputation of all involved.

  • BC Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:18 am

    Events have probably shown the importance of several things. All require attention from the UCI:

    1. It would have been a travesty to have banned a rider later found to have broken no rules.
    2. It is imperative that in cases such as the Froome case, the process is conducted in absolute
    confidence, and not in the media. Well done INRNG for respecting this requirement.
    3. The case for Salbutamol levels requires scientific clarification.
    4. How to address case’s of riders who have little or no financial ability to defend themselves.
    5. The UCI must ensure that details of potential cases are not continually leaked to the media.
    6. It is unbecoming for the UCI president to comment on confidential cases. He should learn to desist.

    The unacceptable way this particular case has been dealt with by the authorities brings the sport into disrepute. The whole procedure requires reviewing and updating. Froome’s reputation has been unnecessarily and irreparably damaged by the leaking and media judgment.

    • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:54 am

      The other issue needs to be addressed is the false incentive the current regime offered for athletes to go with the “negligence” claim.

      Guilty ones get away very light, whilst innocent athletes faced with the daunting task of proving themselves innocent also decide to accept the false penalty in order to get back racing.

      Somewhere I read about the abuse of plea bargain (a method intended to save judicial resources) in the state, and this is exactly the same situation.

      For starters, bans athletes receive should only be determined by the nature of their offences, not by whether they decide to bite the bullet (those who don’t put up a fight should not get a discount).

      On the other hand, there should be legal pro-bono work or a defence fund to help athletes who can’t afford an expensive defence.

    • Davo Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:56 am

      Absolutely right BC and well put.
      On your 2nd point however, I’m not sure I agree.
      I would prefer to see it conducted with complete transparency.
      An AAF is found. Both sides make their case and the process is announced clearly and fairly. At each step of the way, the press/public is kept informed and thenot the formal result is declared.
      I think in an ideal world, everything would be done in confidence but we are so far removed from that it would be impossible to stop leaks and rumours surfacing.
      Imagine the field day that the vultures would have it was leaked on the eve of the tdf that the winner of the vuelta (let’s keep names out of it) and reigning tdf champion had an AAF but he can ride because it’s all been sorted out behind closed doors.

      • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:20 pm

        But surely everything around this case proves that that is unfair to any innocent rider?

        Take a swift look at anything on the net about Froome, and you will find people (including journalists, and self professed ‘anti-doping experts’) who are convinced Froome is guilty without a single piece of knowledge about what took place in this case. Hell, look at some of the posts on this very page. These are people who are utterly convinced Froome is guilty, and yet they do not even know what his defence was. Facts or evidence don’t matter to these people. You could have the UCI and WADA themselves demonstrate that no offence had taken place, and then they just switch to the ‘corruption’ and ‘paid off’ attack.

        If you knew that the public would give riders a fair hearing, then you might have a case for total transparency here, but with this case, we have pretty irrefutable proof to the contrary.

        • different anon Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:41 pm

          Its the dictionary definition of “prejudice”: a preconceived opinion that neither reason nor evidence can change. WADA have given their reasons and have stated they received satisfactory evidence. Then the attack shifts to “we don’t trust you”. Such people are not based in any notion of fairness I’m aware of.

          • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:58 pm

            Have a look at WADA’s history.

        • Davo Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:18 pm

          The many people who have made up their mind about Froome, UCI and cycling in general are not going to have their opinions swayed by either method and frankly that’s their problem. The fact is, at the moment, none of us know, the overall level of cleanliness or otherwise of the pro peleton. Anyone who says they do is, at best, delusional.
          I have no great attachment to any rider in particular but I do care about the sport as a whole. I’m fed up with hearing from non cycling fans ‘ Aah but there all drug cheats anyway’. So for me the important thing to sort out is the process of how the final decision is made and I personally believe that transparency of process would be a good start.
          The inherent nature of a decision made in secret will always be more fuel to the fire for the haters and naysayers.

          • Cliff Lee Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 4:01 pm

            So an announcement by Sky during the world championships that “Froome had returned an AAF which is going through the process, but he will continue to compete because we know that he is innocent, honest” would have been better?

            It looks like Sky and Froome had to search for answers themselves, particularly as they required the results from the other tests during the Vuelta. I don’t think its necessary from anti doping to provide a full breakdown of the contents of the sample, just a positive/negative once analysed?

            In some ways it would be more suspicious if they had a prepared answer from the start.

        • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:41 am

          I’ve read very few comments on this page declaring Froome definitely guilty.
          Quite a lot of definitely innocent comments, though.
          Neither know.

  • Alastair S Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:21 am

    It’s clear that having 21 samples was key. This is from Sky’s official statement:

    “A review of all Chris’s 21 test results from the Vuelta revealed that the Stage 18 result was within his expected range of variation and therefore consistent with him having taken a permitted dose of Salbutamol.”

    If you have such data you can do statistical analysis to show the outlier is within the bounds of probability.

    It is also worth taking a look at this interview with World Anti-Doping Agency’s science director Dr Oliver Rabin at https://www.facebook.com/1481917892086163/posts/2094926427451970/

    To quote: “Dr Rabin said people were underestimating how many of these cases occur every year without anyone knowing about them”.

    Which brings me to a point no-one seems to be asking of the UCI; namely have they done anything to identify the source of the initial leak and try and reduce such occurrences? As I understand it the UCI notify two other parties in these cases: the rider/team concerned and the rider’s national association. In these days of the independent Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation why do national associations need to be informed which this sensitive info?

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:30 am

      The UCI also notify the rider’s national anti-doping agency (as well as their local federation) and WADA too on the AAF so the network goes wider.

      There are also stats on the % rate of AAFs if people want them in https://www.wada-ama.org/sites/default/files/resources/files/2016_anti-doping_testing_figures.pdf (warning 323 page PDF)

      • Alastair S Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:45 am

        Thanks for that – although I’ll pass on that 323 page doc for now (I spent way to much of my work time on this over that past couple of days).

        • frood Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:47 am

          There were 15 salbutamol AAFs out of 3,809 AAFs in total (from 303,369 samples). that is all sports covered by WADA. there is no breakdown for cycling (maybe it is elsewhere) but there were 147 urine AAFs out of 11,883 tests (in and out of competition combined).

          so it is possible this kind of thing happens more frequently than we hear about through leaks. of course it is also possible this is extremely rare. are there any instances of an MPCC team withdrawing a rider because of a specific substance AAF?

        • frood Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:55 am

          Actually, sorry there were 15 AAFs for all beta-2 agonists in road cycling. this includes (among others) Fenoterol, Formoterol, Higenamine, Indacaterol, Olodaterol, Procaterol, Reproterol, Salbutamol, Salmeterol, Terbutaline, Tulobuterol, Vilanterol.

          we know that terbutaline is used by road cyclings (S. Yates) so I think it is likely not all 15 AAFs are for salbutamol. however, it indicates that there are quite a few AAFs that do not get leaked.

      • Ishisht Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:15 am

        Interesting data, too bad the report doesn’t specify the number of athletes that were tested (although I’m sure those numbers can be found elsewhere). The line for road cycling gives an in-competition AAF rate of 1.75% for urine tests.
        I don’t exactly know how many tests are performed at a GT, but I’m going to guess it’s going to mean there is on average at least one AAF in every GT (would require 57 IC tests – even daily winner + GC leader alone already gets you to 40).

        One other interesting thing is that the out-of-competition AAF rate for road cycling is only 0.55%, or 3.2 times lower than for IC results. A quick look at some other sports with similar or higher AAF rates gives me only boxing with an equally extreme ratio (also 3.2 times, versus 1.5 times for wrestling and long distance running, 1.9 times for marathon running, and 2.3 times for weightlifting).
        I see two possible (non-exclusive) conclusions from that:
        1. The particulars of endurance cycling – in particular GTs – increase the rate of AAFs that correspond to permitted dosages.
        2. In cycling it is relatively more beneficial to dope IC (rather than OOC).

        Regarding the anonymous comment below: virtually every biomedical test produces false positives (and false negatives). This is dealt with by judiciously choosing the cut-off, using the context (e.g., base rates – a positive finding even on a very accurate test for a rare condition may still mean the individual is unlike to have the condition) to interpret the finding, and by making the treatment (sanction, in this case) proportional to both the degree of certainty that has been established and the severity of the disease (or the offense, in this case).

        On the other hand, I agree that the WADA does not seem to have adhered to the letter of its own rules (if maybe to the spirit, but in that case they need to reword to rules).

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:22 am

    So much said and written: but the testing procedure is either producing false ‘positives’ or it isn’t.

    UCI/WADA seem to be conceding that it is, and that should be a big deal. So let’s see the details of all this please. Anyway, back to the calmer world of footy.

    • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:33 am

      WADA accepts that test could produce false positive, since why they allow athletes to explain.

      This is the best compromise they can reach without perfect knowledge.

    • Tovarishch Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:05 am

      Any statistically based testing procedure will produce false positives. It is a fact of life. The decision to be made is what probability level you use to minimise the risk of a false positive (and, ergo, maximise the risk of a false negative)

  • Larrick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:30 am

    I think it’s worth taking a small step back and remembering WADA creates its rules and regulations to cover all sports and not just cycling. There is no other sport that I can think of that involves an athlete competing for hours nearly every day for three weeks. There are also very few athletes who are tested as regularly as an early GT leader if in fact any. This may well be the first time that an AAF has been triggered for Salbutamol where WADA can look at its own accredited data for multiple days preceding and post that particular test. I’ve argued long and loud (sometimes here and normally as anon, sorry Larry) that urine tests for amounts of an ingested substance are fallible. Especially when not done first thing in the morning and even more so when a one off. Speak to your doctor and they’ll tell you they’re instructed to get multiple samples and often pre food/drink depending on what’s being tested for.

    The situation WADA has found itself in and probably for the first time is that, as explained by the lack of a need to perform a pharmacokinetic study, the requirement to look at a series of closely taken data points of their own. In other sports such as swimming or athletics or even biathlon where asthma or EIB is prevalent, the PK study could replicate the original event in most cases but not all. If you’ve triggered an AAF having just run a marathon, you can’t just run another and to replicate you’d have to do the same training again and then hit the same weather conditions etc. The problem for the athlete would be the last in competition test they might have had was probably taken in different conditions and 6 months previously. Froome would be able to use the data collected and not just his Salbutamol levels but all the other information that is recorded. The UCI statement tells us this. There’s no conspiracy here to cover up just more scientific facts that they’ve ever seen before for a Salbutamol case. The reality for all the internet sleuths is there have been very few studies on both the impact of Salbutamol outside of its aim to restore bronchial capacity and very few on the testing of dosages taken and no testing based on the sort of stress a GC rider in a GT faces nearing the end of a race.

    Everything points to WADA needing to have a rethink around Salbutamol testing and the testing for concentration levels in general. The problem will be money as the obvious fix is to keep gathering information of the athletes use of specified substances and then use it like the Bio Passport so a trend can be established and an anomaly can be investigated or not as the case may be.

    As for Froome, I hope people use their critical thinking skills, logic and perspective to understand what in all probability has occurred and let the guy get on with racing. Many of you will have to shut out ‘Bernson & Smits’ phenomena though. That’s when your logic is warped by the antics of Armstrong and Verbruggen and you can’t think without their actions influencing how you see the present. It’s also known as ‘LA Law’…

    Ps. That’s a bit anti Eastern Hemisphere of you Inrng shutting down comments “overnight”… 😉

  • noel Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:31 am

    Everyone seems so shocked that justice is only available to the wealthy… welcome to the real world folks. (and everyone wants to stick the knife into Wada, a hopelessly underfunded organisation despite the billions swilling around world sport)

    • Brad's Hayfever Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:42 am

      WADA’s annual budget is less than Team Sky’s so it seems, $32 million as against $35 million. WADA is massively underfunded and no sporting governing bodies worldwide seem to want to fund it at all. A case of sport itself not wanting to find its cheats it would seem.

      Don’t blame the player, blame the game.

      • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:43 am

        Remember though that WADA isn’t responsible for all the anti-doping, each national agency has its spend too and federations like the UCI have their own operations like the CADF. Of course more money would be better but beware of headline number comparisons.

        • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:58 am

          Whilst it is unequal when only the wealthiest can defend themselves, it is by no means unfair in that sense.

          On the other hand, it does demonstrate the unfair advantage anti-coping authorities has over average athletes and this unfairiness needs addressing.

        • Tovarishch Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:10 am

          But nearly all those funds are consumed doing the actual testing, not in doing the research necessary to determine the validity of the test. The should be the role of WADA but 35M is clearly insufficient to do any reasonable empirical testing.

    • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:14 am

      I’m not shocked – I predicted this result from day one – doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.
      Unless we see the evidence, we have no reason to believe there is any evidence. All we’ve heard about so far is Froome keeping his own notes, a large dose taken just before the test – none of that is proof of anything.

      • anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:38 pm

        Are you competent to understand the evidence? Why do you specifically need to see it? What is it you want to see? Do you even know?

        • DAVE Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:23 pm

          Ha. This is J Evans. Of course he doesn’t!

          • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:42 pm

            As I’ve explained elsewhere, the authorities have a bad reputation, which they’ve earned over the years.
            If no evidence is made public why would you – once again – allow the wool to be pulled over your eyes.
            I don’t base my scepticism on my own ‘feelings’, I base my scepticism on what the likes of Michael Ashenden have to say.
            But people are more interested in making wild accusations about things I haven’t said or ridiculous and meaningless comments like yours, DAVE.
            I have a degree in human physiology, but this makes me far from an expert – what I’d like is for that evidence to be made available to independent experts.
            Or we can all sit here and pretend everything’s fine when we actually have no idea if that’s the case.

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:42 am

    Case closed…move on folks your opinions don’t count and never did. Now I hope Thomas can batter his team “mate” around France.

  • haps Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:44 am

    I choose to believe that Froome deserves to continue racing(maybe naively)

    I read cycling sites like here(props for quality!!) on a daily basis, and I cannot say that I am any closer to understand the proceedings of this case.
    I think that we as fans are entitled to slightly more transparency, without entering into what is the private sphere of Chris Froome.

    I miss some organism explaining the procedure, after the AFF in September, what are the phases, hearings? – deadlines to present evidence etc. I don’t care about what is in Mr.Froomes Urine, but I am interested in how the process advances.

    Both the initial AFF and UCI/WADA final decisions has been leaked, not a healthy sign IMO.

    I read(no source sorry) that UCI came to the conclusion June 28th, yet ASO publicly de-invites Froome 30th, seems clumsy from the outside.

    I read that SKY presented 1500+ dossier in early June, maybe that is simply the time they needed to compile the dossier, but seems a little awkward to me while they keep on repeating that they have an interest in solving the issue asap ( i am clearly guessing here)
    Made me wonder whether team SKY are more resourceful organization than say UCI?? and asphyxiating them like they do on the climbs..

    As other have mentioned above, Froome has mentioned several times that when the public get full access to the case they(we) will understand it, pues now is the moment – as a fan I would like to understand more about the proceedings.

    It has been a little sad for the UCI president publicly asking a rider not to race, in particular with the verdict out, and the same goes for Hinault comments via CN.

    So I guess cycling was never just a sport, always also spectacle, and what we have witnessed have been part of such.

    Now looking forward to stage 9 🙂

    • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:02 am

      Given historical infighting btw ASO & UCI, not surprised by the clumsiness.

  • IanPa Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:47 am

    WADA have released their decision process – Froome/ Sky proved all was ‘normal’, WADA are OK with that, no case to answer, maybe one day they will elaborate on that, but hey ho, life goes on.

    UCI, by involving WADA from the outset have truly ensured that they will not be caught out by any decision they made.

    Froome has said he will release his defence in the coming days, lets hope so, because i really want to see 21 days worth of salbutamol levels (said no-one who isn’t a medical professional ever!)) will he sue the UCI for defamation (the leak had to come from somewhere)

    I don’t think we can ask for anymore, we were neither their on that day, neither did any of us (unless one of us is actually from the UCI/WADA???) sit in on the hearings.

    Now, about that TdF coming up, rain on the cobbles day please 🙂

  • Carl Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:16 am

    If you are unlucky enough to ever have noisy neighbors and you go to the police you will be advised to keep a contemporaneous diary of when your neighbor is being noisy so that, when you take your neighbor to court, you have a contemporaneous record of events. If it true that Froome keeps such a record of his Salbutamol use then this would be a powerful bit of evidence in his favor and also a normal legal procedure for many crimes more serious than merely sporting ones. Such records are ones the legal profession in many places is used to dealing with and accepting. Legal processes rarely rely on a blank slate and doubting everything.

    • Cliff Lee Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 4:15 pm

      Perhaps, as suspicious as it all seems with Freeman and lost medical details on a stolen laptop, if Sky had done what they said and doubled down on medical use and documentation, that had a huge impact on this decision.

  • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:23 am

    One of the interesting parts for me is that the UCI press release states:
    “The proceedings started with an evidentiary phase, with the UCI and Mr Froome agreeing that the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal would decide whether certain information could be provided to Mr Froome in preparing his defence.”

    This indicates one of the reasons for the delay, namely that the UCI and Froome couldn’t agree whether the UCI should provide Froome with some of the information he requested, and they needed a tribunal ruling to decide the matter. This might be why there were reports of files going to the tribunal some months ago: they related to these preliminary matters.

    • Alastair S Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:38 am

      I might be mistaken but didn’t the UCI initially refuse to hand over the details of the 20 other tests from the Vuelta?

      • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:06 pm

        I remember reading that too, but it seems like an odd position for them to take, as his other results are quite plainly relevant information, and his own personal data. Presumably his request went wider than this – e.g., details of how the test works.

    • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 6:29 pm

      There has been much controversy recently in Britain over the prosecution authorities failing to disclose evidence to the defence in rape cases.

      This has been a longstanding systemic issue which has occurred in other areas of the criminal justice system, especially those where the public and the media are concerned that the obviously bad and guilty don’t get away with it.

      But, of course, it is far more important that these things be done swiftly than they be done correctly. Anything else would just not be ‘good optics’ would it?

  • Richard S Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:24 am

    To me it doesn’t look as clear as day that Froome has done nothing wrong, as you would hope would be the case when a doping case has been dropped. It looks like salbutamol testing is a grey area and the UCI don’t know it well enough to be able to stand by it when it’s scrutinised by Lawyers. I’m not saying Froome has necessarily done anything wrong, just that this outcome doesn’t make it clear. We aren’t any nearer knowing what happened, and I suspect none of Froome, the UCI or Sky know exactly what happened! In my opinion the current salbutamol test needs to be dropped and replaced with one that stands up to scrutiny should one ever arise.

  • Larrick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 10:36 am

    Just on the pharmakenetic test and the wording for AAFs from a Salbutamol test, WADA didn’t write the rules with only cycling in mind. In fact I’d suggest they didn’t think about the problematic process of recreating a GT. The vast majority of athletes caught up in the triggering of an AAF for Salbutamol dosage levels would have just run for 1500 metres or played a couple hours of tennis or swam breaststroke for 50 metres.

    As for the guilty before innocent or vice versa for that matter, surely it can be understood it is neither. The test result triggers an investigation. The investigation gathers information including that from the athlete. The weight of the test result means that if an athlete can’t iffer any evidence to be looked at, the test result stands. If however the athlete offers evidence, the panel will take all information into account before making a decision. That will include more evidence from the sporting body based on evidence provided by the athlete. Only when all this has occurred will a judgement start to be made.

  • Garbandier Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:32 am

    From a legal theory perspective I find the WADA’s position worrying for two reasons. First, it’s widely accepted that in order to maintain the integrity of a legal system the power to make rules and the power to adjudicate upon those rules should be separate. Secondly that rules can only be implemented when they are in force, not before or after (someone actions can’t be subject to a rule which wasn’t in force when those actions took place, nor can they be retrospectively cleared of breaching a rule which was in force at the time of those actions that is subsequently repealed).

    The reason behind both these ideas is that making rules only in response to actions places (theoretically) unlimited discretion in the hands of the adjudicator. If the rule in question is poorly drafted then this approach may lead to outcomes which are considered undesirable but this is the price of protection from the corruption of the adjudicator.

    The problem with WADA’s position is that the rule quoted above states that a sample exceeding the permitted level ‘will be considered as an AAF unless the athlete proves, through a controlled pharmacokinetic study (CPKS), that the abnormal result was the consequence of the use of the therapeutic dose’. There is therefore, under that rule as stated, only one way out of the sample being considered an AAF, a ‘controlled pharmacokinetic study’. Any other justification for a sample exceeding the level is, legally, invalid.

    If the rule stated something like ‘a sample exceeding the permitted level will be considered as an AAF unless the athlete can demonstrate they did not exceed the permitted dose’ the conclusion reached here would be acceptable, but it doesn’t. WADA’s position indicates that they are comfortable with deciding cases based upon some ephemeral idea of what is ‘fair’ or ‘just’ or ‘in the spirit of the rules’ rather than by rigorous application of legal principle. In the context of doping in sport this is surely at best a naive approach.

    I’ve not read all the rules and quite possibly there are rules which allow for this but if so surely the press release should have cited those rules.

    • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:55 am

      Article 8.1 of the WADA Code does require the athlete to be given a fair hearing, and the commentary refers back to the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights.

      Given that requirement, in circumstances where a CPKS is genuinely impossible, but the athlete genuinely has cast-iron evidence to explain the findings (not saying that’s what happened here!), the obligation to provide a fair hearing would require the UCI/WADA to consider the alternative explanation, wouldn’t it? If the alternative is to reach a verdict that they know is unjust?

      • Garbandier Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:52 pm

        I don’t believe it would no. The problem is the way that the rule is stated. What the rule says is salbutamol is prohibited above the limit unless the athlete can prove (through a pharmacokinetic study) that it resulted from a dose that did not exceed the limit. In other words the sample is the basis of the prohibition. Froome is clearly in violation of that rule and there can be no question of a fair hearing because it’s a test of strict liability.

        However, if the test simply stated the allowed dosage (made the dose the basis of prohibition) then, absolutely, the question of a fair hearing is relevant because it does appear that there are question marks about the test and if the test is not an accurate indicator of dosage then it would require further evidence in order to find a violation of the rule.

        • Garbandier Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:04 pm

          2nd para should start ‘However, if the RULE simply stated…

        • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:02 pm

          I don’t think that’s right. The prohibited list says that Salbutamol is prohibited if the dose is above 1600mcg/day, and if there is more than 1000ng/ml in your sample, then it is *presumed* to be as a result of an excessive dose unless you can show otherwise. But it remains the dose that is the basis of the prohibition.

          There is therefore an opportunity to rebut the presumption (rather than strict liability), which raises the question of the procedural rules that would apply when attempting to do so. This brings in article 8.1.

          I don’t see how one could argue that the right to a fair hearing applies if there is no opportunity to explain how an adverse sample arises from a lawful dose, but there is a right to a fair hearing if there is no such opportunity?

          • Garbandier Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:38 pm

            At the risk of being a bit anal, the rule states:

            ‘The presence in urine of salbutamol in excess of 1000 ng/mL or formoterol in excess of 40 ng/mL is presumed not to be an intended therapeutic use of the substance and will be considered as an Adverse Analytical Finding.’

            The presumption is not relevant to the finding of an AAF, the use of the word ‘will’ is absolute. What the actual wording does is create two separate doping violations, 1: exceeding 1600mcg/day and 2: the presence of an excess of 1000 ng/mL in the urine sample.

            In other words the rule states:

            ‘The presence in urine of salbutamol in excess of 1000 ng/mL … will be considered as an Adverse Analytical Finding.’

            The presumption is not an operative part of the clause, it just indicates that WADA consider violation 2 to be indicative of violation 1. The problem is that clause actually makes violation 2 a stand alone violation.

          • Nick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 5:26 pm

            If you’re going to be anal, you may as well go the whole hog, and address the difference between AAFs and ARDVs.

            Your interpretation of the rule differs from WADA’s, the UCI’s and CAS’s. The amount in the sample may give rise to an AAF, but it is the amount inhaled that determines whether an ADRV has been committed.

            Anyway, this should be easy to test. If there are any cases where the panel has held that the sample was caused by a legal dose, but the athlete is guilty of an ARDV anyway, because of the sample alone, then I am wrong and you are right.

          • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 8:04 pm

            The point is that the interpretation does not agree with the written English version. That said, English version may not have the definitive power.

  • Ballsofcottonwool Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:40 am

    My biggest concern about this whole fiasco was the leaking and publishing of private and confidential medical information with the European Union where we have some of the strictest data protection laws in the world. To anyone that says that this breach of the law is acceptable because it was in the public interest, the only interests that have been served are those of the media owners who have been able to sell their newspapers etc.

    • DAVE Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:21 pm

      This is a good point.

      Wider than just cycling. We’re moving into a difficult world, and Wiggins then Froome having the medical docs revealed is the tip of the iceberg.

  • HIM Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:54 am

    Re drug test results: Are they provided, in detail, to athletes/teams?

    Froome (and Sky) could have data on test results for pretty much every day of GT racing (and lesser) that Froome has done over the last eight years, if not from 2010 then at least from 2013. He’s been using an inhaler for much/all of this time. A data set of this nature would be considerably more useful than the data from any single day of racing or even 21 days in a single GT. Pulling this all together might take a while.

    It might be that Froome’s/Sky’s public confidence in resolving this AAF from the point of the leak was a function of this not being his first salbutamol AAF – just the first to go through the court of public opinion as well as the formal (normally confidential) process.

    A lot of unknowns really and it seems reasonable not to jump to conclusions, even at this late stage.

  • Orlando S Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:04 pm

    To me the most disturbing aspect in this affair are the repeated leaks aimed at destroying the reputation and career of a single rider, presumably from within the UCI and coming from David Lappartient’s team. Taking this into account I think it’s good that Froome can count on some legal muscle to even out the odds. No one wants to see a repeat of the Verbruggen+UCI Vs O’Bree again. That there did a lot of harm to Cycling. The leaks causing all of this to play out in the public eye was also hugely damaging. To contextualise this case we would need to know how many riders have been cleared of similar charges and when.

    • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 6:40 pm

      Lappartient is a typical politician. He will tell the people what they want to hear all day long when the going is good but disappear into any convenient hole when things get sticky.

      He hasn’t got anything like the questioning he should be getting off our so-called respected cycling journalists but, of course, we must always remember that Cookson was the real crook. Of course he was.

  • RooieM Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:12 pm

    Having read all the reports and press statements in the case, studied – with the help of INRNG – the rules of UCI and WADA and read an overload of comments these last months, the verdict seems a logical outcome of a thorough and sometimes chaotic process. During the last 7 months too many people were really quick with harsh opinions. Although I am not a fan of SKYbots and/or Froome, they deserved a fair process. The odd thing though is that it seems Froome got lucky because he was tested so much during the Vuelta and the medical staff of proper administration of team Sky.

    As for the way SKY/Froome handled this case, my own view is that it would have been an act of a gentleman if Froome had not started these past 7 months. We would then have missed the epic-ride on Colle del Finestre but he could have stated that the future of cycling in general is more important than the interests of one rider or one team.

    More in general, I somehow feel for all cyclists and us fans that have to constrain with all negativity and doubts. For me cycling is always a sport of hope. The hope for a good and hard race, the hope my favorites do well and the hope that someday the word doping is not to be heard again.

    • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 8:01 pm

      Other camp would just use this as evidence that he admitted guilty. There’s no perfect solution here and not sure what the gentalman act could have achieved.

  • DJS Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:13 pm

    The other comparison is that if, in hindsight, Contador was treated in a way that people (UCI/WADA) nowadays would perceive as incorrect because the explanation of contaminated food did make sense (I know, it could have been doping as well), it is maybe a good idea not to stick to arcane rules – ie insight has moved on and Froome gets treated differently because that is just a better way to treat people.
    I’m not taking a stand on this -just pointing it out. And I know full well that clenbuterol and salbutamol fall into different categories.

    • Andrew Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 4:51 pm

      One crucial difference is that WADA apparently accepted Froome’s defence in this case, whereas the “contaminated food” verdict was reached by CAS even though it was neither part of Contador’s defence nor alleged by his accusers. Both verdicts look like they may have been a compromise, but in very different circumstances.

  • Sam G Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 12:49 pm

    The complexity and difficulty in this case comes from Salbutamol being a specified substance and not banned.

    Drug on the banned list = guilty until proven innocent = rider immediately suspended from racing

    Drug on specified substance list = innocent until proven guilty = rider can continue to ride

    Difficult to blame sky/Froome for continuing to ride when they are within their right to do so. If WADA removed the specified substance category then you are either banned or not.

    • Ferdi Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 7:35 am

      False. Not true. You haven’t understood how it works.

  • Ecky Thump Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:20 pm

    Hurt, let-down, frustrated, disillusioned.
    Some of the words that sum up my feelings on AG2R’s AAF (Adverse Anti Fashion) position on wearing Levi trucker jackets with side-slash pockets.
    A post-mid 1980s No-No.
    It is important that you understand the evidence to hand and then condemn their wanton disregard.
    I blame Heine’s Folly myself –

    https://www.bragvintage.co.uk/levis-denim-jacket-guide

  • Larrick Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:33 pm

    One of the main themes over the last few months has been the blaming of Froome for the slow nature of the process. Obviously not everyone was as quick to apportion blame when there was always the chance it wasn’t a simple case and had multiple players involved but many were including supposed journalists with understanding of the UCI and WADA processes. The following part of the UCI statement is interesting in that it leads to possibility that much of the time was spent arguing as to what evidence Froome could use and receive from the anti doping authorities.

    “The proceedings started with an evidentiary phase, with the UCI and Mr Froome agreeing that the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal would decide whether certain information could be provided to Mr Froome in preparing his defence. The UCI already sought WADA’s advice at that stage, during which a significant number of expert and scientific reports were submitted on behalf of Mr Froome.

    After the evidentiary phase, Mr Froome requested additional information from WADA about the salbutamol regime. Following receipt of information from WADA, Mr Froome then filed his explanation for the abnormal result on 4 June 2018, together with significant additional expert evidence.”

    So “following receipt from WADA”, Froome “filed his explanation…. on 4 June 2018…”. That would indicate that it wasn’t until sometime shortly before early June that WADA gave Froome access to the data from the tests that he’d taken during and maybe before the Vuelta. Hopefully a precedent has been set and a delay this long won’t need to happen again where an athlete wants access to their records.

  • Jim C Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:42 pm

    Jesus, Muhammad, and Buddah could appear live on TV, make a ruling and we’d still have people wanting to argue this.

    • anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:03 pm

      They lived about 1000 years apart in total. I would expect J Evans to want independent experts to DNA test their identities before I’d believe anything these Sky stooges of Murdoch said!

      • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:35 pm

        See what anti-doping experts have to say about WADA. There’s a reason so many of them quit in frustration.
        Who should I believe, the guy who came up with the test for EPO or ‘anonymous’ sniping on the internet?

        • anonym Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:55 pm

          If swinging dicks is what counts how about WADA’s Director of Science? Or are only ex-WADA scientists trustworthy?

    • Ben Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 10:49 pm

      There are those that argue a point of view, but choose to be informed over time, have their views evolve, and let their views be shaped by others’ arguments, evidence and observations.

      There are also those with fixed views that argue but that will never accept any view that does not agree with their own. They will always be unconvinced and require more evidence, or claim corruption, and will stand by their views vehement against all contrary evidence.

      It can be observed on comments threads – such as this and the guardian – the likelihood of someone varying their views is generally inversely proportional to the number of times they comment – team sky related threads are a prime example. Those that respond most to other peoples’ comments are the least likely to ever be convinced to vary their perspective.

      In short, no one can move an immovable object.

  • Graham S Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 1:49 pm

    Just read Velonews interview with Ross Tucker, he opens saying that Froome was double the limit before later using the 1429 figure. Lots of stuff about how are fans supposed to understand and trust the system? Well Ross, for a start it doesn’t help if “experts” are being sensationalist.

    Depressing how rare reasonable voices like INRNG are.

    • anon Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:05 pm

      I have interacted with Tucker on Twitter. He’s a man trapped in his own worldview and, even though he is not party to the details of the case, feels sure he knows all the answers. Proof, if any were needed, that even “experts” can make a case one way or another. There are no absolutes.

    • hoh Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 7:58 pm

      Interesting, wasn’t Tucker usually desperately anti-Froome?

      • Chuffy Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 1:00 am

        Not sure about that, but I got the impression that Tucker, like a few other potentially interesting and credible voices (hello Shane Stokes) got a little too fond of the applause from the Clinic crowd when he veered in a direction they approved of. He certainly deserves a very stern glare if he (and Parissoto) are parroting ‘double the limit’ headlines which are blatantly misleading.

    • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 6:48 pm

      Rentagob Ross lost all credibility long ago for anyone not hopelessly addicted to The Clinic. He’s in the same category as Vayer.

  • The GCW / Strictly Amateur Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:04 pm

    Only vaguely understand intricate details; just the basics. Although it’s a mess no matter the outcome, I’m just pleased a decision has been made before the race.

    Also pleased inrng put up this post so when Teams Part III is posted, this discussion doesn’t enter that discussion.

  • Sam G Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:26 pm

    Its just Salbutamol – some perspective needed.

    Less than 10 years ago it was blood bags.

    Progress!

    • Rod Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:07 pm

      Not necessarily in my now very pessimistic view. Do you think Contador decided to take a minimal amount of clenbuterol during a stage race? Or that Hamilton took testosterone precisely when he was sure he was going to be tested?

      I doubt it. I think many of these are cases of “glowing” autologus transfusions, tainted by whatever the rider was using to “charge” when the blood was taken. In a more positive note, seems like they are getting away with less egregious stuff, and that’s changing the way top riders are selected – before you just got your “stud” to 50% HCT (or whatever you thought you could get away with) and let the chips fall where they may, whether that looked like Riis or Pantani, and now you need to start with a solid pursuiter/TT, and you need to shrink him down to climber weight while keeping power up.

  • cyclingcraze Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:27 pm

    From a CW interview today with WADA’s director of science Olivier Rabin, “Froome provided a number of elements, some of which were specific to his case, such as the increase in concentration [compared to the tests undertaken in the preceding days], for example. There was, it seems, a worsening in his asthma due to an infection.”
    “He took a certain number of medicines to treat it and other elements linked to his diet were also taken into account, as were dietary supplements. And other things too.”

    What foods, medicines and dietary supplements so other riders don’t repeat Froome’s AAF?

    Since Froome had an infection which worsened his asthma why did only Contador and Michael Woods match Froome’s surge as the group of podium contenders splintered behind him? Does that sound like he had an infection and his asthma was bad?

    Foome’s finish line quotes on stage 18:
    “Today worked out perfectly in my favour. It was a really tough stage.” He attacked with 1k to go.
    “We set a really high tempo on the final climb,” explained Froome. “The guys did a great job of doing that, and I was feeling a lot better.
    “Like I said yesterday, I think I paid a little bit for the effort I made the day before in the time trial. Maybe I wasn’t 100 per cent yesterday, but I certainly recovered today.”

    Froome recovered with an infection making his asthma worse?

    I think the report and findings more than a bit dodgy.

    • J Evans Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:41 pm

      Very good points.

    • more anons Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:45 pm

      Its not too smart to build an entire case of dodginess on what happens in the last 500 meters of one single stage and a few scattered quotes. Dodgy indeed when some guy on the Internet feels like he makes a credible report against the comments of WADA’s Director of Science based on this.

      • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 5:07 pm

        He was losing time, he says he was ill, then he was way over the limit for this drug, then he won the race.
        But let’s just believe that the most famous cyclist hasn’t been given a pass, cos that never happens. Let’s accept what we’re told without seeing any evidence. And Froome said we’d all see and understand why he was innocent. So prove it.

  • Stuie Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:45 pm

    Could Froome/Sky sue the UCI for the leak?

  • Simmers Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 2:59 pm

    In so many ways this case has been a harsh, harsh reminder of the painful inadequacies of efforts to make cycling (or any sport for that matter) clean. I at least find it impossible not to be very skeptical both of Froome and Sky, considering the smoke and mirrors they’ve thrown about to explain everything from jiffy bags to Froome’s miraculous transformation back in 2011.

    And we know of course that anti-doping efforts – especially testing – have failed so many times in the past. The anti-doping agencies are underfunded, understaffed and fighting a rearguard effort. Barely anyone from the Armstrong era was caught using tests: most were belatedly forced to admit because of whistleblowers. I very much doubt the balance of power has changed much in this regard.

    In this light, it’s disheartening to witness something that, from the outside, looks a lot like WADA disowning their own test and their own rules under the pressure of Sky’s deep pockets. It raises so many questions, none of which we’re answered in yesterday’s press releases. For me, the most important one is where do we go from here: what are the best ways of making cycling as clean as possible? Are there other methods available apart from testing that might be more effective and fair? I don’t have any answers, but I think it’s quite clear that the current testing regime probably undermines more than it actually helps.

  • Tobsen Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 3:17 pm

    Froomey has crossed over that threshold for Salbutamol by almost 100%. The funny thing is my little son and I used that drug to treat a chest inflammation too. So I don’t think it is a really hard drug to use and I’m even not sure if it may have helped Froomey that much, but those marginal gains … Anyways: there are rules that have to be followed and given the sports history (and Sky’s history in particular) this all seems wrong. What makes it even worse is that Froomey now states that this decision by the UCI which isn’t transparent at all is a victory for cycling.
    I love this sport, I admired Froome but this really hurts. Maybe I’m naive but in fact those guys over at Sky are doing business here and it is not about the sport at all (and maybe they enjoy their training rides and racing a lot like every good worker loves his work to a certain extend). Unfortunately for their audience, the cycling fans, the sport is not a business but a passion. In conclusion they are treating their business model in a very unsustainable way.

    PS: I’m really concerned about how some of the spectators at the road will react to Sky’s appearance.

    • Ferdi Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 6:31 pm

      I’m more concerned with TV spectators and cycling followers turning their backs on the sport from now on. Myself included.

    • Chuffy Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 1:09 am

      He was’t 100% over – more here http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/more-details-of-chris-froomes-successful-salbutamol-defence/

      I agree about the roadside reaction. Stupid & poorly informed pot-stirring from Hinault combined with sensationalistic reporting (that “100% over” line is going to stick forever, no matter what the actual facts are) and Sky’s heavy handed attempts to manage the media have created a toxic atmosphere, which Froome doesn’t deserve to be faced with.

      • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 9:47 am

        Hinault’s comments get recycled across a lot of the cycling media but they don’t resonate much outside, I’ve seen more “Bernard Hinault says XYZ” clickbait in the English speaking cycling media than in the French media although his name still resonates and he’s made a career out of provocation.

  • Gargatouf Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 4:49 pm

    It was always a (the only???) possibility that Froome would be exonerated. The main problem is that there are no details. As mentioned by this quality post, the UCI and WADA statements leave more questions than answers.

    Also, Team Sky have now communicated that they won’t be providing anymore details, contrary to what Froome said in his statement. It just had to the lack of information from Team Sky on all their scandals. It’s obviously not surprising because they have form with that, but again, if they had nothing to hide, they could provide more info.

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 5:03 pm

    Petacchi returned a sample containing 1,352ng/ml of salbutamol following stage 11 of the 2007 Giro d’Italia – the permitted threshold is 1,000ng/ml – and was withheld from that year’s Tour de France. Although Petacchi was initially absolved by the Italian cycling federation, WADA appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and he was ultimately handed a nine-month ban and stripped of his five stage wins on the 2007 Giro.
    – there’s a question for WADA: why did they appeal that decision?

  • Kavan Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 5:08 pm

    Bugger brexit.

  • Ned Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 5:54 pm

    Has anyone linked to the interview with Oliver Rabon, WADA’s director of science. Link here:
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2094926427451970&id=1481917892086163

    and text:
    Here’s an interview with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s science director defending their handling of Chris Froome’s case. Pretty sure it’s a global exclusive as he was about to board a long-haul flight. Given the criticism WADA is getting on social media since the Froome decision broke, I’m surprised this hasn’t been picked up. I’ll blame the World Cup, the heat wave and my dull intro and post it here to see who wants to read his quotes.
    —————————————————————————-
    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has strongly denied that the decision to clear Chris Froome of cheating has left its policy on the asthma drug salbutamol in shreds.
    Speaking to Press Association Sport, WADA’s science director Dr Oliver Rabin said the case was “not unique” and he did not believe it would lead to a wave of appeals from athletes who have been banned in the past.
    Earlier on Monday, cycling’s governing body the UCI announced it was not proceeding with an anti-doping case against Froome despite the Team Sky star returning a urine sample at last year’s Vuelta a Espana that contained double the permitted amount of salbutamol.
    Having always maintained his innocence, the four-time Tour de France champion welcomed the news but many pundits have questioned how WADA’s rules on salbutamol, and other so-called “threshold drugs”, can survive.
    Asked what impact he thought the case would have, Dr Rabin said: “I may be about to disappoint you, but I do not believe it will have much at all.”
    Salbutamol is classed as a ‘specified’ drug by WADA, which means it is allowed for therapeutic reasons up to a certain dosage. This is because there is no performance-enhancing effect for asthmatics taking normal amounts of the drug via an inhaler.
    For salbutamol, the limit is 1,000 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) and that has been set so the majority of people, taking no more than 1,600 micrograms a day, or 16 puffs on an adult inhaler, would not fail the test.
    The word “majority” is crucial as Dr Rabin acknowledges WADA “is well aware of salbutamol’s variability” – in other words, not everyone processes it in the same way and some process it differently some of the time.
    “That is why an adverse finding only opens the door to further study – it’s not an automatic sanction,” he said.
    Froome’s sample contained 2,000 ng/ml of salbutamol, double the limit, although that was then corrected to 1,400 ng/ml when his dehydration was factored in. Having returned that finding, the onus was on him to explain how it happened without taking more than the permitted dose.
    The British star, as we now know, has been able to satisfy the UCI and WADA that the one adverse sample he returned during that race, when he was tested almost every day, was an anomaly and not a result of taking too many puffs or taking the drug orally or intravenously.
    This last point is significant as WADA does ban higher dosages of salbutamol taken via those methods, as there is evidence it acts as a stimulant and a muscle-building agent.
    The problem for WADA, Dr Rabin explained, is that even when you inhale salbutamol 60-70 per cent of it goes into the gastrointestinal tract, as it would if you took it as a pill. This is why WADA’s advice is not to get too close to the dosage limit as doing so would suggest your asthma is out of control and you run the risk of an adverse finding.
    “In this case, we had several specific elements,” said Dr Rabin.
    “First, there was a very significant increase in dosage in the preceding days (Froome increased his normal low dosage to a higher but still legal number of puffs to combat worsening symptoms). Second, he was being treated for an infection.
    “And then there was the physiological impact of the event and other factors, such as dietary supplements and so on.
    “Given all of this, we decided an excretion study was impossible and the finding was not inconsistent with therapeutic dosages.”
    The reference to excretion study relates to WADA’s usual requirement in these cases that the athlete replicates what happened in a laboratory.
    Asked why anyone else in Froome’s position will not use the same arguments, Dr Rabin said people were underestimating how many of these cases occur every year without anyone knowing about them, as was meant to happen in this case, too.
    “It’s not a unique case but because it was Froome, a sporting celebrity, and it was put in the limelight, it appears to be unique,” he said.
    “We deal with all cases on an individual basis and I have personally dealt with several in the past. Yes, there are elements of this case that are fairly unusual but I can assure you it is not unique.”
    Stressing that the rules are “for everyone”, Dr Rabin said that WADA would send the details of the case to its experts for review, as it does after every significant case.
    “But for now, we have no reason to question the rules,” he said.
    And on whether WADA should prepare itself for appeals, he said: “That is more of a legal issue than a science question but, again, each case is different and we can see no reason that previous cases have not been handled fairly.”

    So he’s saying Froome’s case isn’t unique and there is an implication that this has happened before but obviously the public doesn’t hear about it?

  • KT Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 6:01 pm

    With regards the issues around the case being closed despite no CPKS, I feel some common sense has prevailed as WADA state that ‘it is presumed’ not to be for therapeutic use and when it is impossible for a CPKS to be produced a rider should be allowed to provide alternative evidence – which given that Froome was tested throughout the Vuelta, helped his case.
    Comparing it to other cases whether Ulissi, Pettachi or Contador doesn’t help either as they were different circumstances and were treated in their own individual context.
    Also those wishing to see all the evidence etc. you should never have known about this case in the first place so why should you see the evidence – it has been reviewed by the UCI, WADA and external experts and found to be acceptable. Froome has provided his data before on for the usual conspiracy theorists to use it to demand even more and they won’t be happy until they find something that supports their views/prejudices. Froome has been cleared and should be allowed to move on and you should too.

  • Oliver Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 6:06 pm

    This opposition between those who think most pro riders are clean (or who believe this at the time the suspected pros are active: it is safer to say someone doped when its all in the past) and between those who say they all doped: that is the cycling public. Furiously opposed to one another, they are part of the same, larger group. Ditto for the commentators.
    We are not that different really those of us for whom Froome is clearly guilty and those of us for whom he is innocent! Each position is the embodiment of a different kind of concern and appreciation for the sport.

  • RonDe Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 7:18 pm

    J Evans loves experts so here is Dr Jeroen Swart’s take on the issue:

    “So my take on the Froome issue. This has been brewing for some time. 1) There is limited evidence for Salbutamol being on the list in the first place. Other more pressing substances aren’t on it. 2) The thresholds were based on very limited research. This is WADA’s mess. It just took someone who had the finances and means to challenge the regulations on Salbutamol and they’ve been found wanting. My opinion: Take Salbutamol off the list. You get more bang for your buck out of a cup of coffee. Then put Tramadol on it. And prohibit Corticosteroids at all times. Hopefully some changes soon.”

    I guess that answers cynical Larry with his caffeine too. For the record, I don’t disagree with any of this.

    • Chuffy Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 1:17 am

      What?! The same Jeroen Swart who carried out those tests that showed Froome had the physiology of a Tour winner? 😉

      He earned my respect with the way he dealt with sustained attacks by that deranged idiot Vayer, who insisted that Swart’s testing wasn’t credible and*only* tests carried out by himself had any validity. It was hilarious and also utterly depressing. The way some cycling fans conduct themselves re: experts and authority reminds me of Trump’s supporters – everyone is crooked unless they say exactly what I choose to believe and to hell with facts & evidence.

    • J Evans Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:30 am

      I hope you’re not joining the merry band of people whose primary aim with their comments is to say something bad about J Evans – ever since inrng wrote his lies about me on here it’s like those who wish to bully others have seen that as a green light (it is the psychology of the imbecile).
      I don’t include you in that lot – you and I, after all, have disagreed on almost everything for as long as I can remember your name appearing on this page.
      I agree with Swart that those other drugs are far more important and have been calling for them to be banned for years – and I agree (as I said in my original comment) that WADA’s rules are a mess.
      As for salbutamol, I’d still rather play it safe when it came to PEDs.
      Fact is, though, the rules were what they were at the time of Froome’s now non-AAF.
      And until we see the evidence that persuaded WADA, it’s going to be hard for many to believe the story – because of WADA’s history, because it’s not what happened to other cyclists, because this has happened to the most famous cyclist, because Froome’s recovery at the Vuelta seemed pretty remarkable for a sick man and most of all because there was no pharmacokinetic study, which is the usual way of proving/disproving these matters.

    • J Evans Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:53 am

      Froome has said that the public will understand once all the information comes to light.
      We are nowhere near there yet.
      He could release that information, so it remains to be seen if he does.

    • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 5:01 am

      “WADA retroactively applied the correction to his pending case”

      Froome’s uncorrected salbutamol level was 2000ng/mL, as reported last year in the original story published by The Guardian and Le Monde on December 13. That value is double WADA’s limit of 1000ng/mL (eg., the maximum concentration that it considers as evidence that an athlete used the permitted therapeutic dose).

      However, WADA’s technical documents, which date back to at least 2014, allow for uncertainty in lab measurements of 10 percent. When deciding whether or not a reading warrants further investigation as an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF), they use a ‘decision limit’ (DL) of 1200ng/mL. Froome’s sample was 66.7 per cent over that limit.

      WADA’s newest rules allow for even further adjustment of the limit.

      There has also been an allowance for urine samples that are highly concentrated because of dehydration, but a correction for this was only applied to ‘endogenous substances’ (growth hormone, steroids) before a WADA 2018 technical document was issued on November 15, 2017.

      Although TD2018DL did not go into effect until March 1, 2018, by Froome’s comments, and The Times’ previous report that his corrected salbutamol level was 1429ng/mL, it can be concluded that WADA retroactively applied the correction to his pending case, bringing the decision limit up from 1200ng/mL to 1680ng/mL.

  • KevinK Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 7:33 pm

    Thank you for your very careful and measured summary, Inring. I don’t imagine you are holding your breath awaiting that burst of sun-drenched transparency and candor, from any of Sky/WADA/UCI/et al., though you are correct that that is what’s needed more than anything. The way this has been handled, and now the way it’s been awkwardly swept under the rug, is yet another embarrassing black eye for cycling.

    I’m now kicking myself for the hours I’ve spent following this case over the last 9 months – I should have ignored it until now, then read your summary, and shrugged it off as cycling business as usual. To anyone who is rabidly defending Sky and Froome, I would honestly ask – if Nibali had won the 2017 Vuelta, and then we found out he had the AAF in question, would you be making the exact same comments you are making now? I don’t think many of the defenders would pass such a Turing Test, but maybe I’m wrong.

    As for the effect on the fans of the sport, I can tell you that among my work mates who have followed cycling for years (I’m in the Netherlands), the common reaction was a resigned, “What did anyone really expect? Money talks, just like in FIFA.”

  • KTF Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 9:31 pm

    Here’s an interview with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s science director defending their handling of Chris Froome’s case. Pretty sure it’s a global exclusive as he was about to board a long-haul flight. Given the criticism WADA is getting on social media since the Froome decision broke, I’m surprised this hasn’t been picked up. I’ll blame the World Cup, the heat wave and my dull intro and post it here to see who wants to read his quotes.
    —————————————————————————-
    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has strongly denied that the decision to clear Chris Froome of cheating has left its policy on the asthma drug salbutamol in shreds.
    Speaking to Press Association Sport, WADA’s science director Dr Oliver Rabin said the case was “not unique” and he did not believe it would lead to a wave of appeals from athletes who have been banned in the past.
    Earlier on Monday, cycling’s governing body the UCI announced it was not proceeding with an anti-doping case against Froome despite the Team Sky star returning a urine sample at last year’s Vuelta a Espana that contained double the permitted amount of salbutamol.
    Having always maintained his innocence, the four-time Tour de France champion welcomed the news but many pundits have questioned how WADA’s rules on salbutamol, and other so-called “threshold drugs”, can survive.
    Asked what impact he thought the case would have, Dr Rabin said: “I may be about to disappoint you, but I do not believe it will have much at all.”
    Salbutamol is classed as a ‘specified’ drug by WADA, which means it is allowed for therapeutic reasons up to a certain dosage. This is because there is no performance-enhancing effect for asthmatics taking normal amounts of the drug via an inhaler.
    For salbutamol, the limit is 1,000 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) and that has been set so the majority of people, taking no more than 1,600 micrograms a day, or 16 puffs on an adult inhaler, would not fail the test.
    The word “majority” is crucial as Dr Rabin acknowledges WADA “is well aware of salbutamol’s variability” – in other words, not everyone processes it in the same way and some process it differently some of the time.
    “That is why an adverse finding only opens the door to further study – it’s not an automatic sanction,” he said.
    Froome’s sample contained 2,000 ng/ml of salbutamol, double the limit, although that was then corrected to 1,400 ng/ml when his dehydration was factored in. Having returned that finding, the onus was on him to explain how it happened without taking more than the permitted dose.
    The British star, as we now know, has been able to satisfy the UCI and WADA that the one adverse sample he returned during that race, when he was tested almost every day, was an anomaly and not a result of taking too many puffs or taking the drug orally or intravenously.
    This last point is significant as WADA does ban higher dosages of salbutamol taken via those methods, as there is evidence it acts as a stimulant and a muscle-building agent.
    The problem for WADA, Dr Rabin explained, is that even when you inhale salbutamol 60-70 per cent of it goes into the gastrointestinal tract, as it would if you took it as a pill. This is why WADA’s advice is not to get too close to the dosage limit as doing so would suggest your asthma is out of control and you run the risk of an adverse finding.
    “In this case, we had several specific elements,” said Dr Rabin.
    “First, there was a very significant increase in dosage in the preceding days (Froome increased his normal low dosage to a higher but still legal number of puffs to combat worsening symptoms). Second, he was being treated for an infection.
    “And then there was the physiological impact of the event and other factors, such as dietary supplements and so on.
    “Given all of this, we decided an excretion study was impossible and the finding was not inconsistent with therapeutic dosages.”
    The reference to excretion study relates to WADA’s usual requirement in these cases that the athlete replicates what happened in a laboratory.
    Asked why anyone else in Froome’s position will not use the same arguments, Dr Rabin said people were underestimating how many of these cases occur every year without anyone knowing about them, as was meant to happen in this case, too.
    “It’s not a unique case but because it was Froome, a sporting celebrity, and it was put in the limelight, it appears to be unique,” he said.
    “We deal with all cases on an individual basis and I have personally dealt with several in the past. Yes, there are elements of this case that are fairly unusual but I can assure you it is not unique.”
    Stressing that the rules are “for everyone”, Dr Rabin said that WADA would send the details of the case to its experts for review, as it does after every significant case.
    “But for now, we have no reason to question the rules,” he said.
    And on whether WADA should prepare itself for appeals, he said: “That is more of a legal issue than a science question but, again, each case is different and we can see no reason that previous cases have not been handled fairly.”

    • Peter Birch Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 1:55 am

      Thank you for posting this. I appreciate the addition to the information available.

  • Ferdi Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 11:18 pm

    So what now? The wise thing for ASO to do now is to exclude Froome from the TdF and at the same time sue WADA and UCI for billions for prevarication, reputational damage, and breach of their own rules. Sue in front of a French jurisdiction, with President Macron’s backing, both poltical and financial. Yes, the situation is that serious. It’s an emergency. The TdF’s survival is at stake. Really.

    • Peter Birch Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:03 am

      Nonsense.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 9:49 am

      Remember the Tour is very resilient, it is a socio-cultural phenomenon in France which is why it has survived past scandals, even Festina (just).

      Up to 12 million people will stand beside the road and most couldn’t spell salbutamol, let alone pore over the details about gravity sampling, thresholds etc. A share will know Froome was investigated, a share will know he’s been exonerated. Many more will be more excited about grabbing free saucisson and Haribo samples and it’s this that anchors the race.

      • Ferdi Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 10:14 am

        Not the same this time. Past scandals were about some people going to the dark side. Now it’s about the whole institutional framework going to the dark side.

        • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 7:03 pm

          Not just nonsense but pure, 100% tinfoil nonsense!

      • Nick Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 1:17 pm

        Well said. In the last 20 years, the Tour has had winners stripped off their titles for doping, leaders kicked off the race for doping, and a race in which almost half the riders were expelled for doping or quit in protest at the raids which were uncovering their doping. Most of those people standing by the side of the road will assume that everybody/the vast majority of riders are doping, and won’t be that bothered.

        I think the race can cope with the revelation that the UCI can’t confirm whether last year’s champion had too many puffs on his inhaler back in September.

      • J Evans Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:25 pm

        It only takes one nut.
        I think I’d be more surprised if nothing happened in the entire 3 weeks.

  • Peter Birch Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 1:47 am

    Having read the UCI and WADA statements The facts would appear to be that;
    1. Froome has proven a prescribed increase in his Salbutamol dosage.
    2. That Salbutamol degrades in a person’s system at different rates.
    3. The extreme conditions of his body during the Vuelta could not be reproduced in lab conditions, but given the above it would be fair to infer the increased levels in his body were not an impossibility given a legally acceptable intake.

    I think that’s understandable, and probably the right outcome given that Salbutamol is not a drug with obvious performance benefits.

    I would also add that the UCI statement is extremely poor and will only add to the speculation due to the lack of information within it.

    I am no Sky fan boy, but based on the (unfortunately) limited ‘detail’ provided I agree with this outcome. Further facts may paint a different picture however.

    • Ferdi Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 7:32 am

      This IS a load of nonsense. Do you know how this works procedurally? What does “not impossible” matter in anti-doping case? Do you know the principle of “strict liability”?

      • Peter Birch Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 5:13 pm

        Strict liability is not a closed deal as you imply, especially with a substance that is not a banned substance. That is exactly why WADA provide the opportunity for athletes to attempt to re-create an adverse analytical finding under lab conditions. I grant you in this case that has been by-passed for the reason supplied.

        I deal in facts and although we are often drip fed partial facts I believe given the limited detail we have at the moment my view is that this outcome seems reasonable and justifiable.

        The view you state appears to be one of burn it all down and start again, which may have been the answer 10 years ago, but I feel cycling has moved passed that now.

        • Ferdi Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 9:23 pm

          I can’t believe all the relativising stuff I’m reading. The rules are clear enough and closed enough. In case of doubt after an AAF, guilty if the doubt persists. And they have been implemented in this spirit: “if the rules are too strict or flawed, too bad”. The change of approach towards one special is what cannot be tolerated. Justifying it, NOW, is ethically corrupt.

  • Sonja Neteu Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 3:27 am

    The Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold makes the rules.

  • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 4:56 am

    Did WADA change the rules *after* Froome’s case started?

    ‘Froome’s uncorrected salbutamol level was 2000ng/mL, as reported last year in the original story published by The Guardian and Le Monde on December 13. That value is double WADA’s limit of 1000ng/mL (eg., the maximum concentration that it considers as evidence that an athlete used the permitted therapeutic dose).

    However, WADA’s technical documents, which date back to at least 2014, allow for uncertainty in lab measurements of 10 percent. When deciding whether or not a reading warrants further investigation as an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF), they use a ‘decision limit’ (DL) of 1200ng/mL. Froome’s sample was 66.7 per cent over that limit.

    WADA’s newest rules allow for even further adjustment of the limit.

    There has also been an allowance for urine samples that are highly concentrated because of dehydration, but a correction for this was only applied to ‘endogenous substances’ (growth hormone, steroids) before a WADA 2018 technical document was issued on November 15, 2017.

    Although TD2018DL did not go into effect until March 1, 2018, by Froome’s comments, and The Times’ previous report that his corrected salbutamol level was 1429ng/mL, it can be concluded that WADA *retroactively* applied the correction to his pending case, bringing the decision limit up from 1200ng/mL to 1680ng/mL.

  • RonDe Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 9:45 am

    A game-changing interview in today’s London Times is an interview with Ken Fitch, the scientist who directed the research that led to the Salbutamol test in the first place. It turns out he SUPPORTED FROOME in his defence and now thinks the Salbutamol test he invented is flawed and must be changed.

    Direct quote from the article:

    “The sports scientist responsible for the salbutamol regulations that left Chris Froome fighting to save his reputation has admitted that the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) rules are flawed and need an overhaul because of the risk of false positives.

    Ken Fitch said that he had to support Froome’s case, which he did with a written submission, because he felt that the Wada threshold, based on his studies, was catching innocent athletes. Professor Fitch believes that Wada’s statement clearing Froome of an adverse analytical finding (AAF) from La Vuelta last year was “unprecedented”.

    Professor Fitch, who works for the University of Western Australia, told The Times: “The outcome of this is groundbreaking. It’s big not just for Chris but for asthmatic athletes and for the Wada rules. Most significantly, they have accepted that the salbutamol you take and the level in your urine do not necessarily correlate . . . They should have accepted it years ago.”

    Those Wada regulations, including a maximum dose of 1,600 mcg per 24 hours (16 puffs) and a decision limit for an AAF of 1,200 ng/ml urinary concentration were based on work that Fitch led in the 1990s. Fitch was a member of the IOC medical commission for 28 years and pushed it to carry out studies to distinguish between oral and inhaled salbutamol.

    “I’ll admit I made a terrible blunder,” he said. “The sport with the highest prevalence was swimming so that’s who we tested. But what happens after an hour of swimming? A full bladder. Cycling for five hours is completely different, you have little but quite concentrated urine. And a major error with our studies was that we did not measure the urine for specific gravity.

    “From those studies came the threshold, which Wada increased to the 1,200 decision limit, but it was based on a false premise. The studies were never performed with the aim of finding the amount of salbutamol in urine after inhaling the allowable quantity. As I had a major role in these decisions, I acknowledge my error . . . I feel quite concerned about cases like Chris Froome.””

    Conspiracy theorists its over to you.

    • Ecky Thump Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 10:01 am

      Interesting.
      It is a Murdoch-owned paper though RonDe, don’t forget that.
      I don’t read it myself, so don’t make me go there 🙂

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 10:04 am

      It’s not really game changing, as much as it’s making a buzz this morning. Loyal readers will remember this blog pointed out the same ground in 2015 and the topic has been referred back to several times. In case you missed it, scroll to the “Risky Ventolin” paragraph in http://inrng.com/2015/02/diego-ulissi-and-the-mpcc/ and it’s a point that’s been made elsewhere too, there’s plenty in the academic journals too.

      • RonDe Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 10:32 am

        Having also watched Ross Tucker’s latest video on the subject this morning and read your past article and this one in the Times I’d say that testing, especially Salbutamol testing, is in a bad place such that even the tester cannot say who has cheated and who has now. So how people who write comments on blogs seem to know so much just totally baffles me.

        • ErnieC Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 12:01 pm

          Must also baffle Ale-jet and Ulissi methinks.

      • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 7:13 pm

        It’s game-changing.

        The debate has been around for some time, as you say, but it’s been academic between scientist academics. Everybody else can just take a look – if they are bothered at all – and say it’s one expert’s word against another expert’s word. Happens all the time.

        The scientist academic who did the work on which WADA base their rules goes public in international media in the aftermath of a high-profile case to say that the rules are flawed, his research was flawed? That’s not one guy’s word against another guy. That’s a castle built on sand being undermined by the incoming tide of massively increased interest and scrutiny.

    • Davo Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 10:10 am

      Plenty of swimmers I know don’t have a full bladder after an hour in therror pool…..if you know what I mean.

    • Larrick Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 11:46 am

      Thanks very much for putting this here Ron.

      One of the biggest frustrations over the months debating this whole thing has been the inability of people to see that this isn’t just about cycling. If I had a dollar every time I mentioned swimming… It should have been obvious to everybody that, as I repeated yesterday, that GC riders in GTs weren’t even thought about by WADA in relation to Salbutamol, testing and the PK study. In fact they are a compete outlier.

  • Ned Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:10 pm

    Froomes ‘fueling’ approach during the Giro released.

    Makes for some very interesting reading. It’s quite some level of detail they are controlling

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/44694122

  • Labradorofperception Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:16 pm

    Sky has released Froome’s power, diet and other date form the Giro. It’s here;

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/44694122

    Some intresting comments from Hutch, and interesting they included Jeremy Whittle, given his knowledge of doping etc.

    • J Evans Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:29 pm

      Unusual that they would choose to reveal so much.
      Interesting timing too.
      Could almost be seen as a distraction technique.

      • RonDe Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 2:42 pm

        See my comments about people who will not be convinced regardless of what Froome or Sky do. If they release information its not enough or a distraction technique. If they keep schtum they have something to hide. One begins to seriously question that people like yourself would ever be satisfied. So why not just admit you never will be? It would probably the most honest thing you’ve said here.

        Also note that today the person who helped formulate the Salbutamol test has come out and said that he personally write in defence of Froome and also think Petacchi was innocent too. The experts saying Salbutamol testing is faulty and unreliable are starting to stack up. So why should you, a self-acknowledged non-expert like most of the rest of us, remain so dogmatic where the architect of the very test in question is not? You begin to look something other than a disinterested party.

        • J Evans Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 3:23 pm

          See the various points made on this page by myself and many others – no point me compiling them.
          You can pretend they’re nothing, but promises of evidence being released (not food distraction from the Giro) and then not, rules being changed and then retroactively applied… and that really is just two of many.
          The idea that this issue is cut and dry is ludicrous.
          And no-one could seem less disinterested than you.

        • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 3:24 pm

          I’ll quote KevinK – ‘To anyone who is rabidly defending Sky and Froome, I would honestly ask – if Nibali had won the 2017 Vuelta, and then we found out he had the AAF in question, would you be making the exact same comments you are making now?’

          • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 3:41 pm

            By ‘rabidly defending Sky and Froome’ do you mean that pointing out that as there is literally no evidence to believe they have done anything wrong we shouldn’t treat them as having done anything wrong?

            If so, I think we can safely say that yes, everyone would be.

            Your quote says a lot more about your position than anyone else’s.

          • RonDe Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 3:56 pm

            Is pointing out that the architect of the Salbutamol test himself wrote a submission defending Froome evidence of “rabidly defending Sky and Froome” or simply pointing out that there are serious flaws in testing being revealed here?

            And that would remain true even if it were Nibali and not Froome.

          • Ferdi Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 9:15 pm

            If Froome was Russian, you know he’d be sanctioned, and you’d be yelling cheater. Deny it and you lie.

          • Megi Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 9:21 pm

            The Russian authorities would make sure he wouldn’t.

          • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 4:27 pm

            That doesn’t answer many of the other points made here (plus he was writing in a newspaper owned by the same person who owns the company that sponsors Froome’s team, so there’s a possible conflict of interests there).
            The more you shout about how innocent someone definitely is, whilst ignoring any point that suggests otherwise, the less convincing you become.
            (Very few people – and I’m not one of them – are saying that he’s definitely guilty, but many are expressing perfectly reasonable doubts about this whole process.)
            You also didn’t answer the question regarding Nibali: ‘would you be making the exact same comments you are making now?’
            But the answer’s obvious – that’s why you won’t give it, because you’d have to admit to your bias.

          • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 4:29 pm

            Anonymous: It’s not my quote. That’s the thing about a quote: it’s something someone else said.

          • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 4:34 pm

            re: Anonymous.

            That’s utterly delightful – so you are claiming that you quoted someone else with whom you did not agree? One wonders why you posted it at all, then, as that was literally the entirety of your comment.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 5 July 2018, 2:38 am

            RonDe, as throughout this page, you simply haven’t answered questions that don’t fit your narrative.

      • Larrick Thursday, 5 July 2018, 5:21 am

        Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

        You made me spit my drink out J Evans. It won’t be forgotten… 😉

        • Anonymous Thursday, 5 July 2018, 6:04 am

          Releasing random data from the Giro is nothing like releasing the evidence (as Froome said they would) that explains Froome’s very high level of salbutamol, though.

          • Larrick Friday, 6 July 2018, 2:20 am

            What evidence? What exactly would satisfy people? There’s wholistic approach to being on the panel/a judge, going through masses of information which they will ask questions of and get answers and make their own notes. Would the independent UCI panel and WADA experts have to release a video too showing their thinking? The mind boggles as to what people expect from a case that didn’t go past the investigation stage. Imagine if every time the police interviewed someone about a crime and then let them leave as no charges where going to be laid that they still had to release to the public a ‘reasoned decision’?

            If you’re so concerned about the fight against doping, you’d be far better off letting them keep their small resources to actually test and investigate than spend more money placating members of the public who don’t trust them anyway because if you did you wouldn’t be asking for all of this.

          • Anonymous Friday, 6 July 2018, 4:09 am

            Thing is, the anti-doping experts don’t trust them either – and consistently say so. That’s where my cynicism comes from.

            Maybe these people have some weird axe to grind or maybe they’re experts and have seen how things are done.
            Just one example:

            Casting a critical eye on corruption in sport: Q&A with anti-doping expert Robin Parisotto
            by Shane Stokes

            June 15, 2018

            Also, look at Andre Cardoso. Provisionally suspended for a year now.
            A sample said EPO; B sample was inconclusive.
            And yet the UCI have just left him provisionally suspended whilst they do nothing.
            Funny how differently he and Froome have been treated.
            One guy couldn’t be proven guilty because the pharmacokinetic test couldn’t be done – so he was presumed innocent.
            The other guy’s B test didn’t match the A test, but he’s been presumed guilty.
            I think Cardoso’s case is the greater injustice. You either have to find someone guilty or not guilty – not leave them provisionally suspended.

          • Larrick Friday, 6 July 2018, 5:04 am

            I think we can agree that just because someone knows a fair bit about a particular subject, subjectivity is not a given. Parisitto is known as ‘rent-a-gob’ in my neck of the world. He’s got speaking engagements to sell. Stokes is first and foremost a journalist and one who edits a site that has never been even handed in its treatment if Sky only behind CN in its bias.

            If you’re going to listen to ‘experts’ I suggest those that aren’t enmeshed in the cycling world with understandable starting points of varying degrees is your best bet. I will tell you now that none of the so called experts that have told us why Froome is guilty since the leak ever pointed out that a single urine test for an inhaled substance that was put in place by WADA was more fit for purpose for swimming and athletics than it was for road cycling. That a one size fits all procedure for testing an athlete who takes 10 seconds to perform and one that takes 5 hours and does that day in day out for a few weeks is not going to require further investigation. That when 99.9% of testing for Salbutamol carried out sports wide is not on athletes who can spend 5 hours in the saddle and more importantly have a pee, it might not be fit for purpose…

          • Anonymous Friday, 6 July 2018, 5:17 am

            Jack Robertson and Michael Ashenden say much the same sort of things about how much the authorities want to catch drug cheats.
            I trust these experts who seem to have nothing much to gain more than I trust the people running the sport (or sport in general), who have a lot of financial interest in how [that] sport appears.
            I obviously don’t know that they’re right, but I certainly listen to the questions they pose and I certainly don’t trust the authorities.

          • Anonymous Friday, 6 July 2018, 5:18 am

            There’s also Pound and Tucker to name a couple more.
            Can they all have a grudge? And the same grudge?

          • Larrick Friday, 6 July 2018, 5:53 am

            You’re confusing the difference between the likes of Dick Pound letting everybody know about the inadequacies involved with WADA and the IOC etc and quite rightly calling it out and people who have been trying to ‘prove’ for years that Sky and to a lesser extent Froome, are Postal and Armstrong reincarnated. This is my whole point about putting the views of those that have something to prove over those that don’t. I’m not on twitter but someone sent me a link of Inrng tweeting his original story on this last year. You must have made 40 comments and they were in the main assuming that Froome was guilty even if you thought they would let him off. We had an exchange too. One of my responses was “We also have no idea out of the approximately 1000 of AAFs that result in no further action that WADA publish for a year, how many are because a Salbutamol test was found to be inaccurate. There maybe dozens. Add to that that dehydration is the obvious reason for a drug in a urine test to be showing at a high level, it would seem the most likely answer to me but not one I’d necessarily bet on as it might be difficult to prove.” Do you know why I said that? Because my starting point wasn’t Sky doping. Nor was it even about cycling. It was taking the information available and coming to a logical conclusion. It’s why so often past crimes aren’t admissible in court as they’d colour the jury to the case they were trying. I obviously have my biases too though I try to take that into a account. If this had been Contador I wouldn’t have probably said anything last year. Eventually though I’d have come to the same conclusion because it makes the most sense.

          • Anonymous Friday, 6 July 2018, 6:40 am

            Well, we were talking about WADA, etc. here and not specifically Froome.

            But having looked back on the old post you mention, I’m pretty happy with my first comment (that isn’t a quote of someone else).

            I started off from a position of scepticism about Sky because of all the other things that have come out about them. Evidence: same reason I’m sceptical about WADA, et al. – it doesn’t just come from my fevered imagination.

            It’s here:

            I don’t see how any punishment that was not similar to that given to Diego Ulissi could be justified, although, as you say, I’m sure that various (non-independent) scientists and lawyers will now be brought out to debate the pharmacokinetic study of Froome’s use.
            It’s very hard to see how Sky could be this incompetent that this was a mistake: the results are so high.

            And why – once again – was this kept secret until newspapers found out about it? Yes, those are ‘the rules’, but why are the rules set up to keep to keep the public in the dark? How many more cases like this have there been? For all we know, this could be commonplace. Be open.

            High time the UCI enforced MPCC-style rules or stronger: allowing corticosteroids and tr4madol (in my experience, your website always blocks use of the actual word for some reason) – to name but two – cannot be justified.
            Yes, that wouldn’t make a difference in this instance, but the rule on this could be ‘This is the limit, no excuses’ – that would save us the months of legal rigmarole that we will now endure. (And imagine what a farce it will be if Froome is not punished for this – i.e. the typical farce that is cycling.)
            It’s a cultural thing – the culture in cycling is still ‘Take the drugs you can get away with taking’ (and surely no-one believes that there really are so many asthmatic cyclists).
            Sky certainly seem to be employing such nefarious methods and I’m sure many other teams are too.
            Cycling’s tolerance (shared with all sports, to be fair) of various drug use is always going to come back and bite it.

          • Anonymous Friday, 6 July 2018, 6:47 am

            I’m pretty happy with the rest of my posts on there too – although I only skimmed them.
            I pointed out that all was speculation and that I’m suspicious of all teams, not just Sky.
            That’s still where I stand on Froome’s non-AAF: I don’t know, I’m suspicious, there’s no evidence to prove anything either way. You either trust WADA and the UCI or you don’t. The evidence over the years means I don’t.

          • Larrick Friday, 6 July 2018, 8:03 am

            Well that’s where we differ because I’m not a trust or I don’t person. I take each situation individually, especially with organisations. If I felt that on the whole teams were corrupt and the UCI and WADA were too, I’d agree that the Froome case looks iffy. Besides the leaker in the UCI (because believing Sky leaked it is tinfoil hat territory), I don’t think they’re anywhere near the organisation they were. The addition of LADs and their need to also refer to independents makes it nearly a moot point anyway. As for WADA, if this was FIFA or more importantly the IOC, then I would be more suspicious but it’s not. A sport where the best in the world earn similar to an average EPL player. An average one. It’s not in the same league for someone at WADA to risk a corruption scandal. As for doping in general, of course it goes on and some are caught and others aren’t but there’s been a trend over the years that shows many are eventually even if a few years down the line. I’m going to stick my neck out and say there will never be a scandal where WADA say we’ve retested everyones samples with our new wonder test and it turns out Salbutamol was the new EPO – CERA though…

          • Larrick Friday, 6 July 2018, 8:10 am

            Oh and sorry. Just on your comment… “… ‘This is the limit, no excuses’ – that would save us the months of legal rigmarole that we will now endure…” I think the revelation that more threshold ‘positives’ across all sports result in no further action should put paid to any form of binary decision making until the testing can beat 99% accuracy. There are far too many people that would suffer and even if it happened, those athletes people didn’t like would still be accused anyway whilst huge numbers of innocent people would be vilified for doping.

  • Ferdi Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 4:17 pm

    At the very least, Sir Craig Reedie must resign. His organisation has had a monstrous failure.

  • Neil Storey Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 7:28 pm

    Follow the money – not my quote (I wish) but attributed to Deep Throat in All The President’s Men.

    And Sky? They are their own worst enemy with regard to PR.

    Long ago, someone very wise (yes, in the world of PR) told me: it takes years to generate any kind of a reputation and especially one that’ll last through the years but, get it wrong and it’ll take a matter of minutes for that reputation to vanish down the drain.

    For reputation, read credibility in their case.

    I wish Froome a safe ride around France although I don’t imagine he’ll find easy passage.

  • Anonymous Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 11:17 pm

    The latest edition of the cycling podcast ( http://thecyclingpodcast.com ) talks about the case and includes an excellent interview with J Vaughters about the case. I can’t recommend listening to it enough, if only because it clearly addresses many of the canards that certain shoddy reporting of the case has encouraged. (Not to mention the armchair self-doctorate awarding twitterati…)

  • Bundle Monday, 9 July 2018, 10:59 am

    I think the blog entry on the Contador verdict should be remembered at this point: http://inrng.com/2012/02/contador-cas-verdict/

    I quote the comment I made back then: “Strict liability proving to be such a fishy, un-juridical, principle, that it has led the CAS to establish a difference between being guilty of doping and convicted of doping, it will surely meet its death the next time it is invoked. Luckily not this time.”