Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thursday Roundup

News
ABC Sport Australia prints an AFP piece dated May 4 about the public nature of the Floyd Landis hearings which are due to begin on May 14 at Pepperdine,University . Michael Henson, Landis spokesperson, is quoted as saying:

"Floyd wants it to be a transparent process, This isn't going to be something that happens behind closed doors.

"If they find Floyd guilty, and I don't believe they will, then they better have a strong case and proceed in a fair and unbiased manner."


Henson also says between 12 and 15 witnesses should be called by the Landis defense.


IHT has a business piece by Doreen Carvajal examing the impact of doping cases on pro cycling sponsorship, and Landis and Puerto are key parts. (courtesy TAF)


Velonews has an interview with Travis Tygart. On the matter of truth seeking, Tygart says:
We absolutely are motivated to find the truth and do the right thing in every case. Our obligation is to protect clean athletes, nothing less and nothing more. [...] [W]hen the evidence does not support an accusation we drop the case. We have had over 20% of all potential cases closed.

[...]

All that we ask in any case, is that people reserve judgment until all the facts are known and both sides of the story have been heard.

[...]
The USADA board and staff would rather see a person who actually doped walk free than sanction someone who did not dope. Our credibility and integrity would be permanently ruined if we only cared about winning cases. Again, an accurate reflection of our track record shows that we simply follow the evidence, do the right thing in every case and keep our mouths shut.


The Chicago Daily Herald publishes the AP version of last night's AFP piece about Richard Pound of WADA and his support for the LNDD, the controversial lab which has performed the tests on Floyd Landis' Tour de France urine samples from last summer. In it Mr. Pound is quoted as saying:

“It’s frustrating especially because some athletes and their entourage like to take their case to the public before it’s been heard,” he said, without mentioning Landis. “There’s no rule to prevent that. The only folks that have their hands tied are the anti-doping organizations who do not comment. It’s certainly a disadvantage.”

Blogs
Rant offers some sympathy towards Travis Tygart. At the same time he feels that Mr Tygart has badly handled some aspects of the Landis case and could take a lesson from the Australians, and that the cataloged actions of his agency speak more to winning! and losing than they do Tygart's professed search for truth (see above).

CrystalZenMud has a long series of posts about the case, which we have foolishly not looked at recently, because he starts them all with the same tag line, "WADA do about...". Now that we know they're different, we'll pay more attention. Oops. In the edition of April 24th, he's advising a boycott of L'Equipe.

No Time to Blog, and I feel your pain, is thinking that he wishes he was a member of the Cal Poly Wheelmen, since Floyd is coming to SLO to ride. NTTB lives in San Ramon, which is not anywhere near SLO, so maybe we'll try to talk FL into a San Ramon Valley/Diablo some time.

Dolphinlover is going to go to the SLO ride and Town Hall.

Bullets and Beats writes a blog mostly about how reviled Barry Bonds is, even though he has not tested positive for PEDs. B&B compares this reality to that of Floyd Landis who has tested positive, but is strangely not hated. Guess he hasn't visited Topix. Anyway, there are advantages to being dear and fluffy like Floyd.

Eric's Rant sees a trend in all of the recent stories he has heard about cycling now that the season is in full swing, but it's not a good one.


The First 100 Miles' Sara Best likes the story about Floyd Landis in the new issue of "Bicycling", even though she had decided to not renew. She thinks the photos of Floyd are stunning.

The Road Bike spins his head trying to get it around Mr. Pound's comments on the gag rule. He also encourages folks to look at his Petition About the LNDD.

She Cycles by the Seashore is getting ready for a big charity bike ride in NYC (GYGIG, or Get Your Guts in Gear), and still thinks that USADA is ludicrous.

Blog Me Tender is offering a "Cycling is DOPE" t-shirt with a claim that it is Floyd Landis' favorite.

Jelloman gave us a link. They seem to have had an eerily familiar PED scandal at their latest event, a gut busting 26 mile jaunt that involved stops for lunch and snacks.

Forums
On the DPF poster Sedras is upset that lab techs are having their reputations sullied by criticisms of how labs process the samples in cases where cyclists have been accused of doping.

A couple of good discussions based on Bill Hue's Daily Peloton piece of a few days back are developing. The first was when the article started; the other was started by someone who thought the piece was bogus. At this point, the content of each thread has overlapped, and some useful thoughts are being exchanged.


Thought for the Day

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.

- Aristotle-

21 comments:

Ali said...

Dick 'Roid-Floyd' Pound complaining about someone trying to influence the public before the case has been heard.

Right !

Add 'hypocrite' to his long list of personality flaws

Anonymous said...

ORG here ...

Anyone also notice that Dick Pound seems somewhat dismissive of the media leaks. Apparently that does not frustrate him.

Why not keep the ADA muzzled and have WADA issue a formal rebuke to any athlete that speaks incorrectly about this process. It was good enough for WADA after Dick Pound spoke incorectly about Armstrong's 1999 samples.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Dick!

Whining about not allowed to comment on an anti-doping case? Rubbish, I say! As the top dog of WADA, the Dick effectively is "judge, jury, prosecutor, castigator, and press agent, all in one." WADA and their puppets (the ADA's) have repeatedly seen fit to ignore stated rules and norms of decency in the Landis affair.

Here's an idea for you. Press release: "I'm not at liberty to discuss specifics. However, I've prepared a document that details LNDD's procedures used for every athlete's testing, which is available to the public at..."

Respectfully yours,

Rocket_head

smoking monkey said...

Wow, that Tygart interview is a steaming pile of lies captured by an inept reporter (Pelkey) serving unforgivable softballs.

That article is not even worth the pixels/paper it appears on.

Here is a big fat one:
"What I can say is that the opportunity to witness the B sample opening and analysis is a fundamental and important right afforded an athlete throughout the process. In all cases, we take extra precautious to coordinate and schedule the testing with the athlete's representative and take steps to ensure that this right is not compromised."

Here is another:
"USADA board and staff would rather see a person who actually doped walk free than sanction someone who did not dope.

Our credibility and integrity would be permanently ruined if we only cared about winning cases."

This comment, to me, is one of the most amazing lies in the article.

Good luck on May 14, Mr. Travesty

smoking money said...

Ok, now we se the Phil Hersch write-up featuring Pound crying about how "unfair" it is that an athelte can have an entourage take the case public before it is heard.

This Pound is not a man.

This Pound is not an honorable person.

This Pound is a piece of whinging trash, whose politico-motives are as clear as day.

Hey Poundy, remember your OpEd back in August? or your Sokolove quotes? or your comments in Wired? or the Bicycling article comments?

I guess these are not comments on an ongoing case. I guess you take us all for bottom-feeding fools. Well, we are not that, sir. In fact we can see through your lies, those both admitted and hidden.

pfinjt said...

I've heard Tygart ask for subpoena power for doping agencies before. He seems to think that ADAs should have many of the same powers that police forces have. Of course, then ADAs would have to take the rights of the accused MUCH more seriously. Is he ready for that?

Anonymous said...

Is the VeloNews website down? I can't get there through TBV's link, or just by putting in the address directly, or with my long standing bookmark. What gives??

Yol said...

"All that we ask in any case, is that people reserve judgment until all the facts are known and both sides of the story have been heard." -TT

Coffee. Out nose. Seriously.

Bill Hue said...

I'd like to interview Mr. Tygart when the "gag order" is off. I'm a patient man. I can wait.
Bill

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Anon 9:06, it works for me now, so it's either a glitch at their end, or something poisonous specific to you.

TBV

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Yol,

I know it can come off as funny, but I am reserving judgement. Perhaps USADA can completely torpedo Landis on facts, and shred his defense arguments and convince me that despite all I've learned from the one sided conversation that he's as guilty as USADA says he is.

That will make me feel bad, and look like a stupid dupe, but I can admit the possibility.

Floyd says himself he doesn't want people to believe him because he's dear and fluffy, he wants people to look at the facts that are presented. Let's take him at his word and give the case from both sides a fair listen.

Of course, we will be carrying our prejudices about what we expect to hear, and how convincing we imagine it may be. But there is probably new information to come that could change everybody's perceptions of the truth.

TBV

Guy WR said...

Nice one, TBV!

I'm happy to reserve judgement, too.

I want to believe Floyd, but I'd also like to get the truth, if that's at all possible. I'm tired of the conspiracy theories being propagated on the web, and would like to hear (even more) about the science.

This is the yellow jersey we're talking about, and the USADA's job is to find out as definitively as possible if cheating took place.

Guy WR

swimyouidiot said...

Three things: First, I really don't like email/written interviews. I understand why Tygart would only agree to that format, but the respondent is so guarded, it's not very interesting. A good interviewer could have a much more interesting result in person.

Second, I actually have a little sympathy for TT. It is hard to accept the level of moral purity he claims for USADA's motives in all this, BUT then I realize that if I were in his place, I would be saying EXACTLY the same thing. Every response is "according to the book." This interview is exactly what it should be, coming from his side.

Third, the most disingenuous response TT gave was this:
"Many athletes and others look at the BALCO and Operation Puerto investigations and think anti-doping agencies should have the same level of authority as criminal investigators in order to truly stop the sophisticated doping practices that routine drug testing sometimes misses."

"Many athletes" want USADA to have MORE power? I find that hard to believe. And also that last bit: "that routine drug testing SOMETIMES misses?" I think that's a gross understatement, meant to preserve the integrity of their system. It seems to me their false negative rate is a big part of the problem of doping in sport.

Anonymous said...

Dick has been talking publicly about this investigation since the day after the tour.

http://www.theroadbike.com/2007/05/03/dick-pound-speaks-about-the-inability-to-speak/

Bill said...

CLASSIC DICK POUND HYPOCRISY

After Emile Vrijman exposed Pound's deplorable behavior in the TdF 1999 LNDD EPO research testing fiasco . . .

<<<
The World Anti-Doping Agency, the laboratory and the French ministry of sports all failed to provide documents and fully cooperate in his investigation, he added.

From its headquarters in Switzerland, the International Cycling Union said it "firmly deplores the behavior of Mr. Vrijman, who has prematurely voiced" his conclusions.

The union added that it "underlines its deep displeasure with regards to the regrettable development of this case."

In an official statement after Pound was interviewed, the World Anti-Doping Agency also criticized the release of the report, expressing "grave concern and strong disappointment."

"WADA is not in a position to comment at this time other than to state that elementary courtesy and professionalism would have dictated that WADA should have been provided with a copy of the report before interviews were given to the media."

>>>>>

I love that last line. Isn't that what Floyd said about WADA/UCI when news was first leaked?

I strongly recommend everyone read Vrijman's report. Very telling.

http://www.uci.ch/imgArchive/Homepage/Rapport%20HR%20zonder.pdf

Ali said...

TBV, I respect and even envy your efforts to remain impartial and listen to the evidence.

Personally, I can't do that now. There is no evidence that LNDD could provide which I could trust sufficiently to conclude that Floyd doped. It just isn't going to happen. This whole thing, from the beginning to now has been a complete farce.

I attempt to disguise this fact, but I'm a freakishly rational person. I can't switch that off. It runs 24/7 on a subconscious level. Consequently, without any conscioius effort from me, my mind is always trying to construct rational models from the information it receives.

Whenever something comes up which 'doesn't fit', I'm immediately alerted and I question it. Right from the start of the Landis case, my rational model has been flagging up alerts. Almost every new twist flags up another 'inconsistency'.

In this case, even if no scientific tests were involved and it came down to purely circumstantial evidence, I'd be saying Floyd was innocent.

Incidentally, I'm not a life long fan of Floyd's or anything like that. I received a handsome return on my bet for him to win the TdF (placed before Basso and Ullrich were elbowed out) and I thank him for that. I just know when something is wrong and this is wrong.

swimyouidiot said...

That IHT article is pretty depressing, but I was glad they got in the comments of the guy saying it wasn't Floyd, but the (pitiful) way cycling handles its problems, that have led to some difficulties. Very good point. I am amazed at the sponsors that have hung in there. I don't think I would have if I ran one of those companies.

zarghev said...

Bill,

Vrijman's report is a piece of garbage. It was paid by UCI, which was in fact the guilty party who leaked the confidential sample numbers from Armstrong from l'Equipe, and then wrongly accused WADA. Not to mention Vrijman was an old friend of the UCI president at the time. The fact that, nethertheless it is written "Independent report" on the front page, is, sadly, not the worst distorsion made by this report.

Anonymous said...

and when Bordry's independent expert report paid for with AFLD's money comes in on LNND's handling of the Landis tests, are we to discount it as not truly independent? Every report is paid for by somebody. How do we achieve true independence? Or is independence judged upon the scale of how you wanted the answer to come out? If the independent expert got your answer, the right answer, he was independent. If he didn't get your answer, he was not. I'm still waiting for WADA's promised independent report on that one.

So USADA and the LNND found Mr. Scott so disruptive, the USADA just decided to leave early rather than have LNND's director directly exercise the perogative to throw him out? It was really done to saw face for Landis. They truly were bending over backwards to preserve Landis' right to have his observer there and they didn't want to hurt him by announcing his observer was disruptive.

Or maybe TT wasn't referring to Landis' reps at all, because they weren't disruptive. He was just saying--using the most egregious examples of past behavior so all of us would draw unfavorable inferences-why a representative would be barred. But of course, that would mean he was creating a misimpression and only Landis does that. And its the public's fault if they read into it more than he was saying. Maybe Landis' PRs are overblown, but at least we aren't left in any doubt about what he claims pissed him off.

So is the official explanation of why Landis' reps were barred that it was the agreement, or they were disruptive? JR.

Bill said...

Zarghev,

Did you read the report? Previously opened samples, analysis lite (non-standard analysis), broken chain of custody, anonymity blown. Are these the distortions you are concerned with? The factual basis of these claims made by Vrijman were NEVER disputed by ANYONE, just his conclusions and the fact that he did not address whether Armstrong was guilty (Pound's complaint). These FACTS alone make it valuable as far as insight into the incestuous relationship between LNDD and Pound.

Note how Pound did not cooperate with the investigation AND failed to keep his promise to perform an investigation of his own.

zarghev said...

Anonymous,
"Every report is paid for by somebody. How do we achieve true independence?"

In that case, it is like the LNDD would itself pay an `independent' inquiry from old friend of the LNDD director, which, at the end, would devote all its length, describing several technicalities about how Landis didn't some present his requests quite right, how Landis&lawyers public declarations are harming the laboratory reputation, how Landis' side may well have hacked the computers of the laboratory, and how Landis' side is quite possibly the source of the leak to L'equipe.
Then label it as an "independent report on LNDD samples handling".


Bill,

Well the problem with Vrijman report, is first that you need to establish the lack of bias of the investigator. Is it established? Absolutely not.

One problem with Vrijman is the following: Vrijman, was appointed by the International Cycling Union to investigate urine samples collected from the 1999 Tour de France.

He did none of it. Not only that, but because Vrijman is a lawyer and not a scientist, it seems clear to me that neither UCI nor Vrijman have ever intended to even remotely investigate urine samples, the stated goal of the investigation.

Hence the whole investigation starts with a big lie.

Also notice that WADA is a higher authority than UCI - UCI had a vested interest into covering up the Armstrong story. WADA has the power to exclude UCI/cycling from Olympic games, if anti-doping is not properly done. In fact, one of the very factors of the creation of WADA was the doping scandal of cyclism in 1998, and hence the fact that UCI had failed to prevent doping.

That being said, can Vrijman be trusted? I don't trust him. Maybe you do. If I had to judge on the content, the only part of the report I could check is the one were he is addressing the issue of the leak to L'Equipe - needless to say I'm not impressed. I don't trust a report which had completly deviated from its goal - at least it would have to spend some time analysing UCI failures, and half of its part about its stated goal. For me this is akin to print in the footer of each page "this report is biased". For what I know maybe some of the content may be accurate - but my understanding is no one was going to waste time rebutting exagerations, inaccuracies and errors of that report, which is so obviously biased -- that would only brought it credibility.