Ashenden releases Armstrong’s biological passport codes, never reviewed suspicious samples
BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — Anti-Doping expert Michael Ashenden released Lance Armstrong’s biological passport code Tuesday in what has become an escalated fight with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) over the analysis of the fallen champion’s blood data.
Ashenden and the UCI have been at odds publicly over the Texan’s blood data from his comeback in 2009 and 2010. Ashenden sat on the UCI’s biological passport reviewing board until 2012 and has questioned the depth of that process, notably against financial shortcomings at the UCI.
The UCI, meanwhile, noted that Ashenden reviewed an Armstrong file in 2009 (Ashenden initially said he did not) and found no issue with Armstrong’s parameters, but those tests came before the Tour de France, when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency determined in its Reasoned Decision that doping occurred. Ashenden on Monday cross-referenced his records with those of the UCI and confirmed that he had not reviewed Armstrong’s data after May 2009.
Ashenden said the conflict does nothing but illustrate the fact the UCI never had him review any suspicious files.
“Amidst their evident haste to disparage me, the UCI have confirmed that I did not review Armstrong’s suspicious blood results,” he wrote in an e-mail to VeloNews. “During Pat McQuaid’s interview, he specifically referred to Armstrong’s 2009 and 2010 blood values. Those are the results that USADA found were consistent with blood transfusion. McQuaid said that those suspicious tests were evaluated by independent experts including me. Now that the UCI have volunteered the date they sent me Armstrong’s anonymous profile, I have been able to cross match with my archives. I confirm that I did receive the passport profile denoted ‘BPT374F23’ and those results do correspond with Armstrong’s blood values published along with the Reasoned Decision on the USADA website.”
After reviewing his archives, Ashenden claims that the UCI failed to provide him an Armstrong sample dated April 30, 2009.
He continued: “I would also like to add some clarity. The haemoglobin concentration and reticulocyte percentage of the nine test results I was sent on 4 May 2009 were as follows: 16 Oct 143g/L & 0.99%; 26 Nov 150g/L & 1.08%; 3 Dec 144g/L & 0.83%; 11 Dec 143g/L & 1.29%; 18 Dec 154g/L & 1.49%; 16 Jan 141g/L & 1.03%; 4 Feb 152g/L & 0.90%; 13 Feb 150g/L & 0.99%; 11 Mar 145 g/L & 0.88%. Those nine values coincide exactly with the results published on the USADA site. Interestingly, USADA’s results also contain an additional sample collected on 30 April that was not included in the profile sent to me on 4 May. I have no explanation why that result was missing in the UCI profile.”
Ashenden said two of Armstrong’s results (Dec. 3 and Dec. 11) were voided because they were analyzed before the 36-hour window specified under WADA Code.
“But whether those two results are included or not, I stand by my original opinion that the test results up until March 2009 could be due to nothing more than natural variation. Thus my opinion to the UCI was given as ‘normal,” he said.
That, he says, is the last he saw of the Armstrong file. “I have checked my archives and I cannot find any trace of the profile BPT374F23 having been sent to me again after May 2009. Whereas I had suspected this previously, it has now been confirmed that I was never asked to review Armstrong’s suspicious blood results from the 2009 Tour de France.”
Now, he’s imploring others to come forward if they’ve seen the Texan’s blood files in dispute.
“Given Armstrong’s blood results have been published and are public record, and given we now know that the anonymous code assigned to Armstrong’s results is BPT374F23, it may be possible for the remaining experts to check their own records to confirm whether they ever saw Armstrong’s suspicious results,” Ashenden wrote. “Since both the UCI and the Lausanne laboratory who enforced an eight-year confidentiality clause on the experts both have an interest in dismissing any hint of collusion with Armstrong, I hope and expect they will both now authorize the remaining experts to make public comment.”
The UCI did not respond when asked for comment on Monday.