Other Reply to Parisotto's Rebuttal By: Michele Ferrari
Published: 27 Sep 2012
You can find Parisotto's Rebuttal to my previous article here: http://downthebackstretch.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/the-scientists-debate-rebuttal-to.html
The article "It is all about blood" of 20/09/2012 makes no reference to the TdF 2009: it proposes two graphs for Hb values and reticulocytes, without any historical (dates), logistical (altitude) and competitive context, comparing values obtained in different situations, which interfere with the values themselves.
In particular, You cannot compare the results collected at the end of a three-week stage race with tests done out of competition, furthermore at altitude.
Yet You decline to answer to such a serious FLAW.
Armstrong stayed at altitude (Aspen) from 01/06/2009 to 26/06/2009: therefore the tests on the 16th and 17th of June 2009 were taken at an altitude of 2400m a.s.l.
So was the test dated 12/08/2009 (always Aspen, Armstrong raced in Leadville a few days later).
Since You are not informed enough about the discussed facts: the tests mentioned above are official values from USADA - UCI and each corresponds to a sample code.
The correction factors are NOT applied in the COMMUNICATION of the result, but in any possible further EVALUATION: therefore Hb=16.0 is the measured value.
Z-score is a number that expresses the probability that the test can not be the result of natural physiological changes (not necessarily doping, in any case).
Z-score is used in the Biological Passport (Haematologica 2006,91:356-363 and UCI Technical Document 2.09), even though, as you say, often it takes a SUBJECTIVE assessment of a "picture of pattern, magnitude of changes and what time they are occurring", which sometimes lends itself to biased interpretations.
See comment to Point 3.
I find it very surprising that such an Expert Scientist as Yourself has expressed an "absolute certainty of blood manipulation" in the evaluation of data of which You had only partial knowledge.
Tour de France 2009
The study of Morkeberg et Al (Int J Sports Med 2009, 30: 130-138) shows the data of 7 (seven!) cyclists gathered during the TdF 2007.
From here to extrapolate a behavior common to all athletes, in all circumstances, is quite a stretch.
The same Authors of the study, commenting in an interview to DR Sport on Armstrong's data during the TdF 2009 (cyclingnews.com 10/09/2009), stated:
- “Of course we cannot state that he is doping” (Morkeberg)
- “Using those guidelines (of the Biologic Passport, ndr) …I have not established that there was any illegal matter in this case” (Damsgaard).
At the same time, Prof. Hans Erik Heier commented: “The Hb values are too low for it to be possible to manipolate them down there. I interpret this to mean that he must be clean”.
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