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April 04, 2007

German officials say Ullrich DNA in Fuentes fridge; ProTour embraces DNA tests

NBCSports.com | ProTour bike teams commit to DNA testing

So it looks like the other shoe may have dropped from Jan Ullrich's retirement last month. German officials announced yesterday that a DNA sample they took from Ullrich was a match for some of the refrigerated blood recovered from an Operación Puerto raid. The Bonn prosecutor said charges are likely to be filed “relatively soon,” for fraud or for violating German medical regulations.

Ullrich's lawyers are saying that even a DNA match is no proof of doping. That is strictly true, in the same sense that a DNA match on Monica Lewinsky's blue dress was not strictly proof of oral sex. If in fact Ullrich's blood was in Eufemiano Fuentes' refrigerator, then Ullrich clearly lied when he said he didn't know Fuentes, and clearly was receiving medical treatments from a doctor whose specialty appears to have been sports doping.

On a related note, the UCI chose today to announce that all 20 ProTour teams and a large majority of riders have agreed in principle to DNA testing. Six riders reportedly refused to join in, but should suffer no consequences. For now, at least.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 4, 2007 in Doping, Jan Ullrich, Top Stories | Permalink


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Here's to hoping that if the UCI doens't require DNA to match the other Puerto suspects that the ASO does.

Posted by: Vince at Apr 6, 2007 9:47:02 AM

So why is Basso exempt from this exercise? The Italians don't want to deal with the truth? Armstrong pulling strings to keep Disco's name clean so it will not hurt his foundation?

Posted by: Frank at Apr 6, 2007 1:00:26 PM

Whether Ullrich lied or not, I have zero faith in the testing system since the Lance and Floyd situations, not to mention Tyler. They say they have a DNA match? I don't believe them. The credibility of the whole testing apparatus is completely shot.

The witchhunt nature of Operacion Puerto and moves made by some authorities to treat doping as a crime now, retroactively, makes them de facto untrustworthy.

Whatever "evidence" they come up with, I will assume it has been fabricated by someone in the extremely porous chain-of-custody. Those faxes? So easy to frame someone -- just write their name on a "schedule" of drugs.

Blood? Who knows how many vials doping control has taken from Ullrich over the years, which are in some random freezer any number of people have access to, like the 1999 TdF pee.

Labs are not above fabricating evidence in high-profile cases. In the U.S. there have been *numerous* instances where a crime lab employee has falsified results -- sometimes just out of laziness.

The Floyd case shows how incredibly sloppy they can be, while also certifying corrections as "originals" along with the actual, mistaken originals; violating their own conflict of interest by having the same technicians for the confirmation testing (this has happened repeatedly) against their OWN rules; and using some one-off equipment with uncertified software pretending it's reliable for establishing something they have never proven it's reliable at!

Posted by: Lance at Apr 6, 2007 9:28:18 PM

Here are some facts.

* Lance claims to have never failed a drug test. That's only true if you exclude medical exemptions and a-sample only tests. He has failed tests with medical exemptions and he failed an EPO test without enough sample material for a b test so UCI concluded that it wasn't a failed test, as per the protocol. Maybe he was set up. Maybe he is a cheater, who knows? Short of him admitting it, people will always believe both sides. Multiple different labs however have reported findings that are contradictory Lance's "I've never failed a test" line.

* Multiple teammates of lance have now failed tests. Heras, Hamilton, and Landis are the big names. Were they all fixed tests? Hamilton failed a cell cytometry test, what these machines do is they bounce a laser off of individual cells and look at how the light reflects, they can count cells, measure the size of them, do all sorts of things. To test for doping they add agents which cause certain antibodies to reflect light in a more obvious way. Not just did he have someone else' blood in his body, he had had it there long enough to develop antibodies for it. To fake this test would be more than a lazy protocol failure.

* Two (at least, it might be more) other teammates of lance have confessed to using doping products and suggested that they were encouraged to do so in some way. Then they backed off when the media started talking to Lance. I don't know why they'd confess to something they didn't do or why they'd have an axe to grind with Lance or why they'd lie about anything to do with this stuff at all. They backed off but nothing was recanted. No lab was involved in their confession. Vaughters and Andreu have talked about it openly and been recorded. They also suggest that beating in race tests is as simple as doping in between the time you're tested and the race starts.

* A former team doctor of Lance in a book has said Lance was in favor of and encouraged a systematic doping program when he was with Motorola. The book is published. This individual isn't really associated with cycling anymore and wasn't paid.

* Every single time someone accuses the testing of being faulty or invalid or tampering. Yet, never, not once, has a single shred of evidence been shown to even suggest it; other than common business partners between a lab and a funder of the Tour.

Further, the Germans are using the DNA in a court of law. They aren't sanctioning Jan Ullrich, they are going to try him for fraud in a real court. So the German courts are going to use a lab that tampers? I'd imagine you could go to prison for faking evidence in a trial in Germany. Not something like you can't race bikes for 2 years, you go to prison for that kind of crime.

Mistakes happen, fraud happens too. What's more amazing to me is the pin-point precision of it. The protocols are designed to keep samples numbered and without name to prevent that. It is in the labs' best interests to follow those, they aren't getting rich testing cyclist piss, they make their money doing legitimate testing for medical purposes. Why would they compromise their entire reputation for a tiny little portion of their work? More importantly, why hasn't someone gone public and wrote a tell all book or tried to cut a profit by revealing this conspiracy? Lab techs don't make much money.

The one thing all of the cheaters have going for them is that the people chasing them aren't the a-team. It's not a major crime that really draws the attention of the FBI's best or Spain's best. The guys that seem to do the chasing are a bit obsessive about it and that looks bad in the media. Both sides are also using the media. If you want real proof, have the teams publish all the medical exemptions and the complete blood workup of their teams prior to each race. You'll be amazed at the ailments they race with. You'll also be amazed at how much their blood fluctuates and then how a couple top teams will show up to the tour with every single rider dialed right up to every legal limit.

Personally, I don't know about the testing being faked or fixed, I really discount that. I do strongly believe that the teams know, the rides on the teams know, the teams might promote (hell, we know some of them have, like Festina) and that the race organizers don't care too much so long as the race name isn't sullied and they have viewers. You might want to think it's a US vs. France thing but they let him post date medical exemptions in his first win, they marketed him!

Posted by: Vince at Apr 7, 2007 11:25:10 AM

1. Lance has never failed a test. If you have a medical exemption, it's not a failed test. Lance had one for saddle cream containing small amounts of cortisone, in 1999. He never failed a test for EPO, even an 'A' test. The so-called test you're referring to (on old 'B' samples) is covered here: http://www.velonews.com/news/fea/9932.0.html

The UCI's own investigator, former head of a doping lab himself, said in his report that WADA and the LNDD may have "behaved in ways that are completely inconsistent with the rules and regulations of international anti-doping control testing," and may also have been against the law

The chain-of-custody was completely broken, rendering any findings worthless as evidence. If you don't understand the importance of this, then you have no idea what you are talking about.

Multiple teammates of Lance failed tests? Heras denies it, Tyler has said no way he'd inject someone else's blood, and the Floyd Landis case details how the lab made numerous errors, not to mention code violations; it's the same lab cited for misconduct by the UCI's own report!

Two teammates "confessing": Andreu says he did; Vaughters said he KNEW of some unspecified people who did. Andreu is on record doing his best to tarnish Lance's reputation, making numerous claims directly contradicted by other witnesses. He obviously has a grudge.

Tests not being faulty or invalid or tampering: You're flat-out wrong here. The EPO test IS faulty. Rutger Beke showed there are people who can test positive without using EPO:


Invalid? Check out the Landaluze case:

Tampering? That is exactly why you have a chain of custody in the first place. Imagine you sold your car to someone 5 years ago, and then 5 years on the police come after you because someone found drugs in it. That's what happened in the Armstrong 1999 EPO lab misconduct investigation.

German courts won't use a lab that tampers because tampering is illegal? Not all humans are honest, and that goes for crime labs as well:


Among the many problems listed there, one crime lab employee "manipulated the computer files produced by the genetic analyzer, replacing the computerized results for problematic control samples with the results of “clean controls” from other cases." There are many, many other examples.

The "pin-point precision" "amazes" you? By the same LNDD lab cited for misconduct by the UCI, which "committed a boatload of procedural errors in the Landis case," as cited on this same site?

Why hasn't some lab employee tried to make extra money on the side? Well, the fact that the main testing lab in France has a direct leak to one of the newspapers (L'Equipe) shows something is up with that! What kind of integrity does the process have when they violate confidentiality rules REGULARLY, which they were also slammed for in the UCI report?

As for testing being faked or fixed, the tests are subjective and subject to interpretation. Read about the Landis case to see just how sloppy, screwy, and imprecise the testing REALLY is.

Posted by: Lance at Apr 7, 2007 2:47:30 PM

HAHAHA, Lance just owned Vince.

Thank you for taking the time to give links to back up your statements. It's good to know someone knows the difference between opinion and fact.

Posted by: Bob at Apr 16, 2007 12:02:54 PM

If Ullrich is guilty, what's the conclusion of Mr. Armstrong? Don't tell me he did it naturally. Remember Ullrich never tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs either. Lance Armstrong is the biggest fraud in history!

Posted by: "Lance" at Apr 18, 2007 6:17:51 PM

Mmmhhh!! doesn't bode well for mister Landis does it ?... I wonder what kind of bogus excuse he's going to come up with this time... probably the same lame attacks on the lab integrity, and the French conspiracy, and l'Equipe, and l'organisation du Tour, and USADA and WADA... well, see you May 14th champ. Ah ! and let's see if his good friend Lance stays on his buddy rear wheel this time...
What a crock of (beep) !

Posted by: Francois Chicoree at Apr 23, 2007 12:58:42 PM

The whole world of sports is a SHAM. There are no Sports anymore, as MONEY is and has become the bottom line. Instead of using the word SPORT, they should use the words "In the business of ......" There only seems to be two sports that are clean and that is Tennis and Golf

Posted by: John at Apr 23, 2007 3:52:42 PM

I believe Lance was drug assisted, but I don't think that detracts from his achievements, as I think he was riding on a level, albeit pharmaceutically enhanced, playing field.


Like Floyd, Jan etc etc etc, I can't respect Lance as a person. His 'deny, deny, deny' spin is as sincere, as convincing as a used-car-salesman-turned-politician.

That's why I consider David Millar to be a champion, and Lance merely a winner.

Posted by: paul at May 2, 2007 5:59:35 AM

Tit for tat, this and that. Nobody is innocent. The only sham is the effort to uphold integrity and fairness in sports. Money directly conflicts with such ideals, and crushes them everytime. Never bet on anything that can talk.

Posted by: Mash at May 2, 2007 10:59:19 AM