Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tuesday Roundup

News
USADA issued a Press Release about cyclists Cale Redpath and Alice Pennington being taken off suspension for failure to appear for a test because of something about their being "reserve athletes". The facts of the cases are very unclear to us -- why did USADA really give up on these after they were sanctioned? These were earlier reported as done deals in CyclingNews on Nov 12 and Nov 10. USADA somehow distinguished these two from Jason Sager, so he's not off the hook (yet?). Are they making shows of mercy to the innocent while they clear the decks for the Landis case? Is WADA going to appeal these shows of leniancy to CAS?

The Daily Peloton's Ferren Christou provides a long interview throwing softballs for Travis Tygart of USADA, who comments on notorious current doping cases (with minimal mention of Landis):

Where the system runs into conflict is when athletes who know that they committed the doping offense are grasping at straws and hoping to find a technicality in order to escape the consequences of doping. That is why you see more and more that defense counsel will inundated us with voluminous requests for documents outside of what has been set forth in the rules. These fishing expeditions are typically designed to introduce confusion into the process and create a smoke and mirrors defense in an effort to influence the public and create false sympathy for the athlete.

In context, it's not about Landis, so he's not directly implying, "Landis doped, knows it, and is grasping at straws." But neither does it admit the possibility that there may be anything wrong with the testing, or that an athlete might be improperly charged.

ESPN.com has a good, long piece by Bonnie DeSimone on Landis and the case. He says he's "pretty much written off this season", and says he wants "to believe that the right thing will happen and we'll get a fair hearing, as long as it takes." Meanwhile, Travis Tygart says, "We're ready to proceed, We want hearings done as soon as possible." This makes it sound like the Landis camp is behind or not fighting too strongly the current delays. Landis is spending $100,000 a month on legal fees, and that he's treating it as a race: "I have to get enough money fast enough. I have to learn everything fast enough and I have to get the best help."
"They see it as a competition, too," Landis said of USADA. "They've even come out and said, in the press, 'We've never lost a case.' Well, if you're winning and losing, it's a competition. If you're looking for justice and trying to find out who's cheating, and you find out you made a mistake, and you drop it, you're not winning or losing, you're seeking the truth. It is a competition. It is to them, and it has to be to me."

The BBC has picked this up, in abbreviated form, and mixed in quotes from various other interviews. It concludes with Landis saying, "I really have never been treated this poorly by anybody in my life."

AFP via Velonews caries the same story.

VeloNews reports that Prudhomme, Director of Le Tour, is unhappy about the pace of the case. He doesn't expect a resolution before the start of this year's Boucle:
The situation is unbearable. March?! ... So much delay is not good for the Tour, for Oscar Pereiro, for Caisse d'Epargne or for cycling.

It hasn't been so good for the Phonak team or Landis, either.

CyclingNews also prints Prudhomme's dissappintment at the absurd amount of time it has taken for the Landis case to be heard. We suspect he is not the only one so disappointed.

SportingGo runs an edited version of recent Rant piece about urination contests between agencies, and Mr. Pound's attempt to do PR polishing. Rant must be trying alternate distribution streams. Where is the "Profit" step?

Blogs
Cycling4Life presents the "Floyd Files" (not to be confused with the " X-Files", though I do suspect the truth is out there somewhere) a sort of mini-compendium of Landis Links.

Investment Biker Blog defines the meaning of "bad ass" and FLandis is incredulous.

Flemican Sports Fan writes about Dopes on Wheels.(to quote Nino Savat from Firesign Theater,"it might just take one to know one")

The Flemican also points to an interesting old page at TotalBike about doping in cycling.

Information on Sports posts from a time warp that FL's hip operation was a success.

Willow Street notes FFF Town Hall in Brooklyn; no new info, but amusing illustration. Is it supposed to suggest biking past the graveyard?

ThroughTh3Wall, a triathlete with 133t13k!a*, writes of another camp in Temecula, overlapping Floyd's Camp. Rural Girl tells her side of the story, and of the closing dinner at Floyd Camp.

Hugh W is contributing to the FFF, darn it.

Snark O' the Day
Sports Hernia snarks about what to do when writing the season off.

Email
An emailer tells me he took the bull by the horns and called USADA and asked to talk to Travis Tygart, who he called T-3. He got a callback, and talked for 5 minutes without getting much except a tip to go look for an ESPN.com article -- linked above. Thanks, Travis!

Forums
At DPF, a new thread on the timing of the hearing offers this trenchant analysis from MacRoadie:
Tygart's statement that "The arbitration process is grounded in federal statute and contains all the safeguards to ensure due process." isn't entirely accurate. The AAA rules for document production fall far below federal rules for pre-trial litigation discovery. In fact, most lawyers find that to be one of the biggest problems with the AAA arbitration process. The AAA rules simply lack any real teeth. Parties often ignore deadlines for the production of documents, fail to produce all requested documents, or produce documents only at the last minute when it is too late for opposing counsel to thoroughly review the information.

Additionally, the rule for the exchange of exhibits in advance of the arbitration hearing is also a source for problems. Moving parties must produce their exhibits and witness list to the opposing side in advance, whereas rebuttal exhibits and rebuttal witnesses need not be identified in advance.

I personally would never enter into an arb agreement, especially if my life depended on it. I'd rather forego the expedience and guarantee myself due process.

Thought for the Day

“Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights,even if you don't know what your rights are, or who the person is you're talking to. Then on the way out, slam the door. -jh-



*"leet-lexia", the compulsion to write things in leet (133t).

[end]

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

ORG here ...

No good for Pereiro??? Prudhomme should at least PRETEND he cares about getting at the truth and not getting about rubber stamping a conviction.

His attitude is unbearable and not good for the tour either.

daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...

No profit for the Ranter, I'm afraid. Sportingo doesn't pay its writers, except with by-lines. ;-)

They actually sought me out, which I think is pretty flattering. And perhaps being published over there will draw more attention to the pro-Landis side of the story.

Time will tell.

- Rant

Anonymous said...

Gee, thanks for the "throwing softballs" slam. You know that Tygart wouldn't comment on Landis directly.

I did ask him about the ADA's compromised objectivity, the tests being rushed into service, scientists testifying for the defense, the arbitrator's ties.

The point was to give people insight into Tygart's (thus USADA's) thinking.

Ferren

tbv@trustbut.com said...

I'll stand behind softballs -- it's like a Russert interview. An interesting issue is raised, he says what he wants to say to spin the issue, and there is no followup that presses him on the hard part of the question.

In particular, there is nothing in the questions that pursues a line of thought rather than just raising a point to be smashed.

For example, the issue of test validity is raised, and Tygart dismisses it as attempts by dopers to claim "junk" science. OK, that is what you'd expect him to say as a first reaction. Is there any followup to press him on the possibility the tests might not have been as statistically validated as may be necessary? Or that asking such questions is in any way relevant to a legitimate defense?

No, there isn't. So the questions are softballs.

TBV

Anonymous said...

Farren,

I'm not sure I would call all the questions softball but the overall interview appears that way. I'm guessing Tygart asked you to send him the questions and he would give you a measured, calculated response. Correct? If thats not the case he is extremely good at thinking on his feet to spin the flaws in the system.

I do agree with TBV that there were no deep probing follow up questions which point to my comment of a calculated response that was not done face to face off the cuff, but rather a measured typed response.

To me the responses from Tygart wreaked of Poor USADA, poor me We are being attacked by these guilty athletes trying to delay the inevitable. There should have been a probe into what is an innocent athlete is, among other responses. To me he takes the Dick Pound stance that if you test positive, the lab is perfect and you are guilty. end of discussion.

The interview furthers my belief that he is not interested in the truth. He only cares about winning and spin. It also points out they are feeling the heat and are taking one hell of a beating right now. or at least thats what he wants us to believe. I'm referring to his final responds basically saying walk a mile in our shoes. Wahhh, Wahhh, Wahhh, big cry baby

atown, Tx.

Anonymous said...

Tygart spun it so fast you would think he has adopted lances high peddle cadence to get up that mountain. I dub the, Travis "spin to win" Tygart.

Anonymous said...

It was my choice to do the interview by e-mail. Once again, my point was to give him the opportunity to respond to the charges, and let you folks make up your mind about his responses, which you have.

I do think it was more forthright than most cycling interviews. Compare it to Cathy Mehl's recent interview with Floyd, which was also posted on the DP.

You all wanted me to really skewer him because of your strong dislike of USADA. I totally understand that, but obviously I don't share those feelings.

Ferren

Anonymous said...

Ferren,

Thanks for the reply. give the interview was via email I think its as good as anyone could get and meet any deadline. I'm not sure you could have done more. BTW: thats the only way I would have done the interview if I were Tygart.
Would I have liked you to skewer him? yes. Why? no one in the industry appears to support or believe the accused athletes, not even USCF. And especially not the sponsors, promoters or Press. And frankly it saddens me to thank that most will assume to believe a quasi judicial system that is biased toward proving their existence to the world, in stead finding truth. Instead they see fact finding as a fishing expedition so an athlete can try and get off on a technicality and that highlights their bias toward guilt and not truth.
The ADO system is extremely flawed and biased toward guilt. Heck I'm convinced the only reason USADA didn't drop the case against Sager is because he has been so vocal about his innocence therefore they want to punish him.

However when all is said and done thanks for loving the sport enough to ask questions.

atown, Tx.

Flemish American said...

It's always nice to get mention for something you write, but what exactly do you mean with the comment "It takes one to know one"?