Sunday, October 29, 2006

TBV Quarterly Report

It's another 29th of the month for TBV, and being the third, it is time for the Quarterly Report. Let's hope there will only be one more of these and we can all get on with our lives. [more]
Previous reports were at the one and two month milestones of TBV.

The next formal steps are

  1. Selecting the arbitrators.
  2. Scheduling the hearing.
  3. Identifying requests for materials.
  4. Resolving pre-hearing requests with the arbitrators
  5. Exchanging briefs and witness lists at least 5 days before the hearing.
  6. Conducting the hearing.
  7. Receiving a decision.
Then, the losing party may appeal to CAS, and we'd repeat 1-7.

We have heard that Pepperdine Law School has been proposed and tentatively accepted as a location, with exact scheduling to be determined, probably sometime in January. If it happens, TBV is there.

Some Rumours

We have also heard the following conflicting and unverified reports:
  • USADA has accepted the open hearing and Pepperdine
  • USADA is balking, wondering what "public" means.
  • USADA wants to go directly to CAS, skipping a public hearing.
Notable Events

Since the last monthly report, we have had the following significant events
  • Landis is proceeding with post-op physical therapy, regularly riding stationary bike, has thrown away his crutches and started gingerly on a road bike.
  • Three sets of (one, two, three) "Ferret" documents and their interpretation and reconstruction.
  • Landis announces the "Wikipedia Defense", but says not all of his cards will be revealed.
  • Release of the full Lab Documentation Package, ADRB Filing, and the Baker PowerPoint.
  • Several week appearance of Landis on the Daily Peloton Forums.
  • DPF has emerged as the premier site for serious technical discussion of the case.
  • A Wiki has been created to organize the data and interpretations.
  • Despite skepticism on DPF, Landis has been sounding downright cocky, telling an audience in Madison, WI., that he wants to bring down the UCI. This suggests he thinks he is holding cards are pretty darned good.
  • The route for the 2007 Tour was announced. The introductory video didn't duck the doping issues, but was seen by some as being excessively critical and disrespectful of Landis.
  • The UCI and the GT Organizations continue to snipe at each other. Too many instances to link.
  • Operation Puerto has fizzled, with all riders apparently cleared, and no one charged with anything. This has frustrated McQuaid to no end. Basso out at CSC, Ullrich out at T-Mobile, both looking for teams. Astana doesn't have a ProTour license, and maybe not contracts for it's leading riders. Both are held by Saiz, implicated in Puerto, but not charged.
  • We learn that Mr. Pound of WADA has a term that is expiring next year, and that the Euro candidate to replace him will be Lamour of France.
Proffered Defense

We need to keep in mind that Landis has said repeatedly that he has not revealed all of the defenses he will be offering, so we should be careful not to dismiss his case based only on the evaluation of what is currently known. The two likely presumptions are that he is holding back what he thinks is dynamite that will pretty conclusively make his case, or that he has nothing, and is trying to sow confusion.

What has been made public of the defense so far is intriguing, but not yet convincing for many people. As broken apart by the Wiki, based on discussions at DPF, the following Issues have so far been identified and considered:
  1. TE confirmation - may have been done wrong, looks plausible to discredit.
  2. CIR Positivity criteria - may be done differently by different labs; by loosest plausible standards he would be positive. This hinges on the interpretation of the snippet, "metabolite(s)" being either "all of the tested metabolites" or "any of the tested metabolites". Intelligent people can argue this till they are blue in the face.
  3. Contamination - possible defense at first glance, sentiment is now that it was probably not contaminated, but this may get revisited.
  4. Bogus delta 13C - unresolved, with suspicion that cortisone taken under TUE may have conflicted with that used as a reference compound.
  5. Natural Variability - interesting, but may not be helpful for procedural reasons. The various studies supporting the test suggest he may be within one range of normal that doesn't happen to be the range used to set the criteria for the letter of the test. Should the arbitrators be literal rather than concerned about the spirit and correctness of the regulation, this is of no help to the defense.
  6. Cortisone - has been dismissed in terms of its affect on 13C in testosterone metabolites, but its excreted effect on comparisons made with it as a reference compound are not yet fully explored.
  7. Most reliable metabolite - this seemingly good argument has been discounted, but it subservient to the "positivity criteria" discussion. If it must be "all", then it matters; if "any", then it doesn't.
  8. Doping Scenario - no one has come up with a doping plan that makes any sense in the context of the race situation. In particular, a theory that he got caught with a transfusion of tainted blood from an earlier program have been fairly thoroughly dismissed because of the mechanics of blood doping.
  9. Paperwork - the paperwork botches on sample numbers noticed in the Filing seem very important to commenter's who work in or near labs, and essentially irrelevant to lay people. Unless there is something else to suggest a sample mix up, it appears to be merely embarrassing.
  10. Beer. There is continued puzzlement what effect alcohol may have on CIR ratios, especially in an elite athletes who bonked and then drank while their body was trying desperately to replenish itself. The theory is considered speculative, inconclusive, and unlikely to have any effect on the case, even if it turns out to be true.
Trust But Verify

TBV experienced a massive traffic spike with the document release on October 12th, which has settled back to a lower level that is higher than before the release. Readers have been a big help finding items and commenting on pieces I've been unable to listen to or watch on my own.
Our special thanks to all those who have helped!

I keep hoping that we'll enter into some kind of lull, which would be good for my sleep schedule, but it hasn't happened yet.


It should come as little surprise to anyone that the case has turned out to be quite complicated, at least to people who are willing to look at the evidence. Many people who had been pretty firmly convinced of Landis' culpability are now willing to consider that he may not have done anything. For the most part, they are unwilling to accept the defense that has been offered as being completely convincing, but they are willing to see that it is not open-and-shut clear. Better defense arguments may persuade a lot of people that he has been unjustly accused.

At the same time, there are fanatics of both persuasions who will never be convinced by anything, what Mr. Rumsfeld used to call "dead enders". All you can do is be patient and hope such people will eventually see reason.

Thanks for reading! We'll keep going as long as it takes to get to a resolution.



Anonymous said...

A thought on beer, not the test but s a benefit to recovery (his amazing recovery).
In a recent fund raising ride, I happened on a N.VA (USA) cop doing the century ride, he brought up that the N.VA police ride is ended with beer and learned that it was sucked up so fast by the muscles that there was no 'high' after two or three beers, according to him. I suspect that may speed recovery.