Well, that was interesting.
What seems to be going on is that USADA is trying to
- Present their theory there is a pattern of doping, with a single metabolite standard.
- Which, as Loren Mooney observed, appear to be around mountain stages. Bonnie DeSimone of ESPN lays that out in more detail.
- Deny, deny, deny production of evidence, and try to make it look like Landis' fault.
- Poke holes in the publicly offered defenses, at some expense of time.
- rebut holes Landis makes in cross as soon as possible.
- which seems to be leading other places.
- Laying traps, some of which are sprung, and some of which are unobserved.
- Establishing processing gaps that may turn out to reflect re-work.
- Suggest that there are calibration and stability problems.
- leading you to think the cal/stab problems might lead to the re-work
- but if they are stability problems, then the re-work isn't reliable either.
- preparing arguments for mass-spectra data later.
- Laying ground for declaration that the alternate B samples are in fact AAFs, and their admission should be rejected because they may not be used to create AAFs.
- Catching M. Mongongu in a mistatement of fact by claiming the new IRMS machine went in service after the Stage 17 samples were processed, when there is apparently a report issued the previous year from the new machine. USADA will need to clarify that point at some point.
Strategically, Landis must assume the B's will remain; nevertheless, this seems not to concern them. They still seem confident in the hall.
To overcome all the "positives", Landis must kill all the IRMS values that are > 3.8, which are the 5aAs, and one other in an alternate B sample (I forget which, and too lazy to look it up).
To do that, they must:
- Demonstrate ISL violations leading to burden shift.
- Establish a bunch of facts about the IRMS processing, breaking up USADA's pretty picture.
- Demonstrate how the pieces fit together to show systemic problems that invalidates all the IRMS results.
- Leave USADA to prove that their theory is wrong.
Note that should they make a convincing case for systemic error, then every IRMS AAF that LNDD ever reported becomes dubious. And we note that LNDD has a 300% higher rate of IRMS AAFs than other labs. That suggests they either have a dirtier clientele, or they do something systemically different than other labs.
As to today's discovery fluster, I'm not sure what it's about. I think Suh was looking for a chance to bring up the Mass Spectra, and Mongongu handed it up at an unexpected time. He was probably near done with cross of her, and decided to play that card out.
The result was that we got a brou-ha-ha that USADA thinks it won, but I don't have any idea how important it may be. Was it a trump card that lost, or a 5 that was thrown away?
On USADA's "pattern" argument, I wonder how the "pattern" compares to Landis' cortisone shots. I don't know that I've seen the complete schedule of the injections he received before and at the tour, maybe someone can inform me there.
Greg Lemond is supposedly testifying tomorrow. That means the media circus will be back, probably in even greater force than Monday. I can't imagine what he can testify to of any relevance. Is this just rebuttal of more of the public defense (S17 was possible?), a PR move, or does he have a tape recording of a Landis confession?
Bill wants to be in there for it; I'm thinking I'll camp watching the video.
UPDATE: Apparently USADA thinks Lemond is more important to proving their case than M. Frelat, the analyst of the stage 17 B samples, and many of the alternate B samples. She's been dropped from the witness list posted at USOC compared with what we heard at the end of the open hearing today. We don't know if M. Frelat will testify on Friday, or if USADA saw what happened to Mongongu and have decided not to call her at all.
Only Ayotte and Lemond are now scheduled for Thursday, which is looking like USADA's big swing for the fences in front of the press. Lemond is the draw, and Ayotte is the substantive star they are going to rely on for the single metabolite standard and rebutting any other holes they think Landis has already made.
UPDATE: I've gotten the DSL working where I'm staying, so I have no respite. I did get 22 minutes at 185w average in before it got too dark for me to see. Maybe if tomorrow really ends at 5:00 I can go down and up the pepperdine driveway to the law schoo.