Sunday, February 18, 2007

FFF in SF reveals more

TBV went to the ToC and the FFF event in SF this evening, click through for our report. Pommi has another report with pictures.


At the FFF town hall meeting this evening, Arnie Baker's slide show and commentary had information being released for the first time. The major points were that:

  • Landis got non-S17 test reports from USADA this week.
  • Landis had gotten another copy of the LDP from AFLD, and it is different from the one obtained from USADA, though both claim to be "original" documents.
  • One of the sample numbers believed to be a typo in the original LDP for Landis was in fact a sample for a different number tested at the same time.
  • LNDD did not have operating manuals for their mass spectrometers, and ran them at incorrect operating pressures.
Tour of California Day events

Team TBV went to the event in San Francisco today, spending the day at the start of the ToC, where
Jason Donald of Slipstream Powered by Chipotle nearly scored a stunning upset over the ProTour studs, who had their bacon saved on the last ride by Levi Leipheimer, who produced when all the pressure and eyes were upon him. Good show provided by both riders! But you can read about that elsewhere, so no more here.

During the running, Landis appeared at the Smith and Nephew (his hip replacement) booth to do autographs. The line got rather long when word-of-mouth spread around. At other stages, ask at the booth when appearances are going to be, and maybe you can avoid the worst of it. At the booth, Brian Rafferty of the FFF was handing out flyers for the town hall meeting.

FFF Evening

The evening FFF event was at Jillian's pool hall in the Metreon, an entertainment megaplex in downtown, a decent but reasonable hike from the ToC start village. (Jillians is the ex-Microsoft store.)
There seemed to be a reasonable amount of media present, including KGO-TV news for a while. We'll see what comes out.

Landis was around saying hi to people, wearing a suit and tie, perhaps on best behavior for the media. Turnout was lighter than the other events, around 100, but there were new FFF T shirts and other bric-a-brac for sale for the first time. Another ToC town hall was announced for Long Beach on the 25th.

(We also heard Landis will be on hand Tuesday night in Sacramento for a Team BMC presentation that will also support Davis Phinney. Andy Rihs of Phonak/BMC will be there, the first joint appearance with Landis (that we know of) since the tour. Phinney is having another event on the 24th that will include Lemond. Everybody likes and wants to help Davis, who is suffering Parkinson's.)

Slide Show Surprises

Arnie Baker presented another version of the slide show with new information. We learned that Landis got another, slightly different version of the LDP from AFLD as part of those proceedings, and that it is a different "original" than the one provided by USADA. Baker offered an example of a page in the USADA version that had an incorrect sample number that had been corrected, by hand, in the AFLD copy, but without proper forensic strikethrough, date, and attribution. We don't know much else about what was in the AFLD version, except that it was different in other areas as well.

Among the other noted differences was finding out LNDD did not have the manufacturer manuals for their mass spectrometer. Baker said it took him a day or so, but he was able to download a copy from the internet, and on doing so found that the operating pressure used by LNDD was around 5.2 somethings, where the manufacturer recommended 2-4. This is important, because it affects where peaks become registered. Unfortunately, a quick look later this evening does not reveal to us where this is in the LDP, or what the units may be.

Finally, we heard that USADA delivered a copy of the non-S17 A sample results this week. Pressed for details later, Baker was a little vague about when he got his scanned PDF copy, and didn't know exactly how and when it had been delivered to Landis. We do not yet know any details about what is in these reports.

It suggests there is some movement on the logjam that had been the discovery process, and that USADA may be responding to some of the public pressure.

For reasons unknown, Baker did not talk at all about the whistleblower/hacker documents.

Landis Speaks, and answers Questions

There was little impertinence in questions from the audience, and Landis, Henson, and Baker hit them out of the park like batting practice curve balls.

When asked about French resentment, those on the dais went out of their way to say it wasn't the French per se, or a conspiracy, but a question of details in execution of the testing.

One question that took some finesse was about lie detector tests, to which Landis answered that with the tests that were run already being done wrong, there was little reason and upside to expose himself to any others, expecially since none of them could be used in the proceeding. This also seemed to answer the unasked B-sample question.

When asked about the sanity and efficacy of testosterone doping for a one-day boost, Baker remained scientifically incredulous the question is asked. It doesn't work that way, he said, and no studies have shown it does anything in the short term. While this is true, it doesn't address the jungle drum talk that say it does have an immediate effect, both in recovery and aggression. This wasn't pursued, but could stand to be addressed at some point.

Another question with many parts concluded asking whether it was true that Lance is an ass. In answering the initial clauses, Landis somehow managed to forget the one at the end.

The most interesting question came as someone asked how he could explain to non-cycling attuned people why the time gain in S17 wasn't Harley powered. Landis replied that it's hard to do for people not knowledgeable of cycling tactics, and he couldn't really try for them, but he would explain it to the audience. He said that he thought there was a good chance he'd be in good shape after the bonk on S16, because it had happened to him in his first tour for Postal. He'd fallen off the back in the first climb in the mountains, only to be in the final group the next day. Given the time he had to make, he felt he needed to attack early. He believes most riders only have one max-effort climb in a stage in their systems, and he wanted to make everybody decide if they wanted to use it right at the start. He had nothing to lose, but they had a choice, and they all played conservative thinking he'd blow. He felt that almost all the domestiques who might have run him down for their teams were blown by that point of the tour, and so would be of little help to their leaders. Landis thought to catch him, the 1, 2, 3, top GC guys would have needed to work together in the chase, concluding, "and that never happens."

And saying that, Landis didn't know how to explain it all to someone who didn't understand cycling. Baker chimed in with the observation that the power numbers weren't extraordinary, for Landis or other riders, but the others weren't willing to throw the power down at that point of the Tour. It was a matter of commitment, not physiology.


The auction of collectibles had a signed bottle of Jack going for around $375, a copy of Mr. Pound's book of High Impact Quotations defaced/autographed going for $1000, and various jerseys going from between $350 and $1500.


The vibe was fairly positive, but attendance seemed to be on the low side. Pre-event publicity does not seem to be Team Floyd's strong suit. It would make sense to have at least a full weekend's notice so flyers can find their ways to shops and clubs in time for people to see and respond. As a fund-raising event, it's not the most productive format, we don't think. However, it does seem like a good way to focus the local media on the case in a way that might be hard otherwise. It also seemed like the folks who did come left with a new appreciation of the discrepancies between the certainty proclaimed by the agencies, and the reality of the case.

TBV hasn't gotten the other A-sample lab data, the AFLD reports, or the new slide show. We've asked, but things seem to be hectic at the moment. The impression we got was maybe next week when the ToC is over, but it wasn't a promise.



Anonymous said...


Floyd has been up front to this point and the one thing that separates him from the pack is his willingness to share the documents that ultimately prove his innocence. It sound like there are new relevant mistakes in this additional packet of information. It would be in team Landis best interest to share this information as they have in the past because it lends to his credibility. By sharing earlier documents, Landis could find himself in a catch 22 if he doesn't share this time.

There are only 2 reasons I could see Landis not sharing the info. 1 It is not true. 2. that was a condition of release of the information.

I don't think anyone has the power to keep Landis from releasing the information. Do they? And on the first point why would Landis lie to us now. However, release of the information is critical to the believability factor.

Also, because Landis released the information is one more reason people like McQuaid look like such an a$$. McQuaid is treating this as a stereotypical he said she said, forgetting/ or choosing to forget that Floyd has made the information public which shines a bright spotlight on the incompetence of LNDD, WADA and UCI.

All said and done Floyd must release the new information if it is to have any credibility. Hell, he should have several copies at his event to pass out to the MEDIA . If you ask me that is a shortsighted misstep by Floyd's team not to have copies of the information to pass out to the media or at least a website where its scanned in. My guess is they have not had the information long enough to fully vet it. But they shouldn't let the TOC slow them down. Vet the info and get it out.

Atown, Tx.

Anonymous said...

ORG here ...

Remember that Floyd called this a WAR. So, his first job is to use this information to properly defend himself.

Maybe USADA doesn't have a copy of the AFLD version? These bureaucracies are so screwed up anything is possible.

Also, like the original LDP, it sounds like they are .pdfs of copies, meaning poor quality and in French. It is going to take some time to assemble them in a media and format for public consumption (the AFLD version was probably a hard copy, not an electronic version). Just dumping them on the internet in a raw form (which is how they got them) means hardly anyone can understand them.

In the end, I have no doubt these documents will become public. They have to as Floyd is also waging a public campaign. If they help prove he is not a doper, they will be public.

P.S. Regarding the question above, "did he lie?" If after $500,000 and a public campaign to acquit himself, if Landis and Baker are resorting to fabrications and lies at FFF events, then stop the process right now and start your two year suspension. This would be a bigger shock then proof he was a doper.

Cheryl from Maryland said...

Any reason the kit for Slipstream powered by Chipotle is patterned argyle - even the socks??

Thanks TBV for the full report -- hope you and Mrs. TBV had a good time. Your readers look forward to any additional lab documents as well as translations of science French (props to Marc).

I'm impressed that Dr. Baker took the time to find documents for the centrifuge operational settings - of course, wouldn't that mean that EVERYONE'S TESTS ARE OFF? said...

We heard that Jonathon Vaughters is just willing to be edgy, and willing to show his commitment. I've heard someone say that to do Argyle, you have do go all in. It looked pretty neat to me, perhaps for lack of big title sponsorship logos.

Re: Baker, it wasn't the centrifuge, it was inlet pressure on the mass spectrometers. He appear to do his homework.


Cheryl from Maryland said...

Yeah, I realized shortly after my post that Ishould have typed mass spectrometer. That's why I'm an art historian!

Anonymous said...

If this is true about the pressure being more than 100% off during the IRMS test, then if I were on the arbitration panel (Floyd's team would probably like that) I'd have to assume the test results are invalid unless the USADA or LNDD can prove otherwise. If the people who are doing the testing don't operate the equipment properly how can the test results be taken seriously?

Is there anybody other than the machines designers who can really say what effect the over pressure has on the measurements? I'd be surprised if even they could say for sure without actually trying it and making some measurements.

I don't have a clue how the machine works, but I'd think that maximum accuracy is obtained only when running it at spec. Maybe that 0.8% accurace Baker quotes is really 1.6% or more when the machine isn't used properly. Maybe it's so high that even the one metabolite that was way over the limit falls within the margin of error.

Back in late July this test was called "fool-proof" and people over on DPF were telling me how simple it is. Ha, I say! Ha!

~ Cub