Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stuart Miller Needs To Step Aside (Updated: April 16)

Original Post

Dr. Stuart Miller is Executive Director of the ITF's Science and Technical Department. This department has responsibility for the administration of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme. Dr. Miller has been in charge since 2006. Here are his views on doping in the sport:

Dr. Stuart Miller (2007, ITF World):  "Elite sport is lucrative for players and there have been instances in other sports where the temptation to reach the top by unfair means has been too great. However, we have no evidence that it’s the case in tennis. Tennis is a difficult sport to categorise in terms of its physiological demands and therefore the type of substances that players could see as key to giving them success. Tennis has a number of contributors to success. It has endurance, speed, agility but it also has skill. You can’t be a great player without a significant amount of skill, and that in itself helps tennis be a little more confident that there isn’t widespread abuse of designer substances that we don’t yet know about."

Dr. Miller (2009, Slate): "It may be that tennis is not conducive to EPO...Maybe tennis is not a sport that is driven by a need to maximize stamina, which is what EPO essentially does."

Dr. Miller (2009, Slate): "[Tennis] doesn't lend itself to any one particular kind of performance enhancement."

Dr. Miller (2009, New York Times): “You normally see that in sports where you are trying to maximize some element of physiological performance, like strength, power, stamina, speed...They’re [tennis players] good at all of those things...But they’re not trying to maximize those things.”

Dr. Miller (2012, International Tennis Magazine): "In tennis there's nothing that you're maximizing particularly. I stand by the notion that tennis is not obviously lending itself to a particular category of performance-enhancing products."

Should a person who hold Dr. Miller's views be in charge of managing the ITF's anti-doping program? The clear answer is no. A person with his views cannot be the person responsible for managing the sport's anti-doping program (e.g., test distribution planning). There is no room for debate about this.

Tennis players can benefit from PEDs in almost every way possible: stamina (e.g., EPO), strength (e.g., anabolic steroids), recovery (e.g., testosterone), agility (e.g., stimulants), and so on. Moreover, players have more than ample means, motive, and opportunity to use them. To suggest otherwise is implausible.

Miller should step down from his anti-doping duties. Further, responsibility for the ITF's anti-doping program should be removed from his department and set-up as a stand-alone unit. This needs to happen immediately. I nominate Michael Ashenden to head the program.

April 16th Update

It's been over a year since Wayne Odesnik had his HGH ban suspended after making a deal with the ITF. At the time, Dr. Stuart Miller told Greg Couch the following about Odesnik's assistance: "The magnitude of that will take some time to be fully determined...No, I can't provide you with that (specifics on what Odesnik said) for obvious reasons, because of the sensitive nature of the information provided. Any investigations (resulting from) that information would be compromised."
Let's get this straight: Dr. Miller thinks tennis is clean and believes "that tennis is not obviously lending itself to a particular category of performance-enhancing products." However, when Odesnik is caught in possession of HGH, Miller makes a deal with him "on account of ongoing Substantial Assistance provided by Mr Odesnik in relation to the enforcement of professional rules of conduct."

First, why is Miller cutting deals given his views on the usefulness and prevalance of PEDs in tennis?

More importantly, where are the results of this "substantial assistance"? There have been a handful of anti-doping rule violations by ITF players since the Odesnik deal was announced. None of the violations have been linked (or remotely appear to be linked) to Odesnik. All were players of little renown and no hardcore PED use was uncovered. There was a rumour that Odesnik gave information leading to Daniel Koellerer's match-fixing ban, but this was never confirmed. However, it's hard to believe Odesnik would get reinstated a year early for information on Koellerer because Koellerer was already on the ITF's radar for betting (and previously disciplined).

Overall, with no discernible payoff after over a year, it seems that Dr. Miller struck a poor deal with Odesnik. Also, the lack of results from the case makes other ITF anti-doping penalities for lesser substances (and/or "unintentional" use) look excessively harsh (e.g., Robert Kendrick's original 1-year suspension for a jetlag pill containing methylhexaneamine, which was reduced on appeal). Further, the absence of tangible (or any) results from the Odesnik deal could hamper the ability of the ITF when seeking bans for future violations (i.e., you can bet future players caught for doping violations will point to the Odesnik incident when discussions about ban length come-up at Tribunal).

Therefore, we must ask again: What kind of anti-doping program is Dr. Miller running?

April 15th Update

Here's another excerpt from the 2007 ITF World magazine interview with Dr. Stuart Miller (which is posted on the ITF's anti-doping webpage):

[Jonathan Overend] Q: So do you believe it’s a clean sport?
[Dr. Miller]  A: You would have to draw that conclusion. It would be naive to think we catch every person who is engaged in doping; however, based on the principles that we’re operating within the programme, the record in 2006 is certainly indicative of a clean sport. And you need a comprehensive test programme to demonstrate whether you have a clean sport or not. 

What kind of anti-doping manager would assert their sport is clean based on a single year's testing results? Second, we all know that a "comprehensive test programme" is not how one should describe the tennis anti-doping program. Third, as David Howman has stated, testing only catches "dopey dopers" not sophisticated dopers (Richard Ings has made similar comments on this blog).

Again these comments raise serious questions about the ITF's anti-doping program: Should a person with Dr. Miller's views be in charge of managing the ITF's anti-doping program? As a tennis fan (or a clean player, or the WADA), would you feel that the ITF's anti-doping program is doing all it can to keep the sport clean with someone holding these views at the helm?

April 13th Update: More from Twitter Land

Does anyone agree with Dr. Stuart Miller?

Addendum: Sound Familiar?


  1. Excellent thread!

    And sickening at the same time.
    I'd be curious to learn the salary of this gentleman. Or his total compensation as evidenced by his lifestyle, if data is not available.
    I can't think of any reason other than financial incentives for being so stupid.

  2. He is clearly motivated by money. He is turning a blind eye to the massive amount of doping in tennis on purpose because by doing so he continues to line his pockets. One thing is for certain;nothing will ever change as long as this guy is in charge.

  3. Table tennis players and snooker players have tested positive for PEDs in the past. To think that tennis is the exception is grossly naive. I'm not one for grand conspiracies necessarily, but this fellow, Stuart Miller, is *beyond* naive. He really is at the point of being nothing more than a PR man, trying to "sell" the idea that tennis is clean by saying there is not one main thing you try to maximise at the expense of all others. This actually means that tennis is susceptible to *every* form of PED. And that tennis players would benefit greatly from PEDs.

  4. Compare Stuart Miller's comments above to Richard Ings's comments in here. Mr Ings fully acknowledges that the recovery enhancing, stamina enhancing, power enhancing, qualities of PEDs makes tennis a prime candidate for dope abuse. He also thinks that target testing should be far more thorough than it really is.

    Maybe this is why tennis's OOC testing (and IC testing for that matter) is so unthorough. Maybe Stuart Miller thinks it is pointless to test players with the goal of catching them out because none of them would be doping any way. Or, maybe he is playing his part of PR-man for tennis, creating this illusion that testing is rigorous, while really it is seemingly almost designed to NOT catch cheats.

  5. Now, now, SnR. Don't you know this is witch-hunting of the most "seditious" kind? Calling for the dismissal of a top ITF anti-doping official simply because he's totally clueless about PEDs.

    This must be more of the ITF's famous "commitment" to fighting doping that Mr. Ings was so eloquently explaining to us. Again, I would be very interested to hear what Mr. Ings has to say about this sort of thing.

    1. In fairness to Mr Ings, when he has the facts put before him he acknowledges the gross inadequacies of the testing. Although he puts it in a diplomatic, grossly understated way, where if you'd blink you'd miss it (i.e., paraphrasing, he says "There is room for improvement" when shown that NO target testing appears to be going on, with players getting maybe a couple of OOC tests a year even when they are free to miss one every 6 months, and they are not given repeat OOC tests when they miss one, like they should be given).

  6. We are coming up on the 15th anniversary of Petr Korda's juiced up win at the Australian Open and Stuart Miller is still spouting this nonsense.

  7. The more Miller's comments sink in to me, the more they annoy me. How on earth can someone ultimately working in dope testing, come up with stuff like he has? He should be saying something like "Tennis players have doped before and are probably doping now, but they should know, with our target testing, we will catch them!". The absolute last thing someone in his position should be saying is "I stand by the notion that tennis is not obviously lending itself to a particular category of performance-enhancing products". This guy is in SERIOUS denial. I really can come to no other conclusion that he is selling the idea that tennis is dope-free. This is NOT his job - his job is (in part) to ensure it's as dope-free as possible, not to act as PR man. This almost strips his credibility away entirely in my opinion.

  8. "Pascal Coville reports even Swedish journos can't get news of Robin Soderling, out with mono for 9 months ...and counting"

    I did think it might be exactly 12 months :-)

    1. Pascal Coville is wrong: there was a longish Söderling interview in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (19th of February issue), as reported at:
      We *may* have our suspicions, but we *must* get our facts right - or don't we? Just imagine if what the article/interview reports be true and we end up with mouths full of speculative gossip, tasting of excrement...
      P.S. No, the fact that I take trouble to spell his name correctly does not mean I'm Swede myself - I am not. And no, I'm also not a fan of his - moreover, I used to dislike his on-court arrogance.

    2. Any and every player found guilty of doping must be and is subject to a public announcement. It is a mandatory requirement under the WADA Code for all sports. No announcement means no doping offence has been found.

      In general, if nothing has been announced then either nothing is happening (that is the player really is just out of the game for a while) or there may be a provisional suspension in place while the player is facing his/her accusers before CAS etc. And the WADA Code makes no requirement on any sport to announce provisional suspensions.

      Something to take up with WADA if you disagree as the vast majority of sports do not announce provisional suspensions.

    3. The problem is that you ignore the countless examples of positive tests that have been covered up by the authorities (or attempted to suppress). I am not sure why you continue to argue that it is impossible for positive results to be suppressed when the evidence clearly shows that they can and they are suppressed.

    4. A least Soderling's wrist will have had plenty of chance to heal by now. Isn't there someone we could ask the question of: "Is Soderling suspended or not?"

      It seems to me that it's possible to allow a provisional suspension to be as long and drawn out as necessary to suit any given purpose. Then, if there's no guilty finding, there's no announcement. Sounds like a loophole to me.

      How long does it take for a court to determine if a person is below or above the allowable limit? Imagine if drink driving cases took this long!

    5. You still don't understand the process.

      A player returns a positive A sample. He is stood down from all competition as required by the WADA Code. The sport has the option to publicly announce the provisional suspension. Most sports do not announce.

      The B sample is tested. If the B samples does not match the A result the matter closes and the provisional suspension is lifted.

      If the B sample matches the A sample, the player can immediately accept he has committed an offence. If so the sanction is imposed and publicly announced as required by the WADA Code.

      If the player appeals the matter to CAS, if CAS find the player guilty, the sanction is imposed and the matter publicly announced as per the WADA Code. This public announcement even applies if the player wishes to appeal to the CAS appellant division.

      If the player wins the CAS appeal and is cleared, the matter closes and the player returns to competition and there is no further announcement.

      Your statement "If they are found guilty and they contest the result to a "higher" authority, should they still be able to keep it silent as well until that authority has made their decision?" is incorrect. If a player is provisionally suspended they are not guilty of anything. They have a series case to answer but are not guilty.

      Only CAS can find the player guilty. If CAS finds a player guilty then a public announcement is required under the WADA Code. If no announcement has been made then CAS has not handed down its verdict, no guilt of any description has been determined, and the athlete has a case to answer but is only provisionally suspended (innocent until proven guilty).

      So be patient. If nothing has been publicly announced, then no athlete has been found guilty of anything at the first level of hearing even if they are involved in a hearing at all. You are just assuming based on no evidence whatsoever. Let matters take there course if indeed there are matter pending at all.

      I don't believe Dr Miller holds the views outlined in the selective quotes. I don't believe the selective quotes printed by the media represent his views. In my many conversations with Dr Miller over the years and the questions he has posed to me about anti-doping programs, nothing would suggest to me that he believes that tennis is a sport without risk of doping.

      You deal with the reported media. I know the person.

    6. Moonax a positive test result is not a doping offence. A doping offence is determined by CAS after reviewing the A sample result, B sample result, rules of the sport, intentions of the athlete and other evidence relevant.

      If a player has a positive A sample then unless the B doesn't match the A they will face a CAS hearing. CAS determine if they are guilty or not. And if they are the matter is always publicly announced.

      During the entire process, as soon as the lab reports the A sample, the National Federation, International Federation, National Anti-Doping Agency, WADA and the lab all have the details of the positive A result and all monitor that it progressing as per the rules.

      That requires a conspiracy from 5 organisations from normally 4 different countries to conspire to bury a matter against the rules. I can't see it happening in my experience. These 5 bodies hardly agree on anything. Do you think they could agree to commit such a global fraud?

      In my experience the reverse happens. Minor cases for trivial matters (asthma meds where you forgot to renew a TUE for example) are pursued for political reasons to the maximum sanction when a simply public warning would suffice.

    7. I must point out that the 2007 interview with Miller is posted on the ITF's anti-doping webpage here:

      Further the interview was published in ITF World, which is a publication of the ITF. As a result, I must assume that Dr. Miller completely agrees with the contents of that interview and that the views presented are accurate. There is no basis to believe otherwise.

    8. WADA Code:

      2.1.2 Sufficient proof of an anti-doping rule violation under Article 2.1 is established by either of the following: presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in the Athlete’s A Sample where the Athlete waives analysis of the B Sample and the B Sample is not analyzed; or, where the Athlete’s B Sample is analyzed and the analysis of the Athlete’s B Sample confirms the presence of the Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers found in the Athlete’s A Sample.

      2.1.3 Excepting those substances for which a quantitative threshold is specifically identified in the Prohibited List, the presence of any quantity of a Prohibited Substance or its
      Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample shall constitute an anti-doping rule violation.

    9. Mr. Ings,
      The fact that such conspiracies exist and have successfully been kept quiet has already been established. You were, in fact, one of the conspirators when 7 top players tested positive for Nandrolone and they were bogusly "exonerated" based on the defense that they had "tainted supplements" even though it was established that the supplements were not tainted. You have admitted yourself that this did not cause the positive tests, but instead you grasp for a pseudoscientific explanation presented years after the fact. In other words, the players tested positive, they were let off the hook for bogus reasons and their names were never mentioned. What is clear from that is that any excuse for a positive test will be accepted no matter how implausible, which is why it is so important to keep the hearings secretive. Now we don't even get to hear the implausible excuse or the fact that any players (anonymous or otherwise) were even caught. Drug testing is, in some ways, less stringent now than it was then. To this day, though, you can be commended on keeping the Omerta and not naming those 7 names. Care to clear your conscience?

    10. No Richard. That is interesting but nothing to do with my point.

      The accusation is that the tennis authorities actively seek to subvert the disciplinary process. That is to say they either engage in cover-ups, silent bans etc to prevent prominent players from receiving negative publicity.

      You appear to claim that such things could not happen. That it would be impossible for the authorities to suppress positive test results. (Implicitly that we are all tinfoil hat wearing loons for thinking such things).

      There are numerous examples of the sporting authorities - and in the other thread I gave three examples where the sporting authorities (in this case cycling) conspired with the athlete to prevent positive tests from becoming public knowledge, or subverting the disciplinary process.

      I will remind you of the 3 incidents again:

      1999 - Lance Armstrong tests positive for banned steroids. He is allowed to submit a backdated TUE by the UCI - as a result 'no positive test'

      2001 - Lance Armstrong tests positive for EPO. Armstrong makes an 'anti-doping' donation to the UCI. The positive test is suppressed.

      2011 - Alberto Contador - tests positive for Clen. The UCI advises Contador to use the tainted beef excuse. The UCI is believed to be in the process of enacting another cover up. As a result someone leaked the news to ARD and the UCI is forced to act.

      We have 3 examples where positive tests of significant riders resulted in the UCI attempting to protect their 'assets' by either breaking the rules (1999), suppressing the test in return for cash (2001), attempting to suppress the test/give the athlete an excuse (2011).

      It is clear to me that far from being water tight, the sporting authorities are very easily able to suppress positive test results and to prevent money athletes from being subject to disciplinary procedures if they so try.

    11. Moonax two of the examples you outline pre-date the WADA code. Ant doping was the wild west before the WADA code. Rules were weak. Any excuse could be made. The WADA code addressed all this with strict liability.

      So the first 2 matters while interesting were from a different softer era of anti doping.

      With Contador you are not correct. The positive test was reported to UCI who pass it on to the Spanish Federation to prosecute as per the UCI rules. UCI pursued the case when the Spanish Federation did not. And WADA joined in. This is an example of the system working with UCI and WADA taking forward a matter that the local federation could not or did not.

      UCI appealed the decision of the Spanish federation and won a 2 yr ban for Contador.

    12. The Contador case had plenty of intrigue in the early days.

      For example:

      Contador said he learned of his positive test on 24 August and met UCI doctors two days later. "On the 26th we talked at length about how all this had happened," he said. "The UCI itself told me to my face that it was a case of food contamination."

      He said he has been in conversation with the UCI ever since "to handle this the most appropriate way possible and analyse it and see clearly that it is a case of food contamination in which I am the victim".

    13. And Contador's further comments:

      "According to Contador’s version of events, the reason there was such a delay was because the UCI had told the Tour winner to say precisely nothing. “It seemed that everything was in order and that it would be resolved internally,” he explained."

      Read more:

    14. And, of course, there was this story:

      "German journalist accuses UCI of seeking to cover up Spanish star's test"

    15. I think a valid question from the Contador case is: If the story had not been leaked by the German press, would UCI or WADA have appealed the decision to exonerate Contador by the Spanish Tribunal?

      The answer that is most probable is that they would NOT have appealed because there would have been no pressure to do so. The public would have been in the dark. No one would have know about the contaminated meat defence.

      No one can argue that the fact the case was leaked put a lot of pressure on UCI and WADA to appeal the Spanish exoneration, especially given the contaminated meat excuse Contador offered up in defence.

    16. This is the best chronology of Contador I have seen by Reuters.

      How these matters work is that the lab reports the positive to UCI. UCI then pass the case on to the athletes national federation to prosecute the matter. In this case the Spanish Federation.

      In Australia the cases passed on to say Cycling Australia automatically are passed on to ASADA to prosecute.

      In this case UCI appealed the decision of the Spanish Federation to impose a reduced penalty and was successful with WADA in partnership in achieving a 2 year ban for Contador before CAS. UCI also went to the mat to win the case against Landis and in so doing won a 2 year ban.

      No intrigue. Cycling has issues but UCI runs a tough transparent program as shown by both Landis and Contador prosecutions by UCI.

    17. Tennis Has A Steroid Problem:

      Firstly we must thanks Michael for introducing the word omertà into common parlance. It is a great word.

      To your point. I have provided significant details on the nandrolone matters I managed for the ATP. Indeed I have provided a unique insight into what went on with those matters.

      The bottom line is that the ATP lost these cases. Tribunals of experienced CAS arbitrators heard the evidence and the ATP lost. The umpire has spoken. And I accept the umpires judgement in these cases and with the benefit of hindsight they were right (the athletes were innocent) and I was wrong in blindly accepting the then science as proof of doping.

      With the cases heard by tribunals, the judgements handed down, and the athletes winning, these matters are over. To go further and name athletes that were cleared by tribunals and in so doing taint their names, breach sundry libel laws (they were cleared by independent tribunals remember) and risk being personally sued is not going to happen.

      These athletes were cleared of doping. From Ullirach in the beginning to Rusedski in the end. They were all found innocent.

      I accept the decision of the umpire in these cases. I didn't at the time (indeed it was a huge setback to lose these cases) but with the significant advances in science since I sure do now support the tribunals decision 100%.

      A further point I will add is that these matters are in the public domain because the ATP publicly announced them. When not obligated to do so. The ATP went public with the issue and how it was being handled. There was nothing hidden or swept under the carpet. Even WADA was invited to attend the hearings.

      I sleep very comfortably with these matters. Indeed I think the ATP was brave to go public and do what was right versus what was politically expedient (which would have been to bury the uncomfortable evidence that these athletes did not dope and see all these athletes get 2 years).

      The ATP got massive criticism for this path. It was the hardest path. But it was the right path.

      And today no athlete will face an allegation of nandrolone without a positive CIR test in support. No more ratio's and assumptions. Pure science. Thanks goodness.

    18. I cannot agree with that Richard. There still is intrigue. The Contador timeline states:

      July 25: Contador wins tour.

      August 23: Contador A sample tests positive.

      August 24: Contador is provisionally suspended by the UCI

      August 26: Contador asks for his B sample to be tested

      September 8: B sample is also positive for clenbuterol.

      September 30: Contador reveals that he has failed a dope test...

      Compare that the Landis timeline:

      July 23: Landis wins tour.

      July 27: The UCI, cycling's governing body, announces that an unidentified Tour de France rider has tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Speculation centers on Landis after he abruptly withdraws from a race in the Netherlands. Phonak confirms later that day that Landis' 'A' sample tested positive for abnormal testosterone levels.

      Aug. 5: Landis' "B" sample confirms the "A" result.

      These timelines are quite different. Why?

    19. During this period the UCI program was run by Anne Gripper. One of the most capable and determined campaigners against doping in sport I have ever had the honour of working with. Anne learned her craft at ASDA and then ASADA and then moved to head up the UCI program. She made a difference.

      Knowing Anne I have no doubt that both Landis and Contador were pursued to their fullest extent as quickly as the rules allowed. Both cases involved adverse findings.

      UCI always passes such results back to the national federation to manage the prosecution. Only if the national federation drops the ball does UCI step back in to pick it up. In the Contador case they did just that. I know for a fact that UCI were closely monitoring the Spanish handling of this case and immediately appealed when the reduced sanction was imposed. UCI did this in partnership with WADA. No media pressure forced their hand. The evidence spoke for itself. The Spanish Federation had its chance and UCI/WADA took a second stab at it in appeals court and won.

      Landis was a massive win for UCI, USADA and WADA. I watched the hearing and I know personally the lead prosecutor Richard Young. This was a heroic fight by the anti-doping authorities against a US Tour de France winner who waged a relentless campaign to discredit the anti-doping establishment and got slammed by CAS and suspended.

      I don't quite see the point here. Both these cases are examples of the system actually working. No coverups took place. Major champions got penalised for doping violations. CAS handed down fair and firm verdicts. The authorities were not motivated by anything but seeing justice done and it was.

      Sorry I disagree with the suggestion that these cases only took place because the media reported something. The ball was well and truly in play on these matters before then. The process just takes time in the mega cases like Contador or Landis.

    20. Again you are wrong. The UCI appeal of the REFC decision was done so at the last possible moment. The UCI deliberately delayed the decision allowing Contador to carry on riding.

      You forget that during his ban - Contador has won the Giro and managed a top 5 in the TDF as well as won several other smaller races. All that has happened is that he has lost those results.

      Contador will have served a 6 month ban from racing in reality not a two year ban.

      Gripper sadly was just McQuaid's mouthpiece when at the UCI and she achieved little to nothing in terms of cleaning up cycling. The biopassport is nothing but a sham that has done nothing to clean up the sport. (A good measure of doping is power outputs on climbs - what do we see - Sky riders producing numbers that are physically impossible to produce naturally). Doping is still rampant and the authorities are active in conspiring to cover it up.

      I have no doubt that but the for UCI mole leaking the story to ARD Contador would be the winner of the 2010 TDF and 2011 Giro and probably favourite again this year.

    21. Moonax you are simply wrong. When the Spanish Federation case ended with Contador being cleared several things happen. The case file is sent to UCI and WADA. Both UCI and WADA have 21 days to review the evidence and submit an appeal to CAS. As Contador was cleared by the Spanish Federation, he under the rules is free to resume riding. The provisional suspensions ends. To be suspended again UCI and WADA have to win the appeal before CAS.

      WADA and UCI lodged their appeal within 21 days. Prosecuted the case. And won overturning the Spanish federation decision and achieving the maximum 2 year ban. And he was stripped of the titles won between being cleared to ride by the Spanish federation and being sanctioned by CAS because UCI and WADA fought a tough appeal and won.

      Media played no role at all in what WADA and UCI did. The evidence against contador and landis was clear. And justice prevailed as determined by CAS.

    22. Richard,

      The disclosure of the Landis and Contador cases followed very different routes. Landis was pretty much outed and thrown under the bus immediately. This clearly did not happen to Contador, who had his tests results and provisional suspension not made public for some time. I would note that the standard UCI practice is to announce provisional suspensions before the B sample is tested.

      For example, earlier this year, the UCI announced a number of provisional suspensions following an A sample positive:

      Further, the UCI was publicly announcing provisional suspensions after A sample positives back in 2009, as in the case of Spanish ride Mikel Astarloza:

      In fact, in the case of Astarloza, as the press release statements, the UCI publicly announced the provisional suspension the day after they recieved the result from the lab.

      This clearly didn't happen for Contador. The timeline link you provided shows that a different process was followed. The provisionally suspended him the day they got the A sample lab results, but unlike the other cases they made no public announcement.

      How do you explain this inconsistency?

    23. Richard before accusing me of being wrong you ought to check your facts. You would perhaps do well to familarise yourself better with the case and the timeline.

      15th Feb - Contador cleared by REFC - nicely timed to allow him to ride and win at Murcia and Catalunya.

      22nd March - McQuaid says the UCI have 30 days to review the evidence (not 21 as you claim).

      24nd March - Last date possible UCI appeal.

      26nd March - McQuaid claims that the delay was 'due to the paperwork being in Spanish and the UCI not having enough lawyers or translators'.

      The late decision by REFC and the delayed response by the UCI was a clear attempt by both to extend Contador's season. No decision by CAS can be made before the Giro or the TDF (his two main targets in the season). They deliberately delayed the cases to allow him to ride (rather than speeding up the process ie carrying out the REFC case in Nov for example).

      He rode and got paid for riding - I'm pretty sure he isn't repaying Saxo his wages, or the race organizers his appearance fees.

      Anyone who watched the Giro last year could see that he was charged to the eyeballs and his very presences distorted the nature of the race. Scaponi (no angel himself) was denied the possibility of victory and having the victory himself because of Contador's presence and the complicity of the sporting authorities in allowing dopers who make money to continue in the sport.

      If the UCI had wanted to ban him/disinvite him from racing they could have done so as they have done with plenty of other riders who have been under investigation. A case in point is Franco Pellizoti who although cleared (before an appeal) was not allowed to ride.

      You might claim that the rules stand fast and true but anyone who follows the sport knows that where money athletes are involve the rules are always flexible.

  9. For those interested in my views on this subject.

    My intervention at the last WADA World Conference on Doping in Sport in Madrid.

  10. nothing to do with this topic but just for laughs:

  11. Caroline Wozniacki whines about early morning doping control conducted by anti-doping Denmark:

    1. I support OOC testing. It is imperative to anti doping.

      But some perspective.

      Imagine you have a job. And as a requirement of that job you must.

      Inform your employer where you are 24/7 in writing.
      Notify your employer any and every time you change your plans of where you will be.
      Agree to be available 24/7 for urine and blood testing on demand any time any where and in any country you may be travelling to and as often as the authorities want to stick a needle in your arm.
      That this surveillance is a condition of your employment. If you fails to provide the details or submit to the testing you will be fired.
      That if you return a positive test for anything you will be suspended without pay immediately and if the positive test is proven you will be fired.
      That all this will will be subject to a public announcement if you are found guilty.

      Athletes accept this. To protect their sports. But no other occupation requires this. Not even occupations where the safety of the public is at risk from drugs. Only incarcerated or paroled criminals have this sort of scrutiny.

      So I don't mind athletes having a whinge about being tested at 6am. I would grumble about it too if it was me.

    2. Now imagine that you love your job and that you earn millions of dollars doing it.

      Kinda softens the blow, don't you think?

    3. No…….you still have to pull your sleeve up for a syringe to be inserted any day on demand. Doesn't matter how much you earn.

      And for every professional athlete required to do this there are dozens amateur olympic athletes who have the exact same requirement placed on them.

      It is a big ask of athletes but they do it for their sports. They can whinge about it and we can all live with that.

    4. We have proven here that that is false. Players skip tests routinely with no consequences, something that we learned by accident. You can talk about what they claim testing is on paper, but it doesn't have anything to do with reality. Imagine that you can skip at least two tests and get not a single out of competition test in 3 years. Imagine that...

    5. Mr. Ings, you surely know the old adage about a wink and a blind horse better than me. Now, exchange "wink" for "empathy" and "blind horse" for "conspiracy theorists on mission"... Now, I know that this my simile, or whatever it be, is far from perfect, being rather intuitive than meticulous, but I presume you get the meaning. That said, by all means, do not leave us, for we need you badly - and by "we" I mean, in the first place, quite a few rational people around this important blog (being the only one of it's kind) who care about clean tennis as much as anybody else - but, more often than not, illustrate the general rule, so succinctly captured in, of all forms, a poem (by W. B. Yeats): "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity". P.S. I dare place this comment of mine, retroactively, under many, or all, of your (answering) comments thus far. Cheers.

    6. The crocodile tears of athletes. Nadal et al can put away the onions.

      Lots of jobs require people to be available on call and can be subject to testing if they are considered to be suspicious. For example National Express Coaches demands that all drivers pass a breath test before they can start the engine of the coach.

      The fact that athletes are so willing to cheat and to lie in order to succeed necessitates the demands for OOC. The athletes have only themselves to blame for the testing procedures. If they did not dope, if they did not lie and they did not treat the fans as fools then there would be no need for OOC, or for athletes to have to fill in whereabouts tests.

      However, since they do cheat, they do dope and they do maintain omerta, OOC and its strictures are the upshot.

    7. Moonax when the national express driver has to agree to be tested at 6am when they are on vacation for both urine and blood then we will start to compare jobs.

      No union is going to ever let that happen to its members. But athletes accept it.

      Your example of a national express driver getting tested before taking the wheel is like a tennis player being tested in-comp before they walk on court to play.

      And in my experience while some athletes cheat, most athletes are clean. These are the ones burdened but happy to comply for the good of their sports.

    8. Nope. It is part of their job. Just like being available on call even when I am on leave is part of my job.

      Athletes are not the only people in the world to have jobs that impinge upon their private lives. If you think that athletes are some how special then you need to get out into the real world.

      If it is such a burden to these poor oppressed sportsmen then they can always find another job.

      See this '.' <- it's the world's smallest violin playing for athletes and their apologists who think that OOC is a burden.

    9. I really can't stand this misplaced sympathy for the athlete who *may* have to be woken once a year at 6 am. They have teams of assistants who can do the paperwork for them regarding their whereabouts.

    10. For me, athletes whining is just a PR thing. Just register athlete id and start the google latitude for their position. Use the tech. You already use it to powerup drugs and test, why dont you use it for the whereabouts? imagine the test officer life and work, is he better than you the whiner?

    11. I love the athletes whining about the early morning doping tests. They should whine. It's the only evidence we have that the ITF is testing at all! Or maybe the players are just making it all up in the first place.

      This is just another example of why lack of transparency is a problem.

      By the way, the whereabouts program looks like an expensive waste of time. Have they caught anybody out in an early morning doping test? I doubt it. No wonder the players are annoyed getting up at 6:00AM.

    12. From the data set I've pulled together there have been only 2 publicly announced OOC positives, which is indicative of an ineffective OOC program:

      Samantha Reeve in 1995
      Sesil Karatantcheva in 2005

    13. I read again the entry of Mr. Ings about how tough it is for poor athletes to pull up their sleeves and accept a syringe. Although those who complained were more upset at being looked at while peeing.
      This is nonsense Mr. Ings. They are tested once or twice a year OOC, and if you think that is a lot, and that it must be really painful, and that it must be really tough for their teams to enter the planned whereabouts and correct them when necessary, then you are waaay too soft, and you wil not get any significant result. Which is what happened.
      Your proposals are not sufficient.
      Stop writing and start thinking out of the box about how this problem can be solved and then cam back again and help this cause with more radical ideas. Thank you

    14. I support OOC testing. I just have no problem with an athlete whinging about it. Anyone can whinge. Doesn't worry me as long as they continue to do it. Many athletes don't like OOC testing but they put up with it.

      Don't confuse me being OK with athletes whinging with me not being OK with OOC testing. I support OOC testing big time. More the better.

      SEN something interesting you should check. For all sports (and this is on the WADA website) look at the total number of tests conducted in a year both in-competition and OOC and compare that with the number of positives that resulted from in-competition or OOC testing.

      You will get a major surprise unless things have changed in the past 3 years since I last checked the states.

      In-competition testing generates the lions share of positives including the lions share of serious doping positives. Or at least they did last time I checked.

    15. A couple of thoughts:
      The ones complaining the loudest are usually those most likely to be doping
      Athletes in other sports who are tested more often don't seem to be complaining that much.
      From a possible fact that more athletes are cought in competition, what would you like to conclude? I can only conclude that OOC is inadequate. It needs to be improved big time. Do we agree on that one?

    16. JMF. I think they most pugnacious tend to complain the loudest. They whinge about everything right down to the standard of food in the player lounge or the softness of the towels in the locker room. I wouldn't draw a parallel between whinging about testing and likelihood of being involved in doping.

      The reason that more athletes are caught in competition is simple. Doping athletes take gear to help them in-competition. The closer to a competition they take it the more they can be assured it will help them. So doping athletes push the envelope to ensure their gear is on board so to speak to help them on game day.

      You are unlikely to autologous blood dope in the off season. You would do it as close to a competition as you can or even within the competition. For example.

      Also in-competition testing tests for the full prohibited list including all stimulants. Stimulants are not even tested for OOC (something I am on record as having a problem with).

      So combine the fact that athletes push taking gear to benefit close to game day with double the number of substances being tested for and it explains why in-comp testing catches significantly more dopers than OOC testing.

      OOC testing is important. It catches a few. But limitations in whereabouts and the ease of ducking and weaving twice takes much of the risk out of OOC testing for a serious doper. Just ask Victor.

    17. Thank you for your answers, Mr. Ings, but we don't agree.
      And as much as you are an expert at this and I am not does not mean your opinion is correct.
      It has been shown that the benefits of PEDs include the ability to train harder, with subsequent improvements in skills and results.
      Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray complained about testing. Do they both complain about food?

  12. Mr. Ings,
    You have already admitted, in fact, advocated the idea that players can fake injuries and illness while they are contesting their positive tests. How far do you want to play semantics. If they are found guilty and they contest the result to a "higher" authority, should they still be able to keep it silent as well until that authority has made their decision? It is quite obvious that Soderling does not have a 9 month case of mono. That is a given. It is medically bogus on its face and even more so to be diagnosed with several months of mono IN ADVANCE (and, yes, I have enough medical knowledge to make this statement). Why don't you comment instead on the subject of this thread, that Stuart Miller claims that performance enhancing drugs aren't going to help a tennis player. Do you believe that tennis is different from say, table tennis, in that regard? Do you think that it is appropriate that the person running the doping program for a sport doesn't believe that players will use PED's because they wouldn't help them? Do you think that is an appropriate stance for the head of the ITF's doping program? Can you see where such an opinion is going to cloud his ability to do the job properly?

    1. "It is quite obvious [!] that Soderling does not have a 9 month case of mono. That is a given [!]."
      Well, it may be quite obvious to you, but not so to me, with a 12-months-long case of mono behind my back, or, for instance, to people at

      who have it even worse.
      Mind you, not that I expect this will mean anything to you - arbitrary, selective, opinionated and careless as you've shown to be, time and time again -, but perhaps it will mean something to other, open-minded and curious people here who do not share your, eh, methods of getting at the truth.

    2. P.S. Perhaps I should add, if it isn't clear already, that the above does not mean that I believe Söderling is "innocent". Only that it's ridiculous and does not in any way help to throw about wild accusations of "guilt" without a semblance of proof - on the contrary, it only hurts, people and causes.

    3. Your doctor told you that you would be incapacitated for 9 months in advance?

    4. No, my doctor told me that it usually takes several weeks but that it may take "much longer - several months ... or more". Now, I know, my doctor (God bless him) does not come from the run of the mill; moreover, he never claims to have "enough medical knowledge to make [any] statement" - or, rather, he never makes "statements". What he does is, he listens to his patients, takes notes, then looks things up in his printed literature and then checks the Internet. After all that, when needed, he rings up a patient to make a new appointment to double-check with another/more test(s). How's that for putting caring above one's ego? And, while we are at it, check the following:

      then scroll down to the bottom of the page and read:

      The large majority of people with mono will get better without any long-term side effect. After the illness you will have lifelong immunity against any future infections. Most of the initial symptoms will go away in 1 to 2 weeks. Fatigue and a decreased activity level may continue for months."

      Now, back to the nitpicking... Except, I'm done with it. The "victory" is all yours for the taking.

    5. Right, so you aren't going to find a doctor who says that a player should take 9 months off because he has mono. I won't argue with your personal mono experience and will concede that point to you, but no way did Soderling have a doctor tell him that he would not be able to play for 9 months due to mono.

  13. What's also interesting is that Stuart Miller isn't really saying any of the things that we expect him to be saying.

    It sounds like he's clumsily trying to explain a dearth of detections. It's odd reasoning, though, to suggest that a tennis player wouldn't be interested in maximising any useful characteristics in particular nor any combination of them. Miller's naively speculative tone is very disappointing coming from a man who should be presenting the public with facts and figures as well as the strategies and plans for the future. Sounds like he's given up trying.

  14. Mr. Ings,
    Are you going to address the point of this thread, that Stuart Miller claims that players wouldn't be helped by performance enhancing drugs, or are you going to continue to make pollyanna assertions about how drug testing is supposed to work on paper if we trust the same people who are claiming that doping isn't even going to help a player. Address Stuart Miller's claim or stop pretending that you are doing anything but carrying water for him and the sport's lackluster testing program, that any athlete can beat.

  15. I have commented on Dr Miller. I don't believe the reported quotes represent his view accurately on the risk of doping in tennis.

    I dont carry water. I point out areas for improvement and push back on conspiracy theories. As I have walked 10 years in an Antidoping administrators shoes including 5 with federal government oversight, I understand the challenges of putting yourself up to fight doping versus talking about fighting doping.

    With over 200 athletes sanctioned for dopIng on my watch including my Organisation being responsible for the case against Odesnik, I think I have made my contribution.

    1. I will point out again that Dr. Miller's 2007 interview was published in ITF World, which is an ITF publication. Are you saying that Dr. Miller allowed an ITF publication to misrepresent his views? Are you also saying that Dr. Miller then took this interview, which misrepresented his views, and posted these mispresented views on the ITF's anti-doping website? And then Dr. Miller continued to let his views get misrepresented in subsequent interviews in 2009 and 2012, where he makes almost verbatim the same statements?

      Now that is a far fetched theory.

    2. "I have commented on Dr Miller. I don't believe the reported quotes represent his view accurately on the risk of doping in tennis."
      Mr. Ings,
      Since you are presumably on your way to a job interview at the ITF you should bring these misrepresentations of Stuart Miller (on the ITF's very own website) to his attention immediately. Also, you should contact the various journalists who continue to quote him inaccurately and ask them for a retraction. You are a piece of work...

  16. I point out areas for improvement and push back on conspiracy theories.

    Conspiracy theories? LOL! That's your last refuge cause we don't have access to tangible data like urine and blood results but everything else points to abnormal physiology from those top athletes. It reminds me that "conspiracy" that Saddam had no WMDs. We had no access to intelligence but it was so obvious that the only ones with intelligence were those conspiring!

    And as an Anti-doping agent, it should be your job to conspire like THASP does to keep up with the dopers and doping science. It's this constant questioning and accute sense of observation that could lead to catching the top dopers. But clearly you are not interested, in fact quite the opposite.

    You and your agencies have done nothing to catch Odesnik or uncover Operacion Puerto or Greyhound. The police and custom have.

    You are as useless as "Dr" Miller in fact...I am hoping you are not the real M. Ings so the situation would not be as hopeless.

  17. Andrea. Sorry, I express my view. You don't have to agree.

    I built the relationships and information sharing protocols that allowed matters like Odesnik to be prosecuted for doping. In the Odesnik case the matter was detected by Customs. They make several thousand steroid seizures and have compulsive powers to search and seize personal property. They have a navy and an airforce. They have massive resource. But until ASADA the Customs information was locked within Customs and no one saw it. We changed that. When Odesnik was stopped at the border, Customs knew who he was. And they knew to call ASADA when they made the seizure. And on occasions Customs stop people at the border because ASADA provided them with intelligence relevant to probably importations. It is a powerful and critical partnership fighting doping in Australian sports and very successful. And it happened because people worked to make it happen.

    What is crucial is that we (ASADA and Customs) developed the data sharing that allowed the Odesnik seizure legal brief to be transferred to ASADA. ASADA then had the legal authority to share the evidentiary file with both the ITF and WADA who are foreign non government agencies. This all took place in about 4 weeks from seizure if I recall.

    It is a massive legal challenge to take a legal brief prepared by government law enforcement agencies like in the Odesnik matter and provide it to non government agencies let alone foreign non government agencies like ITF or WADA. But in Australia we worked through layers of regulation and acts of parliament to make it happen.

    Compare that with Puerta where the case details haven't been provided to sports or WADA in how many years now.

    Gee we built a capability to catch someone like Odesnik for doping with an undetectable substance and work out how a seizure in Australia can be used by a sports governing body in the UK to prosecute a player from the US and we win. And still your doubting our intent!

    I draw no conclusions on any athlete. But I do not accept conspiracy theories since the advent of the WADA Code. I just have never seen it in my 10 years in anti-doping under the WADA Code.

    I am very much the real Richard Ings. I use my real name and don't hide behind pseudonyms or anonymous posts. These are my views and I stand by them.

  18. Guys,

    Assuming this is the real Richard Ings, you have to realize that he is a "suit" with a mentality warped by years of being submerged in various bureaucratic swamps. He is never going to provide "a straight answer." While I am sure he truly believes that such an answer as "I just have never seen it in my 10 years in anti-doping under the WADA Code." means to him (in his own mind) "there are absolutely no conspiracies going on anywhere," he will never, ever say that. Never. Ever. So, no badgering or logic is going to trap him into saying anything but what he says. And, he will forever defend the "systems" that created and nurtured him. While it's nice to have him here, stop getting your hopes up. Besides, he thinks he is better than all of us because he uses his real name, as if that makes up for the lack of honesty, transparency and facts.

    As the old saying goes -- The truth will out.

    We just need to remember that and not pin any hope on the likes of Ings or others like him.

  19. I don't know why people bother arguing with an "advocate". Mr. Ings, clearly is here for one reason, and one reason only, to "argue" that tennis is doing a very good job of keeping itself clean of PEDs. He is acting MUCH more like a paid lawyer (for the tennis authorities), than someone who is here to enlighten us to the truth.

    Everything he says is "spin" (deliberate distortions of the truth). Knowing what the public knows, PLUS the internal machinations of tennis's anti doping program, he certainly knows that tennis isn't NEARLY as clean as the official propoganda states.

    I have researched the Contador case thoroughly, and there is NO DOUBT that :
    - Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol.
    - Contador tested positive for "plasticizers" (resulting from autologous blood doping).
    - Contador took clenbuterol during the lead up to the TDF.
    - Contador extracted some of his own clenbuterol tainted blood, for later use during the TDF.
    - Contador injected his own tainted blood during the TDF to get a "stamina boost".
    - The UCI attempted to cover up the positive test (Contador has admitted this himself that the UCI suggested the laughable "tainted meat" theory).
    - A German journalist got leaked information from the lab that tested Contador's TDF sample for Clenbuterol.
    - That German journalist requested confirmation from the UCI (Pat McQuaid) that Contador had failed a drug test.
    - McQuaid LIED about Contador's positive.
    - Contador, knowing the positive test was about to be mad public, finally admitted that he tested positive.
    - The Spanish authorities (RFEC) tried to negotiate a reduced sanction with the UCI.
    - The Spanish President went public with his opinion that Contador was "innocente".
    - The Spanish authorities (RFEC) reversed their decision about sanctioning Contador, and declared him an innocent victim of tainted meat.

    For Mr. Ings to suggest that the UCI acted honorably in the Contador case CLEARLY shows that he has no problem with distorting the truth. Shame on you Mr. Ings !

    Mr. Ings is using the same BS defences that the Nadal fans use :
    - Suggest that the skeptics are lunatic "conspiracy theorists".
    - Suggest that the skeptics are cowards hiding behind pseudonyms.
    - Suggest that the dramatic change in physical performances in a short period of time can be explained via nutrition, and training.
    - Suggest that the tennis authorities are actually trying very hard to catch cheats.
    - Suggest that the tennis authorities are only accepting perfectly legitimate "excuses", like legitimate asthma medications.
    - Suggest that the top players are treated the same as lower ranked players.

    We know that these things are all FALSE (and so does Mr. Ings).


    1. I don't think Mr. Ings is being paid or otherwise compensated to shill here.

      I think he is doing this out of loyalty to the system which he helped build, and a desire to defend it against people whom he believes are misinformed and prone to conspiracy theorizing.

      This is what he really, genuinely thinks. He believes he is educating us, and he is, although perhaps not in quite the way he intended. And posters like Moonax and yourself who are armed with the facts are perhaps educating him about how not everyone on the Internet is an ignorant conspiracy theorist.

      On the topic of anonymity: if we used our real names we would get hate mail, at least (I'm sure SnR and THASP can enlighten us about this).

      You have no need for anonymity if all you do is sing the praises of the system and tell us that everything is fine. It's the whistleblowers and those who ask hard questions who need to worry about getting got.

      It's WikiLeaks who gets busted up via overwhelming force from governments and corporations, while the papers and cable news networks that serve as establishment stenographers have nothing to worry about.

      The war against WikiLeaks, for instance, provides a great example of the kind of widespread collusion and conspiring that Mr. Ings claims could never take place in the world of sport:

      On the WikiLeaks website, its operators declared it to be the victim of a "blockade" by financial institutions that refuse to process online donations to the organization.

      While the website lists a half-dozen ways to donate, including bank transfers and even "via good old fashion postal mail," most people have used credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa – and that method no longer works. Neither does PayPal. Those companies ended their business relationships with WikiLeaks after it began leaking official US secrets, saying the site risked involving them in activity the US government might deem illegal. A PayPal official in Paris last year acknowledged that PayPal felt pressure to cut its WikiLeaks ties after a State Department letter to WikiLeaks warned the group it was holding documents illegally...

      "It may be technically possible to block access to one or even a few sites on the Internet, but it's not easy," says Steven Bellovin, professor of computer science and expert on Internet security and privacy at Columbia University. "Even China has trouble. [Therefore,] it's the old line of 'follow the money,' because it's so hard in a democratic society to block content. The idea is to choke the money flow instead."

      And you say that a conspiracy between disparate, far-flung organizations is impossible? Well, there it is, Mr. Ings. And it's really stretching the credulity of the audience to suggest that similar collusion has not happened in the athletic world.

      When their interests are threatened, the rich and powerful band together right quick. People who formerly couldn't bear to be in the same room with each other suddenly jump into bed together.

      And they have many weapons, not all of them blatant. Hitting people in the wallet always gets them on board, and fast.

      The television show The Wire summed it up:

      You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money, and you don't know where the fuck it's gonna take you.

      Maybe this site should start looking into the money, not just the drugs.

    2. ButtHurtFedTard my comments:

      Mr. Ings is using the same BS defences that the Nadal fans use :
      - Suggest that the skeptics are lunatic "conspiracy theorists".
      No. I respect peoples views but I disagree with the general conspiracy theories of coverups since the advent of the WADA Code.

      - Suggest that the skeptics are cowards hiding behind pseudonyms.
      No I was noting that I am Richard Ings and not using any pseudonyms. My comments on this blog would be identical if I was using my name or not.

      - Suggest that the dramatic change in physical performances in a short period of time can be explained via nutrition, and training.
      I have never made any comment about any athletes physical appearance nor have I mentioned nutrition or training. I just don't automatically jump to a conclusion of doping from physical appearance nor have I seen a CAS case won on the "he looks big" prosecution argument. Changes in body shape are a flag for target testing.

      - Suggest that the tennis authorities are actually trying very hard to catch cheats.
      They are. But they can do better. I don't doubt their commitment and I know they will prosecute any player no matter how allegedly important that player is if there is evidence of doping.

      - Suggest that the tennis authorities are only accepting perfectly legitimate "excuses", like legitimate asthma medications.
      I have not mentioned anything about this except when I noted that there is a risk in anti-doping that sports pursue trivial matters (specified substances for instance where a warning is applicable under the rules but the sport goes for a 2 year ban) for maximum penalties for political purposes. There are no more excuses as it is all strict liability.

      - Suggest that the top players are treated the same as lower ranked players.
      Top players get tested more. And if they test positive they will be prosecuted like any other player.

      We know that these things are all FALSE (and so does Mr. Ings).



    Congratulations again Mr. Ings.

    Maybe you would have suggested that he should have gotten himself a Spanish "Doctor" ?

  21. Mr. Ings' comments have value. They provide considerable insight into the mindset of the anti-doping officials and how they view the system.

    So long as one maintains a healthy skepticism and understands that he is reluctant to compromise the people or institutions with whom he worked for years and whom he knows personally, one can read what he has to say with profit.

    It's expecting a lot for him to denigrate his own years of work and say they were a futile waste of time and effort. He has his professional pride like anyone else, and he wants to believe he did a good job, even if we fans disagree.

    To get a better sense of where Mr. Ings thinks the problems are, I suggest the following exercise: name the five most severe flaws/shortcomings you see in the current anti-doping system, and your proposed solutions. There must have been at least that many things you wanted to do in your tenure, but couldn't for lack of support/money/time. If you would, enlighten us on what you think still needs to be fixed.

    1. I think that it is a little bit like expecting Bodo or someone else to come on and suddenly admit that 'yeah we're getting it wrong'. It isn't going to happen. There is a certain amount of professional pride and ego at stake. They are as Husker Du once sang 'afraid of being wrong.'

      Richard is not going to hold his hands up and say 'tennis does have a steroid problem' and be critical and highlight the flaws in the testing regime.

      It's not really in his interests to do that. Like with journalists, they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them. Bodo etc are not going to raise the issue because those 'exclusive interviews', press passes etc will soon dry up. To this end Tennis is no worse served than any other sport - the cycling press is just as bad at refusing to ask critical questions, and the mainstream press is simply too ill-informed.

      It is a shame that Richard feels that he is unable to go out on a limb in the way in which Ashenden has done.

      Sadly, omerta is not just limited to players, it includes journalists (not that they like to admit their complicity in doping by ignoring it) and officials and administrators who also turn a blind eye out of a desire to protect the 'reputation' of the sport (aka their profits).

      Thank god for sites like this and N.Y.Velocity.

      On that last note - this interview with Ashenden about blood doping techniques and doping avoidance might be of interest to people. Apologies if it has already been posted.

  22. Mr. Ings,
    Where can I find a list of those 200 athletes caught thanks to you. Or perhaps you can give us a summary.

    1. The ITF websites lists ATP matters from 2000 to 2005. The ASADA website and annual reports to parliament list all matters between 2005 to 2010.

      More than 25% of ASADA cases did not involve a positive test. They were purely through determined investigation.


      You can go through the list of matters from 2005 to 2010. Most are there. Not all. Most. Some were so tiny they are just reported in the anneal report submitted to the Australian Parliament each year.

      Some interesting ones are Nathan O'Neill (cycling), Musgrove (surf life saving), Mark Roland (cycling), Marinov (weightlifting coach...lost that one on appeal to CAs by the way), Andrew Wyper (cycling), McMurdo (cycling), Daniel Galea (cycling), Luke Troy (rugby union), Andrew Muhlhan (athletics), Daniel Nisbit (golf). These are the ones that I can recall quite well.

      A win on the other end of the spectrum was Ian Thorpe. Anti-doping is about answering questions of doping. Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes the answer is no. In the Thorpe case, despite huge pressure otherwise (the conspiracy theorist were out in force thinking how could an Australian agency prosecute such a icon of Australian sport..well we can and we do), the answer was no doping. Irrefutably no doping and with no other party with appeal rights even thinking of appealing the ASADA decision once they read the thorough brief and scientific analysis of the samples.

      ASADA averaged around 40 offences uncovered per year.

    3. So basically you were very good at catching small fry. Very good at catching the guys who don't have the money to access the latest doping products. You were good at catching guys ordering drugs on the internet.

      And you failed to catch any prominent or big name athletes. Not so good at catching the guys who are part of complex doping programs, clients of Dr Ferrari for example, etc

      Or is it that only the guys lower down the food chain dope?

      What you see as 'no evidence of doping' might always be the Red Queen effect - a richer doper who is smarter, better connected and one step ahead of you.

    4. Moonax you are a tough critic. I can live with that.

      It was only a few years ago that athletes could buy doping substances online with impunity. Doping products could be purchased at will. Delivered to your home with instructions for use and used with little to no risk of ever testing positive no matter how targeted the testing. And anti-doping agencies could only catch such doping if the athlete actually took the gear and tested positive.

      Now that has all changed. With partnerships with law enforcement athletes can be caught doping before they have even received the gear. Before they have even used it. Or before they have sold it to others. You trivialise what is one of the greatest advances in the fight against doping. Catching dopers before they even have a chance to use or on sell the gear is a breakthrough in the fight against doping in sport.

      Whether an athlete is competing at the elite international level, the national level or the state level, they deserve to compete on a level playing field. So government agencies focus on protecting sport from doping at all levels from the professional elite to the state champion who is an up and comer.

      Based on intelligence such as injuries, rapid improvement, change in body size, incredible stamina or just there is a big event coming up, athletes at all levels in all sports ticking those boxes are targeted.

      They are targeted for in-comp and OOC testing. They are placed in whereabouts programs. They are flagged with customs authorities. Some or all of these get put in place.

      The goal is to answer the question, is there or is there not doping going on. At the end of that process, which may take weeks or it may take months or it may go on for years, a decision is made. That decision being is there sufficient evidence of doping to take a case to CAS and win.

      A positive test makes it easy. Perhaps a longitudinal profile builds a case. Perhaps there is evidence from other records like doctors records or customs records. Perhaps there is a witness whose credibility must be judged. Perhaps there is an anonymous tip off that must be evaluated. Perhaps the athletes name pops up on the hard disk of an arrested trafficker.

      All this is distilled and considered against a simple question. Is there sufficient evidence to convince a skeptical CAS panel to their comfortable satisfaction that doping took place. If the evidence does not contain a positive test you likely have to convince a CAS panel beyond their reasonable doubt.

      If the answer is yes then the case goes forward, you write a big cheque to lawyers prosecuting the case for you, and you roll the dice with CAS. If the answer is no then you keep on digging until more evidence comes to light.

      But the bottom line is that when the evidence is collected and is sufficient (and anti-doping agencies spend their full-time collecting such evidence), the case goes forward to CAS. And the next cab off the rank may be a an amateur weightlifter, or to may be a professional multi-million dollar contract professional athlete or it may be someone somewhere in between.

      But you go with the next cab off the rank with sufficient evidence to win at CAS irrespective of the sport, level or notoriety of the athlete. And when you get to CAS your whole process will be deconstructed by the players defence. Hours of testimony. Days of hearing. Thousands of pages of evidence. Every step scrutinised by the athletes attorney and by CAS.

      At the end of all that mostly anti-doping agencies win. Sometimes they lose. I had one big case that we won (at CAS and got a life ban for a coach) and then lost (at the CAS appellant division where the coach was cleared completely).

      Anti-doping is a massive challenge on the front line up close and personal and I have allot of time for those that take on that challenge to catch those that cheat.

    5. Without referring to players, the sign of conspiracy can be seen everytime at big event. There are players favored and rules are not applied strictly to them. You know what rules. It is conspiracy. It is all about money. They win, you win, media win, fair play is a banner put on the stadium and jersey.

    6. If I am considered a tough critic then this reflect the lack of criticism from elsewhere.

      If you had said - we caught Cadel Evans, Robbie McEwen, Lleyton Hewitt, Sam Stosur, Ian Thorpe, Matthew Hayden, John Eales and George Gregan then I would have been impressed.

      However, the reality is that you are not catching the elite athletes who dope.

      Working with police is great - but you're still not catching the most egregious cheats.

      The proof is in the pudding - when anti-doping starts to bust dopers at the elite level regularly then I'll believe that sports are serious about anti-doping. Until then I choose to remain sceptical of the effort and desire of those in charge of sports to see dopers stopped.

  23. Mr. Ings' comments have value. They provide considerable insight into the mindset of the anti-doping officials and how they view the system.

    They are not all like that. D. Pound was fighting very hard and the new Director admitted Wada was not doing enough in catching the bigger fishes. He also said that that at least 10% of athletes were doping (being as cnservative as possible).
    This Ings would not dare say such truth.

  24. This was an excellent discussion, everyone, despite the context.

  25. At some point, Ings will be run off this blog for trying to tell the truth because it doesn't fit with the distorted view of posters and commenters.

    1. Sekar I will hang in. But let's not make comments personal guys. We all agree anti doping needs to improve.

    2. Exactly, Sekar. The foam running out of mouths has already risen above the eye-and-ear-level, blocking all sight and sound. Alas - for, at one point (when SnR took over and for some time after), it seemed as if things were going in the right, reliable direction... And it was (significantly?) then that Mr. Ings appeared - but, lo and behold: as soon as that happened, the ghosts of this blog's murky past raised their ugly heads again to reclaim their reign! As if, for them, the light thrown on the actual facts (the procedures used etc.) was too much to bear - as if they'd rather dwell in the twilight zone of their uninformed presumptions, or what you rightly defined as their "distorted view"! Go figure. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if you and I, and a few others, end up being accused of also being on the pay roll of the Great Conspiracy. Be as it may, let us hope that he will resist being "run off this blog", altogether with some of us smaller level-headed fish. Cheers.

    3. Mr. Ings (since your comment was posted while I was typing mine): so good to hear you'll hang in!

    4. Sekar,
      Mr. Ings has had ample opportunity to contribute to this blog and has done so. He has himself a while ago announced his last post.
      At some point I am not interested anymore in the views of Mr. Ings. He has contributed and I thank him.
      But this blog has tried for two years to find a solution to the problem of doping in tennis, at the highest levels of the ATP rankings.
      I am looking for a breakthrough this year.
      I have no patience for long discussions (and this is not aimed primarily at Mr. ings).
      I think the people with distorted views you referred to have similar aims.
      What would you like to achieve? More sterile discussions and keeping the status quo?

  26. This had been interesting making my contribution. I respect and share many of the views but I don't agree with them all.

    "traditional testing while an integral part of an anti doping program will simply scratch the surface of the number of athletes and support personnel involved in doping"

    This was my address to the full floor of the WADA world conference in Spain.

    Positive tests represent a tiny fraction of athletes and support personal involved in doping each year. Is it 5%, 10% or 30% who knows. It likely varies by sport. But it is massively higher than the less than 1% of tests coming back positive each year.

    We discuss there should be more ooc testing here, more targeted testing there. And I have said several times bloggers here are right with these suggestions.

    But I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories since WADA took oversight. My experience at ASADA was that WADA was across every reported lab positive A and chased up slow processes and appealed incorrectly followed processes. WADA were totally across contador and the Spanish fed inaction and joined with UCI to appeal it to a maximum sanction.

    So my suggestions. That was an excellent balanced post who asked that. And I have no vested interest as I am retired. I fought the good fight for 10 years. And having had dr millers job for 5 years no thanks to ever doing all that again.

    So what are my suggestions. Think big.

    Anti doping now is so complex it is beyond the resource and legal limits of sports. Anti doping is now about law enforcement, tracking suppliers, identifying their athlete clients through search warrant, and sharing evidence across gov agencies globally. Anti doping should be managed by government agencies full stop. I have run both a sports managed program and a federal gov program and there is just no comparison .

    I would close most WADA labs and instead focus on 6 global super wada labs with the most cutting edge science, equipment and training. All labs are not equal. I have lost cases due to labs and in one case I even had a lab miss a stimulant and only found it because I asked them to recheck their analysis.

    I would find a way to use smartphones and gps to eliminate whereabouts paperwork and allow true anytime anywhere testing.

    I would drop 3 strikes from whereabouts and impose a sanction (even a one month suspension) for any missed ooc test.

    And please don't point the finger at me for the inadequacy of FIFAs anti doping programs.

    1. Would you?

      i) Criminalise doping?

      ii) Take disciplinary powers away from the national federations/sporting authorities and transfer them to an independent body with no vested interests/conflicts of interest?

      iii) Given the use of transnational (and criminal) networks supplying the drugs would you be in favour of increased police involvement in the fight against doping? Do you agree that the most significant anti-doping events have in fact been down to the police not the sporting authorities (Festina, Puerto, Drugs for Oil)

      iv) Given that the likes of Riccardo Ricco were doping at the junior level (aged 15) would you increase testing at this level ie school age?

      v) What would do about managers, doctors etc who have been active in facilitating doping but who currently go unpunished for doping that takes place on their team? A case in point being Cadel Evans' team management who were last seen managing Floyd Landis at Phonak before 'rebranding' themselves as BMC.

    2. Moonax

      i) Criminalise doping?

      Making doping a breach of a law doesn't mean that it has to be a criminal offence. But yes doping should be a breach of a law with a consequence under that law. Whether it is criminal or administrative is a matter for each nation. By using the law you can cover everyone by that law. Sports struggle in this area as they need players and coaches to sign agreements to be covered by the sports rules. Sports are after all just a club. You can join or not. With laws it is all in. This makes it much easier to cover people like coaches, doctors, support personnel etc who may not have any membership of a sport and who many sports struggle to cover under their rules.

      ii) Take disciplinary powers away from the national federations/sporting authorities and transfer them to an independent body with no vested interests/conflicts of interest?

      It is not about conflicts of interest. Everybody has a conflict of interest. Sports have athletes. National Anti-Doping bodies have national champions. WADA is funded by the IOC and Governments. Everyone has a conflict somewhere if you look hard enough. No this is about empowering government agencies with the laws they need to truly address the doping issue. Legal powers that cannot be given to sports as sports are just community groups at the end of the day.

      iii) Given the use of transnational (and criminal) networks supplying the drugs would you be in favour of increased police involvement in the fight against doping? Do you agree that the most significant anti-doping events have in fact been down to the police not the sporting authorities (Festina, Puerto, Drugs for Oil)

      The most important breakthroughs in the fight against doping have come from government agencies. Be they groups like customs, IRS, national anti-doping government agencies investigating. All these biggest wins came from government agencies. Which is why I feel that government agencies should take the lead in the fight against doping as they have more powers more resources and more insurance than sports.

      iv) Given that the likes of Riccardo Ricco were doping at the junior level (aged 15) would you increase testing at this level ie school age?

      Testing should be based on the level of competition not the age of the athlete. Olympic gymnasts are often school kids. Testing of minors raises its own massive challenges. Think about things like parental consent. Or if the parent is not present and there is no guardian. Or think about the need to police check doping control officers for child related offences before employing them to collect urine samples. Lots of devil in details you may just take for granted.

      v) What would do about managers, doctors etc who have been active in facilitating doping but who currently go unpunished for doping that takes place on their team? A case in point being Cadel Evans' team management who were last seen managing Floyd Landis at Phonak before 'rebranding' themselves as BMC.

      Athlete support personnel are covered by anti-doping rules. If they administer, supply or assist in doping and their is evidence then just like an athlete they will have their day before CAS. CAS will determine what if any sanction will apply. Just be aware that winning athlete support cases is incredibly difficult without a whistleblower coming forward or the athlete turning on his suppliers. The rules to suspend support personnel are already in place.

    3. i) Criminalisation. The obvious place to start with harmonising anti-doping laws is the EU. Europe and EU states remain at the heart of many sporting seasons.

      You will have in place i) uniform practice across 27 states. ii) An example of best practice which can be adopted elsewhere.

      The doping apologists will argue that it is merely a sporting matter, it is therefore up to anti-dopers to demonstrate the link between criminality and doping.

      Which is why merely busting the athletes in the end achieves nothing.

      ii) We have seen with REFC and previously with US Cycling that there has been collaboration by national authorities to prevent doping violations being investigated, or athletes cleared on dubious grounds. The fact that the Contador case took so long was because of REFC, we can also point to the Piti Valverde case as well.

      The UCI, FIFA, UEFA, ITF etc (like the national federations) all have a vested financial interest. They are not going to sacrifice their financial golden geese.

      They should not be involved in disciplinary measures for that reason.

      iii) It is surely up to anti-dopers to give a stronger argument to governments to explain why they should be involved. It also gives reason to the arguments for a transnational approach. The fact that the Spanish Prime Minister gave public support to Contador shows how sport and politics are frequently intertwined. We can also see this from the dropping of the Armstrong investigation.

      iv) Ricco is a perfect example of the problems faced with anti-doping. By the time he made it to the professional ranks he was an experienced and seasoned doper. Likewise for Contador and others.

      The devil is indeed in the detail but testing at junior/youth level is something that needs to be given a lot more thought.

      v) The problem is that if this were the case then why are the likes of Riis, etc still involved in sport? Can you give me some examples of doctors, managers being banned from sport?

    4. The other point I would make is this regarding conflict of interests:

      Is it not significant that in the 2008 TDF where testing was carried out by the AFLD and not in house by the UCI, there were significant and prominent drug test failures:

      Ricco (stage winner)
      Kohl (3rd and KOM winner)
      Schumacher (stage winner)
      Piepoli (stage winner)

      Along with:


      Is it no surprise that since then the UCI and ASO under Prudhomme have actively sought to keep the AFLD out of dope testing in the TDF. Since 2009 testing has been carried out by the UCI resulting in:
      2009 - no test failures,
      2010 (Contador),
      2011 no test failures.

      And you expect us to believe that there is no conspiracy to prevent athletes from testing positive?

    5. I must admit I don't know the politics of cycling all that well. I understand that the ASO didn't get on with UCI. And UCI didn't get on with ASO. And neither UCI or ASO got on with the AFLD. And the AFLD didn't get on with either ASO or UCI. It was uncooperative all around.

      The lack of working relationship I understood was as a result of adverse test results finding their way to L'Equipe before even the cyclist could be told.

      That lack of cooperation all around simply means rather than focusing time catching dopers, organisations focus time fighting each other.

      One thing to me is clear and I have gone on record with this. Government agencies are best placed to manage the anti-doping process including the testing process. Sports are great at running events, promoting their competitions and athletes, selling TV rights etc etc.

      But government anti-doping agencies live and breath anti-doping 24/7 with significant resource, professionally trained staff and backed by the laws of the land and the strength of government.

      NADO's do anti-doping best simply because of these laws and 100% focus.

    6. I can't agree with the statement: "NADO's do anti-doping best simply because of these laws and 100% focus."

      Spain has shown that NADO's can be swayed through political interference. As WADA president John Fahey stated following the CAS decision on Contador: "It is regrettable there was some political interference at the first instance process from Spain which inevitably led to the appeal."

    7. Contador was managed by the Spanish cycling federation. Not the NADO. Where was the Spanish NADO anyway.

      Thank goodness WADA and UCI exercised their appeal right and win a 2 year ban.

      In Australia national federations must by law pass doping matters to ASADA to prosecute.

    8. Where indeed...

      Do you accept that there is a problem with anti-doping with Spanish sports and politics?

      Do you accept that the Spanish authorities: sporting, judicial and political have actively sought to hamper, subvert and prevent dopers (and their doctors) from being prosecuted?

      Do you accept that the perception that there is an active attempt to protect dopers within Spain means the performance of Spanish athletes should come under increased suspicion? That the evidence of conspiracy is not idle speculation?

      Do you believe that the reason why the Spanish authorities fail to investigate/prosecute is due to a conflict of interests (financial, political etc)?

      If it is possible for such a conflict of interests to exist at the national level, then why can it not exist at the level of a sport itself?

      Do you not accept that the fundamental aim of all sporting organizations is to make money? Do you agree that doping convictions and the bad publicity that follows from them are bad for revenues? Do you accept that the banning of a popular revenue drawing athlete from the sport would not be interests of the sport? Do you therefore accept that the financial interests of the sporting organizers trump their commitment to clean sport? 'Fast and dirty is better viewing than slow but clean'.

    9. That is a long list of charges against a country of millions!

      Let me deconstruct it and comment in general. WADA has rightly expressed its frustration with anti doping efforts in Spain.

      In my experience given a choice between conspiracy or competency the latter holds sway.

      Anti doping efforts in Spain are hampered by conflicting account abilities, bureaucratic red tape blocking information sharing, and a shortage of political will and money to built an ASADA or UKAD style gov agency with teeth.

      The role of government is to protect the reputation of its sports and athletes. ASADA was established due to a scandal in Australian cycling that identified flaws in the then system. A group of elite national cyclists were training together. When they vacated their shared dorm room a bucket of used syringes and ampules of equine growth hormone were found. The laws in place and the Organisations as they were setup just didn't have the teeth to get to the bottom of it. Red tape, privacy laws, no compulsive powers all conspired to block good intent. One case got to CAS and CAS threw it out.

      As a result the Australian government acted. They built ASADA. Gave it central authority for all sports anti doping from testing to investigation to prosecution. Gave it money and people. Also enacted were search and seizure rules for athletes receiving gov funding and using gov premises. And finally laws were changed to allow ASADA to partner with police and customs in sharing intelligence.

      In Australia there was an incident that prompted action, bi partisan political leadership to get the laws passed and a massive budget surplus to fund it. The stars aligned.

      That is what Spain needs to do. It will cost a huge amount of money (at least 30 million euro in the first year) but it can and should be done.

    10. Ah yes. Our old friend Mark French and his horse steroids. Many of his buddies did go (and continue to go) unpunished. It raises many questions about success of Australian cycling in the years up to 2004 and the riders who came out of that group. But there is plenty of silence about the scandal and the media never ever mentions it ever when the riders who are still active are concerned.

      I think what we see is that there are two basic responses to a doping 'crisis' the first is the French/Australian response which to take a proactive stance.

      This can be contrasted with the Spanish response which is to see a closing of ranks in order to protect the dopers and national heroes.

      My accusations were not aimed 'at a nation of millions' but rather at a wider institution culture within the Spanish state. My point is that this culture which is bound by vested interests is strong enough to resist any the efforts to challenge the dopers. My point is that if such institutionalised resistance can exist in a state then it is not so unlikely that this same embedded institutionalised resistance can be found elsewhere.

      Given the institutionalised resistance to anti-doping, the fact that so many within Spanish sport and politics have so much tied up in the success of Spanish athletes, and the fact that the Spanish economy is up the creek it is highly unlikely that any of those measures will be enacted.

    11. Moonax there needs to be political will and buckets of money. If either are in short supply then Spanish sport will continue to be dogged by accusation. I see it more as political will. It takes very strong political will to wrestle anti-doping control away from national federations especially the massive ones like the football league.

      In Australia the government did this with a stick. If you don't sign on to allow ASADA to manage your doping, then your choice, but we (gov) will cut off your government funding for each and every program and we will cut off your state funding for infrastructure like stadiums. If you (national federation) want government money then you must sign on for a centralised government managed anti-doping program run by ASADA.

      Sports grumbled of course. No one likes giving up authority. And ASADA had to work hard to build credibility and trust with these organisations, but within a year over 90 Australian national sporting federations including all the big 5 professional sports (AFL, ARU,NRL, CA and FFA) signed over anti-doping program management to ASADA.

      As for French, remember at the first CAS hearing he was found in violation of the rules and banned. At the CAS appellant division he won a complete exoneration. This whole matter was the kernel of establishing a purpose built agency under law in ASADA.

      Finally your list of Australian athletes. I can't get into specifics for legal reasons but I can say this. Athletes that tick the boxes for target testing get heavily scrutinised in Australia. Having seen the blood and urine profiles of many a targeted athletes, I can say that sometimes suspicion of doping often runs into the reality of consistent, flat, completely normal and totally unremarkable series of blood and urine profiles taken over a year or more for said athlete.

      So you stick it in the freezer just in case.

    12. On the last point - as Ashenden has shown, it is clear that athletes and their doctors have become experts in manipulating their blood/urine profiles in order to 'look' normal. This is at the heart of the plasticizers debate, Ashenden seems to be suggesting that Contador's clen tainted blood was actually introduced not for sporting effect but to mask another transfusion.

      I would imagine that when one is paying Fuentes or Ferrari for 'training plans' (I frequently wire 7000 euros to Spanish gynaecologists like Frank Schleck does) it is not just for the drugs but also their ability to develop programmes that allow you to pass the existing testing.

      Just out of interest why haven't those 2008 Giro samples been rested for CERA?

  27. "I would drop 3 strikes from whereabouts and impose a sanction (even a one month suspension) for any missed ooc test."

    Surely zero chance of that ever being adopted though?

    How about reducing it to two strikes, and boosting the number of OOC tests by 6x? That would still only be 20% of the number the cyclists get, but at least it would seriously disrupt the dopers - one missed test and they'd need to stop doping.

  28. I agree with the first-strike one-month suspension idea BUT it has to be an announced suspension. No more secrets.

  29. Mr Ings:

    This is a question about freedom of speech. Where does one draw the line between speculation and defamation? Is it time for glasnost in tennis?

    Do you regard the Les Guignols skits (about Spanish athletes) as defammatory?

  30. The line is set by the law of the land. You can't defame someone. If you level an accusation without a shred of evidence you risk being sued and being hit with damages and costs.

    And leveling unsubstantiated allegations achieve nothing as only evidence before CAS carries weight.

    I think the Spanish skits are pointed political satire resulting from Spanish authorities failing to build a comprehensive anti doping capability.

    After the events of operation puerto Spain should have a bigger and better ASADA model now to protect their sporting reputation from the rumour, allegation, and funny satire.

  31. After the events of operation puerto Spain should have a bigger and better ASADA model now to protect their sporting reputation from the rumour, allegation, and funny satire.
    So funny again. Don't you think Spain would rather protect her success in sport?

  32. What is funny? I think that Spain should suck it up, spend €30 million and build a decent anti-doping capability because what they are doing now isn't working to be very blunt. What they decide to do or likely not do is a matter for the Spanish authorities.

  33. But what they really want to do is win medals. If this means doping they will. The government will simply make us believe they are serious about anti-doping to give credibilty to their silver. We have seen how prepared they are in bending the truth and support their athletes.

    France made the mistake to take its anti-doping policy seriously and since then win nothing. Certainly not what Spain and more countries want to do. And the same applies for the ITF/ATP and you know it.

    A Federer Nadal final will always be more lucrative than a Federer v Davydenko and since you are/were paid by the money a sport makes, it's also in your interest to make us believe the sport iis clean while keeping the stars safe from much anti-doping trouble.

  34. Players merely pass through the game.

    Bjorg. Connors.McEnroe.Lendl. Becker. Edberg. Agassi. Rafter. Sampras. Hewitt. Federer. Nadal. Davydenko. Each of these have been "the superstar" in my nearly 15 years in professional tennis. Each filled stadiums in their day and each drove the success of the game globally in major ways. It is a long list.

    My point is that players merely pass through the game to be followed by the next generation and the next superstar. There is always someone to step up and fill the role of the games marquee player(s).

    Witness golf and Tiger Woods and how that game has carried on when it lost its clearly most bankable name for a period.

    In my experience the ITF would have no hesitation in throwing out of the game anyone who broke the rules for doping or corruption if they have enough evidence to mount a case and win.

    1. You've made a massive logical leap.

      Woods' absence from golf was due to his personal problems. And you can see how the media have been itching for him to return to form. We can also note that during his absence ratings for many events fell.

      Athletes are inevitably transient. This in itself is no evidence that the sport would throw its cash cows to the wolves.

      Can you give me any example of a sport that has allowed its top names to be thrown under the bus at the height of their careers? Where is your evidence (something so often demanded of the critics of the ITF) that the ITF would throw a big name under the bus?

      If tennis had thrown Agassi out for doping then you might have a case to support your argument, but we know what actually happened don't we and we know that Agassi wasn't thrown to the wolves.

    2. I will not further repeat the details of the Agassi matter and how it happened at a time in 1998 when the rules were like swiss cheese. The WADA Code which came along several years after the Agassi matter has resolved all and every one of those issues.

      My point is that if the evidence is there, I have no fear that tennis would not act against anyone who breached the rules.

    3. Fairly simple question - with the exception of cycling and athletics - can you name a sport which has allowed its most prominent and revenue generating athletes to be banned for two+ years for doping when they are at the height of the sporting and revenue drawing powers?

    4. Cab rank. The next cab off the rank is…….

      What I am saying is that you test and you prosecute who you catch. The evidence of doping in the cycling and athletics cases was overwhelming. And it largely came from government agencies (athletics) and the unique nature of cycling whereby taking gear in comp can help you massively (and as such you are more likely to test positive).

      There appear to be vaults of information in some Spanish prosecutors archive that will provide similar information on elite athletes in some very big sports. WADA and the IF's need to be given access to that information by the Spanish.

      This should be a big part of this blog. There is evidence sitting in those Spanish files that WADA and sports are desperate to have. Why won't the Spanish authorities find a way to release it to sports. We managed to work it out at ASADA. Why can't the Spanish.

      It is easy to focus on suspecting who is cheating and pointing fingers at sports like the ITF to do more in the hope of stumbling on a positive test.

      But the evidence is already there. In a file. If they are doctors records they represent irrefutable evidence before CAS. And these records are sitting there in Spain. Release them to WADA and watch the actions begin.

  35. Getting back to the Miller statement that 'PEDS can't help tennis players', why then do 'some' players always talk getting bigger, stronger faster in order to reach the top? Are the delusional? Are they lying to everyone? Why is it that the #1 reason the current top dog gives for his resurgence is his fitness?
    It's so blatantly ignorant to assert that tennis requires no edge in physical attributes, it frankly boggles my mind. Any rational person can see the opposite is true. It's a myth that gets tossed around every time there are hard questions directed at doping in tennis. I just can't believe people buy into it.

  36. @Mr Ings - the sordid Agassi incident clearly shows that top players are given a free pass.

    1. I will not duplicate my previous posts which explained this matter in detail. Except to say the Agassi matter dated from 1998 when the rules were full of holes and well before the implementation of strict liability under the WADA Code. Things are very very very different since the WADA Code.

  37. Nothing to do with doping but rigged draws at slams.

    Listen from 12.30mn. Amazing as there was some talking about that here.

    Another conspiration theory for M. Ings!

  38. Mr. Ings,

    You previously mentioned that on-the-spot injury withdrawals are subject to verification of the ATP physicians....does this only apply to "on-the-spot", "sudden", etc. withdrawals?...if a player is publicly stating he/she is injured and is missing, but not necessarily withdrawing, from tournaments does the injury have to be confirmed?...It would seem that with the new requirements for top players to play a minimum of MS events that a player's "missing" a required tournament is akin to a withdrawal.

    Lastly, with all due respect I have to disagree with your following comment:

    "And leveling unsubstantiated allegations achieve nothing as only evidence before CAS carries weight."

    Here is why: Very few people have actually paid attention the CAS ruling in the Contador case...In fact the CAS ruling is laughable and not based on ANY evidence submitted to it at all...the following is a quote from the ruling:

    "The presence of clenbuterol was more likely caused by the ingestion of a contaminated food supplement," CAS said in its ruling in Lausanne, Switzerland...this from an ESPN article linked here:

    Later in the story they even go on to state that both arguments, Contador's and the ITF's, were "equally unlikely."

    In my opinion this destroys any credibility the CAS may have....the CAS was only hearing an APPEAL....The evidence submitted in the appeal was Contador's and the ITF's....Contador argued tainted MEAT.....the ITF argued BLOOD DOPING....neither argued TAINTED SUPPLEMENTS, so how on earth did tainted supplements even enter into equation, especially to the point that the high court could enter an appellate ruling based on it? John Cleese said in the Monty Python "dead bird" sketch, "The plumage don't enter into it....HE'S DEAD!"

    The CAS for all intents and purposes ruled on "strict adherence,"...basically "it doesn't matter how it got in your system it's in your system so you're guilty."....if that's the case then why on earth even waste any time with the appeal because even if they bought Contador's appeal they still would have ruled him guilty..."Mr. Contador, we believe your evidence that the clenbuterol was ingested accidently by means of tainted meat and therefore find you guilty"...the guilty party was arguing that it WAS, in fact, GUILTY.

    But alas the CAS for some reason went a step further and based its ruling on evidence that wasn't even presented.....which of the two parties argued it was a tainted supplement?....neither, again, how on earth does the CAS feel justified in issuing such a ruling?....The ruling REEKS of political influence...On one hand they knew the public scrutiny was too intense to allow Contador to walk because unlike the vast majority of the cases they hear this one was in the public eye in real-time, yet they yielded to some sort of pressure (political or otherwise) to essentially let Contador off the hook in the public's eye by ruling without any evidence that he did, indeed, ingest the clenbuterol by accident, just not the accident he claimed it to be...if the highest appeals court in the land (in term of sport and doping) feels it is justified in issuing rulings based upon evidence that was never submitted to it how can they be trusted to reach logical, non-influenced conclusions?

    1. More to the point instead of giving him a two year ban from now + stripping him of his wins last year. They instead merely stripped his wins and gave him 6 month ban from racing. The rest of his ban was mostly the off season and when he wasn't racing.

      You can bet that unlike Basso, Vinokurov etc who were disinvited after their bans that Contador will be back for the Vuelta like he's never been away and will be welcomed with open arms by the press and racing authorities next season.

      And we are all aware of the criticisms of the handling of the hearing by WADA/Ashenden.

    2. The CAS "supplements" decision is discussed by Michael Ashenden in his nyvelocity interview:

      This is what Ashenden says:

      "I can’t help but reflect on paragraph 467 of the ruling which notes that Contador’s testimony was that he did not take any supplements on the Tuesday or Wednesday. So according to his sworn testimony it was an impossibility that the clenbuterol came from a supplement.

      "Therefore, it seems to me, that in order for the panel’s finding to be correct Contador must not have told the truth about taking a supplement. But that brings with it an entirely new set of contradictions, which to my mind make it implausible that Contador lied. One must question, as did his lawyers during their submissions, how on earth he knew which supplement not to disclose. Companies don’t label their products as being contaminated, so I just cannot grasp how he could have known which product to lie about. It just does not add up.

      "In my opinion, either the panel’s finding that the contamination came from a supplement was wrong, or Contador had not been truthful during the hearing."

    3. So now CAS is corrupt too? CAS hearings are not just appeals. They are always 'do novo" hearings where the case is tried in full again and new evidence and testimony can be submitted and considered by the panel.

      In the Contador matter CAS appeals hearing handed down a 2 year suspension. The maximum penalty. One can't ask for much more than the maximum penalty.

    4. Wrong again Richard. And yes there are serious problems with your beloved, uncorruptable CAS. You did read Ashenden's comments in the NYVelocity interview about the hearing? You don't think that the Barak/Saxo connection didn't raise a few eyebrows or is Becca also a foilhat wearing conspiracy theorist?

      Lets compare the treatment of Tadej Valjavec to the treatment of Contador.

      TV along with Franco Pellizotti is popped using the biopassport in May 2010 (using his 2009 data). Like AC and FP, TV is cleared by his national fed. TV signs with a tiny Turkish team and rides the Tour of Turkey coming second. FP on the other hand is unable to find work.

      The UCI appeals the clearing of FP and TV. The appeals are heard March 2011 (so only a 10 months after the original popping).

      FP receives a 2 year ban - dated from May 2010 and is also stripped of his 2009 results and fined over 115,000 Euros. He hasn't been riding so he was effectively suspended all that time.

      TV receives a 2 year ban - DATED to Jan 2011 - ie to run until 2013) because he has been riding in minor races and is fined 52,500 Euros, and loses his 2009 and 2010 results.


      Contador tests positive for Clen in July 2010.

      He is cleared by his national fed in time to allow him to ride the 2011 Giro and TDF, in which he destroys everyone in the hardest Giro ever and finishes 5th in the TDF.

      Delays in the appeal mean that the CAS verdict is not reached until 2012.

      Like TV - Contador continued to ride while 'cleared'. Unlike TV whose two year ban is dated from the CAS verdict. Contador has his ban backdated to the original test failure.

      Now, please I'd love you to explain to me, why TV gets a ban for 2 years from Jan 2011 because he continued to ride, while Contador does not get a ban dated from Jan 2012 despite continuing to ride?

      So quite clearly we can ask for more - we can ask for Contador to actually be banned from riding for 2 years rather than 4 months. We can ask that his results be stripped from 2011 and 2010.

      We can also ask for consistency in disciplining athletes for doping offenses.

      Stop calling it a 2 year suspension because it wasn't. A suspension means that you aren't riding. Unless of course Contador has some kind of ringer who was charging around Italy and France last summer. He was definitely not suspended last year.

      A two year ban should be a two year ban from taking part. Not a 4 month ban from taking part.

    5. I find it pretty funny that TV :

      can be popped before Contador, (May 2010 vs Aug 2010),

      can have his CAS appeal heard a year before Contador (Feb 2011 vs Feb 2012).

      can receive the same length of ban at Contador (2 years)

      and yet some how, in some weird CAS time space vortex, Contador's ban finishes some 6 months before TV's.

    6. Here is the full CAS opinion on the Contador hearing.

      The answer to why they started sanctions here and disqualified results there is in the detail of this nearly 100 page long judgement.

      I am not going to read it but I am sure it will provide all the answers to what this very highly experienced though fair given the evidence presented to them at this de novo hearing.

      You may agree or disagree. But this experience panel made there decisions and justify their decisions in this detailed judgement.

    7. Here is the full CAS decision in the TV hearing.

      Again the answer to why sanctions started on particular dates is found in the judgement. IT is only 40 odd pages long so a shorter read than Contador.

      Map out the parallel timelines including periods of provisional suspension which accumulate as part of any final sanction imposed.

      It appears on my cursory glance at the timeline that VT's sanction of 2 years began on January 2011. Perhaps he wasn't provisionally suspended prior to this (which makes sense as in the VT case there was no positive sample was a blood profile case which doesn't carry provisional suspensions) so his full 2 years started from January 2011 which was about when the hearing before CAS was held.

      Contador by comparison was provisionally suspended from the positive A through to being cleared by the Spanish Federation (some 5 months I think) and that period of provisional suspension plus any voluntary period of not competing would form part of his total 2 year ban eventually imposed by the CAS appellant division.

      But you need to go through the opinions of CAS in these PDF's and all will be revealed as to why they decided what they did. CAS always has a reason even if you don't agree with it. They are the independent body after all.

  39. SEN in regard to Odesnik. I am not close to this since ASADA handed the evidence to the ITF and WADA. But I do know that WADA is across the decision to reduce the sanction for substantial assistance and that WADA did not elect to have it overturned.

    So WADA must be happy with what is going on. If WADA is not happy they don't sit on their hands. Look at how many appeals WADA lodge against decisions made each year.

    But in general it is entirely possible for an athlete in one sport to provide substantial assistance and then for no other person in that sport to be sanctioned.

    Anti-doping rules apply to the community of sports. Traffickers (whoever sold Odesnik the hGH) sell to anyone in my experience. From athletes to people looking to smooth out wrinkles. Sports always struggle to link a trafficker to the rules of their sport. Traffickers are rarely members of a sport, they have not signed up to be bound by that sports rules and often never even set foot near a sporting field. They just sell gear to whoever wants to buy it.

    If Odesnik passes on details of a trafficker, that individual or organisation may have absolutely no link to the rules of tennis. It may fall to USADA (assuming it is a US based trafficker) or WADA to pursue the matter and they may very well be doing so for all we know.

    My point is that no action by the ITF post Odesnik does not mean no action full stop in anti-doping. The cheese may well (indeed I expect it has) moved to pursuing a trafficker under the anti-doping rules in place by USADA or WADA or another agency of government somewhere.

    There is a bigger picture in play here than just tennis I would strongly suspect.

    1. Maybe, maybe not. It's all speculation, isn't it? Neither of us know.

    2. If it is all speculation then probably fairer not to have a go at Dr Miller when for all we know (and given the evidence that I have seen strongly suspect), this is a matter that has passed beyond the ITF to other anti-doping authorities to pursue under their more applicable rules.

      Catching traffickers is incredibly difficult. Take a doctor for instance dispensing hGH through his anti-ageing clinic. Mostly they are not even covered by the rules of sport. You can't ban them (as they don't even step foot on a tournament), you can't fine them (as they have no link under the rules to sport) and you can't even get them to appear before CAS (as they are not bound by the rules in the first place).

      When these types of matters come up sports are largely powerless and the matter needs to move to government agencies (such as medical licensing boards, the FDA or other government health authorities) who do have jurisdiction and power over the trafficker.

    3. I disagree. It is better to be on the side scepticism in these matters. As you say, the anti-doping bodies do not have legal authroity to go after traffickers. Also, given that Odesnik claims that he purchased his HGH online, good luck trying to catch anyone.

      Dr. Miller has made himself fair game through his actions and words.

    4. Check out Operation Raw Deal. A good inside lead to an online trafficker of hGH is priceless intelligence.

      I think criticising Dr Miller is tough justice in this instance. WADA have full authority to go in and appeal any decision made by the ITF in this case. WADA are the watchdog. If you don't like the decision of the ITF with Odesnik then focus on WADA who are the one group that can act to change the ITF's decision.

      I know the WADA are satisfied with the ITF's handling of Odesnik including the reduced sanction.

  40. SwissCheese,

    Onsite medicals only occur for late withdrawals. If a player withdraws from an event before the deadline, they dont need to even give a reason. Late withdrawals can only occur with a physician verified injury or a fine applies.

    Final comment on CAS. CAS is not a formal court. AS such CAS arbitrators hearing cases have full flexibility to make judgements or seeking additional information. They can and do and the panel can give weight to this additional material in their decision making.

  41. Andrea..nothing to do with anti-doping yes.

    Lets save that for another forum but I suggest that you watch the live draw at Wimbledon and see how it is done. Someone puts their hand in a hat and pulls out a numbered chip all done in full public view.

    If you can spot the slight of hand in drawing the number 3 and 4 seeds then you are better than me.

    Play the Game does tend to be the domain of the conspiracy theory. Interesting speech though it was.

    I will have to share this with the Referee at the Australian Open Wayne McKewan. He will get a laugh that he is allegedly a veritable Houdini at pulling chips out of a hat.

  42. Whew! The detail here is impressive. I wonder what some of you do in your spare time.

    In the meantime, as Dr Miller proclaims that ped's won't help tennis players, I watch the draw at Monte Carlo progress, and what do I see? Players like a certain Continental midget, barely over five feet tall, lately built (and sounding) like a mini-Nadal, and belting the crap out of every ball - and getting to every ball. Not bad for a player aged 31 and bearing no resemblance to his former sylph-like self of five or more years ago. (Kenny Rosewall, where are you?) Questions of height aside, it's a common pattern - bigger, faster and stronger. And, curiously enough, older. (Compare the Hewitt of this year with the player of his "prime" - before 2004 - he's twice as big now.) But nothing to see here, Dr Miller.

    We can discuss conspiracies and drug testing till the cows come home, but to anyone watching the game it's all about tireless muscle out there now. I can only gloomily conclude that whatever the testers are doing, it ain't working.

  43. Almost time for a new thread Sen it's getting a bit cluttered in here. :-)

  44. Mr. Ings,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond....and probably to your surprise I have just finished reading the Contador decision....I am now more inclined to believe the CAS might not be corrupt, HOWEVER I now firmly believe they are utterly USELESS...

    The CAS findings of supplement contamination's being the most likely culprit are based on a ridiculous premise - that premise being that the UCI and WADA did not PROVE blood doping nor did the DISPROVE supplement contamination....however, it was not the UCI's nor the WADA's intent, burden or desire to do either one...the burden was 100% on Contador.....the UCI's and WADA's "proof" is the A and B samples provided by Contador, which was undeniably NOT DISPUTED by Contador or Real Federacion Espanola de Ciclismo (RFEC) CAS dismisses blood doping because the two parties that claimed they think it was the culprit didn't PROVE it was the culprit, despite the fact they didn't have to nor intend to....they merely offer it as the most logical reason for the existence of their PROOF, the confirmed A and B samples.

    In similar fashion the CAS ultimately accepts "tainted supplements" because Contador and RFEC didn't PROVE tainted meat....therefore they defaulted to "tainted supplements", despite fully discounting Contador's (the one with Burden of Proof) and RFEC's claim of "tainted meat"....

    From Contador's appeal, page 29:

    "Mr Contador further asserts that the contaminated supplement theory should also be set aside. In fact, he did not take any supplements between his 20 July 2010 test and his 21 July 2010 test. Moreover, all the Astana riders were taking the same supplements throughout the 2010 Tour de France...none of the supplements that were made available for Astana have been implicated in any contamination case, use or store clenbuterol or any other prohibited substance in their warehouses, or have ever been blamed for an athlete’s positive drug test. The Appellants’ suggestion that he may have taken another food supplement is speculation."

    From Real Federacion Espanola De Ciclismo's appeal, page 32:

    "No evidence is produced by WADA or the UCI to prove contamination through vitamin supplements. The Appellants solely make statements without any documentary support in response to the reports submitted by Mr Contador before the CNCDD.".....(my reiterated words from here) this is classic as it was not the UCI's or WADA's responsibility nor desire to PROVE Contador ingested contaminated supplements, so the fact they didn't prove it is utterly was Contador's burden of proof

    From the CAS Findings: PG 89-92...a few relevant passages

    "In his witness statement, Mr Contador declares that he did not take any supplements between his anti-doping tests on the 20th July and 21st of July 2010. The supplements which he normally takes were taken during race days alone (either before or during the race) and not on rest days. It is therefore impossible that the clenbuterol detected in his Sample could have originated from a supplement he was taking. The analysis of the Appellants’ supplement theory should therefore end here"


    "Plainly, if any of those supplements had been contaminated with clenbuterol, then there is a very high likelihood that other riders from the Astana team would also have tested positive for clenbuterol during the course of the 2010 season or at least during the course of the 2010 Tour de France."

    1. SwissCheese,

      Congrats on slogging through that opinion. Imagine slogging through 3 days worth of hearings that went with it! I know UCI spent over $1 million alone prosecuting Landis. THe complexity of CAS hearings and their cost is another issue.

      But as I say given a choice between conspiracy or competency always go with competency. I think that CAS does a pretty good job in general but I sure have lost cases that raises my eyebrows (Marinov being a case in point if you want to dig up that CAS decision).

      But at the end of the day CAs is independent and fearless and make decisions that can go either way.

  45. I'll give CAS this - they didn't buy Contador's BULLSHIT story - AT ALL...but in the face of knowing they had a liar in their midst they punted by allowing the premise that WADA and UCI didn't prove (other than the dirty A and B samples) HOW the A and B samples became dirty, which I'll re-re-re-reiterate was never their burden in the first place, to "rule the day" so to speak...

    from "The Panel's Conclusions Regarding the Blood Tranfusion Theory" page 88:

    "Only on a secondary basis is the Panel invited to consider the scenario of a blood transfusion. Indeed, neither the UCI nor WADA initiated nor requested to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Mr Contador in respect of an alleged blood transfusion; the theory of the blood transfusion having only been raised, together with the food supplement’s scenario, by the Appellants as an explanation for the adverse analytical finding, i.e. as alternative explanation for the presence of clenbuterol in the Athlete’s system compared to the meat contamination scenario relied on by him."

    To summarize:

    - WADA and UCI had proof of a failed test for clen
    - They had no burden of proof for WHY it happened
    - Contador and RFEC accepted the test results
    - Contador and RFEC LIED their collective asses off about how it happened...going so far as to actually pinpoint the actual calf that produced the tainted veal (it was veal not beef, for those of you scoring at home)
    - If it had been a supplement then other Estana riders would have also tested positive, but didn't
    - CAS INEXPLICABLY elected to find Contador guilty without actually finding him guilty
    - Contador was found guilty but exonerated at the same time and how many other people do you know that will ever take the time to read the 100 page decision?
    - Instead of "Mr. Contador had burden of proof and was so utterly unconvincing to the point of obvious lying and we therefore uphold his suspension" the CAS elected for "Mr. Contador and to some extent the UCI and WADA all had burdens of proof and all failed, except for the uncontested failed A and B samples, to prove their collective cases so we therefore find no reason to exonerate nor further implicate Mr. Contador and have no choice but to uphold his suspension but feel the need to add that we find he most likely did this unknowingly and through no fault of his own and was forced to make up lies about how it happened"

    Lastly, Mr. Ings, do you believe Alberto Contador unknowingly was tainted by supplements he claimed not to have ingested at all?....I believe he cheated and got caught...and for the most part got was let off by the CAS

  46. Cheese you are not wrong.

    As a prosecutor I would look at this opinion and say "well….we got 2 years so put that in the win column".

    I don't buy the supplement argument based on my experience with the ATP nandrolone matter. The conventional thinking then and even now was that supplements have a high risk of contamination with banned substances. I believed that too. That is just what everyone thought.

    But in the period of the ATP nandrolone matter I did something with each of the 200 trace nandrolone readings. I contacted the player and took any supplements they were taking and tested them.

    The goal was to find the "contamination". I tested hundreds of supplements including some that looked pretty high risk of contamination. And I found nothing. Not a gram of contaminant in any of them.

    Now there was a study done many years ago by a university somewhere that found that 15% of supplements were contaminated so I expected to find something in these hundreds of supplements i had tested. But I found nothing.

    That convinced me that contamination in supplements is pretty unlikely. Impossible? No. Likely. No way.

  47. Richard Ings, can I ask you about the nandrolone cases? I was always skeptical about the explanation of natually occuring nandrolone being the cause of the raft of positive tests back then across various sports. Here's another one that I commented on before

    Since your contributions here I've begun to think maybe this natural generation of nandrolone is more plausible, you certainly believe it is and from your contributions here your motivations seem genuine. Can you reference any published medical literature that documents this phenomenon? It would seem to be quite a juicy paper to publish and should be easy to scientifically demonstrate. Can you reference an article in a peer reviewed medical journal?

    1. Cob. Here is the published research from the Koln WADA accredited lab which shows that nandrolone readings as high as 5.6ng/ml were definitively shown to be endogenous in origin.

      This is the research that used the ATP litres of trace nandrolone readings shown in over 200 samples.

      The key sentence is:

      "The highest endogenous concentration was 5.6 ng/ml urine for an active urine and 5.2 ng/ml urine for a not active urine" (page 217).

      This paper shows the process developed to enable an IRMS type process to be applied to trace nandrolone readings which didn't exist before the ATP joined to help the Koln lab develop it.

      With this new IRMS technique the question of is a low level reading (less than natural or synthetic doesn't rely on stats but on pure science. We now have a test that will be positive if it is synthetic nandrolone.

    2. As this published study by the highly respected Koln WADA accredited laboratory (under the leadership of Hans Geyer) irrefutably shows, nandrolone readings as high as 5.6ng/ml in the study, which is more than double the automatic trigger for a doping offence, were scientifically proven to be endogenous and therefore completely naturally produced within the body/sample and not doping at all.

      I have no doubt that sometime during that period there was some poor unsuspecting athlete with a nandrolone reading of 5.0ng/ml that was accused of taking nandrolone, and who got sanctioned when he couldn't explain where it came from, but who did absolutely nothing as the nandrolone formed in his urine sample naturally as this study clearly shows can and does happen.

      But it is not a problem today. An IRMS test exists to confirm the endogenous nature of vet low nandrolone concentrations.

    3. Hi Richard,
      Thanks for providing that. I'm not a doctor, but I am an engineer and I think I can remember enough of chemistry to mostly understand the study. Is the conclusion that small amounts of natural NA can exist in a sample that combined with demethylating during storage would produce results that would fail under a simple concentration test for 3 ng/ml?
      It seems like valid science.

      When you say this was published, do you mean it was published in a peer reviewed medical journal and if so which one? Could you tell me what is "Sport un Buch Strass, Koln"? It seems to be a publishing company is it?

    4. Cob,

      I got the paper from the Koln WADA accredited lab website so unsure where else it has been published. Sorry I can't help you further with that but an approach to the Koln lab and Hans Geyer may be able to answer your question on where this reprint was originally published.

      The crux of the science is that collected urine samples under certain conditions (heat, long transport times, non refrigerated storage etc etc) can undergo demethylization whereby natural concentrations of A and E can transform into 19-norsteroids to a maximum measured level of 5.6 ng/ml.

      So the athlete with this 5.6 ng/ml reading did absolutely nothing. And his reading is more than double the automatic cut-off for a strict liability doping offence. The higher 19-nor reading simply results from a chemical reaction in their already collected urine sample.

      Scientifically proven and accepted now.

      When this whole issue came up (and guys when you find that 200 tennis players from 32 countries have micro trace levels of 19-Nor steroids even the most skeptical must question is this doping or is this new science we are discovering), I asked various labs the question of could they apply IRMS (as they do with confirming synthetic testosterone) to confirm the nandrolone as synthetic.

      The response was that IRMS could not be applied to samples with a concentration of less than 10ng/ml as a process had not been developed for it. I asked what was holding up developing that process. The answer was that the labs needed litres of urine with very low levels of 19-norsteroids in the sample including naturally occurring 19-norsteroids to refine the procedure to discriminate between natural and synthetic.

      I responded with "well I might be able to help you there as I have several litres of the stuff which you can play with".

      And so a partnership started with the Koln and Montreal labs using the ATP non-positive urine samples to develop a robust IRMS procedure for concentrations less than 10.0 ng/ml.

      The process developed by these esteemed labs now allows IRMS to be applied down to 3.0ng/ml. This is above the 2.0ng/ml cut-off but with reporting errors basically every sample in question above 2.0ng/ml can have this new IRMS process applied and confirm whether the reading is synthetic (and doping) or natural (and not doping).

      The prevailing science that any reading of nandrolone above 2.0 ng/ml had been turned on its head. No CAS panel can have a comfortable satisfaction that a nandrolone reading above 2.0ng/ml and in my view below 10.0ng/ml is doping unless the analysis is supported by a positive IRMS.

      There is only one thing worse than a doper going free. That is an innocent athlete getting slammed for doping they did not commit. And I have no doubt that there were athletes sanctioned for low level nandrolone readings that would have been proven innocent by this new IRMS nandrolone test.

    5. Thanks a lot for this information, it is very interesting. My opinion in most doping cases would have been "where there's smoke there's fire". Lots of excuses have come and gone "I drank a couple of beers" - Landis, "i ate a steak" - Contador. "the drugs appeared in the urine while the sample was being stored" I always put the nandrolone cases into this bracket, but I guess in some cases the excuse was true.

    6. I had expected a few more comments on this clear evidence surrounding this nandrolone issue that incorrect science has resulted in clean athletes being sanctioned but that now this issue is fixed.

      This matter for me raised a key issue. The goal for me in anti-doping is to answer the question of whether there was doping or whether there was not doping. I went into every case with an open mind both on the athletes story but also on the scientific evidence. The goal is to get to the truth.

      In the nandrolone matters when 200 trace nandrolone readings appeared in quick succession across 200 players from 32 countries, an alarm has got to go off that (a) this is a massive doping conspiracy of unprecedented scale or (b) this is a massive scientific stuff up of unprecedented scale.

      I examined both (a) and (b) and in this case the answer was (b). Conclusively. And anti-doping is better as a result of that work.

      I felt extremely sorry for the nandrolone tennis athletes. Imagine. You do nothing and wake up one morning to be told you are positive for a substance you have never heard of. And you have to prove where it came from. So as an athlete you clutch at straws because you know you didn't take anything. Not even inadvertently take anything.

      It is why every case needs to be viewed with an open mind both for the athletes story but also for the scientific evidence provided by a lab somewhere.

  48. @Sen

    "...where are the results of this "substantial assistance"?"

    I think Wayne Odesnik has probably convinced Stuart Miller that drugs are completely useless for tennis.

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