Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Roundup

Head-Lie of the Day

Landis: USADA went after him to get Armstrong

(link) Um, no, he never said that, or anything like that. "Landis: USADA said Rat on Armstrong" would have been accurate and fit in the same space.

News
Our coverage of the Landis press conference is moved to a separate post; afterwards, Armstrong had one of his own, and we have a report from a reader who listened.

The LA Times Michael Hiltzik covered today's Floyd Landis press conference and reports that Landis was so insulted by the offer made to him that he give up Lance Armstrong for a lighter suspension that he did not respond. Travis Tygart, named as the intermediary who made the offer to Landis, was quoted by Reuters as saying he had no comment.

Bonnie DeSimone at ESPN
was on the call, and filed her own report, after also hearing Armstrong's press call.

USATODAY's Sal Ruibal wrote his own piece on the Armstrong Deal. He says Armstrong hadn't heard the details before, and Lance's attorney didn't think Armstrong had come up by name in the proffer. This contradicts some other reports, so someone is confused or missing some pieces. Ruibal also gets a hold of Henson later, spinning the surprise pickup of this angle into sounding "accidentally on purpose" to demonstrate USADA's ethics.

ESPN.com also posted the AP version of today's press conference emphasizing the Lance Armstrong "deal" made to Floyd Landis portion of the press conference referenced above. The Reuters version of the story is also found on the ESPN.com.

The Chicago Tribune's Phil Hersh is thinking how the people who were around Lance Armstrong seem to pay a great price for having had the honor.

USAToday SportsScope , along with numerous other media outlets, jumps on today's revelation that Floyd Landis was offered a "deal" if only he would provide incriminating evidence against Lance Armstrong.

Associated Content has a long piece in advance of the hearing running through the case history by James Raia, with parts of an interview done in SF at the M1/Cycleops trainer event.

Telegraph (UK)'s John Inverdale
thinks Landis might be stripped of his title on Monday, in a column that starts tou
ting the honesty of a footballer who says he should have been yanked from a match.

WISC TV
has a poll; currently 43-31 in
nocent; later 87-32.

The Boulder Report in a column mostly about Ivan Basso, says that the Italian cyclist may have copped to doping p
artly in order to avoid the kind of financial strain Floyd Landis now finds himself under.

Joe makes reference to some of Basso's "extraterrestrial" performances by pointing to Ferrari's blog about the
m. Ferrari is fond of using the "VAM" measurement, being vertical meters/hr as a rate of climbing. During Basso's amazing stages at the Giro last year, he climbed at 1775 m/h and 1820 m/h, dropping Salvodelli, who was at 1642 and 1670 m/h on the same climbs. By way of comparison, on Stage 16 when Landis was dropped, the leader's group was climbing at 1392, 1500, and 1470 m/h on the last three climbs. On Stage 17, alone, Landis did the last climb at 1637 m/h, less than what got Salvodelli dropped by Basso at the Giro. One wonders how fast Sastre was going, because he picked up 2:00 on Landis on that climb (only to lose it back on the descent).

WHP TV 21 talks about the "Keep the Faith" ride in Lancaster County on Saturday.


Blogs
Pommi notes today's "you give us Lance Armstrong for a lighter suspension" bombshell from the Floyd Landis news conference, and thinks it shines a real nasty light on USADA's tactics.

Racejunkie may have thought the jury was out before today's press conference, but he now has more respect for Floyd Landis who he feel could have been riding this year had he ratted on Lance Armstrong and listened to the "bottom dwellers".

TripleCrankset thinks that by the time all is said and done "Bad Boy Floyd" will have shown that NO ONE is innocent, except maybe himself.

The RoadBike.com has wondered WHY Lance Armstrong would support Floyd Landis in his fight against USADA,and now after today's press conference he thinks he knows why.



Almost clean-shaven, showing off a newly discovered cleft chin. Arnie Baker in the background.


Le Blog wonder what the cycling world would have thought had Floyd Landis tested positive for a Frappucino?


The Information Cul-de-Sac believes in many precious things, most of all in what he saw on 7/21/06.

Neil@ Road Mag blogs the Landis press conference from this afternoon and bullets the most pertinent details.

Olsons's Observations thinks that doping allegations go too far, and that Floyd Landis is innocent or at least he hopes that he is.

CaliRado Cyclist thinks that Floyd Landis' early explanations for his positive doping test after the Tour de France, which some has deemed clumsy at best, look positively brilliant when compared to what Curt Schilling has come up with to explain comments made about Barry Bonds.

Dugard expresses disillusionment with not only the venal aspect of sports but also the rampant self protectionism he observed yesterday with Ivan Basso's counter confession and Tyler Hamilton's exclusion from the Giro. Even worse though he is repulsed by the collusion exhibited by two of the Landis arbitrators against the one chosen by Team Landis. Alas it would seem that indeed even they are in it for the money

Staying Centered is giving up on his bicycling blog and maybe bicycling altogether, for many reasons. Not the least of which is his concern for a friend who appears to be the target of a stalking cyclist. But Eric is also disillusioned with the nature of the Floyd Landis "wannabes" in their 30s, who just need to grow up already.

Rant gives us a three-fer today, looking at arbitrator ethics; Gonchar about which we have not much more to say (below) than he's teased out; and finally noting that this would be a good time to send another donation to the FFF, Going to hearing is a pricey exercise, so folks with losts of trailing zeros in their accounts might think about it again. I'm sure the USADA folks would appreciate contributions too, otherwise 2/3 their expenses are coming out of tax dollars.

Later, Rant gets a late read on the press conference, and makes more of the complaint about Mr. Pound that most others.

The New Common Sense has never rooted for just one rider, but thinks that of all of the doping cases he has heard of, the one Floyd Landis is embroiled in seems the one most full of holes, especially in light of the recent revelation that one of the three arbitrators in the case was excluded in pre hearing decisions.

Quickrelease.tv files a post mainly about the new IMAX Tour de France film and Tyler Hamilton, but makes mention of the Landis case and the actions revealed this week, of two of the three arbitrators excluding the third from participation in pre-hearing decisions. The film itself actually concerns the workings of the human mind and how it is motivated to endure events such as the Tour.

The RoadBike says Landis would get better odds in Vegas, using "No Campbell" to suggest the table is rigged.

A Raptor fan thinks a player needs to bulk up over the summer and advises workouts with Bonds and Landis. Hint: if you bulk up like Landis, there's not many people you're going to intimidate in the NBA.

Le Grimpeur runs down a history of Colombian climbers, with trivial passing mention of Landis. He's an entertaining read.

Madonna News
says Landis has Paris Hilton, Madonna and Mel Gibson disease: he won't shut up.

Velogal has her own kangaroo cartoon.

Propecia in a post riddled with baldness links, speaks confusingly about Patrick McCarty, former Phonak team member, and his ideas for clean racing. They are education and rigorous testing.

TeamFubar wonders, "
Why do we build up an athlete, actor or any other person in the spotlight only to want to watch and desire them to get torn down?

Forums
Over on DPF the word is out in the "Bigger Fish to Fry" thread, also see "The Lance Effect" in a similar vein.
"Koppenberg" notes that offering a deal to trap a bigger fish is common prosecutorial practice, and Landis should not have been offended, but taken it as part of the way this game is played.

In comments here yesterday, ORG noted three dots, and wondered if they could be connected. First, T-Mobile announced Gonchar would not be at the Giro because of a cold. Cynics wondered if this was a case of the "OP Flu". Second, ORG remembered that Baker had said one of the "typos" in Landis' LDP had a number that was used on a sample from Stage 19. Third, that S19 was the individual time trial, won by a suprisingly on-form Gonchar. We believe a close look at the timeline of sample processing shows that yes, S19 samples were present during some of the processing of Landis's S17 samples, but not all of the S17 processing, so a complete substitution seems impossible -- but a partial substitution? Maybe worth another look.

Thought for the Day
Injustice boils in men's hearts as does steel in its cauldron, ready to pour forth, white hot, in the fullness of time.

-Mother Jones

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

A 2 p.m. PT press conference? Hmm. What bombs might be dropped? A request to the AAA that Brunet and/or McLaren be relieved of their duties? This is quite intriguing and has my mind running a 100 miles an hour.

Cal

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

Cal,

Slow it down to the legal limit, buddy. Wouldn't want you to get a non-analytical speeding ticket. ;-)

Rant

Anonymous said...

Floyd & Team;

I just want to be on record as wishing you good luck and God speed in the battle ahead.

You guys have done a great job with the low lying fruit provided by LNDD, USADA, WADA and now the AA panel. I think you have fought the best way possible given the circumstances fate has placed you in. You have been diligent and prudent in you quest for Justice. I believe you have walked securely in integrity and truth.

Not that you need to be told but I'll say it anyway. Be strong, stand firm in the faith, you will ultimately prevail.

My Prayers go out to you.
God bless,

Atown, Tx.

Drew said...

I think Rant made a very good point here in that if the Landis camp does make a move to have Brunet removed and it fails, he would probably end up completely and totally screwed from that point on. Which brings me to what my fear would be, that the AAA can in some way be influenced by the USADA or WADA to deny the request.

Given that scenario, I think it would be a crap shoot as to if public/press opinion would see the move as a petty attempt do stall the case, or as the blatant injustice it really is. Assuming that the populous agrees that he's getting hosed, the best hopes in my mind would be for a more fair shake at an appeal rather than to actually make it through the USADA hearing unscathed.

swimyouidiot said...

Hopefully this press conference is just an attempt to shape the narrative of the hearing before it begins. I don't think an attempt to oust Brunet is worth the effort at this point, given minimal chances of success. It would be nice if they would lay out some new science (to soft up the media for the trial), and reveal a little of what they have not received from USADA/LNDD (to show the unfair nature of the discovery process). And it would be nice if they said something about the B-sample tests (at least hinting at a real reason they are not damning).

I doubt any of that will happen. But for another four hours I can hope.

Anonymous said...

TBV, how will you report on the press conference? Will you, or one of "your people" be there? Do we have to rely on Hiltzik and the like?

syi

Thomas A. Fine said...

I'll predict that the news is a delayed hearing, related to getting McLaren and Brunet kicked.

Consider the politics again. AAA has no direct interest in this case, EXCEPT that it brings a ton of media attention to the arbitration process. So pretend you are the AAA. Two impartial** arbitrators went on a junket paid for by one of the two sides of the arbitration, where they rubbed elbows with the "prosecutor" on the case, and several big names in cycling and anti-doping. Upon returning, they ruled on the admissability of one of the most important bits of evidence without consulting the third arbitrator.

That is NOT a story that AAA is going to want to see in the news.

**Note that by AAA rules even party-appointed arbitrators must remain impartial, unless the arbitration contract explicitly says otherwise.

tom

swimyouidiot said...

Tom, I forget, does the arbitration contract say otherwise in this case?

Either way, while I passionately believe that Brunet's impartiality is compromised, I now think the AAA would be very reluctant to dismiss him. The junket to China can be considered within the normal bounds of preparation for the Olympics, and the "No Campbell" ruling can be considered to be clarification of a previous decision. I think both claims do not really carry much weight, but I think they probably carry enough to keep the AAA from dismissing him or them.

If the AAA does dismiss them, doesn't it call into question their whole arrangement with USADA? That is, doesn't the expectation of future work if one rules in USADA's favor itself constitute a conflict of interest and lead to impartiality? I gather that is a well known problem in the arbitration world, and large businesses who can give repeat business to arbs are the ones who most strongly support the process. I don't know, maybe the AAA has had enough of this arrangement, and that is what this press conference will lead to. We'll soon see.

It would seem odd to call a press conference and not have something pretty big and new to announce. Don't people normally give some hint ahead of time about the purpose of a press conference, so media people will think it will be worth their while to be there?

Thomas A. Fine said...

Swim, I think if the arbitrators were allowed to be impartial, we would have heard about it. It changes the process in a big way, with essentially two additional advocates, and only a single decision maker.

I think the killer issue is the lack of consulting with Campbell. If they didn't believe Campbell could influence their opinion, thats a clear demonstration that they were not impartial. The Olympic junket is just the icing on the cake.

As far as press conference timing, Thursday is not really a good day. Monday is best, but I think we can assume that would be too late for their uses.

If the news was going to be that the arbs are kicked, I think a good PR person would want to prepare the media on such a story by leaking the important background a few days ahead of time, so that the press is up to speed on the issue when it hits - helps to shape the story.

tom

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

Swim,

I'll be listening in on the press conference and posting something this evening, after I get back from a business function that was (unfortunately) scheduled to occur shortly after the press conference ends. If something big happens during the press conference, I'll post right away and then fill in the blanks later.

I believe one of the TBV team will be listening, too. So I'd expect to see at least a summary coming out not too long after the press conference is over.

- Rant

strbuk said...

Anon, yes TbV will be represented at the press conference this PM and a report will be posted asap. Thanx for your interest.

str

Anonymous said...

Great, strbuk (and Rant). Thanks.

syi

swimyouidiot said...

So they still want the big dog. Amazing.

pfinjt said...

What, exactly, does USADA think it can do to Armstrong? He's retired, he never tested positive, and the LNDD samples supposed to contain EPO came from a time before WADA existed.

Armstrong is turing into Dick Pound's white whale.

Anonymous said...

One word to describe my reaction to the press conference report: Deflated.

The LA bombshell isn't what I was expecting, it appears to be more of a hand grenade than a bunker buster. But it will definitely stir the TDF Don, and possibly draw more support from Lance.

Anonymous said...

So did Floyd admit LNDD found other positive B's?

No mention of the Shenanigans by the ARBS in China?

What good does it do to Censure Dick when he is leaving in several months?

I guess they are taking the high road and playing by the book prior to Monday. I was expecting something to catch USADA off guard, A big right hook in the chops prior to Monday.

Anonymous said...

I want DICK Pound to twist, twist, slowly in the wind for saying Landis was known "throughout the peloton" as 'Roid Floyd'. This to me was THE most outrageous & damaging thing uttered by anyone. That it was said by the head of WADA on an open case is unbelievable!


susie b

Anonymous said...

For those of you who want to go beyond the “sound bite” level and really take a look at what the arbitration panel ethics violation was all about, I offer this bit of history of events leading to what happened. This provides more of the context around it. It deals with the issue of additional “B” sample testing.

The arbitration board, which by WADA protocol is charged with administering the hearing for this case, ruled that:

"Under the UCI Rule 167 the sample collected from the Athlete under the Anti-Doping Rules shall become the property of the UCI upon collection and is no longer within the control of the Athlete. Aside from Rule 167 the Athlete has agreed to this consequence by contract through his license to cycle and the athlete agreement. Therefore, the UCI and through them USADA may engage in additional testing of the “B” sample only for purposes other than confirming an adverse analytical result."

(Translation -> If you as an athlete choose to participate as a professional in a UCI event, you agree not to dope, and any urine samples that you are required to give as a condition to participate become the property of the UCI. Under UCI rules, the sample is no longer under the control of the Athlete.)

Then, the arbitration panel ruled that they do not have the authority to stop the USADA from collecting potential evidence in a doping proceeding.
"Even in the absence of the foregoing determination in paragraph 18, this Panel does not have under the applicable rules the juridical power to restrict the gathering of potential evidence by any party to the proceeding. USADA does not require the permission of the Panel to engage in further analysis of the “B” samples or any other aspects of their gathering of potential evidence. Equally the Panel does not have the legal authority to issue an injunction to stop USADA in its process of gathering potential evidence as requested by the Respondent."

Then, they ruled that the additional B sample test results are admissible as evidence in this hearing, but reserved the right to modify that decision at a later time. Here is the reasoning, which sounds pretty logical and fair to me:

"The “B” samples CIR analysis results are admissible as evidence:
(i) to test the credibility of the Athlete and other witnesses testimony;

(ii) to satisfy the shifting burden of proof arising from the rebuttable presumptions that a departure from an International Standard with regard to analytical or custodial procedures of a laboratory has occurred as provided by Article 3 of the WADA Code;

(iii) to corroborate3 the analysis of the “B” sample that was performed by the Lab by providing additional scientific evidence, albeit insufficient to establish an adverse analytical
finding;

(iv) to establish the fact of doping by another reliable means; and

(v) may be admissible for reasons unknown at this time."

Just to review, the arbitration board is basically saying that the additional B samples are property of the UCI and can be used to collect evidence, as deemed necessary, by the USADA. They gave five fairly logical reasons as to why they would allow those B sample test results into the hearing. They also put in safeguards to address fairness towards and the rights of the athlete. First with,

"Further in making the foregoing ruling, if the methodologies of the Lab are indeed flawed, as alleged by the Respondent, then, the appointment of an expert by the Panel to review the operation of the Lab’s IRMS and GC/MS equipment will provide the protection for the Athlete. The Panel’s expert will identify if there are flaws in the testing equipment. Therefore, the interests
of the Athlete are protected in permitting an analysis of the “B” samples through the role of the Panel’s expert. That expert will have determined if the methodologies are flawed."

This expert will serve to provide a check over the methodologies on the Lab, which were so repeatedly challenged by the Landis defense team. From what I understand, that expert provided the report on Lab methodologies to the Landis defense team a few days ago.


Also, note that the USADA suggested that the Landis defense team "might like to have" an observer present to view the opening and analysis of these samples.

"USADA advised the Athlete’s counsel by letter on 27 December 2006 that it
intended to test the seven remaining “B” samples using the CIR analysis.” They further advised that “the Athlete might like to have his own observer present to view the opening and analysis of these samples. Mr. Landis counsel objected immediately. It was agreed by the parties that the issue would be placed before this Panel for resolution."

The point is that the USADA was attempting to make the sample opening and analysis process fair and open to Landis. The Landis counsel objected to the USADA’s intentions of testing the seven remaining “B” samples, not to “having an observer present.” (I presume)

Besides appointing the independent expert to observe the labs testing and analysis methodologies, the arbitration panel ruled that,

"In view of the foregoing determinations, the Panel finds that should any additional testing be carried out by USADA through the authority of the UCI that the Athlete have the same rights of attendance and participation as were extended to him at the time of the confirmation analysis of the “B” sample at issue in this proceeding."

That, my friends, is the litmus test for Landis' experts participation in the CIR testing of the additional "B" samples. It does not say that a Landis representative has to be in the Lab at all times (with the USADA representative) during testing. It does not say that the Landis representative may direct or suggest how the testing may be carried out. I think the hearing next week should focus on whether or not that standard was met.

Now, as for the latest brouhaha about arbitration board making communications back to parties without having a collaboration between all three parties (Campbell was excluded). That does sound wrong and maybe it really is a violation of arbitration ethics.

Lets put it in perspective:

The communication that went out to the Landis defense team basically said that the arbitration board was not going to dismiss the additional "B" sample testing on the grounds that the Landis defense team raised after the testing occurred. They said to the Landis defense team, reread the "Interlocutory Award Case No: 30 190 00847 06" paragraphs 6 through 25 because what happened during testing followed those provisions. (I quoted some of those paragraphs above)

They also said that they in effect weren't really making a ruling but rather clarifying the existing ruling to the Landis defense team and that is why it was done without collaboration from all three Arbitration board members.

Is that a grave injustice? Cause for removal from the arbitration board? Proof that the hearing is unfair?

I don't know, but put it in perspective. And, unfortunately, ” B” urine samples are destroyed as a product of conducting CIR tests. It isn't a conspiracy to destroy evidence by the Lab or by the USADA.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 3:36

>It does not say that a Landis representative has to be in the Lab at all times (with the USADA representative) during testing

It also does not say that a USADA representative has to be in the lab at all times (With the Landis representative) during testing.

There is nothing in the ruling that can be reasonably interpreted in any way that justifies barring a Landis representative from the lab during testing.

Anonymous said...

Not really a twist, but it certainly shows that the folks at the top do not need objective, analytical results to be sure that someone is using performance enhancing drugs. Were I a complete cynic I would suspect:
1. They jumped (too quickly it may have turned out) on the chance to charge someone they thought would roll over and implicate Armstrong to save himself; and,
2. They have had to carry forward and buttress a faulty case to save face and/or to punish Landis for not rolling.
I hope that they got it on tape, otherwise, as the Smothers Bros. said: It didn't happen.
pcrosby

Michael said...

Well, Floyd made ESPN.com:

http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/cycling/news/story?id=2866845

I think this revelation could be bigger than we are thinking. If this is true, it kind of proves Landis' point he can't get a fair hearing.

The questions I keep asking myself:

1. Would a person guilty of doping be willing to bring this many people down if he's lying?

2. Would a person involved with a very ANTI-DOPING program (Slipstream) be willing to join Landis if he believed he was guilty?

3. Landis has never hid anything. Posts his power outputs, puts his case on the Internet, gives his opinions on public forums - all of which are easy to understand from his point of view.

4. Would a guilty person be willing to involve the Federal Govt if he were guility?

I'll say NO. Plus, I met the guy right before he broke his hip and he had plans to win the Tour then and I believe him now.

Anonymous said...

On the lighter side of things, I was just reading MSNBC's AP posting about the Armstrong deal when I saw the following headline: "Floyd says Oscar ‘can call me’ about rematch". I was all ready for some new cycling news about Landis and Pereiro, but it turned out to be about boxing. Funny how the names are the same.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18601010

Anonymous said...

ORG here ....

Armstrong held an impromptu press conference today AFTER Landis. The audio is on Bloomberg (the closed pay system which I have access to). It is sourced "Capital Sports & Entainment" Maybe they have a public link.

Bill Stapleton (Armstrong's Lawyer) further clarified that Tygart offered Landis a ONE-MONTH SANCTION if he turned in Armstrong. Armstrong was very critical of the "1/24" penalty offer. He thought it was a bad idea for anyone to be able to offer that.

Lance ripped USADA and said their is nothing to find. He called the affair "absurd"

He reiterated he has never taked PEDs. He also realizes these allegations will never go away again.

He does not blame Landis for talking about the deal rather he blames USADA. He said it is the first he ever heard of a deal to turn himself in but has heard of similar deals (in Track & Field according to Armstrong).

He called the charges against Landis "ridiculous."

He was asked if the Landis offer is the beginning and whether the OP names will be offered the same deal (a month to turn in Lance). He expressed confidence that nothing could harm him.

He also said he moved-on with his life. He no longer a competitive athlete, that is in the past. He wishes they (WADA/USADA) would let it go.

He called on USADA to go on the record and explain themselves about this deal.

He said he has a fair and good relationship with Travis Tygart and it surprises him that Travis would be behind it. Lance said he would NOT be surprised if Terry Madden was behind it (outgoing USADA head, to be replaced by Tygart).

Lastly, the press people said Tygart will not comment unless Landis releases him from the gag rule. Tygart will only accept a release on the entire case (so he can talk about anything he wants), not the Armstrong deal.

It tele-conference ran about 15 minutes. Bonnie from ESPN, a bloomber reporter and four or five otehrs were on the call.

Cheryl from Maryland said...

I'm finding it difficult to belive that Mr. Armstrong's lawyer and Mr. Landis' lawyer both would contemplate risking disbarrment by either making statements or by being the stated witness to Mr. Tygart's offer unless they both feel damn sure of the facts.