Wiggins' bio passport numbers released
Numbers back up rider's assertion that he's clean
As promised, Bradley Wiggins has made public his bilogical passport data from the last year. The data covers the period from 26 February 2008 to the end of the Tour, and Wiggins tweeted earlier today that he's "in the process of getting together all tests taken from 2003-2008"
The data covers two indicators: the quantity of haemoglobin in the blood which is linked to the hematocrit level, which the UCI caps at 50% for pro riders; and Wiggin's 'off score' number which is a variable which takes into account both haemoglobin level and the number of reticulocytes (immature red blood cells) in the blood. This second indicator is much used as a reference point for assessing a rider's blood profile. We'll not pretend to understand exactly why this is, but instead defer to the Wikipedia page on blood doping, which helpfully tells us,
"If a high number of mature red blood cells (RBCs) is not accompanied by a high number of immature RBCs (reticulocytes) it suggests that the mature RBCs were artificially introduced by transfusion. EPO use can also lead to a similar RBC profile because a preponderance of mature RBCs tends to suppress the formation of reticulocytes"
The upper limit for the off score is 134 (the blue line). Wiggins gets nowhere near that limit, topping out at about 100 and trailing off to just below 85 by the end of the Tour. A normal score is in the 85-95 range, which is where Wiggins' curve spends nearly all of its time. That the numbers fall towards the end of the two major Tours is also a good sign, as that's what would naturally be the case during a tough race.
Garmin-Slipstream have long been regarded as the Pro team with the staunchest anti-doping stance, and the team are fully behind Wiggins' decision to publish. “Brad is an exceptionally talented athlete and it was great to see him do so well in the Tour de France. He’s always been an outspoken advocate of clean cycling. He requested that we release his results after the Tour and his decision makes me and the entire team proud,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports.