Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tuesday Roundup

Late Breaking News
ESPN's Bonnie DeSimone reports Landis asking for delay:

Lawyers for embattled Tour de France winner Floyd Landis have requested a delay in the scheduled May 14 arbitration hearing to consider doping charges against Landis, saying they need more time to review potential new evidence against him.

Landis spokesman Michael Henson said lawyers e-mailed a request to the arbitrators late Monday night, asking them to delay their hearing by at least four weeks. It was not known when the arbitrators might decide on the request.

AFP seems to be reporting that the new B sample tests AREN'T positive, described by us above.

ESPN.comCycling's has an in-depth video interview with Floyd about the leaked results, and Bonnie DeSimone's lengthy accompanying article is an excellent overview.

LA Times Michael Hiltzik got his piece in last night, but we had editing problems so put it off for today. It's a fair piece covering all the ground; Rerun in the SF Chronicle.

The New York Times' Juliet Macur summarizes yesterday's leaked "B" samples results reported by L'Equipe. She cites that Don Catlin, formerly of the USADA lab at UCLA, maintains that when the initial testing was done on the "A" portion of these samples last summer during the Tour de France there was nothing to trigger any need for further testing thus they were deemed negative. She also quotes Lance Armstrong who observes there is bad blood on both sides of this dispute:

“I have never been supportive of that lab,” Armstrong said yesterday in a telephone interview. “If you can’t maintain a level of confidentiality around the stuff that is truly a serious issue, then the lab needs to not be a certified lab.”

“But I think it’s become very personal for both sides there,” he said. “They’ve been very outspoken, and Floyd’s been very outspoken. There’s some bad blood between the two.”

The poorly written lead gives the suggestion that "traces" were found in all seven samples. As we know, the original report said "several", and the term "traces" is nonsensical given the reality of the test. The error suggesting all seven may be positive is repeated later. This error, here and in other stories, is likely to haunt Landis for months. (Thanks to Pommi for noticing.)

The San Jose Mercury News' Elliott Almond reviews yesterday's events in the Landis case, and feels that, if true, the further finding of exogenous testosterone in samples other than the previously found one positive test from last summer, may provide a better doping profile and explanation of use from Landis .

CBS News says Landis gave an interview to Harry Smith this morning, and extends the AP story:

Because the French lab leaked the story, Landis said he is basically indicted before the evidence is confirmed. He said officials at France's national anti-doping laboratory told him that he would be allowed to have an independent expert to observe the testing. But on Sunday, Landis's expert, a former director of the UCLA lab, was prevented from witnessing the testing. Landis said that is part of the plot against him.

"They like to win," he said about the French lab. "They like to make a point as if they're always right. They'll go out of their way. They'll break all their own rules in order to do that … At this point, they have taken position they want to win regardless of the truth."

The Toronto Sun, among many on lines publications this AM, posts Eddie Pells AP summary of yesterday's events with emphasis on the Landis team's refusal to confirm the leaked results of the "B" sample testing done at the LNDD , and the subsequent denial of Piere Bordry of the AFLD to confirm that he even knows the alleged results cited in the L'Equipe story of yesterday.

FoxSports has an audio file of yesterday's teleconference with Floyd Landis's prepared statements. The write up done is fair and balanced with a litany of Team Landis complaints included.

AlJazeera.net Sport gets into the act and takes a view that seems in Floyd Landis' favor. Expect headlines from some outlets saying Landis is supported by terrorists. For the pool, I'll take L'Equipe.

The Daily Telegraph
(Aus) latches onto Landis' mention of Thorpe in their second paragraph. There's always a local angle.

The Daily Vidette, of Indiana State Univ, headlines "Admitting a mistake is the first step to forgiveness"

So here's what guys like Landis and McGwire should do - just admit it if they're guilty. They'll be treated a lot better shortly thereafter.

But sadly, if either of those two are innocent, they're probably screwed. Thanks, Raffy Palmeiro.

What about USADA and LNDD?

Temple (Univ) News compares PED use to students taking uppers and military "go-pills".

Our Word and Welcome to It provides a satirically archeological look at a fantasy America of the future in which Barry Bonds and Floyd Landis are memorialized as heroes:

“As is the case with so many great finds, the discovery of the Bonds-Landis civilization was purely accidental,” Leibowitz said with his characteristic modesty. “While rummaging through what we assumed was some type of storeroom, we came across several small vials containing an amber liquid. Subsequent analysis showed that they were samples of body fluids which had been carefully preserved for at least two centuries. Many of these vials were unlabeled, but we found two with faded writing that our cryptologists were able to decipher: B. Bonds and F. Landis. At first we didn’t know what we had, but even then it was clear we’d stumbled onto something of great significance.

Almost six years of continuous research followed, allowing archaeologists to fill in some of the blanks surrounding the lives of Bonds and Landis, and while many aspects of their lives remain unknown, Leibowitz says one thing is for certain.

“These two men were widely admired and respected. There can be no doubt of this. For a civilization to preserve these mementos and enshrine them as relics speaks volumes to the regard in which they were held.

The historical evidence for Landis’ greatness is more obscure, Leibowitz said. “The mentions of ‘Floyd Landis’ appear to be confined to a relatively brief period, perhaps no longer than a year or two.” Fellow historians speculate that Landis may have been a boy king who died at an early age, or perhaps a martyr for the faith. “The existence of the ‘Landis’ specimen is clearly proof of his importance to this society.”

La Flamme Rouge, a French blog we've seen in the past, is frustrated beyond belief by cycling, and of course buys the L'Equipe line.

Steroid Nation, which has offered support against the unfair process in the past, is growing tired of how long this is taking to resolve.

JohnnyBaseball, rare among the stick-and-ball blogs, actually looks at the developments, citing Rant and describing us as "trenchant."

According to the French bastion of journalism ethics, L’Equipe, Landis’s failed drug test from last summer’s Tour de France revealed a synthetic steroid. The paper knows this because it ran the leaked results that may or may not be true.

More Mind Food is "colorful" in his description of the current situation Floyd Landis finds himself in concerning the Tour de France and the resulting testing mess.

MIS Blog SPR 2007 muses that the only time that cycling gets any press is when it is accused of cheating, of course MIS also thinks that Floyd Landis was stripped of his Tour de France title a month after the end of the tour, which is also incorrect. Misinformation simply abounds!

The Angry Fan thinks that something definitely stinks in the latest Landis positive doping results, and that The Crucible may be reoccurring. .

PullYouDownNow surmises that cycling is as popular as curling now due to Floyd Landis, but heck I LOVE curling!!

SomeSportsStuff mistakenly thinks that Floyd Landis hates the French. What Floyd hates is injustice, particularly when he's carrying the brunt.

Spokes and Beans seems to believe everything he reads in L'Equipe.

Sweet Home Algomaha has nothing in him but Doritos, and still he thinks that Floyd Landis is getting hosed.

Rant provides a cogent summary of the facts of yesterday's firestorm, and concludes it is impossible for an athlete to get a fair hearing in the current environment.

Bannoj likes the Hiltzik piece, and has some thoughts about what's going on at the lab.

Dugard devotes his whole column to L'Affaire, and doesn't like what he sees in USADA and LNDD's collusion.

Blog Cycling News does not pretend to know if Floyd Landis is guilty or innocent, but he feels that Floyd may be a scapegoat in the doping process, and even though cycling faces a tough road ahead:

When all is said and done in the Floyd Landis case I think that it will become clear that he has been misused by the system to make a point about doping. In my mind this case has become less about Floyd's possible transgressions and more about a the flawed organizations of theUCI and WADA. How can riders believe that they are being treated fairly when the UCI and WADA leak confidential information, state opinions as facts, trust laboratories that do not follow protocols and leak confidential information, and leak confidential information themselves.

CyclingFan4Life is completely confused in posting that the lab doing the "B" sample testing was a different one from last summer's which produced the initial positives putting this whole thing into motion.

Yardbarker can't believe that the science can be so wrong so many times, and even though he had started to think Floyd Landis was being honest, he now wants Landis to stop lying.

The Pickoff says that Floyd Landis is in the news again, and that nobody cares.

The Nightfly thinks
Floyd should have called Barry B or Victor Conte and asked, "Can you hook me up?"

The Screamin Chinaman rightly uses "allegedly" a lot, and painfully concludes:

[T]he whole thing just stinks. it's like Floyd is standing on his soap box screaming "the aliens have landed in roswell, the aliens have landed in roswell!" and the US ADA and that french lab are saying back "no sir that was a weather balloon, no spaceships here in roswell, just an old weather balloon." either way the louder they shout the less anyone believes them. i mean, i don't believe aliens landed in roswell, but i don't think it was a weather balloon either.
so lets all raise a glass and toast the french lab and the US ADA, they made sure that even if they don't win, those who love the sport of cycling will lose!

SQW Racing runs Landis' press release of yesterday, hoping to get it more exposure.

Run run run Cycle too thinks Floyd can't catch a break.

Pommi has the promotional poster for the hearing:

JoeSchmoe says the lab has hosed Landis again, with USADA's complicity.

RTIROnline talks about the Landis news as a reason to book Dave Shields onto your TV or Radio show.

Erratica takes the simple line, that Landis is lying.

Maribo stretches a metaphor...

PARIS (Unassociated Press) - The climate’s second doping sample contained elevated levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, scientists at a French doping lab confirmed on Friday.

Pierre Martin, who chairs the French anti-doping board, said that the lab discovered the carbon dioxide in the climate’s B sample had to have come from an outside source. The doping tests were ordered after the climate produced one of the warmest years in recorded history.

Postmen thinks Landis should just give it up. And it was Sarah's fault.

Le Blog des Sports (Swiss) says (machine translated):
Floyd Landis doped itself to gain the Turn of France 2006. CelĂ  hardly any more makes of doubt after the revelations of the newspaper” the Team “of this April 24 and the comments prestigious and recognized specialists like Martial Saugy, the director of the laboratory anti-doping of Lausanne. And yet, in spite of the evidence of the last analyses, the American cyclist is inserted in the lie! Its defense does not change: It denies to have had recourse to illegal substances. It also blames the veracity of the complements of analyses and especially tries to benefit from the gaps in the law to pass between the meshs of the net. Remain the obviousness: Landis cheated, it does not deserve its title of winner of the Turn of France, must bail out of a 2 year old suspension. The mascarde lasted enough!!

Lou3000 repeats the "All" fallacy, and proceeds from there.

SupernewsBroadcast runs a blurb, but more critically, uses an illustration from the same stock agency that feeds Rant.

Suitcase of Courage calls L'Affaire "another blunder in the Floyd Landis investigation".

Run The Race thinks we have "clear and irrefutable proof" the anti-doping system is broken.

That's This World Over buys the leaked line, and says, "The make-up test was a failure."

Holly Aurora's
entire contribution to the public debate is, "Floyd Landis sucks!". Thanks for sharing.

More Mind Food thinks it's all over, and he's giving up on the tour.

Robust debate continues at DPF. Rational Head notes that Paul Scott is no longer listed on the ACE website as an officer. Reasonable speculation would be that this is to address any conflict of interest concerns with his acting as an expert for Landis.

At soccerfans.de, no translation necessary:
Mehr Sport - Sport - FAZ.NET - Nachtrag zur Tour de France: Sieben B-Proben von Landis positiv

Ulle, Landis und noch viele andere. Der Sport ist kaputt.


Thomas A. Fine said...

You missed a great bit of humor in the NYT article:

...to determine the presence of man-made testosterone.

Umm, that would be natural, wouldn't it? :-)

Of course the less funny part of the NYT article is that the transmutation from "several" to "seven" is now complete, and we'll be flogging that bit of misinformation for months.


Anonymous said...

NY Times missed a chance to ask Don Catlin this simple question. "Do you think it is valid to declare a positive for exogenous testerone if only one or two of four measured metabolites show 'abnormal' values".

~ Cub

Anonymous said...

Hey TBV,

A minor point, but trace seems to be an acceptable term for the CIR results. Here's the definition:

Trace: Evidence or an indication of the former presence or existence of something; a vestige.

Think of a trace fossil.

If you didn't catch it, Floyd was also on ESPN's "Cold Pizza" around noon. No new info, just went over the obvious stuff. He's really not that great on TV, hasn't gotten any more comfortable doing a live interview since last summer.

DBrower said...

Ferren, I haven't seen it used in CIR discussions before, and it seems a problematic term more likely to confuse than enlighten. Ratios of metabolites don't seem like "traces" to me -- the metabolites are the traces, the rest is numbers.

But it's not worth arguing about -- it is certainly the least of the definitional disputes in play!

I haven't seen the ESPN, but I do think he's better than he was -- maybe not much, but not as bad. It still seems better for him to have his mug out in public than hiding in a bunker.


Anonymous said...

Landis' awkwardness during live interviews makes him more believable and honest, to me, rather than someone well practised in lying and deceiving. It's like saying, "I hate interviews, but I have nothing to hide because I am innocent, so ask me anything".

Anonymous said...

ORG here ....


In the blizzard of info this week I thought i read that l'equipe was going to publish more details about the re-tests on Tuesday.

Did I read that correctly and has their been any new information from them?

Anonymous said...

Regarding Floyd's interviews: I recently watched the press conference where he first announced his hip issue during the Tour last year, obviously pre-doping allegation. I think his on camera presentation was exactly the same as it is now: not good, not terrible. His speaking is a little more deliberate now, but that is natural given the raised tension.

Overall, as Pem said above, I think "I hate interviews, but I have nothing to hide because I am innocent, so ask me anything" is just about right.

Anonymous said...


Thinking it was probably me who gave you the idea that there was more to come in L'Equipe's print edition today (because they said on their website that there would be), I felt guilty enough to go buy a copy of the paper. (Well, I bought it on line, anyway, which is much cheaper than at the newsstand.)

What a disappointment! There is almost a whole page devoted to the story (as well as the particularly nasty cover picture of FL), but no new facts at all.

We are assured that the IRMS is the mother of all tests, can distinguish the presence of natural testosterone from that produced synthetically, and never results in false positives.

We are assured that absolute confidentiality of the samples was maintained.

We are told the USADA experts left on Saturday, "probably satisfied by the way the analyses took place and their results." We are told that there's no doubt FL's experts would have cried foul or even stopped the proceedings had they seen any irreguarities.

You will notice that the explanations of the actions of both sets of experts are pure speculation. The writer's scientific sophistication is low, relative to many of the people on this and other blogs/forums who have engaged in this discussion. And there's nothng more about how many samples tested positive, nor anything about the specific readings that lead to the conclusions of these being positive tests.

My take: l'Equipe has a much lower-level source in LNDD than many have been hypothesizing; they were desperate to have a scoop on this story, and have rushed it into print without any of the details (which they presumably couldn't get from their source) that would have given their story credibility with THIS audience.

The bottom line is probably going to be the same. There's no reason to doubt their basic story: that LNDD is going to report some positive results. But whether those will look trustworthy and definitive, or whether they will be, as TbV likes to say, just another Rorschach test, will probably have to wait for May 14--or a more informed leak.