Saturday, May 19, 2007

Early Saturday Roundup

The San Francisco Chronicle prints an AP piece by Eddie Pells on what promises to be an extraordinary day at that Floyd Landis vs USADA heairngs, Landis himself will at last take the stand in his own defense:

After sitting quietly at his hearing for five days, Landis was scheduled to be sworn in for testimony Saturday in the most-anticipated moment of an arbitration process he hopes will confirm he's the Tour de France champion.

The world would get to hear Landis' version of events that led to a positive test for synthetic testosterone — and he should finally get a chance to put his spin on a case that has not been going well, at least from a public-relations standpoint.

The VeloNews Antonio Gallegos analyzes yesterday's session of the Landis hearings noting that both USADA and Landis scored points on the science. The Landis team got USADA expert Dr Christiane Ayotte to admit to some irregularities on the part of the LNDD, though she felt none of those things would affect the final test results produced by the lab. This was countered by Landis expert witness Dr Bruce Goldberger:

In Goldberger's opinion, LNDD's chain of custody documentation and procedure for documenting errors calls into question the reliability of LNDD's lab work. He further testified that the poor quality of the chromatographs LNDD prepared and used to analyze at least one Landis's samples also call into question LNDD's work.

Another witness, Joe Papp former cyclist, discussed how he used testosterone gel to his advantage as a competitor, how it helped him recover from difficult stages of a bike race, and how he stayed under the detection limit in doing so thus contradicting Landis' claims that the PED for which he tested positive would be of no benefit

The Boulder Report
's Joe Lindsey wonders why Greg LeMond testified on Thursday,and apparently everyone was caught off guard by what he said and the result therein:

In the end, I feel sorry for three people here: I feel sorry for Landis, because his defense deserved better than to be saddled with this. The arbitrators may well not take Geoghegan’s actions or LeMond’s testimony into account, but from a PR standpoint, it looked terrible for Floyd – his public hearing has backfired in the worst way imaginable.

And I feel sorry for Geoghegan. Yes, it was stupid, sophomoric and ill-considered. Not only did he intervene with a material witness (possibly a felony), he needlessly damaged Landis’ public image, and heckled LeMond about sexual abuse, of all things. Talk about hitting the trifecta. I’d love to say that I’ve never done anything that dumb, but I’ve certainly done dumb things when I was a kid – if a cop was around, I’d easily have been arrested for some of them. They just didn’t take place with reporters from the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times looking on. Geoghegan will forever be saddled with the moniker “Uncle Ron,” the name he reportedly used when he called LeMond. That’s going to be tough to ever get past. Geoghegan dredged up what was likely the worst experience in LeMond’s life and thoughtlessly scraped the wound raw. But I would like to see some compassion here from Greg: if you can, please, find it in your heart to forgive Will.

Lastly, I feel for LeMond. He’s been roundly vilified for his criticism of “our Lance.” I’ve talked to cyclists who viscerally hate him, I’ve read posts on message boards from people who flame him and brag about how they sold their LeMond bikes or taped over his name on the frame in protest. He’d just begun to move past that when this case threw it all back in the spotlight. And somehow we’re to believe he enjoys this?

The CyclingNews summarizes yesterday's Landis hearings noting that the testimony has reverted back to examining the scientific issues of the case.

The VeloNews Foaming Rant
is disgusted with Floyd Lamdis and with Will Geoghegan's tactics against Greg LeMond revealed on Thursday. He thinks anyone who gave even a plug nickel to the FFF should demand their money back.

Rant is off to an early start today with his wrap up of yesterday's witnesses and the beginning of the defense. He finds no real evidence to support Joe Papp's assertions that testosterone helped him in recovery from long stages of bike races. Rant feels that USADA's "win at all costs" mentality is there for all to see in their willingness to sacrifice anyone to beat Landis. Rant then previews today's witnesses, two of whom will be Dr. Don Catlin, founder of the Olympic Analytical Laboratory at UCLA, and Floyd Landis himself Today should prove to be very challenging as well as interesting.

Opinio Juris has posted an opinion on witness tampering and possible obstruction of justice in arbitration hearings, specifically as it relates to Will Geoghegan during the Landis hearings this week. Thanks Judge Hue for the tip.

The Pain Train thinks one of the resosn that Greg LeMond testified this week at the Landis hearings is that he cannot stand to be forgotten.

Greg's Soapbox/ Therapy Couch thinks that things can't get any worse at the Landis hearings, and it's getting harder to believe Floyd all the time.

PelotonJim wants us to remember that what's happening in California is not the only or even best cycling game in town, there is the Giro D'Italia.

The Durruti Column thinks that cycling has indeed embarked on a "race to the bottom"

WorcesterRight wonders what we all do, what will Floyd Landis say today as he testifies in his own defense in the hearings at Pepperdine University.

Pommi is hoping for long recesses and a longer lunch break today so that he can be back home in time to see Floyd Landis on the stand.

Triple Crankset tells us what happened at yesterday's Landis hearings, and is excited about the prospect of Floyd Landis testifying in his own defense today. Crankset takes note of USADA trying to discredit Landis witness Dr. Bruce Goldberger yesterday, who then produced a surprise:

USADA attorneys were cross-examining Landis' first witness, University of Florida professor Bruce Goldberger, trying to puncture his credibility by getting him to admit his expertise wasn't specifically in steroid testing. Goldberger responded by producing a letter he recently received from the WADA-approved lab at UCLA, asking him to apply for the job recently vacated by lab director Don Catlin ... which quickly prompted a new line of questioning.

Burt Friggin Hoovis raced against USADA witness Joe Papp, ands Burt forgives him for doping, but thinks his testimony yesterday at the Landis hearings was irrelevant.

recites some of what Joe Papp talked about at the Landis hearings yesterday,including the pack of andro gel he held up, and also notes the science that was discussed.


Anonymous said...

Someone explain how Joe Papp's anecdotal "evidence" had anything to do with the science in this case??!!!

Yes, it's the science! (And what the heck did Lemond's soap opera have to do with the science too??!!) They don't seem to be getting any closer to the two science questions that make this make any sense:

What procedures were in place to prevent the mixing up, contamination, or improper testing of the samples and did they fail at it? And, most importantly, are there possibly problem results in the imperfect science of testing that could lead to this being repeated again in the future?

Since these questions are naturally complex, simple answers are out!

Anonymous said...

Interesting question about the science. Its fairly clear that the science in this case has some holes. How big those holes are will determine the verdict. USADA is choosing to minimize the size of the holes, naturally, but the holes are there. One way for them to say the holes are insignificant is to have testimony that says 1) everybody does it, 2) its easy to get away with it. Thus even if we see holes in the science, geez, the tests still came back positive and one could bet that he did it because everybody does it. This antedotal evidence comes into play. A Landis sympathiser might hate that (and I am in that camp) but I have yet to see anything offical say that its all about the science. And, yeah, that's awful, but there it is.

I do have a question here: Is this type of prosecution more likely to work on a panel of experts that we have as opposed to a jury of citizens? It sure seems like it to me. To me that's where the fix is in, if there is a fix. But then I'm a neophyte in this, just a follower of the case since the beginning. As such, thanks boatloads to TBV and Bill for this service.

Anonymous said...

Do we know what the password will be for today.

Anonymous said...

This has all been interesting to follow. Three things emerge for me so far
1). As a scientist who has performed countless experiments where the data is displayed as signal intensities on a two dimensional graph, I can assure you that very small and broad peaks can be significantly altered by very, very small changes introduced by manually adjusting the baseline. When the resulting value is then used as the denominator in a ratio it can have a big change in the overall ratio. If the person performing the adjustment wants to, he/she can influence the results one way or the other.
2). Without the backing of a controlled scientific study, Mr. Papp's testimony should be worthless-if a careful thinker really believes this should help the case for USADA then it is indicative of the quality of their thinking in his/her overall approach to the case and the testing program (not scientifcally rigorous)
3). I have not heard any reference to the possiblility of "contaminated urine" mentioned in the testtimony??

DBrower said...

anon 9:08, contamination came up in Ayotte's testimony and cross on the first day. I'm sorry I wasn't in a mood to cover her direct in detail, which was pretty much the party line: Everything is fine, it's a positive, none of this quibbling reflects on the results.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if the USADA strategy is twofold regarding the effectiveness of t. One, get a scientist to say it's effective for recovery in a long, hard stage race. Two, get a pro cyclist to provide the practical info on how t is used and detection avoided. Seems reasonable to me.

Anonymous said...

Although part of Landis' case is the idea he would have no motive to take T, as it is not of benefit and he would get caught, I see this whole issue as rather a smoke screen. Whether or not T is of any benefit to a stage racer, it is a prohibited substance. Whether or not it is easy to avoid detection, it is banned. So, if it can be proved to the satisfaction of the arbs that FL did take T, he is guilty, even if there were many scientific, peer-reviewed studies that show it is of no use. And if it can't not be proved that he did take T, then he should ber acquitted (or whatever the term is in this case).

I wonder, the Landis camp has indicated that they have some hole cards that they have not made public in their various slide shows, etc. Could they be putting out this "T is of no use" gambit to deflect USADA from where they are really going (and possibly use up some time from the USADA allotment)?