Some opinionated observations from close up at the hearing:
- Most people, including me, did not get the importance of the methodological peak identification problems that Brenna nearly perjured himself to try to bury. LNDD has a designed-in mistake in their SOP for IRMS that is common among all tests they have ever run. They don't run a calibration mix that includes the 5a, 5b, and pdiols, so they can't identify peaks in the IRMS correctly, or in conformance with the ISL IDCR -- creating an ISL violation on any AAF they have ever declared on 5a or 5b - pdiol. This is a disaster for LNDD and whoever has said their procedure was correct -- including Brenna, Ayotte, Catlin, Aquilera, and Botre.
- Landis spent too much time on Mongongu and Frelat, which hamperered them later. There was probably more we weren't given because of time constraints. Depositions would have helped an expedient hearing.
- USADA's Young was very good at gaming the system, both procedurally and during direct and re-direct examinations. He's not so good at cross of technical witnesses. By way of example, consider the brouhaha over time during closing arguments. Young held back nothing in his summation, but made Suh shorten his to allow time for rebuttal of a response that Young never made. This shortened Suh's summation, and was a pure "game" move. Similarly he routinely coached his own witnesses with leading questions and "walking" and "talking" objections.
- People who are nice in the pressroom and halls can still write incredibly slanted stories. Looking at multiple sources is usually a good idea. A good way of checking bias is counting paragraphs covering one side vs. those presenting the others, and where they occur in the story.
- There were many snipes by counsel about discovery issues. There is something clearly broken in the way those disputes are handled. Perhaps it is the lack of teeth in the ability to exclude evidence, or the lack of effective discovery deadlines.
- Lemond should never have been allowed to testify, and his testimony was probably allowed in to punish Landis for the Will-provoked circus. There are hanging legal issues to be explored whether Lemond's refusal to answer Armstrong questions was proper.
- Lemond's attorney should have not been at the USADA table, he should have been behind the bar or in the witness box. He should not have spoken on the record, and should only have spoken to his client in private.
- Bringing Papp and Lemond in at all did not speak well to USADA's scientific case.
- We think a lot of people were reading TBV. Young's "rabbit out of a hat" remark in close seemed taken directly from us; Suh's calling USADA on walking and talking objections came after Bill pointed it out; And Suh's successful use of the "Young Gambit" -- "the expeditied nature of arbitration, as USADA has often argued" also came after we pointed it out. We think Herr Doktor was amused by the greased pig analogy.
- We think some of what was in the Arnie Baker slideshows was not very important, but that USADA spent a lot of time preparing as if those were the only key issues. They were certainly warned that there was other stuff, but USADA never seemed to have looked for or found it.
- At hearing, the real deal-breakers are the ISL failures to properly identify peaks. These came out in the DPF discussions, but the particular detail of wrong cal-mix leading to know known elute time in the IRMS was sprung at the hearing.
- All the rest is lab sloppiness that can account for some quantitative errors in the result, but it's hard to know how much effect anything would have. This includes acquisition non-linearity and all the possible analysis errors, both manual and automatic.
- The retesting was a foot-bullet, as we suspected. The base science case was unaffected, in that the peaks were not identified any better than they were the first time, because the methodology is wrong. However, both the retesting and reprocessing gave detailed views into the workings of the LNDD that were useful to know. Sitting and watching Mongongu and Frelat work was very important. Having Davis and Scott see it was more useful to Landis than Brenna and Botre were to USADA.
- Will Geoghegan showed up, and took his lumps. My opinion is that if he'd been trying to intimidate Lemond, he'd have done a lot better job of it, and remained anonymous. I'm sticking to the incredible lapse of judgment, insane prank theory, as unpopular as that may be.
- Things got very serious in the press room after Lemond's testimony. The amusing novelty was gone, and it was onto a different plane, instantly.
Some things that got challenged, and remain in dispute:
- Whether overlapping peaks with the same CIR get reported correctly or skewed one way or the other. Herr Doktor said skewed against Landis, Brenna said in Landis' favor. Neither said there was no-effect.
- The real story of the alternate B sample testing and negotiation: Why LNDD, why no split, timing, etc. There are some documents there I'd love to get to see what happened. I don't think anyone has been telling the whole truth.
Things we expected or hoped for, but didn't see:
- The mass-spec identification of the IRMS data, to check for co-elution.
- A clear example of sloping baseline effect on reported ratio.
- A clear example of how linearity could affect results.
- A clear example of shoulder affecting results.
- A clear example of unknown baseline improperly added or subtracted affecting results.
- The UCLA IRMS results from the August OOC tests
There was some flattering coverage of us in a few places.
- Bicycling, in the tidbits section;
- Opinio Juris, at length.
- Sports Illustrated (page 2)
- EnvironLaw, part 1 and part 2.
- What Sport What called us "Trusted Enough" in a feature.
- USA Today Sports Scope.
- CyclingFans didn't like our take on Lemond, and inability to get a print copy of L'Equipe.
- Information Cul-de-Sac
It still looks like we'd have to buy a link to be noted at CyclingNews, or Pez, and with our budget, that ain't gonna happen. Readers are right, VeloNews is softening up.