Friday, February 23, 2007

FFF San Jose, the appendix

We wrote earlier of the case details that emerged in the San Jose "Tour of Innocence" appearance, with a promise to revisit the Q&A and other points of interest we skipped in the original post.

[MORE]

Updated: Clarified some wording, and point out Mike Jacoubowsky of Chain Reaction bikes has some pictures. Articles covering the event by Bonnie DeSimone of ESPN here and here; the latter notes our scribbling for our reports.

Introductions and Presentation

Working on his soundbites for the media, Michael Henson tossed off a number of one liners worth passing on.

  • Last year Landis had "The best stage racing season of the last decade, maybe two."
  • The current system is "Dead to ethics, and deaf to justice."
  • They want the legacy to affect athlete's rights, and make a positive change to the system.
  • USADA and WADA have no effective oversight.
  • "I feel like I'm back home in Shea Stadium", after being interrupted by an jet outbound from nearby SJO airport.
During the presentation, Henson said that some of the details they're showing now only came up from the discovery, implying had they known earlier...

Questions and Answers

A wireless mic was handed around the crowd, and questions answered by Landis, sometimes supplemented by Henson, Brian Rafferty, and Will Geoghegan. Everything below is a paraphrase reflecting my interpretation, not direct quotation. Unless otherwise noted, the answer is from Landis.

Q: It's going to be an open hearing. Why show anything now?

A: It shouldn't be like a competition. There shouldn't be hidden tricks.


Q: What about the other negative tests? Why don't you talk about them?

A: It seems logical to me, but I can't expect them to use logic.


Q: It seems like all the inconsistencies and error you talk about are in the S17 B sample tests. Is that true?

A: I'm not sure, I think they're all mixed up in the presentation.

Geoghegan: The contamination is only from the B. On the A, they did not run the tests that detects contamination, so no one knows.


Q: What is your status now?

A: I'm not suspended, but it wouldn't be appropriate for me to race now. I don't have a team, and I need to devote all my time to the case.

Henson: It's important to note that the case is not an "appeal", it's at the first hearing. A lot of the press calls it an appeal, but it isn't really. That it is presented as an appeal is part of the procedural problems with the system.


Q: What about the other tests.

A: They're all negative.


Q: What about Dick Pound?

A: [Joke I missed about calling him "Richard".]

Henson: He makes things up. In the NY Time Magazine piece, he admitted making up numbers for how many NHL players doped, then said, "Call me a liar." Mr. Pound, you're a liar.

Q: What were your feelings on S17, the greatest one day feat...

A: Gosh, thanks...

[a tactical explanation similar to Sunday,]

Had the guys sprint train on the climb because I wanted the others all strung out so they wouldn't be able to talk to each other at the time they have to make their decision to follow or let me go.

Q: The TE test has been bogus forever, at least since Mary Decker Slaney. There's an assumption of normalcy that really isn't valid, especially on highly stressed athletes. Your thoughts?

A: The CIR is a ratio of "normal" too.

Henson: These tests are based on black box studies that are rarely peer reviewed, with small sample sets, in a closed process.

Q: This situation is political as well as scientific. What can we (the audience) do?

Henson: Go to the FFF site. Read the "get involved" page. Write your representatives, we have some handouts here. We want reform and improvement, we're not out to remove the system. We all agree that doping is cheating, and is a bad thing.


Q: Why isn't cycling (riders) organized to affect anything?

A: It's impossible to be an active rider and organize. It's far too much work. I wouldn't wish it on anybody, it's a huge burden. If you want to win, you just work on that.
Geoghegan: There's also a UCI rule prohibiting formation of a union. It considers itself to be the union.

Q: Could you have been sabotaged? I believe tests.

A: The system should have a way of dealing with that scenario, but that's another day. I don't believe that's what happened here. If that was possible, you couldn't trust anyone.

Henson: There was no sabotage here, it was a negative test. There's nothing to explain.


Q: I have hip trouble too. All the testosterone in the planet couldn't overcome that hip. French conspiracy?

A: I wasn't really in that much pain during the tour. The cortisone was really effective. If I'd known, I probably would have used it a lot earlier.

Henson: There's a lab that happens to be in France, there's no reason to impugn generally. It's not about nationalism.


Q: [much reinterpreted by TBV] In the long view, things change over time. Dope tests used to be pretty simple, and are now complicated and done more often. Most athletes going into sports believe that their sport is mostly clean, and may worry more now about false positives than a competitor cheating. The ADAs seem deaf to this change in outlook. It seems to me they may be about to grab defeat from the jaws of victory.

A: If I understand you, I think I agree.

[laughter.]

A: I think the agenda is economically driven. The more they catch, the more funding they get. After BALCO, the USADA budget got doubled.

Henson: By far the majority of the funding goes for testing and prosecution of cases. They don't spend anywhere near as much on research and education.

A: It shouldn't be a competition. If they're proud of ther 158-0 record, sometime thats going to come to an end. Now.

The shouldn't see it as a loss if the truth comes out and it turns out to be a bunch of mistakes.


Q: Why is there so much pencil on forms? Why not bar codes.

A: All their equipment can read bar codes, but they don't do it. I don't understand.


Q: Are you getting any support from Phonak teammates or the management and ownership?

A: It's difficult for them. They have to watch what they say. We're all friends, but there is not much they can do.


Q: It seems like there's plenty of doubt about the case against you. If you win the ADA case, what about the ASO? Will they let you race in the Tour again?

A: Haven't thought about that much yet. I hope it doesn't come to that.

Q: I work as a volunteer at races in various critical positions. At the tour, were any of the people volunteers?


A: I hope they were professional, but there may have been volunteers working at the lab.


Q: Teams like Slipstream, CSC and T-Mobile are doing their own active testing. What do you think about that?

A: I can only give a cautious endorsement. Theres's a danger it could be seen as part of a team doping program. It's important to keep the team separate from who is doing the testing.


Q: What about your endorsements?

Geoghegan: There's a mixed response. A lot of big players are giving private help, but don't feel they can go public. Others like Saris and Smith and Nephew are public. Smith and Nephew makes medical devices that go through approvals. They've had people look at the case, and they've decided it's OK. We need more like that.


Q: Are you fearful for other cyclists?

A: Yeah. Most don't realize the jeopardy they're in when they give a urine sample.


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

ORG here ....

TBV:

I don't under this answer ...
Q: It's going to be an open hearing. Why show anything now?

A: It shouldn't be like a competition. There shouldn't be hidden tricks.

IS he saying the hearing will be closed?

Mark Reagan said...

ORG,

I think Landis, and the questioner are referring to Landis freely showing information to the public before the hearing. show the cards, no tricks.
I wasn't there so I can only read into the response from Austin like you..

Anonymous said...

The UCI does not forbid a cyclist's union. The cyclists have a union, the CPA. It's fairly young and is headed by a former rider, Moser, instead of a lawyer. Hincapie is the US representative on the Rider's Council. It's website is located at:

http://www.cpasite.org/index_en.html?selectedNode=0&expandedNode=0&oldExpandedNode=0

Ferren

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Ferren has previously called Landis on this before in this DPF discussion

It would appear Geoghegan didn't get the memo, because that's what he said in SJ.

TBV

theresa said...

The CPA is only a year old! Good start. I wonder if they are going to get involved in the UCI/ASO mess? Sorry, off topic....;)

Anonymous said...

ORG, I was there and Mark nailed it. The question was more like, "why show your hand before the hearing? You are letting the other side see your argument. Why not wait and surprise them?" Floyd's answer was that he saw no reason to hide the facts. The hearing should be about the facts, and not about winning or losing.

Interesting that they have a union. Floyd said that UCI forbids them to form a union.

JJ said...

First visit to the site and it's fresh air!

My worries about last year's TDF started with the disqualification not of Landis but of Ulrich and Basso at the beginning of the race.

They may be guilty but what due process was that to dump them out of the race minutes before its start?

Same due process mess with Landis. Dump him immediately without review!?

Am taking neither side on the cheating/no cheating in cycling question, but IMO the governing folks appear to be in much worse state.

So much so for me that I'm skipping this year's TDF and have no plans to follow it again until its management gets better treatment together on their problems.

Anonymous said...

Will Geoghegan: "The contamination is only from the B. On the A, they did not run the tests that detects contamination, so no one knows."

This answer was incorrect. Actually they ran the same tests they claim show contamination for the B sample for the A sample as well.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Anon, if what you say is true, we'd appreciate a pointer into the LDP pack that has the values used to compute the contamination indicator. We've looked and looked, and haven't found it, which is consistent with Geoghegan's claim.

TBV

Robert said...

Ferren wrote:
The UCI does not forbid a cyclist's union. The cyclists have a union, the CPA. It's [...] headed by a former rider, Moser

Well, IIRC, Moser wasn't elected by the riders. He was appointed to head the CPA by [drumroll] the UCI.

Anonymous said...

"Anon, if what you say is true, we'd appreciate a pointer into the LDP pack that has the values used to compute the contamination indicator. We've looked and looked, and haven't found it, which is consistent with Geoghegan's claim.

TBV"
I'm surprised you haven't seen it? It's just free hormone vs total hormone concnetrations they're using isn't it??

A Sample:
Try Docs 214 (free) and 101 (total) (rather than 223 which has problems)


B Sample:

Docs 283 (free) and 288 (total)

I think these numbers are correct.