The nice thing about having a comments section is you can let other people report on breaking news for you. Like yesterday, when someone dropped the comment on Heras’ inconclusive B sample. 24 hours later, confusion still reigns. Perhaps the clearest explanation comes from ProCycling’s story, though you could search all day and not find anything definitive. Basically, Heras and his attorney have seized this moment to question the test, while the powers-that-be insist everything is normal. My sympathies in this case lie entirely with the scientists, because, as I learned in my AP Bio days, gel electrophoresis can produce results that are devilishly hard to decipher.
The problem here, however, is that this casts further doubt on an already crumbling EPO urine test. You’ve probably all heard about this case, in which a triathlete proved his innocence, despite repeated EPO positives. If charges againt Heras are dropped, not through a clean B sample, but through an inconclusive, who knows what sort of field day the Rumsas trial defense team will have. Even with a trunkload of EPO and other performance enhancing drugs against him, weak sentences in similar cases in Italy bode well for the Lithuanian TT champ and convicted EPO user, who currently makes his living beating the tar out of low-level pros and elite amatuers at Grand Fondos. Still, I suppose it’s better than having him back in the ProTour ranks, where, if he could repeat his 2002 performance, he’d be a heavy favorite for the 2006 TdF title.