Thursday, August 31, 2006

Where are the numbers?

There's a lot of confusion about The Numbers. We've heard Jacobs say that he hasn't got the formal reports yet, probably because of long European summer vacations. We know something was delivered, leading to verbal confirmations of the 11:1 ratio and 3.99 CIR value. These reports were solid enough for Phonak to fire Landis when they turned up.

It is suggested that Landis is hiding the values. Maybe it's a tactical decision, awaiting the formal A/B sample packs, maybe he's trying to hide how bad they are, and maybe the attorneys aren't tuned into the PR game and are erring on the side of discretion.

Some say Landis has gone dark while trying to work out some deal with the USADA, and will only release things if that falls through. This assumes he is guilty, or that he has enough doubt in the process that a deal is better than the pain and expense of a defense.

It seems to me that if he is innocent, and is going to go to a full out defense, then he ought to release everything he he is allowed to in it's entirety. I won't say he should do it immediately, because it may take some time so set up a mechanism that works reasonably. Still, by the time the formal A/B packs show up, something ought to be in place.

Releasing documents is a part of the PR effort, not related to the legal machinations. It demonstrates good will and good faith with the public that is the target of the image rehabilitation. It is hard to see what procedural harm can result from releasing documents already in the possession of the ADA, UCI and WADA, including the initial AAF report. Hiding them or doing only partial disclosure leaves the impression there is something being hidden. As put by a detractor in one discussion,

My friend, rest assured that any documents Landis releases will be selective and self-serving.
Now, there was the quick rejoinder (not me, honest):
Rest assured also that any documents released at anytime by the doping bureacracy will be equally selective and self-serving.
But that is something Landis has no control over. His moral weapon is to say, "look, I'm showing my cards, why are these guys hiding theirs?"

The PR goal is convincing Joe Average that Floyd isn't a doper, and the whole thing is a terrible mistake. Appearing to be Mr. Squirming Evasive Secretive Accused Dope Fiend doesn't jive with that goal, so it needs to be avoided.

I can't possibly know if he's guilty or innocent with the data before me. I know him only by reputation and a whoosh by on a hill a lot faster than I can ride. I really hope he's clean, but hopes like this have been crushed often enough in athletics it would be naive to deny the other possibility. If he is guilty, getting it over with quickly is a good idea. If he's clean and he can afford it, he should be consistent with his eloquent open letter to Phonak and put on the best defense he can to prove it. I'll cheer the effort. The demand for an open hearing was a good step that direction. Being open with the documents will be another.

[updated 20:30]

Full Post with Comments...

Thursday Roundup

Quote of the Day

Q: What defense would prove his innocence to his worst critics?

A: For somebody to show how the body can make synthetic testosterone!! link

Julich ruminates to Abt at the IHT: "If we can't trust the labs, why are we doing this?"

Hamilton's purgatory continues; no Worlds, ProTour closed, from VeloNews.

DZ disappointed, says don't judge whole sport

Listeners speak, on the FredCast. [defined]

Don't take what you read at face value, says one time NCAA testing czar Gary Green, affiliated with the UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab. "All of the tests have become specialized and complicated in interpreting."

Landis Lies, Lies, Lies, at Digital Deception.

Discussion of PR and credibility, by Moffit-Smith

Petition mentioned and debated, at transformatum.

Numerous ongoing Arguments at Topix forums. This is where the most productive (or pointless) discussions seem to be happening. I'm getting shot, and shooting back.

[updated 18:29]

Full Post with Comments...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wednesday Roundup

Quote of the Day

Disgraced Tour de France winner Floyd Landis launched a nationwide media campaign to clear himself of blood-doping charges. He started in New York, then hopped on his bike and arrived in Los Angeles six hours later. link
After three weeks of trying, we're finally being indexed by Technorati, which should make things easier to find.

News and Gossip Dept.

Finnish Shotputter caught, confesses; no word on what the readings or method was.

Allowing doping considered, and rejected; philosophical arguments by Gary Becker and Richard Posner (who'd be on the Supreme Court in a better world). These guys are both advocates of the "does it make economic sense" school of thought, considering costs, benefits and tradeoffs in ethical decision making.

Schadenfreude, an example with Dick [defined]

Soy, Soy, Soy; followup wondering about sports drinks and C13.

New discussion, another, and another, at Freakonomics (and an old one).

Statistics and medical decisions, from Scientific American, linked from Freakanomics; shows why claims of infallibility for tests are bogus.

Floyd's long term doping, theory linked to by Freakonomics.

Good discussion at LetsRun, starts with pounding Pound, gets into science around page 3, showing a range of views from "tests are always right" through "there is a lot of fudge in them that can give bad results, either way" all the way to "if you don't agree with me, you're a p***y".

Research Division

Five years of USADA annual reports.
In 2001 (see page 13), 8 athletes AAF-ed on testosterone, couldn't find list of athletes.

In 2002 (see page 22), 2 athletes AAF-ed on testosterone: Dave Owens (bobsled), Jake Jensen (track), Chip Minton (bobsled) and Andrew Garcey (weightlifting) sanctioned. [carryover cases from 2001, probably.[

In 2003 (see page 36), 6 athletes AAF-ed on testosterone: Andrew Eggerth (track) and Edris Gonzales (weightlifting) sanctioned.

In 2004 (see page 34), 2 athletes AAF-ed on testosterone: Michelle Collins (track), Dean Goad (weightlifting), Chesen Frey (cycling) sanctioned.

In 2005 (see page 17), 5 athletes were caught on testosterone: Matt DeCanio (cycling, confession w/o AAF), others unidentified.

In 2006, I've found George Hartman, and of course Gatlin, who was caught by by doing IRMS on all the samples from those championships.
USADA research includes a 2002-2005 study by Don Catlin, MD, at UCLA for IRMS for testosterone. It's got subscripts, so I'll play dumb and let you look.

UCI Testosterone cases:
2006, Barry Forde; on appeal to CAS.
1999, Armstrong rash cream clarification (no offense found).
CAS Statistics, crappy site, navigate to the statistics tab. Case law is lacking, I need to find another source or index.

Jeremy Serreau, French swimmer in 2004.

Discussion of 6:1 to 4:1 at page 11, in WADA Minutes of Sept 2005. Trying to resolve false positives against additional catches. Conclusion: leave at 4:1, revisit in 2007.

[updated 23:06]

Full Post with Comments...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Thought experiments gone bad

One - That was MY foot

Let's pretend that Floyd conducted the following test. He does a hard training ride approximating the first Alp stage, and collects urine and blood samples. He does a hard ride through bonking, collects samples, has a couple of beers and some JD, and the other recovery stuff he will claim to have done. On the third day, we collect pre-ride samples, and then he rides a wattage profile like stage 17, and collects more samples.

Now suppose we find that the samples evaluate fine, except the before and after samples on the last day match more or less exactly what was found in the reports.

What do we conclude? Rationally, that it was a natural production, and there is no violation.

What could the Rules conclude? That he just committed a second doping violation in an out-of-competition test, because the second set of results are as bad as the first.

Leading to a life ban.

Is there something wrong with this system? Yes, there is.

Two - Higher Review?

It is currently taken as fact that the CAS is the end of the line for appeal. This might not be so. In this article, we learn there may be an angle that would bring the EC into the picture. The article interprets the ruling of

the European Court of Justice, which determined that sporting cases do fall within the scope of Article 81. Put another way, the court decreed that the rules on doping in sport are not exempt from EU laws on competition and freedom to provide services.
This seems to me to be wishful thinking. Here's the appeal ruling, and that of the court of first instance. When you read it, you find that it appears to completely accept that the doping system is part of the competitive rules, and therefore not a topic for judicial review. I read it that the appellents got over the idea that there economic parts of sport that qualify for review, but got a complete no sale on the idea that the doping rules were economic. That is, the last sentence of the quotation above would more accurately read, "Put another way, the court decreed that sports do fall under Article 81, but explicitly determined that doping rules were part of competitive, not economic review, and out of bounds for judicial concern."

The appelants got nailed on their doping case, which argued that some meat they ate caused the skewed results.

Now, the faint hope offered by one of the lawyers is that somehow, since the court ruled that Article 81 applies sometimes, that this can be used to get into things that athletes or federations find unfair in the WADA code or their dealings with the IOC.

On this one, I'm inclined to agree with Dick Pound (first for everything!) that the ruling ratified the foundation of the WADA code as something that could be imposed as a sporting regulation without further review.

Which is not to say it wouldn't be nice to have somewhere to go beyond the CAS.

What's kind of interesting, in a twisted way, is how tortured interpretations can be of the same document. The plain reading of the text so contradicts what the original report seemed to suggest that I'm completely baffled.

[updated 7-nov to fix broken links]

Full Post with Comments...

One month status review


On this one month anniversary of TBV, here's a review of what we know and where things are.

  1. The B sample confirmed the findings of the A sample. No surprise there.
  2. The USADA hearing isn't scheduled.
  3. Floyd, through Jacobs, has demanded an open hearing, to which he seems to have the right.
  4. We have only anecdotal confirmation of 11:1 T/E ratio and 3.99 ppm in the CIR test.
  5. Jacobs says he (still) hasn't received the test results. Long vacations in France.
  6. There are probably unreleased results from the samples on earlier or later stages, and their B samples probably still exist.
  7. Despite the laughter, the Beer/Alcohol theory may account for both test results.
  8. Because of the burden of proof, just having a theory won't cut it in the hearing or the appeal that will probably follow.
  9. Floyd has expressed concern about whether the system really provides him opportunity to prove innocence, and he might be unwilling to go to the wall if it really is impossible.
  10. Floyd has not yet had his hip operation. Unclear why not.
  11. Floyd has not been heard from since the day the news about David Witt broke. This could be coincidental.
  12. None of his Phonak TdF teammates has admitted or expressed any suspicions.
  13. Andy Rihs seems to have suggested maybe Floyd did something, but he, Andy, doesn't really know.
  14. John Lelangue has not been heard from. Looking for work?
  15. Allen Lim has been quiet in public. No idea what he's up to.
  16. Robbie Ventura had Floyd make an appearance with DZ at his new coaching center after it all broke, so he's not distancing himself.
What don't we know?
  1. What the actual lab values were, for either the A or B samples on either test.
  2. What the values were for tests on samples before and after stage 17.
  3. Whether B samples before and after stage 17 are really available for testing.
  4. Whether there has been a "longitudinal" study that Floyd volunteered to do, though one might be constructed from the records of previous tests if available.
  5. Is Tom Prail a "false positive" example for the CIR?
  6. Whether the lab is really doing credible work:
  • How may IRMS/CIR tests have they done in the last 6 months/year/2 years?
  • How many positives, how many negatives?
  • Are the test protocols being followed correctly from a numeric perspective (did they zero the balance before doing the measurement or was it off by by a kilo with an error that compounded)?
  • Is the math correct?
In terms of the PR situation,
  1. The conjectural hypotheses have become the butt of jokes world-wide.
  2. Floyd has been lumped with Gatlin, Jones, Bonds, McGwire and Ruiz in many minds.
  3. Jones learned something from Floyd, and didn't say a word.
  4. The media and blogosphere are unsurprisingly short of nuance. It's hard to be in the "don't know" camp and talk with folks who see only in shades of black and white.
Here are some KEY REFERENCES, also linked from "What's here."

If you've got questions or corrections, please drop a comment or send mail.

[updated 20:44]

Full Post with Comments...

Tuesday Roundup

Quote of the Day

A: I see...all hedge and calculation, no "I believe he did/he didn't"?

B: That's right. I don't know, and don't feel a need to say that I do. Is there a prize of some sort for declaring early?

A: No, only a prize for straddling the fence---that way, you can claim to have been on the winning side all along, whatever the outcome. (link)
Still no test documents, says Jacobs. Lab still on vacation?
Teammate Perdiguero calls it quits after the season, also here.
Landis no longer alive, fears columnist.
Lawyer should have shut Floyd up, says Lawyer, who assumes he's guilty anyway.
Stage 17 with a hangover? Amazing, says blogger; comments blast away.
Happy Floyd Day, on Aug 7; passed on blog humor.

BBC Sport | In Pictures, Inside a drug test. a/k/a Dope testing for Dummies
Explained with rule exerpts, courtesy Will at Topix.
Introduction to steroids, part1, by John Berardi, part 2, part 3. (old)
Berardi's optimist take on Floyd, from Jul 27 (way down), so outdated.

[updated 8/30 7:32]

Full Post with Comments...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Monday Roundup

Quote of the Day

I have a feeling that in six months you guys will still be going strong with this argument. No new facts will have come out, but it won't matter. link
Looks like another day of background info and boring opinion.

Cortisone unlikely to affect CIR, says Derek at Corante; Usenet commentary here.
PR bashing, from Maine columnist.
About T Tests, in Chemical Engineering News.
Not enough evidence to judge, says VeloNews Q/A, 2/3 down.
Wondering about Hip in Bicycling forums; no news that I know of.
This is some F*^#ed-Up Process, amplifies our friend Rant.
Landis Lies Classified, according to blogger.
Run Run plugs TBV. Shucks.

[updated 23:58]

Full Post with Comments...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Roundup

Quote of the Day:

Q:Was there any consensus amongst the cycling experts as to who manufactured the best frame at the 2006 Tour de France ?

A: The best frame was manufactured by the LNDD. link
Tyler lets loose some frustration and sympathy for Floyd; still hoping for shot at worlds.

Laughing at the Beer theory, Der Spiegel throws mud on Jul 31.

Some original, early reactions in Europe, reported in this page from Der Spiegel on Jul 28.

Floyd drives Blog Technology change, too bad I can't get Technorati to index TBV, groan, mumble.

More refs to the other Phonak sporting scandal, (earlier reported by us here).

How he won't prove his innocence, argues blogger on Aug 7.

Or the soy in the sports drink, wonders USENET post.
[updated 18:35]

Full Post with Comments...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Maybe it was the muesli and the beer

I'd forgotten about this.

During the tour, CycleOps (the power tap people behind Allen Lim) did a whole series of podcasts on Simply Stu, a website they run for Triathletes. One of the running topics (and jokes) was diet and the amount of meusli the riders are fed, and how the recipe was a secret of one of the Seignouirs, revealed in one of the later episodes. The main ingredient of meusli is rolled oats, which is not far off from Free Floyd's "diet can elevate test results", and Tom Fine's, "Hey maybe it was the beer."

Now, some obvious questions are:

  • Everybody eats meusli, how come it was only Floyd?
  • Didn't the study for the CIR take this into account?
I think a difference might be that Floyd moved from training in the US, near home, to Europe in the run up. Doing so changed his dietary consumption sources completely. Maybe this resulted in some C12/C13 balance alterations. If such a change did occur, I kind of doubt that the studies done in validating the CIR for doping tests took it into account. More likely, it was run on a bunch of athletes in their home environment eating a stable diet.

Full Post with Comments...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Saturday Roundup

Starting Saturday early, because the first item is from CyclingNews, and is dated the 26th, having been posted from Europe rather than California where I am.

McQuaid outlines Landis timetable, in CyclingNews. First is the USADA hearing. The TdF title can't officially be taken from him until that returns an adverse finding, or the title would be confirmed then. What happens next would be up to Floyd, how far he wants to take it (or I suppose WADA and the UCI if they wanted to appeal a clearance). It took 18 months for Hamilton.

Blood Doping explained, in Daily Peloton.

He has to lie, even if guilty, suggests BikeForums discussion - Better to be Hamilton than Simeoni.

Letters to VeloNews, from Friday (oops). Cat-4 jokes about dope; "Cycling is as damaged by the disqualification of innocent riders as it is by those who dope."; Complaint about Landis's strategy; UCI is two faced; Test the other samples.

[ updated 19:22 ]

Full Post with Comments...

Friday Roundup

Quote of the day

You are stopped whilst driving, given a breathalizer test, it shows a blood alcohol above the legal limit . . . yet you know that you have not had anything to drink. Would you (1) challenge the functioning of the breathalizer unit or the competency of the person adminstering the test or (2) say, "Gee, I don't want to undermine the credibility of the breathalizer test because as a society we sure want to rid our streets of drunk drivers, therefore I will simply be quiet and take whatever punishment is meted out." (link)
Optimism remains, but pissed at process, says Rant your head off, also with comment from me.

Letters to CyclingNews remind us of Diane Modahl, who eventually proved sample mishandling and got off; Agreement that it might have been natural; How can you judge Floyd's character when you don't know him?; What else can Pound/WADA do, really?

Perdiguero leads Phonak at Vuelta, team packed with Swiss to get exposure in the team's last grand tour.

Excellent review at the UK Sports Journalist's Association, a source I will mine further.
It includes the single best explanation and history of the T/E test I have yet seen.

Speaking of Diane Modahl...

Case finally dropped, report in NYT
She doesn't get to sue the Federation for damages, say the Lords.
Used as a Case study, note the panic in practice press conferences.

Problems at WADA will ‘drive innocent athletes out of sport’, says report in Feb 06 citing Modahl case. Full report buried in this magazine [pdf].

Floyd did take an IV, according to links in this discussion on DP forums, and in BikeForums on Aug 8, from this LA Times article. There are observations that this contradicts statements he made at a press conference that he didn't take one. A defender points out in BikeForum that if he had the IV in the afternoon right after the stage, it wasn't "that night" as asked in the question in the press conference. Yikes, that's the kind of nuance that drives some people crazy.

Petition pointed to by daily peloton forums, and on Bicycling forum.

Another Phonak related scandal -- points to the mother company!

Finally, the Bicycling Magazine had one more article that I didn't mention in yesterday's roundup. By Bill Strickland, "And it Breaks my Heart" is subtitled "Our cycling generation's greatest racing moment was stolen from us." He discusses Eddy Merckx' legendary attack in 1969 as the definitive moment for a generation of cyclists, and how our equivalent has been emotionally stolen from us.

Ain't it the truth, Bro.


[ updated Sat 10:00 AM ]

Full Post with Comments...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thursday Roundup


I don't really buy into the idea that things happen for a reason, but I do accept whatever I'm given in life and try to make the best of it. I don't sit around feeling sorry for myself. That's not my personality.
-Floyd, in Bicycling interview.
It really was the beer, more Fine research.
Accept it, article by Simon Brooke, active in USENET debate.
Floyd and Jan lose UCI Rankings, says CyclingPost. What rule?
Phonak, Astana can ride out the season, says UCI.
I don't need to be right, says supportive blogger.
Another petition pointer, from a supportive blogger.
Make it go away, wants blogger, links Bicycling interview below.

Different Testosterones, described on sci.chem

Floyd Interview in Bicycling. Looks like one from the PR round a few weeks ago. What is online is only an excerpt, with the full one saved for the Sept 1 magazine run. If some miscreant posts it online somewhere, I don't know if I'll post a pointer. When I see it, I'll probably just paraphrase anything interesting.

Mr. Mailman had left my copy for when I got home. Now I've got it before me.

It's more relaxed sounding than the TV appearances of the same period, more like what I've come to expect from him. He goes into some whining about the confidentiality problems, and how everything blindsided him. The experience gives him pause to question whether the system really works the way it should. He thinks when he gets prepared, he should be able to fight. (I guess he doesn't yet know how stacked it is against him.) He agrees it'll be a great comeback story to have overcome the allegations. Hadn't done much riding after the Tour. Expects to do the hip surgery within 8 weeks of the end of the tour. (That might make it tough to do his own tests for a defense.)

He credits the win at Morzine more to the weakness and confusion of the field than his own strength. He says his own output was less than previous (good) days. He used his power meter to monitor what he was doing, and has great confidence in it and knowledge of what he can do to prevent blowing up.

Two companion articles take the sides of guilty or not. The innocent article has a bunch of the stuff you'd have expected to see in the tour wrapup before hell broke loose-- the hip announcement brought him a lot of information from specialists who may help. He stuck with Phonak in '05 expecting a quid-pro-quo of support with the hip. Wants to believe and will until the fork is stuck in it for good. Essentially, it ignores the test result facts completely.

The guilty article pulls out the facts-- 11:1 measured T/E, 4:1 rule limit, 1:1 normal; "Silver bullet" CIR test showed Landis over a 3 part per million limit, but no reported value (we've heard it was 3.99, but not authoritatively). Phonak has a history of doping. Sample tampering is unlikely. The simple explanation is that he's a doper. Then complains about why Cycling is being picked on compared to other sports when it is actually doing something.

No enlightenment there. If you're reading this, you are already probably better informed.

[ updated 22:13 ]

Full Post with Comments...

A bunch of references and old stuff

Here's a GREAT search site to remember:

All of the the science, none of the babble. It's like that new WWW thing of the research community way back in Nineteen Ninety and Three.

Some links found from there, and elsewhere.

CAS history, in Olympic context.
You can get off if you are a horse with cancer.
Detailed puff piece on CIR tests, with graphics of output displays.
How good is CIR for T-Doping, real paper from 2001.
Mass Spectrometry in Doping Control, real paper from 2005.
Detecting Epi-T Doping using IRMS, real paper from 2002.
Diet change may affect IRMS, real paper from Feb 06, abstract only.
iPod should be banned, observes Doping Control Journal in 2004.
Effects of feed and age on IRMS of T in cows, real paper from 2000; abstract only.

Mass Spectrometry in Sports Drug testing, real paper, preprint; abstract only.
Civil Rights, Doping Control and the World Anti-doping Code, journal article from 2004; no text, no abstract.
A Constant Battle..., Duke Law Journal article, discusses strict liability standard.
IAAF Arbitration Panel Heritage, superceded by CAS.
CAS settled disputes 'within the family of sport'; Yes, eat the young.
Doping Control from a Global and National Perspective, abstract only.
The Strict Liability Principle and the Human Rights of the Athlete in Doping Cases, legal doctoral disstertation, in dutch; abstract only., website of a journal. 23 articles hit for 'doping'

Other stuff:

Meca-Medina and Majcen use EC against WADA; Pound says don't look behind the curtain.
Silliness in doping control around 96 olympics, from NYT
Which rules to follow?, reference piece on PlayTheGame
Good article about doping in triathlon, (but old) by Mark Sisson (see earlier link)
Doping News Roundup at Cycling4All.

Full Post with Comments...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Burden of Proof Problems

Possibly definitive article about burden of proof in CAS cases, by Lauri Tarasti, Justice of the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland and Member of the Sport and Law Commission of the IOC. The quick summary is, if there are any tests that say you have something bad in them, you are toast. You don't get to challenge the test, and nothing can mitigate. It's not clear to me how you would have an angle to show the test is a flawed methodology, or that the inferred result is incorrect. Let's say it isn't promising.

In a conversation I had on Usenet (link), Simon Brooke shuts me down by saying,

But as the CAS ruling is, as you point out, inevitable, it /is/ over. The only thing still in question is whether it drags out for two years and bankrupts Landis, or whether he 'fesses up tomorrow and takes hismedicine, and gets to keep his house and maybe a bike or two.
Depressing thought. Now, when I'd said a CAS appeal was inevitable, I meant that there certainly would be one. Brooke had carried that one step further, inferring the result is a foregone conclusion because of the way the process is stacked. Based on the cases described in Tarasti's article, you can certainly draw that conclusion.

You can back up and suggest then that the issues should be addressed at the time of the national federation process, before it gets to CAS. This probably doesn't hurt, but the UCI and WADA can themselves appeal to CAS, and they process seems to get to the same result.

In another part of the same thread, I wondered whether the pre/post samples were available for additional testing. There has been no information offerered on that one way or the other.
If they are available, Photoshopper advises:
For a few thousand bucks, Floyd could probably have those other "non-adverse" samples tested for exogenous testosterone. With the crappy way the rules are written (see, I acknowledge the flaws), it probably still won't prevent him from being suspended, but he'd at least be able to show the world that he was likely seriously wronged. His case would be better served by his publicly calling for that as opposed to him offering yet another excuse.
Not encouraging.

Full Post with Comments...

Wednesday Roundup

Pez interviews Kimmage; thinks Floyd is in it up to his ears.
Figure out how to do it safely, writes blogger
Darth Vader, wonders StarWars blogger on Aug 9.
Chiropracter was taking credit on July 28.
Reasonable chat about T/E stuff, on Topix. There's suggestion the WADA protocol for computation is mathematically bogus, and that the Floyd camp isn't releasing values until there's more understanding of how they were computed. Also, that UCI/WADA should not release the numbers to the public, but that Floyd probably could.
It's a hard knock life for Sportswriter, who is embarrased by his subject. Case in point: Floyd, formerly of Phonax.

[updated 22:36]

Full Post with Comments...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Case of a CIR False Positive

A while back, I'd reported a posting on USENET, which turned out to have a precursor I'd missed. The first one reads:

[quotation omitted]

The lab definitely knows. The actual personnel doing the testing should not know. And I agree that the lab itself should not know.

Anyone here receive a fax results from a WADA accredited lab? If you're so anonymous...then how do they get your name on the cover sheet? It's conceivable that the sport orgs convey identity information after testing, but there's still a time span where the results and the names are in the same lab facility. Also, my testing wasn't for cycling so maybe there are different protocols for transmitting info between UCI and WADA (I'm not going to spend the time to look it up due to a BM).

And the second is:
I've tested positive on the isotope test. Twice. And I didn't dope. On second test, I had to pay out of my own pocket. I'm no longer an athlete (was never even close to being a professional one when I went positive) and the second test was 4 months ago. I can see how people could question the first one. But the more recent one? Like I would need to dope in order to drink beer and surf up internet porn. Use some common sense folks. If doping is one but not the only explanation, then you've got to perform some additional tests and narrow it down and be certain.

In a way, I hope Floyd is guilty. I would truly hate to think that someone who was actually talented and making a living competing clean was tagged due to someone half-assing the test and interpretation. At least I was not talented and it doesn't really affect me ('cept I'm out a good chunk of cash). If I was talented, I would be so pissed that I would most certainly write another paragraph.
I've traded some email with Mr. Prail, and he's agreed to let me share the following from him with some more case details.
I can share what I've shared before which isn't much. Anything else would need to get cleared by my attorney (such as the test results themselves). My wife and I just had our first child so I'm more preoccupied with that than WADA's drug testing.

Although I posted on the bicycle racing group, I'm not a cyclist...equestrian rider (and no, they didn't mistake me for a horse as my friends have suggested). I was tested two nights before competition (4-day event: 2005 FEI World Breeding Championship for Young Horses). I learned both of my results on the A-sample before competition on Thursday and didn't start. The B-sample results were the same.

I won't get into legal mess that followed and continues to follow (not really a mess since it's going much smoother than the UCI-WADA-Landis deal. It's a mess because I don't understand legal stuff). The FEI hasn't treated me like a villian, which is a lot different than the UCI so I'm lucky (or maybe I was too far down the food chain). No sanctions yet so it appears that my attorneys have been doing a decent job.

WADA is a different story and it's not by what they are saying, it's by what they aren't saying. They failed to attend two hearings in Switzerland on the isotope test. No prior notice, they just didn't show up. I would understand if they simply said: "we're not showing up". I wouldn't have liked it, but at least that's straightforward.

I will also say that clearing my name wasn't the primary reason for paying for second test. Curiosity was the first. But it is a curious result! It definitely doesn't make sense now and some may say it doesn't make sense for an equestrian rider anyway. I agree (although we do work out quite a bit...but no reason to dope the rider).

I'm finished with sport and moving on with the next phase of my life: being a good father and adjusting to life in America.

Tom Prail
OK, the case isn't complete, so there's nothing settled. But first, we have a scenario where a guy who appears to have no reason to dope gets his own test and it turns up "positive" again. That suggests there is something going on that is difficult to account for.

Second, we have WADA not showing up for hearings to discuss the testing. There isn't even the claim of infallibility being made in the record.

It seems very curious to me.

I've gone to the FEI website and looked for case details, particularly in the case status table, but haven't found anything. Probably I'm looking in the wrong place.

Here's a few scenarios.
  1. Floyd doped, this is all noise.
  2. His pre/post tests would be CIR negative, making the stage 17 one a fluke and he's getting jobbed.
  3. His pre/post tests, and one he'd take now would be CIR positive, because there is something the test does wrong, as shown with Prail.
It seemed worth getting out for others to poke around. I suggest that people don't flood Mr. Prail with communication -- he's got a life to lead, and would probably prefer this to have gone away.

Mr. Jacobs, this is something you might like to look at.


[updated 22:16]

Full Post with Comments...

Tuesday Roundup

Gatlin cuts a deal, 8 years instead of life ban. I'll say no more.

New tests, old drugs in back patting piece from Washington Post.
About testosterone, from CyclingNews today.
T/E Test should have been abandoned, says Sisson, ex-triathlon doping commish.

Rage, Rage, Rage, at Cycling Revealed

New dirty theory, in last letter in VeloNews Monday.
Mass Spectrometry Blog crows about prowess on Jul 31.

I'm backing Floyd, blogger said on Jul 28th.
I will shout at you on my blog, if you criticise Floyd.
Let's invade France! advises charlatan Richard "Get Rich" Quick.
That explains it: Lance, Floyd both space aliens.
Floyd on Colbert, in someone's imagination.
Blog Haiku, with comments, somewhat old.
"Photo of Floyd Getting T Found", blog with comments; on FoxSports.

Long running discussion on Corante is interesting again.
Sports Law Blog links musings about Congressional hearings. "It's an election year!"

tdfBlog passes on:

YouTube | Tour de France 2006

YouTube user "monoloque" has posted a mashup video featuring OLN video from the Tour, historic Tour video, still images from the race and news coverage, and music by Kraftwerk into a 6.5-minute video about the 2006 Tour.

Echo chamber, Rant your head off picks up TBV False Positive story.
[updated 22:49]

Full Post with Comments...

Monday, August 21, 2006



Seems like the only people that benefit from this whole ruckus are the media. (link)
The QoD is true -- you have to have had some exposure to the news business to understand the voracious need for new, attention grabbing content. I'm feeling it here just doing this roundup!

The judgement of Simeoni, from Daily Peloton: Team managers, doctors need to take responsibility. It was a level playing field with EPO -- now doping is a rich rider's tool.

Riduculing Excuses at Cincinnati Enquirer.
It's about the money, says NJ paper about sponsorship.
What a difference a few months make, says Idaho paper.
Merckx doctor, friend deplores media treadment, from Jul 28.

Looong discussion on topix forum, ongoing from Jul 27 to now,
and another. There doesn't appear to be a way to link into the interesting ones to separate them from the dross. Where there are links to other interesting stuff, I'll do so below.

Position paper on T abuse, from, ref'd by above;
False Positive rate matters, Floyd examples, from a blogger, with example pictures of CIR output, ref'd by above.
WADA EPO test is fake science, reports Medical News Today, which questions the integrity of the agencies and labs. From Feb 06.
WADA Guideline on reporting TE results, from WADA, ref'd by above;
Paolo Pezza cleared from false positive turned up by the same lab in '98, ditto;
Do labs understand statistics? (possibly a re-link).

Cartoon from Jul 28, another from Aug 1.
That phony careerist and human necktie Dick Pound should promptly remove himself from public life and quit trying to enlarge his reputation by wrecking the reputations of others.
Writes Sally Jenkins in this Aug 2004 Washington Post article.

Encylopedia of Doping, from CyclingWeekly.

Very interesting thoughts about possible defenses; conspiracy doesn't fly, according to this Aug 9 post on daily peloton forum.

Get off the announcement problems; it doesn't matter, and it was a lose-lose for everyone once the A came up positive, notes this rational blogger on Aug 10.

Cool graphic of IRMS, ref'd by above discussion. I wish I knew what it meant. I think it shows how a baseline was obtained from a sample set, showing variation.

Article about Arbitration for Doping cases, from a law school journal. Reviews Tori Edwards case, which was a "too bad, you lose" decision; basically pro-CAS, anti-athlete.

DopingJournal, a source new to me to be mined as I have time. The first article I stumbled into was about Hamilton's chimera claims.

Full Post with Comments...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Quiet Sunday

I'm glad that's cleared up.

HAPPY STUFF! Lots of pictures on flikr.

Long article about Mt. Washington, Tyler, and some Floyd references
How much money Floyd is losing; VeloNews refers to Telegraph article I can't find
Open Letter to Dick, from DailyPeloton: You aren't helping
Can someone explain this? Who is Tom? Who is this? I don't get it
LandisIsInnocent shows up in Google News sponsor results, but hasn't updated his site since an initial post on July 30
Some Cartoons shown at Wonkette
Zero Tolerence for Zero Tolerance, at Rant your head off.
Floyd unwise to use Tyler defenses, says French summary of cycling news, based on spread of Hamilton "doping diary" (machine translation).
What about Manzano's Testosterone Rage story, asks blogger.
We want the Dingers, which is why we're ambivalent about doping, says blogger.
Everybody cheats, groan the folks at Triple Crankset.

Floyd Wikipedia page, fact laden and studiously neutral.
Case Process outlined in old NYT article from Aug 4.

Full Post with Comments...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday Roundup

One of the images from the T-shirt site. Remind anyone of Che?

Wheee! I got off my fat Fred ass and did a 4-1/2 hour ride today, in my full Phonak Kit. Goooood. Bad: the kids wanted to play World of Warcraft instead. Sigh.

Soy protein affects TE, does Floyd eat any?, posted on Bicycling BBS;
Paper about soy and T/E, referred to by above.
Petition to investigate lab linked by team estrogen. I am trying to restrain myself from making jokes about Floyd's hunkiness values, and failing.
Still a Hero, says Temecula Valley News
"Market tailspin? Blame Floyd for everything!", says FL paper
Ex-Murietta mayor arrested. Must be Floyd's fault.
Accept he cheated, says USENET reply to my hope.
Floyd is a good guy, says Maggy in Pez yesterday.
Floyd is full of shit, says this blogger.
Public Bad Boy Floyd, Sex! Runaways! Abortions! Marijuana!
Late Late Show low blow, reported by tdfblog.
Doping...Cycling...Pro Cycling...Media...Stupidity
at tdfblog.
Thirst for scandal leaves blogger confused about Floyd
Stop half way, learning to read the news.
Timeline of statements made during the initial period

Rider's Union discussed on Bicycling BBS
About Doping, by Mark Sisson, ex Triathlon Doping Commish.

Hamilton wins Mt. Washington Hillclimb, AP via VeloNews
Good article about Restaurant biz on Free Floyd.
Suicide prevention walk; also prevention hotline catfight.

Old discussion at (Mass, Vermont) Valley Advocate, and good snapshot of the world on Aug 3.
Leno hashed at Media Life; old, from google cache.
Backstepping, a blog reacts to comments - and another
French Testosterone joke, funny picture.
Two improbable theories; perplexity at freewheeling spirit Aug 8.
Adam Carolla Show Blog on Floyd's appearance Aug 8.
I was right saying this was inevitable, crows blogger on Jul 28th.

Another FreeFloydLandis is at; less intensive news summaries than here; page of scientific literature;

Full Post with Comments...

Friday, August 18, 2006

I can't make this stuff up

Several sources pass on this tidbit...

El Pais also reported that American Floyd Landis, who faces being stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title due to a positive doping test there, appeared to have seen a German doctor.
Oh my god! It's DIP!

What next? "Floyd Landis ate a cheeseburger made from Argentinian beef, which may be fattened with steroids. Experts also say Argentina is on the same continent where other riders allegedly did reclusive 'training' in mountains under the supervision of so-called 'coaches' and 'doctors'. The burger was obtained from a 'fast food' esstablishment whose name has been witheld pending confirmation, according to authorities."


Full Post with Comments...

There goes week one

Despite the doping scandal involving Tour de France winner Floyd Landis and other negative publicity in recent months, Phonak’s sales have hit record levels. (link)
This makes one whole week that I've been doing this as a roundup. I hope folks have been finding it useful - It's been way more traumatic than I had any idea it might be, and I have no idea how difficult this is for Amber, Floyd, David Witt's other family and friends, and the Phonak team.

It's boggling.

If you have any complaints or suggestions, please drop a comment.


Marion Jones "A" Sample Positive for EPO, quotes AP. As with Gatlin, I'll mention it once and leave it alone.
Free Floyd T-Shirts, profits promised to Floyd Foundation.
Get mad Floyd, advises long open letter at RunnersWeb
Call me for advice, says Richard "Get Rich" Quick.
You Buried Win, Gave Scandal Page One, complains letter.
Floyd only one who thinks he's innocent, writes a blogger
Another pointer to the petition, and another.
Sunday full Ligget interview on YouTube, understands most defense points. Second lab should be used on B sample. Cycling is eating itself. Partly Transcribed at BikingBis
All athletes are doped, says blogger.
Give Floyd some brownies today, writes blogger.
Neutral rundown at this blog, Aug 14.
The Filmmaker? It matters to us, but others...
Another blog, skeptical.
Shot through the heart, declares blogger.
Puzzling Evidence, says Coach Levy.
Challenging CIR is legal trouble, PR disaster, thinks Fine, a reasoned view from one who has done good digging earlier.

Phonak Says, "Goodbye," in it's August Newsletter (pdf).

Letters and more Letters to CyclingNews; constructive, pounding Pound; trusting nobody; testosterone and agression; giving up on pros; there's a child molester in the peloton; life ban for first offense.

"There is power in a Union", feature on rider organization. It argues against sponsorship and for the old national team format, being essentially whistful for the Good Old Days before Commercial Interests Took Over. It isn't as much about riders really organizing as you might have thought. The NFLPA and MLBPA demonstrate stronger unions in sport. And the NHLPA, I suppose.

For young-uns,
There is power in a Union is an anthem of the labor movement, by Joe Hill, set to the music of a well-known Christian hymn. (He's often remembered only as the subject of "Joe Hill" as performed by Joan Baez at Woodstock). Another song of the same name is by Billy Bragg, which rolls out of the mouth more easily these days.

Letters at VeloNews. Too Broad a Brush; He's caught; McQuaid talks out of both sides; Truth is out there, man;

McQuaid speaks to VeloNews.

Full Post with Comments...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Please be a quiet day

There was about as much coverage today of David Witt as there had been on Weds/Tues of the Phonak shutdown announcement. This too seemed in-line with the curse that has followed previous attempts to make the defense case. I'd say that Floyd's open letter was largely displaced in volume by the Witt tragedy, and Jacobs' demand for an open hearing was completely lost in the noise. The timing of the open letter was fine -- ordinarily it would have dominated the Weds news cycle. The Jacobs announcement seemed particularly badly timed, competing both against the open letter and Witt. It would not hurt to re-launch that later.

On the other hand, and I may be wrong, the main wave of "string him up" reactions may have passed, and more support is emerging from hiding.

Petition to investigate lab, referred by BikeBiz
Part 2 of excellent process series from VeloNews.
Coverage of open hearing demand at Podium Cafe.
Interview w/Witt friend Dwight van Slyke in video KUSI story. Says that Floyd went to the hospital Tuesday night. That had to be awful.
Witt reported in Australia, slightly different take.
AP story passed along, with comments at Huffington Post

Defense of the LNDD Lab, from Usenet.
PR evaluation, from Micro Persuasion
Numbers Lie: How the Media Failed, from Rant your head off.
Floyd's Goose is Cooked, Alabama pundit hates to say.
Yay! Doping Litigation Season Starting! notes Bicyling's Boulder Report, taking a dim view of the demonization of Floyd, without expressing opinion on the merits.
Any coverage is too much, says ESPN guy (ref'd by Boulder); who cares about biking and track?
Fall dismays us all, Floyd is Icarus: North County Times
Long meander about saving TdF on USENET
You like my socks? by John Spivey at blogcritics, August 6th.
Transcript of NPR interview, via Off Wing
Attempted refutation of Eustice's IHT piece
Another report on on Chicago Vision Quest appearance.
Why the rush to find guilt? asks a sports blogger.
Landis allowed cycling to dethrone god, says this blogger.
Defense scenario in rotten tea blog.
Blame it on Terrorists, riffs Richard "Get Rich" Quick.
It's sporting to use drugs, says AA Gill in the Sunday (Aug 13) Times.
video: The Colbert Report weighs in the large ones. (old)
Tests are Dependable; UPI passes on expert assertions.
Taking the Dr. Evil, er, Ferrari view: Bode Miller, well known role model

Full Post with Comments...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


From here,

Floyd Landis' Father-In-Law Found Dead in North Park
The father-in-law of Floyd Landis is dead, from an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound. David Witt was found slumped over in his car in a parking garage in North Park Wednesday. He was 57 years-old.

Witt lived in La Mesa and owned a restaurant in North Park named Hawthorns, where a lot of cycling memorabilia adorned the walls, much of it having to do with Landis.

Landis and Witt were best friends. They raced together, they were best men at each others weddings, and Witt introduced Landis to his step-daughter Amber, whom Landis went on to marry.

This sad news comes just days after the cycling team Landis was on announced they'd be shutting down at the end of the season. Phonak owner Andy Rihs said that he has been unable to find a buyer for his team since Landis, this year's Tour de France champion, was busted for doping.

Story Created: Aug 16, 2006 at 9:35 AM PST
Story Updated: Aug 16, 2006 at 10:47 AM PST

A later report says this was discovered on Tuesday afternoon.

Full Post with Comments...

A Black Day

floyd landis, floyd, landis, wada, doping
I've withdrawn the QoD. I'm just shocked by the news about David Witt. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. This is just so sad.

 By volume, there has been lots of dispersion of the Phonak demise, and not much at all of Floyd's letter in the mainstream media. That might change today, as the letter came afterwards.

Floyd wants open, public hearing. December maybe?, Jacobs tells ESPN
What if He's Innocent? Eustice in IHT believes so.
Letters to VeloNews
Lance right about Football and Floyd, says KC columnist
I don't believe he doped, says teammate Koos
Team seemed cursed, says teammate Bert in CyclingNews
For two years, we've been robust, says Lelangue (eurosport video)
Still wants to believe him, says Ligget (video, audio) via BikeBiz.
"Someone took $R-2,000,000 out of his hand and burned it", sez teammate Hunter's manager; Hunter still believes Floyd was clean.
Rider Market has just been flooded, groans teammate Hunter.
Classy Letter, On/Off Comments dischord, by Spinopsys
Rihs playing victim, comment cherry-picking is lame, bitches the biking hub.
Phonak was too good at anti-doping discussed on Usenet
What is Truth? from the Balimore Sun, via Common Dreams.
Other teams Throw Phonak, Astana under the bus, Podium Cafe.
More on demise from NYT
Excellent Testosterone/Floyd research, from Tom Fine
Lim, Ventura, Baker, said to believe Floyd clean.
"I thought I heard...", no you didn't.

David Witt Information

First, unverified report I'd hoped was a nasty rumour...
Seemingly verified report, from KUSI news
More detailed report from SignonSanDiego
More from CyclingNews, rehash in VeloNews
MSM: AP report carried in USA Today and Forbes.
Reuters, via the Guardian; additional details.

Story from Jul 29th
Cyclo Vets minutes from July 31, hoping to work with Floyd Foundation.
Review of the new Hawthorn's, seems current.
Another review, from August 3rd - "very good"
Hawthorn's on Citysearch
Restaurant real-estate news, from 2005
More old restaurant news

Cyclo Vets article about Floyd, Witt, Baker, on Page 4.
Community Development Director of La Mesa?
2000 Sea Otter, Witt 19th in 45+

Happy Now?, anger on Usenet

Full Post with Comments...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Comments on the official site are turned off again. I was just about to post, "Go Apeshit on 'em!", when the form vanished. While I have no foundation for speculation, I will anyway. They could have

  • Gotten all they wanted
  • Been swamped with trash
  • Conducted an experiment to see what they'd get.
  • Been on a schedule and gone to bed.
  • Decided to wait for the results of the discussion here :-)
Let's see tomorrow.
[update: still off at 8:40am PT]

[Update: "Witt was found dead in his car Tuesday afternoon in a North Park parking garage, according to his friends."

I wouldn't want to read stupid blog posts either

Full Post with Comments... taking comments again

The Floyd Official Site is taking comments as noted below, and is publishing at least some of them. That is, all the ones I just looked at were warm and supportive. While it may be a self-selected audience, it does suggest that there is moderation going on. So far, no critical comments have made it through the moderation if there have been any. It would probably be unwise to be completely unmoderated, and it is his site. Still, I expect somebody has to read everything that comes in anyway.

Would it make sense to have some policy that would display reasoned negative comments, and let the BBS take them on? If it were me, I might try a moderation policy that allowed civil criticism from people with verifiable mail addresses. This is the sort of thing that is suggested in the PR advice I found yesterday.

What does anybody else think? Allow negative comments or not?

Full Post with Comments...

Some open questions, part 1

Relevant to the factual defense

  1. Were IRMS/CIR tests done on any of his other samples?
  2. Are any of his other samples still available for further testing?
  3. If available, could those samples be tested at another lab?
  4. Does Floyd have all the quantitative results of the A and B yet?
  5. Does Floyd have quantitative results for any other samples?
  6. Does the WADA protocol for the T/E test follow the long period monitoring advocated in the literature?
  7. What are the false positive rates for the T/E tests and the CIR test?
It seems, um, ironic that safeguards that are supposed to protect the rider - destruction of samples that after negative results - could turn out to hinder a defense by making it impossible to compare before and after negatives with a potentially fluke positive.

Similarly, anyone who says that the tests are foolproof is posturing.

Relevant to PR and transparency:
  1. Are the A/B sample reports translated yet?
  2. Can Floyd post them on his web site, in either raw or translated form?

Full Post with Comments...

I've tested positive on the isotope test

I've tested positive on the isotope test. Twice. And I didn't dope. On [the] second test, I had to pay out of my own pocket. link
Floyd's Open Letter to Phonak Team,
Unclear if it's pre or/post-announcement - it doesn't address the team shutdown directly. He will fight to show the win was valid and restore the image of cycling. Well crafted except for a clunker "just" that could have been deleted. The PR advice may be getting better - notably, this new blog entry has enabled the comments feature, which had been turned off at the site when everything blew up.
Phonak Team f0lds,
Official, also IHT, AP, AFP, CyclingNews, Velonews, Reuters, Pez, Eurosport
"I feel bad for him too", says Andy Rihs in this interview.
iShares says no sponsorship, at UKBikeBiz, nothing yet on the site.
No iShares in cycling, at the bottom of this Telegraph roundup.
Axel frustrated, wants to continue, badly translated here.
Innocent or Stupid, allows St. Pete Times
Floyd, DZ at Robbie's, from CyclingNews
Support Floyd on the guestbook at SupportFloyd
Winning at all costs, minor Floyd/Gatlin dig, from ESPN
Mixed Feelings in Murrieta, in the Press-Enterprise
Disconcerting Dodge, says Hartford Courant
Last Night's Dinner affects C13, WADA's own Research (finder)
More on CIR, from Corante
Unranking Floyd is Wrong, shows bias, says Cycling4all.
Floyd pre-05 article, from BikeCulture (pdf)
Oh, that Pound, says Sally Jenkins in 2005 (source)

Full Post with Comments...

Monday, August 14, 2006

I have visions of Wile E. Coyote


I have visions of Wile E. Coyote using an Acme testosterone rocket to chase down the Road Runner. link
Bob Roll interview, audio from KCPW; thinks sample mishandled.
Claim by a Victim of False Positive CIR, on Usenet.
iShares, Floyd, Ochowicz, USA Cycling conflicts, raised on Usenet.
Citizen Pound sharing advice, in the Ottawa Citizen, cited below
Pound pounding, Julich lamenting, in CyclingNews.
Testosterone & Psychological Advantage, from The Times (UK).
More about T-testing etc., Oxford Cycling chat.
Floyd, Amber, DZ appearance at Robbie's, from Bicycling bbs.
Intercourse it all, on Bicycling bbs.
I Can't Count, consultant thinks A/B samples are two tests.
Please Confess, opinion in Floyd's local paper.
Old News about Lab, and WADA, Vrijman report from the UCI
A lot I'd agree with, in this blog, now part of the echo chamber.
Another big link/summary thread, at Free Republic.
Letters at VeloNews
Pointed Interview with Phamacologist, at Pez.
What Floyd was hinting, on Podium Cafe; first I'd seen it. closed to comments, good PR discussion.
More PR discussion, on Spinopsys
Old stuff, from EducatedGuesswork, for completeness.
Lance having it both ways AND blaming media, opines FynalCut
Statistical Illiteracy, from Knowledge Problem on July 30.
A video montage from Bambi Francisco
Some more science discussion, from a medical student.

Full Post with Comments...