Monday, May 21, 2007

Hearing - Mon Wrapup

One thing we learned is that Mr. Young is not so good doing technical cross examination of the other party's witnesses. Press room consensus is that he may have had a few week singles, but not many balls out of the infield.

Except for interruptions, Landis witnesses got to make their scientific case. Unfortunately, we don't yet have Meier-Augenstein's slide set.



Herr Doktor Professor Wolfram Meier-Augenstein was less charitable to the IRMS chromatography than Dr. Catlin was the other day. His key point, on which much of the case may hinge, was that the GCMS and IRMS retentions times weren't in the same county, much less within the mandatory criteria of WADA TD2003IDCR -- retention times matching to 1% or 0.2 minutes, whichever is smaller. The actual variances were on the order of 6% and 6-10 minutes, which raises large questions whether they located the internal references that are supposed to anchor the analysis correctly.

What that means is there is a prima-facie ISL violation, thus flipping the burden of proof onto USADA to show the violations did not cause the reported results.

Now, if things are misidentified, then all bets are off; none of the results is valid.

Granting for sake of argument that the identification of the start is "close enough", and that other peaks are identified more or less correctly, then we get into possible quantification errors.

First we have issues of co-elution, another form of identification problems. Without use of all three parts of the GCMS, 44/45, 2/1 and full-spectrum, we can't be sure peaks aren't co-eluted. If they are co-eluted, we don't know what is going on. Even if we knew what was there, we may not know in what amounts, and while Brenna is working on software to do the deconvolution that would extract numbers, no instruments use it.

(This may be what Catlin was referring to when he observed LNDD was able to do things he couldn't. Herr Doktor was saying they aren't doing it either, because it can't be done, except by assuming there is no interference.)

Second, he claimed that quantifying the internal standard in real samples is important, even LNDD doesn't do it and their procedures don't require it. He claimed it was an incorrerct assumption to believe that the measure in the mix-cal proved the software on the instrument was working correctly when applied to a complex uruine sample. He went round and round with Young, with Young trying to get him to admit the procedure didn't require it, and Herr Doktor resolutely saying they had to, because the didn't have any other way of identfying their internal standard accurately. Eventually Young gave up on that line of questions.

Third, Herr Doktor demonstrated that peaks will have artificially altered CIR values if they overlap, in a way disadvantageous to Landis. When Young tried to impeach that with a Brenna paper, Herr Doktor explained that Brenna's paper was a mathematical model showing possibilities, while the one he cited was real experimental data and confirmed by his experience. He would like to have Brenna's experimental software on his machines, though.

Then, issues of integration points and baseline subtraction come into play. Challenged by Young, Herr Doktor borrowed a calculator and showed that Young's hypothetical would result in a greater than -2 delta unit swing, which was not what Young wanted to hear.

Young gave up, finding cross of Herr Doktor like wrestling a greased pig-- he wasn't getting anywhere, and the Doktor was enjoying it.



After that, we got John Amory, a member of USADA anti-doping review boards, and an expert on testosterone metabolisation. He made the following major points.
  • Despite Papp and Catlin's beliefs and suspicions, there's no published papers saying testosterone affects recovery.
  • In all of the published studies, 5a and 5b - pdio track each other within 2 delta units, and correlate strongly to t/e changes. Both Young and Suh walked him through charts, and there was exactly one datapoint from one subject in the one paper where this was not so.
  • None of Landis' samples showed behavior consistent with the behavior observed above. The 5a and 5b values in the positives were much greater than 2 delta units. In the one case where they were close, the T/E was not elevated at all.
Young got nowhere with cross of Amory, and gave up quickly.



Here's what I think the essence of the case is for USADA:

  • One metabolite is good enough, no corroboration is necessary.
  • The lab work didn't violate the ISL.
  • All these tests show one.
Landis arguments so far are:
  • The lab work obviously violates the ISL for diagnostic ions on the T/E.
  • The lab work obviously violates the ISL for peak identification in the IRMS.
  • Overlapping peaks can falsely skew the wrong direction on overlapped peaks; Many peaks overlap in the Landis samples.
  • Small changes in the integration and background subtraction can have large effects on the reported delta numbers. None of this is recorded, and the results aren't highly repeatable in the reprocessing.
  • Unidentified co-elution can have large effects, and there is quite possibly co-elution because LNDD didn't look at everything they could to rule it out.
  • The reported numbers are not consistent with what's known about metabolism, in that the 5a and 5b do not track in ways seen in any published data.
The remaining arguments seem to be, from USADA, that Landis is some kind of black-magician with a complicated doping regime of many testosterone and epitestosterone products that result in values never seen before in the published literature.

Landis is going to offer Simon Davis, an IRMS machine expert, so suggest exactly what is wrong with the way that LNDD does things to produce these odd numbers.

Once the burden is flipped, the question will come down to: Which is more likely, that Landis has this complicated doping regime contradicting known chemistry, or that LNDD is systematically messing up measurements in the way shown by Davis?

With the burden flipped, USADA must prove that LNDD is not the reincarnation of Muppet Laboratories.

The arguments made by Goldberger and Meier-Augenstein may be hard to refute with the traditional, "looks good to me!"

51 comments:

Anonymous said...
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bill hue said...
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Michael said...
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Michael said...

Bill,

Do you think Floyd still has a chance after today's testimony? Referring to the Train comments earlier in the week.

I noticed that the USADA asked for some 'rebuttal' witness' (I think that's what they were referred to). Could this have a dramatic affect on Floyd's witness' in the eyes of the Panel?

bill hue said...

This guy stalks me all over the internet. I wonder what would happen if the Panel goes the other way.
A bunch of people are going to have their world view shattered.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hue, for all your good work here, I just can't say you are unbiased and objective. I don't know where to turn for an unbiased and objective account of the proceedings. Perhaps someone out there could let me know. But, at any rate, my bet is still that Landis looses. I think the panel will at least have the belief - as most people do - that Landis doped and cheated. I can't quite believe that they would allow him to keep his title under these circumstances; the ramifications for sport would be tragic. I think they will bend over backward to find against him, as they well should in my opinion.

bill hue said...

I am amazed at the turn of science, today. There is much for the Panel to consider. Even though WADA gets rebuttal, they will have to show that Landis was a doper with a protocol of complicted testosterone/epitestosterone application IF they believe the International Standards were violated. That's where the Landis case is still vulnerable. No athlete has ever turned the burden on USADA. USADA will put on its case just in case, but it might not be necessary. Also remember, the guy "helping" the panel is botre from the Rome WADA lab.

bill hue said...

Bias = preconceived notions. I have none of those. And when a goof stalks you, you tend to hit back where you think it hurts him. I'm human too and you should see what he writes about me, Arnie Baker and Floyd's deceased father in law elsewhere. It is sick.
So, if you want someone to be fair in the face of unwarrented attack, count me out, then.

Anonymous said...

Today was a Morzine day- the day of Floyd's remarkable comeback when so many people had him dead. He hasn't won yet but he sure is in position to win.

-Skip

bill hue said...
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Anonymous said...

Bill - you seem to be changing your tune on the panel (i.e. no way it would be anything other than 2-1 against Landis). Are you implying that you now think they will give Floyd a fair shake?

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Sachi Wilson said...

I have from the beginning been a Floyd supporter because of my strong sense that the WADA/USADA procedures are massively skewed against the athlete. Although I do not doubt that many athletes use drugs, you simply cannot judge someone and strip someone of her or his livelihood in this kangaroo court atmosphere. I am NOT surprised to see how flimsy it is, or to hear evidence from Catlin that the WADA witnesses have to hew the party line (or else).

Shame, shame, shame, on WADA. I'm still watching the evidence for Floyd, although I'm trending to "not guilty" after today, but my mind is made up for WADA's guilt.

And for Bill Hue -- Thank you! I wish I practiced in your jurisdiction!

Best -

Sachi Wilson

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bill hue said...

I'm thinking 2-1 against Landis if they determine no International Standards violation. With the evidence today, if they believe International Standards violations occured, I further believe they will buy the Landis case 3-0. If they do that,they will want to be unanimous to jetison LNDD,while endorsing the rest of the WADA labs,. Depends on the 4th Panel member, Botre, will he toe the WADA line? Whatever is done will be in private.

bill hue said...
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Anonymous said...

Sachi- While I have a hard time believing that Floyd didn't dope (due primarily to the fact that doping is running wild, and it works, and I don't see how a clean rider can best those who cheat, when added to his positive tests), I agree that to this point Floyd's case look to be by far the stronger. USADA's witnesses seem pretty bush-league compared to those presented by Floyd's team. They are unprepared and unimpressive. For certain if I had to pick a Dr. it would be one he called, and not one called by USADA. Pretty big distinction between them.

Cheryl from Maryland said...

Yeah, I noticed the DPF was very quiet during the testimony of Dr. M-A, and then it crashed.

Amazing day -- Dr. M-A appeared to my unscientific eyes to prove that the LNDD did not follow WADA standards (or divine ones) in their analysis, and Dr. Amory was steadfast in asserting that the 5-a diod and the 5-b diod values in Floyd's tests were not possible, whether or not one was taking exogenous T.

If I were the head of WADA, I'd hire Dr. M-A to write the testing protocol for every lab so there was a consistent standard. Heck, I'd pay him $200 a day to train all lab technicians.

Thanks TBV and Judge Hue for another day of hard work.

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Anonymous said...

Bill, how do they judge violation of International Standards? Simply the opinion of the panel? The Landis team put on pretty compelling evidence that LNDD is incompetent today (which frankly didn't take much to show after listening to their employees). Is one violation enough? Five? A pattern of such violations?

Anonymous said...

Anon. 6:07 -- You believe Floyd is guilty "as most people do." And you wonder where you can get an unbiased account of the proceedings. Does it ever occur to you that you could sign in to the hearing and listen to it yourself, and draw your OWN conclusions, not based on what "most people" say or think? Use your own brain. What a concept! And Bill and TBV, you are doing a great service to thinking people.

Camille

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bill hue said...

Anon 6:31
They conclude or don't conclude the IS violation by majority vote. No athlete has ever succeeded in doing that against USADA. Travis Tygart may have made a shrewed political move assigning this case to outside counsel

Anonymous said...

You make the call, you've been prepped for major surgery involving 5 organs, when your over hear the head nurse say to a colleague, the Dr.'s board certs had some whiteout and the good Dr.'s name written in, and those amazing surgery films only used one camera so nobody is certain those were his hands lifting out the heart. The anaethesiologist smiles as she brushes against you placing the mask on, you say what? "Looks good to me"? "If I say it is ok it is good"

Or wait a minute here!!!

bill hue said...

Whatever violation(s) they conclude occured must be shown by USADA to the Panel's comfortable satisfaction NOT to have CAUSED the adverse analytical finding.

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Anonymous said...

Back to Bill again - wheat from chaff, you know :-)

If the panel thinks there are ISL violations, do they let USADA know that before the hearing is over? USADA to this point hasn't admitted any significant errors. Does USADA start operating at least partly on the premise that such a thing might occur and start trying to show that such errors didn't cause the finding, or do they stumble along their current path of "everything is fine despite the fact that it isn't" tactic?

bill hue said...

Anon 7:00
That is a question we talked about quite a bit. I originally thought that the complex "burden turn" system in the WADA Code would be used to terminate hearings at certain points. But i think it is a process the arbitrators will go through to stop or continue their fact finding in deliberation. That won't effect the evidence. USADA will not just assume they won. They will put on evidence in rebuttal just in case.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

First time comment for me here. Awesome job covering and commenting. Thanks very much.

On the troll-less days here, the whole community co-creates a high level of integrity and intelligent give-and-take. A great place to visit.

Since your stalker can be traced and identified via IP address, has slander been sufficiently documented? I'll understand if you decide to keep your own counsel on the matter, of course.

As for me, I have been and continue to be a believer. I believe the AD system is broken on many levels, and must be fixed before it ruins any more people or sports. I just can't watch cycling any more, having witnessed the sad, ethically-challenged circus of the last year.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me when today's On-demand hearings will be posted?

Daniel said...

The difference between today and Saturday is what you see when your side gets to put in the evidence. when the prosecution puts in their cae it looks like curtains. Then the defense you wonder why you ever thought that the prosecutions witnesses were even worth listening to. Herr Dr. M. A. read as one of the best experts a person can want. where the best cross would have been "no questions" You do not want to cross a witness who is so much smarter then you and in his answers offers to help you understand the issues. The "divivne internvention" quote alone was worth what ever he was paid. I still believe that you are going to see a panel relying on their Wada supplied expert to come down in favor of USADA 2-1. It is a show trial and USADA will win but everyone wondering why. It will be affirmed on appeal and their unbroken record of wins will remain intact. However those of us who actually care will know see the flawed system and they will try and correct it but landis will be the sacrificial lamb.

Anonymous said...

Bill's last post would seem to favor Landis' side then. The old "we made no mistakes and the mistakes we made are not important" argument doesn't hold up very well, even arguing over the wall to the next cubicle. Floyd can continue his present course of striking everywhere, and USADA has a bit of a tightrope to walk. To argue a mistake made no difference means you have to admit the mistake first. If the burden turns, it would seem USADA has little to back up their new position.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:07,

Our beliefs however strong do not, in my opinion, give us the authority to convict by any means necessary. Have we stopped to fully grasp the ramifications of a conviction based upon the mantra of the masses, “everyone is doing it”? What might Le Bon say about our cries for blood?

Should we fail this test then we have in essence endorsed totalitarianism.

-pt

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bill hue said...

anon 7:12
Thanks for your comments. It is a beautiful sport. It you get a chance, catch the Giro as some relief from this case.
And thanks for the tip on the nitwit. TBV is taking care of him but he's also at other sites as well. he isn't threatening, just annoying.
Bill

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Bill, I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions tonight. Your insight is valuable and much appreciated.

And you should be proud - most of us trudge anonymously through life (and blogs as well lol). You have managed to aquire a gen-u-ine internet stalker. How many of us can say that!

As for me, it's off to bed so I can get a good internet seat at the hearings tomorrow :-) Look forward to chatting with you again Tuesday.

the Dragon said...

Bill,

I have had this idea running around in my head for awhile, maybe it is the Pollyanna in me.

Before the jointly observed testing (or whatever exactly it was) in Paris, I sent a less than kind e-mail to USADA, castigating Dick Pound and LNDD. I got a response from Travis, and we corresponded through a couple of e-mails, although they tended to focus on Dick Pound (Travis did not seem to hold him in very high regard). He asked me to keep an open mind.

On several occasions in the interim, I have tried to compose a civil e-mail to Travis and have not succeeded.

Anyway, the more I try to evaluate this Trial, without the Will gift, and some mud slinging though G Lamond, it seems to me that USADA has not gone very far to prop up LNDD.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, they will do their best Lawering, to win, yet would not cry over seeing LNDD (and by extention Dick Pound) take a hit. I think someone else, maybe yourself had a similar notion.

Am I crazy? On second thought don't answer that specifically :-)

Regards,

Anonymous said...

Eight straight years TDF won by an American, is that too much for a French Lab to bear? When will it stop?

Again, given the mistakes of the Lab and it's unilateral interpretation of its own data, would you give half down to someone to paint your house with those flimsy credentials.

If cycling is to be clean, we'd better start with an unbiased lab that is above reproach and who's conclusion can be verified by a roulette wheel landing of warranted labs.

These athletes give their all, they don't need a lab technician throwing their best efforts to error. It happens in all major cases around the world.

Let's step up to a new generation of lab work, absolutlely independent and verified.

Of course this is the TDF and I guess the organizers can choose which lab they want perhaps, but I can also drop my attention to their thuggery of the athletes and go play tennis.

Service!

Anna said...

prima-facie mean a lot more than you would think when it comes out of a judges keyboard:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prima_facie

Essentially in a legal sense (someone correct me if I am wrong) prima-facie means that the good Doktors testimony alone, if not effectually rebutted by the prosecution, proves that an ISL violation occurred and no other corroborating evidence would be necessary to prove this fact.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone get a look to see if the testimony was hitting home to Dr. Botre today -- the "fourth" panel member?

Anonymous said...

On a more serious note, the good Herr Doktor should be renamed Comic Book Guy.

bill hue said...

dragon,
I think you might be on to something. ?My posts hint at that too. If it shook out that way i'll remeber your post.
Bill

tycho said...

Floyd has already won, by allowing all to see the house of cards that supports the WADA/ASUDA. The shoddy science, the sloppy labs, the arrogant scientists who are worse than any doping athlete since they never lose (by their own admission), and are paid millions to support the inquisition of hypocrisy by a group of pretenders who negotiated with MLB and admitted doper Barry Bonds to avoid this type of exposure.

Would you or anyone else you know have the drive, the persistence and the resources to take on the unwinnable war like FL is doing, in the public eye, in a lopsided kangaroo court?

There is a new sherrif in town, and he wears a yellow tie.

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Theresa said...

Where did all these people come from Bill and TBV?? This was a very civil site to get information, and read intelligent comments. Are they here just to get they jollies? Will and Greg LeMond have nothing to do with the science. Period. That's what this hearing is about, even tho USADA is pretending otherwise.

Plus I just heard a report on the BBC America, that was just as biased as some of these comments!! If the mainstream news is spending all their time watching the dancing monkeys; then no wonder some people are not using their common sense.

Okay, I'm done today, you anonymously can bash whatever I said. It doesn't change the truth!

Anonymous said...

"Reincarnation of Muppet Labratories"!!! That might be the funniest comment of this whole train wreck. That, my fried, is pure blogging genius.

I just imagine Dr. Bunsun Honeydew forcing his assistant Beaker to hold a test tube of urine while pointing a laser at it... "Yes, yes, there it is, Urea! I found it!"

Carlton Reid said...

I also loved the Muppet Labs reference. I was going to use it for my BikeBiz.com story but thought it a mite flippant for re-use, mainly because I want site readers to focus on the science not the asides.

Over here in the UK, the story is getting scant coverage in the mainstream press, and when there is coverage it's salicious or wrong or both.

I notice Cyclingnews.com is getting more balanced of late. Whatever next? If Floyd wins there are going to be an awful lot of bike journos eating their helmets.

And as for Dick Pound I expect he's already sharpening the sword to fall on. Not. Mind you, his comments about Harleys, Nazi frogmen and virgins may just come to haunt his final days in office. Good.