Monday, May 21, 2007

Late Monday Roundup

For news from earlier today please see the Early Monday Roundup.

The LA Times Michael Hiltzik writes that a defense witness,Wolfram Meier-Augenstein, called today in the Landis hearings stated that the results obtained by the LNDD on Landis' urine samples last summer were so unreliable that they amounted to "speculation":

Most critically, he stated that LNDD's measurement of certain key metabolic ratios in the sample violated standards of accuracy laid down by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in technical specifications. If Landis' attorneys can show that LNDD's work violated WADA standards, the arbitrators hearing his defense will be required to assume the violations caused the positive reading unless prosecutors can prove otherwise.

The defense, before this, had been attempting to elicit admissions of lab incompetence under cross examination from witnesses for USADA/WADA, but Dr.Meier-Augenstein is not affiliated or compensated by any USADA/WADA lab and is testifying under completely independent circumstances:

Meier-Augenstein testified that LNDD's analytical work, as demonstrated by a sheaf of chromatograms — which depict the chemical components of Landis' urine as peaks on a chart — was so sloppy that "I have no confidence in the data."

Floyd Landis was expected to take the stand today for cross examination of his testimony from Saturday, but will likely take he stand tomorrow.

Yahoo News
posts an Eddie Pells (AP) piece on the Landis hearing held today at Pepperdine University Law School. Dr. Wolfram Meier-Augenstein was flown in from his home in Ireland by the Landis team to testify on behalf of the accused 2006 Tour de France Champion. He was obstreperous during the cross examination by USADA lawyer Richard Young at whom he wagged his finger while making a point, not letting the prosecution attorney get a word in edge wise. Even though he was less animated the next defense witness John Amory was no less convincing. Amory stated that the wild fluctuation in Landis' testosterone-to-epitesosterone profiles during the dates surrounding his positive test didn't seem to make sense:

"The case didn't make a lot of sense to me," Amory said. "Initially when I saw the documents, I thought there were irregularities, first with the handling of the samples, then with the results."

The ratios went from 1.5-to-1 and 1.8-to-1 to 11-to-1, then quickly back below 2-to-1 over the span of 10 days.

"I don't consider those results to be consistent with the use of testosterone gel over that period of time," Amory said.

Landis who was supposed to submit to cross examination today, will likely take the stand tomorrow.

The VeloNews' Jason Sumner was impressed by the defense witnesses called today in the Landis hearings. Things went so well with American John Amory and Wolfram Meier-Augenstein a German professor in stable isotope forensics on the stand, that Floyd Landis looked relaxed and calm after the session. He will take the stand tomorrow as his anticipated appearance was delayed by the length of time taken by the testimony of the witnesses cited above. Much of John Amory's testimony was focused on the Landis samples taken during the 2006 Tour de France :

"It doesn't look like anything we've seen in men who have been administered exogenous testosterone," explained Amory, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle who works with testosterone deficient patients. "I don't think [Landis's test results] confirm that doping occurred. I can't say there is a physiological process that would give these results. It's quite puzzling to me what exactly is going on here."

Amory wasn't being paid for his time (40-50 hours, he estimated). And for the last two and a half years, he's been a member of USADA's independent anti-doping board, a panel of experts that decides whether there is enough evidence to move forward with individual doping cases. He was recently reappointed for two additional years on the board

And a big thanks for the plug. posts the Reuters version of today's events at the Landis vs USADA hearings reporting that due to the time on the stand of two defense witnesses Landis himself will take the stand tomorrow for cross examination. Both experts for the defense, American John Amory and Wolfram Meier-Augenstein a German professor in stable isotope forensics, today expressed doubt about the tests that last summer determined Floyd Landis positive for use of PEDs.

The NY Times Lee Jenkins tell us that Floyd Landis has to wait one more day until his cross examination due to two other defense witnesses length of time on the stand.

The San Francisco Examiner prints an AP story by Eddie Pells in which it appears that the Landis case may finally be picking up some steam after last's week's surprises. A witness for the defense,Wolfram Meier-Augenstein. testified this morning that he had grave doubts as to the credibiilty of the positive doping resutls found by the LNDD aganist Floyd Landis:

I'm terribly sorry, but if someone's life depends on it, his career depends on it, you don't go on assumptions," said Wolfram Meier-Augenstein, an expert in the kind of testing that produced Landis' positive results for synthetic testosterone.
Like shooting fish in a barrel," Meier-Augenstein called the process of trying to analyze what he said is sloppy data

Meier-Augenstein is expected to return to the witness stand after the lunch break.

The CyclingNews posts that Will Geoghegan is entering rehab with no details on the day in court.

The First 100 Miles says that today, if he testifies on cross examination, will be a big day for Floyd, and she posts a picture of the best day of his life as a reminder of who he is and where he's been:

The hit (Will Geoghegan's infamous call, and its fallout) was personal. It spoke to the kind of person that Floyd is as question about whether or not he knew about the call or was involved in placing it swirl around in the heads of the arbitrators. Now, Floyd needs to go up there and speak in his own words and convince them that that's not who he is. He's not going to win this hearing just on the science anymore.

Rant has his second update of the day from the Landis hearings at Peppedine University. USADA has agreed , though reluctantly, to give Team Landis more time for their defense presenation as much of it has been lost due to procedural discussions, and translation problems last week. Rant also thinks that much of Dr. Meier-Augenstein's testimony has been very valuable to the Landis side. His testimony will continue this after noon following a lunch break.Rant gives us his last update on a day that went very well for Team Landis.

Pommi says that despite some technical and sleep deprivation problems he finally got to tune in to the Landis hearings today and was very entertained. Thanks for the plug.

Racejunkie thinks that cycling in general, as well as some acquaintances, have it out for Floyd Landis and that he might be done for. Then again after today's evidence there may still be some hope.

Entropical Paradise thinks that we need to bring back some decorum into sports, and wants to see Tonya Harding rather than Floyd Landis.

The Princess of Patience thinks that no matter the verdict in the Landis case, Floyd suffers.

Uphill and Downhill
thinks that after todsy's fine showing by the Landis defense USADA is about to get their heads handed to them.

Antigravitas feels that the Landis hearings have been a bit of a "freak show".

What I Think is now having to avoid people at parties in order to NOT argue the Landis case.

AstroSportBlog uses astrology to discuss things that athletes have done or have accomplished. In this case the subject is Floyd Landis and whether or not this Mennonite Sun-Sign Libra doped:

Again, there can be dozens of contributing reasons why a person may have resorted to performance enhancing pharmaceuticals to provide an edge in professional sports. For a Libra, there is always an issues of independence versus co-dependence. As mentioned, Libras don’t like folks to be unhappy…unhappy people are a source of disharmony and lack of balance. One would think that the Libra personality would abhor any kind of cheating or drug use, as this would be “unfair” to the other competitors, resulting in an “uneven” playing field.
But in 2006, Mr. Armstrong was retired and victory not nearly as sure for the American team; Landis, after all, only placed 9th in the 2005 Tour. Is it possible that Floyd felt a need to do something, anything to ensure he wouldn’t let down American cycling fans or fellow teammates? Sure it is.

But is it possible that his claim of innocence and theory of increased levels of natural testosterone is true? Maybe…it may have taken a lot of…um…"guts" to break out of the normal mold of the dutiful Mennonite son. Floyd may have all sorts of interesting stuff going on in his body as well as his natal horoscope (if only I had his birth time!)

If the description of the case claims are as accurate as the astrology, maybe it's time to express a preference for Tarot.

The Second Most Useless Blog Ever thinks we need to just take responsibility for ourselves, and stop going into rehab when things get unpleasant.

Soap Opera Central
now not only has updates on "All My Children" but also the Landis case.


DPF seems to have been down all day. Which side will claim it's a conspiracy against their point of view? We'll start with pot shots at MySQL, which is producing the error message.


Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to watch Young try to close USADA's Pandora Box.

The SF Examiner has rung the AP story. It will also be interesting to see what the Cycling News coverage has to say about the good doctor's comments of the "sloppy data."

Anonymous said...

What I Think is not a "he," and what is it that I don't get, exactly? While I appreciate your coverage (and am reading this website daily), I don't think I need you to scold me for NOT taking sides, which I thought was the point of your blog.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm a dumdum, I forgot the name of my posting. Sorry.

But really, why can't they re-test? Is there a simple reason I'm just not seeing?

daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...

What I think:

The reason they can't retest actual samples is that they've used them all up. At least, that's the story I've been hearing.

- Rant

Anonymous said...

I had the same response to Kay's announcement of WG rehab plan as The Second Most Useless Blog Ever - the PR spin/excuse du jour for behaving badly aka Mel Gibson/Mark Foley/Lindsey Lohan/Brittany defense - go into rehab.

strbuk said...

Sorry "What I Think" I did not mean to offend!