Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Roundup

Quote of the Day

Jacobo82 (2/23/2007 at 12:11 PM) Report

who cares? it's cycling.

(link)

News
The Baltimore Sun is one of the first AM papers to rewrite (and greatly summarize) yesterday's Michael Hiltzik LAT story on the numerous procedural errors made by the LNDD, one of which was the same error that resulted in the dismissal of the Inigo Landaluze case last year. The Post Chronicle also posts a truncated version of the story as does ImediNews, and abc11tv.com.
As we thought yesterday, this is being widely rerun; we won't report others unless they are notably different.

ESPN.com covers the new information with additional reporting from Bonnie DeSimone, who was at both the SF and SJ FFF events. Comments to the article fear a dismissal on the "same technician" issue would be bad for Landis.

DeSimone filed her own major pieces later in the day. The main article covers much the same ground as LAT, but then talks to Maurice Suh, one of Landis' attorneys. Suh says,
We identified 59 errors in our most recent pleadings that we believe are violations of international standards for labs."

And DeSimone reports
Within the past two weeks, arbitrators granted a defense request for additional discovery -- access to medical and technical documents related to Landis' case -- that previously had been denied by USADA.

In one sidebar piece, Landis' PR campaign of appearances, slide shows and document releases is covered for the novelty it presents. The piece is long enough that TBV gets four paragraphs of fame.

A second article discusses Landis' sponsorship, and financial issues. Perhaps $8 million in other opportunities vanished with the AAF. Old personal sponsors Oakley and Specialized shoes bailed in 2006, but Saris/CycleOps has hung tough. There is a new sponsorship from Smith and Nephew, makers of his hip implant, started after the troubles started, with eyes open on both sides. At the Tour of California, Landis was in invited to a BMC Cycling event by Andy Rihs:
Swiss entrepreneur and former Phonak team owner Andy Rihs ended his business relationship with Landis last summer, but this week said he supports Landis personally and would offer him another job "immediately" if Landis is cleared of the doping charges. [...]
"I made it clear to Floyd that I cannot protect him [professionally]. But I hope he has the best lawyers. He's a great racer, a great person."

USAToday SportScope covers LAT, and gives us another plug.

MSNBC has an opinion piece by Garret Lai that wants more tests, and is ambivalent about Landis, especially if he "gets off on a technicality"

Meanwhile Bloomberg Europe reports that the UCI has ordered its teams, through letters sent today, not to compete in Paris-Nice this year after the ASO withdrew the event from the Pro Tour structure. This along with the Landis case, is illustrative of the power struggle that is ongoing between the UCI and the ASO:
"Potentially, this problem could go on until the Tour de France and later,'' UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said in a phone interview. The absence of leading teams would further harm the 103- year-old Tour's prestige after Floyd Landis last year became the first winner to fail a doping test. Landis denies taking banned drugs.

Bloomberg just posted this update with further details about when the letters were sent, and some reaction from UCI teams.


The Daily Peloton publishes a piece about the creation of ACE, the Agency for Cycling Ethics and the ACE Clean Cycling Initiative. Founded by Dr. Paul Strauss and Paul Scott, the agency is partnering with the Slipstream/Chipotle Cycling Team:
The ACE program is set up to function not only for individual cyclists but for any number of teams that seek an independent group to provide an anti-doping program within their teams as a line of first defense not only to eliminate doping but to also set a standard of ethics and personal integrity through testing, education and counseling for teams and riders. As this is one step to a solution of drug free sports we felt it was important to interview one of the founders of ACE about their program. But first a bit about the Paul Scott and Dr. Paul Strauss.

Their only comment on the ever evolving Landis case comes from a question asked by DP interviewer Ferren Christou:
Christou One non-ACE related question for Paul Scott. If he's not familiar with the issue there's no need for him to answer the question. Floyd Landis claims that his IRMS sample wouldn't have been positive if the results were interpreted by the UCLA lab. Could you speak to the differences in positivity criteria among the WADA certified labs? Is this an issue in your opinion that needs to be addressed?
Dr. Paul Strauss: We can not comment on any specific and pending cases. However the judicial system has been set up because the science is not infallible in this human process.

In a related articel The Monterey Herald publishes an Elliot Almond piece on the cooperation that is needed to clean up the sport of cycling with all of the usual cast of characters chiming in.

The Knoxville (TN) Times decided to pick up the Gwenn Knapp piece on FFF/SF on the 20th. They may have liked the early reference to Lynchburg TN's finest. Maybe Landis can resurrect his JD endorsement opportunities.

Blogs
Associated Content thinks that Landis got a "get out of jail free" card from mishandled urine samples.

Rocky Thompson thinks Floyd may just be innocent after all, and publishes a Robert Maxwell portrait (from Outside) that only PETA would hate.

The Green River Riders believe in Floyd!

JMBzine never really did believe that Floyd Landis was a doper!

Breitbart.com (accessed through the Drudge Report) thinks that the case against Landis is doomed.

Dugard still sees a vast cycling conspiracy, an even wider one than he imagined.

Rant thinks that USADA, through Travis Tygart, is the real cheater here:
What’s come to light that shows the brazenness with which Tygart, himself, is willing to cheat to win is the flap over Landis’ other B samples.
He goes on later, thinking the mainstream media may finally be catching up to the story.

Run to Win thinks that it's about time for the LNDD to stop repeating its mistakes!

Sitting In writes mostly about David Millar, but starts to re think his opinion on the Floyd Landis case and how the evidence against Landis seems to be falling apart.


Christopher Brauchli in "Racing and Doping" snarkily compares NASCAR's Michael Waltrip to Floyd Landis:
Mr. Landis and Mr. Waltrip reacted similarly to news of the presence of banned substances in their respective machines. Mr. Landis insisted his testosterone was his own and not an additive. Mr. Waltrip acknowledged it was an additive but has no idea how it got into the manifold.

The Pickoff
thinks the doping cops are dopes.

Just One Minute
, Time's person of the year, crows about the LAT news, and is proud he was officially in denial.

Phantom Reflections is feeling good too.

jobsanger reviews the whole thing and says "innocent."

Go Faster Jim considers the VS. coverage of the ToC and concludes not enough racing, not enough Landis, too much recap, and too many ads.

NBX Sports Action Blog jumps on the bandwagon.

Fat Cyclist thinks of a way Landis might back out of Leadville.

Cycle Better is sorry, and reinstating Floyd's discount privileges.

Adventure Blog
reminds us he's still the champ.

Podium Cafe mentions the developments, but their comments are more interesting.

The Once and Future Lawyer
equivocally says Landis is vindicated, maybe.

Shooting the Messenger
runs with the subhead, "Frogs frigged the procedure"

Gathkinson's
thinks Floyd is looking better, and plugs us.

Forums
At DPF, there is discussion of the LA Times article. Wisconsin Judge Bill Hue is critical of the B sample tactics:
I [...] do not see how USADA can obtain B sample testing of negative A samples, in complete violation of it own self created rules unless Landis agrees and why he would is beyond me. If the Arbitrators can order B sample testing of negative A samples, then they can pretty much order up anything tested or retested anywhere, relevant to the case at hand.

He's also highly critical of the handling of the two technicians who may have improperly worked on both the A and B sample tests:

Both sides, if interested in the truth would want to get to France, put them under oath and ask them exactly what they did. If you are reading what Tygart says (see Sundaymorning's stuff posted here at DP), he says he'll produce these guys at hearing. Either he knows they didn't do anything materially wrong and is willing to have Landis' team get an arbitrators ruling to fly over to France and waste their time getting to know what Tygart already knows [...] or he doesn't know what they did either. That is something he should know.

If it results in having results thrown out-then it is just a huge waste of everybody's time and money to find this out at hearing and have the arbitrators throw out the non-negative A sample finding. In fact, that would be quite irresponsible for Tygart to purposefully not know something exculpatory so that he does not have to share it. Such a policy of disclosure and obligation to know facts avoids needless litigation.

The third option is that Tygart knows they took part in both samples' anaysis, doesn't want to ahve to reveal it to set some kind of precident but doesn't mind the Landis team to be the ones to find it out and ask for dismissal, thus saving some face, here. It all seems alot of work to do all this when some pointed questions could be asked by an honorable prosecutor that would save everyone time and effort.

Thought for the Day

"Changing conditions effect everyone the same" -robbie ventura-



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

ORG here ...

TBV et. al

I’ve been thinking about the end of this case ……

If Landis can show lab incompetent at the level he is not revealing, and win on these grounds, doesn’t everything change? So many things went wrong at the lab (including the positivity criteria), as well as the conduct of WADA, the UCI and USADA that the lab could lose its ISO accreditation and the Federal Government is going to ask questions of those they give money too (USADA/WADA). This in addition to the big fat lawsuit that FL has for everyone involved.

Question, what about every other athlete that is serving, or has served, a suspension because of this MS tests at this lab? Can they re-open these cases? Can these athletes demand their paperwork? If any of them can show the same has happened to them, won’t they sue the hell of all parties involved as well?

Even if they cannot sue, the AFLD/LNDD/WADA is going to have to spend untold millions entertaining motions to re-open these cases to look for more lab incompetence.

Also, since WADA/USADA get their funding from the U.S. government, if FL walks in the manner we are talking about here, what about the Federal Government demanding an audit of what is happening at these agencies before any more money is allocated? They would then send in GAO auditors and scientists to review past cases. Again, what a gigantic distraction if time and resources for USADA/WADA.

Here’s what I’m asking, if this case unfolds as it is currently going, and it looks like a cover-up of massive incompetence, can these institutions survive in their current from?

Thoughts?

Michael said...

Great questions ORG - and I don't have the answers. And the arbitrators hold the power for what you spoke about above. How's that for pressure?


What's bothering me the most is the blantant disregard for rules, especially by the USADA. For example, from the LA TIMES article:

The USADA contends that the previous tests did not "definitively establish" that the samples were clean, and the agency wants to subject them to the more sophisticated carbon isotope test.

Hmm...wouldn't this also mean that the samples weren't "definitely dirty". I have a feeling that the parties involved are starting to sweat it.

And if Landis can prove that the same technicians did the testing, this shouldn't or won't even make it to CAS based on the Landaluze case.

Anonymous said...

ORG,

I think you are right, and thats what I meant yesterday when I said Landis holds all the cards. You just explain it better. Depending on how he plans on sharing the information will lay out how the house of cards will crumble.

I think every positive doping test from LNDD has now been called into question and every athlete should have the right to re-open their case if they chose looking for these same systemic errors.

As Landis said, "the winner gets nothing and the loser loses everything."

Atown, Tx.

Anonymous said...

It may be exactly as you say ORG, only time will tell. But I doubt there is a professional cyclist out there at this point that doesn't wince every time they see that cup... Who can they trust now? Everyone here knows that answer. Change is coming...
Mike
Green MTN. Cyclery
Ephrata, PA.

Anonymous said...

Thought for the Day

"Changing conditions effect everyone the same" -robbie ventura-

While this sounds true on the surface
it isn't in all cases. For example, the guys that train at high altitude have a higher altitude advantage. Perhaps the guys that train in colder conditions have an advantage at lower
temps, etc...
signed, nitpik

Anonymous said...

I've been uncomfortable lately with some of the stuff coming from the Landis camp. I didn't know why, but it just dawned on me.

I'm talking about the speculative stuff - The leaky mass (not to be confused with "leaky gas") spectrometer, the thing with the same lab techs testing both A & B samples, the software/firmware/operating system version issues. These are all things that need to be investigated further before they provide any real defense for Floyd. Sure they should be pursued, but Floyd's team should probably keep fairly quiet about them until it's known if they have any substance.

Why? Because this kind of speculative defense is almost the same kind of thing Floyd did back in July, and we all know how well that worked out. Floyd and his team climbed out of the public relations hole that he dug back then. I hope they aren't falling back in to it.

~ Cub