Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday Roundup

News
The LA Times Michael Hiltzik publishes a piece in this morning's edition in which he writes that the recent Floyd Landis vs USADA hearings, whose outcome is pending, exposed not only a lab whose competency is questioned, but also a rigid anti-doping system in which errors and mistakes can be concealed:


Among the flaws Landis identified in the lab's procedures was that it failed to calibrate its instruments properly, reducing its results to mere guesswork — possibly skewed by a desire to find the results it was looking for. Christiane Ayotte, the director of WADA's Montreal lab, who had characterized the lab's errors as mere "boo-boos" that shouldn't invalidate its findings, acknowledged under cross-examination that in one analysis of a Landis sample, the lab actually had identified a compound that wasn't there.

"What is it?" Landis attorney Howard Jacobs asked as the witness frowned at an errant analysis page.

"No clue," she replied.

The Colorado Springs Gazette posts an AP blurb about this weekend's Teva Mountain Games in which Floyd Landis will participate. Any winnings his team may accrue will be donated to the fight against prostate cancer.

SF Chronicle runs an editorial saying cycling has hit rock bottom deeper than any other sport, and that a vast shakeup is needed. Remember the Chronicle chased BALCO for a long time, and is quite harsh on local star Barry Bonds.

Lancaster Online
writes of the "vigil" taking place waiting for a ruling, and has quotes from Landis' parents and local friends. (tip in a comment.) There's this confused version of The Call, clarified in a followup here.

Garrett was also in the room. So was his wife, Mary Ann, the Umbles, and possibly Landis' parents, Paul and Arlene.

The Lancaster County contingent was part of about 15-20 people who were in the room in Geoghegan's parents' home, where they were staying, about 45 minutes from Pepperdine. They gathered in the large room most evenings for dinner and conversation.

"According to the time frame, we must have been in the room when the call was made, but we didn't realize it, because everybody was on their cell phones," said Garrett, who had expected to be called as a character witness for Landis. "It was a very hectic time."

Darlene Umble was sitting across the dinner table from Landis at the time the call would have been made. She said people were coming and going into the room.

"I didn't know about anything that had transpired. I didn't know about it until the next day," she said.


Blogs
FloydLandis.com has a short blurb by Dr. Kay about Landis race-testing his new hip at the Teva Mountain games. He's still donating any earnings to Athletes for a Cure.

Rant takes on the SF Chronicle editorial above.

Outside Magazine's blog reminds us that former cover boy Floyd Landis will be competing in this week's Teva Mountain games.

Kona Tales gives us words to live by from Floyd Landis.

Velogal is in love with Hiltzik's new article, quoted above.

Attack Machine likes Hiltzik too.

Lex Autism liked the Boulder Report wrapup.

Go Faster Jim is irked by the reactions to the Telekom admissions, while saying the Kangaroo's are still out regarding Landis.


Internal Pigdog thinks Landis is toast, along with Ullrich. We get a plug, so it's just an opinion, and elevated above the snarks below.

Jose Mousetrap compares the Landis hearing to the Sopranos.

Snarks O' the Day
Velo pas terrain has a photo-cartoon, with a balloon coming out of Landis's mouth saying
Tell me Richard, how did you manage to stay popular in France whilst the rest of the world knew you were a cheat?

to which the ostensible Virenque replies, "Have you tried crying on TV?"

Floyd saying, "whilst?" As if.


The Minister of Information drags in Phil Spector, Alendrei Lugovoi, Jerry Fallwell and Tinky Winky.

Free PacMan thinks that Jones should run for President with Landis as his VP running mate.

Filthy McNasty ranks Landis a bigger A-hole than A-Rod, Bonds, Kobe, Ron Mexico, and T.O -- and he dropped a zero on the amount raised through the FFF.

47 comments:

Michael said...

Man...this is why Floyd is still screwed...

"When Landis attorney Jacobs attempted to cross-examine LeMond, the cyclist's lawyer intervened. He instructed LeMond not to answer, while acknowledging he had no legal grounds to do so.

Jacobs erupted. "This is completely unfair."

The arbitrators unanimously rejected Jacobs' motion to strike LeMond's testimony, although they offered no indication of how much weight they ultimately would give it. Arbitrator Richard McLaren, who was appointed to the panel by USADA, did speak up for the process, however.

"Mr. Jacobs," he said in one of his rare comments during the hearing, "we don't accept your proposition that the proceeding is unfair."

I'm calling BS. ALSO, to all you LeMond Fans..how honorable of LeMond to blast Floyd and then not have the guts to accept Jacobs Cross. Too bad the media didn't tell the whole story.

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

The one critique I have of Jacobs' performance in this regard is that he should have taken the opportunity McLaren offered to ask other questions of LeMond. Using a number of Team USADA's techniques (techniques that Bill Hue cited in various commentaries on the proceedings), he might have been able to back into some of the questions he wanted to ask. And even if not getting in his questions related to LeMond's involvement in another legal proceeding, he could have asked some questions to probe LeMond's motivation for being at the hearings.

But LeMond's lawyer instructing his client not to answer, while admitting there was no legal grounds to do so, that was pure BS. One also has to wonder: What was LeMond so worried about that he had to bring his lawyer? And what was his lawyer doing sitting at USADA's table?

- Rant

Michael said...

Rant, those are my thoughts exactly, why did LeMond have a lawyer present if he doesn't have anything to hide??

If the Arbs are supposed to care, they should have wondered about LeMond's testimony and let Jacobs cross. And McLaran's statement about the procedings being fair, Young making his remark about what was allowed in the Hamilton case make me real nervous. I have a feeling this is going to come down on Brunet. He's sweating it already because of his email back to Campbell about not including him in the decision about something (Can't remember the details). I have a feeling that Brunet is Landis' only hope. McLaran not going to have the balls to stand up to USADA, WADA and LNDD.

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Anonymous said...

After everyone confesses- what would be the chance that America's top cyclists were clean?
Especially if doping gives you a ten to twenty % advantage.

Michael said...

Especially if doping gives you a ten to twenty % advantage.

Nice vague statement. Any proof to those numbers?

Anonymous said...

I think Jacobs was right, leave Lemond alone. This case is about the science, not about Lemond. Wonder what Judge Hue thinks about this?

N CA cyclist

bill hue said...

I think that Jacobs move was calculated. If the Panel emphasises Lemond's testimony (I don't think they will but who knows) then Jacobs will be upset he didn't do more with the cross. If the Panel doesn't do anything with the testimony, then no harm no foul.Anyone who thinks being a lawyer is just show pony stuff, think about all the science in this case that has to be mastered, coupled with impossible media hype and the open hearing, throw in a few Will Geoghegan type bombs and top it off with witnesses who bring lawyers, refuse to answer questions and are allowed not to answer questions by the Panel. That is some tough environment and I don't envy them in the least. The lawyers earned their money in this matter.

Anonymous said...

Howard Jacobs is NOT refunding any of his retainer fees.

When Landis loses, Jacobs still wins. That why American depise losers---who still get paid.

Endorsed athletes and lawyers have much in common.

Jacobs was very afraid of Greg Lemond, because Landis is fearful of the truth.

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

Bill,

I suspect you're right. If LeMond's testimony turns out to carry great weight with the arbs, then I suspect the end result will not be based on the science or the data, but on something else, entirely.

Rant

Anonymous said...

Did TbV archive the hearing material posted at the USADA pressbox? Where are the links?

thanks again for the coverage.

Cheryl from Maryland said...

Jumping back to a discussion yesterday regarding testing PEDs to see if they actually do enhance performance, especially EPO, I spoke with my spouse who is an attorney for the FDA. He said that he thought it highly unlikely that any hospital or reputable doctor would test the effects of EPO on endurance athletes. Why -- because the side effects are so dangerous that EPO was only approved to assist people dying of cancer. No hospital board or doctor is going to approve a study giving a life threatening substance to healthy people. The potential liability alone would stop such a study dead in its tracks.

He also said that WADA, the sports organizations, teams and doctors couldn't afford the liability insurance if athletes were actually allowed to take it.

He also thought it highly unlikely that the Telekom team was given a real dose -- in most countries, EPO is only available at hospitals with an oncology department, and any doctor asking for it is scrutinized. The only sources he could think of were theft by a hospital employee who probably adulterated it to get more doses, internet via China or similar country (the former head of the Chinese FDA has just been sentenced to hang for adulterated drugs), or substitution of saline.

Anonymous said...

Maybe further cross of Lemond would have just added to his credability. That may have been what the Landis team was thinking. Also, in "the court of public opinion," Landis can now keep on with the position that the proceeding was unfair, as complete cross wasn't allowed.

Anonymous said...

The LA Times article seems a little biased and incomplete in its coverage:

"When Landis attorney Jacobs attempted to cross-examine LeMond, the cyclist's lawyer intervened. He instructed LeMond not to answer, while acknowledging he had no legal grounds to do so.

Jacobs erupted. "This is completely unfair."

The arbitrators unanimously rejected Jacobs' motion to strike LeMond's testimony..."

The article doesn't make clear that Landis was free to cross-examine Lemond on any subject except Lance Armstrong.

It also claims that he "had no legal grounds" to refuse (to answer questions about Lance)". I suspect this characterization is wrong, and that Lemond had good legal reasons for not talking about Lance stemming from legal proceedings between the two.

So the article leaves the impression that the hearing is "unfair".

Anonymous said...

EPO (AraNesp) is like aspirin to all endurance athletes. A daily med.

Danilo DiLuca was banned form the 2004 TDF because he was caught looking for C.E.R.A. from Roche Pharmaceuticals. (a research super EPO drug, faster acting, longer lasting)

Nice to see DiLuce doping his wahy past Simoni for the 2007 Giro win.

Too bad Floyd won't get to keep his tainted 2006 TDF title or cash prizes.

Only Armstrong got an EXEMPTION.

Anonymous said...

Abd Cheryl. Your FDA husband seems completely without a clue how drugs are actually sold.

Years ago Team Mapei riders took me past their pharmacy in Switzerland one day. The wives can pick up coolers with every supply or drug needed for training & racing. Pot Belge, hGH, insulin, EPO (Eprex/Aranesp), IGF-1, testosterone, Nandrolone, corticoids, IV tubes, swabs and syringes.

It is easier to buy PED drugs than ice cream.

Most Gym rats carry the basic meds too.

Floyd just ate too much ice cream.

bill hue said...

The great thing about actually being at the hearing was on the spot listening and reporting of the exchange between McLaren and Jacobs on TBV as it unfolded.
Being in the room, I can re-report to you what happened on this specific topic.
Up to that point, Brunet , after initially appearing to be ill at ease with being the presiding officer (he was sweating considerably- just as I do when things get really difficult and I could totally relate to him)had really found his stride and had been skillfully and confidently ruling, over-ruling and presiding in a very effective manner, including consulting when necessary with his two collegues appropriately.

The Lemond testimony ended.Jacobs started cross with some prepared stuff on the Armstrong lawsuit in Texas. Barnett introduced Lemond's lawyer and that lawyer instructed Lemond not to answer. Lemond said he wasn't going to answer anyway because he didn't come here to talk about Armstrong. Brunet was still presiding. A general cross-talk argument ensued.

Jacobs asked if Lemond would answer any questions and Lemond's attorney said go ahead and try and I'll instruct him on a question by question basis. Lemond said don't bother, I'm not answering questions unless they concern this Landis matter. Jacobs asked what authority the Lemond lawyer had to instruct his client not to answer in these proceedings and the Lawyer said he had no legal basis to assert but he was telling Lemond not to answer.

Jacobs asked the Panel to instruct Lemond to answer. Barnett said you have no authority to do that and Brunet said "We have no authority to do that". Jacobs said, then we move to strike and respectfully request a ruling so we know how to proceed. Brunet consulted with his collegues and a break was called, so they could consider the motion to strike.
After the break, Order was called and Barnett had to go find Lemond because he wasn't in the room. When he came back, McLaren, without any general or specific announcment, assumed the Chair, because he talked and not Brunet. McLaren announced that the Panel decided to reserve ruling on the motion and Jacobs should proceed. Jacobs said he wanted to ask questions about Armstrong's case and the Lemond Lawyer said he would instruct the client not to answer. Jacobs looked to the Panel and asked again to strike the testimony but McLaren said, no, why don't you try to ask other questions. Jacobs said asking questions in that manner diiddn't allow him an opportunity for effective cross. McLaren said, nicely, "why don't you try?" Jacobs said, "I can't do it that way. Then he said "This isn't fair".
McLaren disagreed and again gave Jacobs the choice to try or conclude cross. Jacobs chose to stop.
Lemond said he had 1 more important thing to say about this matter but Barnett yelled at him to stop and McLaren actually had to ask Lemond to get up and leave because Greg really wanted to talk.
After he left, the press spilled out after him and they had a press conference in the hallway.
brunet resumed presiding as the next witness was called.

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Anonymous said...

To Michael:
It would make sense that if you took your natural level of 40 to 50 there would be substantial improvement- in fact- I could tell you the name of a professional cyclist who had proof that the watts support the above 10-20 percent statement (because he was one of the first American cyclists to train with power).
But if I do that, the post will just be deleted.

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Anonymous said...

For those wondering about whether someone should just set up a test to see if these things work - it reminded me of this article
(http://outside.away.com/outside/bodywork/200311/200311_drug_test_1.html)

from Outside magazine a few years back where a guy took a bunch of stuff and reported back - not exactly scientific but interesting reading.

Anonymous said...

hCT levels are meaningless!

Quit with the Red Herring.

A saline feed and a mega EPO injection can arrive at whatever hCT you desire for a short while.

Don't forget the saline feed and spinners (red cells).

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Anonymous said...

Check out this article . .. very interesting from Lancaster Newspapers.

http://local.lancasteronline.com/4/205004

Rocket said...

I think the Arbitration panel probably has a good understanding of Greg LeMond and his bitter little war with any US cyclist that wins the TDF and moves him down the history chain. I love the comment by LeMond when he stated that any time a US cyclist is involved in a scandal or possible scandal he is immediately contacted for comments! Hey Greg, try this: "No Comment"! It can't be that hard.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Anon 12:16, you're unlikely to be deleted if you aren't intentionally inflammatory, and introduce information with citations that can be used to further a discussion.

If you want to refere to a power-training pro who demonstrated a 20% power gain on measurements, I'm sure we'd love to see a reference and citation.

If you bring up Lemond's anecdotal "30%" claims and the graph from the french magazine, even those won't be deleted, but they are probably more controversial assertions and analyses.

It is the plethora of variations on "X is a bad person; Y is a bad person; Z is a cheat; and you are all idiots in denial" that get the instant axe.

TBV

bill hue said...

I concur with TBV. The stuff I personally delete can be described as juvenile, at best.

If you post in good faith in a constructive manner, no matter what side of the issue you are on, we won't delete it.

Seriously.

Anonymous said...
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bill hue said...

Edited Post 1:38

Sandro Donati speaks to blood doping methods here
http://www.ergogenics.org/donati.html

Doping the U-23 athletes at USCF (Lance's alums) at age 17!
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/04/10/60II/main284958.shtml

A Pharmacy on Wheels (TDF Doping Sacndals)
http://www.thinkmuscle.com/articles/hoberman/tour.htm

The Landis case is a tiny spec of dirt in a pharma-based sport.

bill hue said...

Our friend did post some articles for our reader's review and i edited out the juvenile stuff but left in the article html's and his final editorial.
Bill

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Anonymous said...

Judge Hue, thank you for the blow by blow description of what happened when Jacobs tried to cross examine Lemond. It really clarifies the situation. I agree with you that Jacobs made the appropriate judgment call. One of the elements impacting that decision that has not been mentioned is that the clock was running against Landis. I do not think that Young had yet made his offer to give time to the Landis side. A large amount of time would have been consumed asking Lemond questions, having him refuse to answer and Lemond's attorney direct him not to answer, etc., etc.

Comment asking for an expert response. Given that most PED's have significant side effects, I assume that there is little if any peer reviewed research on the use of such drugs by healthy people, much less athletes. I worked briefly in a University Research Administration office and I would find it hard to believe that a review panel would let any study go forward even with "informed consent." Given that, I assume that there is even less (an imaginary number I guess) research on testing for PED's in athletes. A related question is if there ever has been any peer reviewed research dealing with the blood chemistry and background levels of relevant compounds in elite athletes. Seems that such background studies would be needed to set thresh holds for a positive test result.
pcrosby

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tbv@trustbut.com said...

PCrosby, did you get the mail I sent the other day?

TBV

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Ali said...

Reading the procedings here, I realise how many commentators havn't bothered to educate themselves on the science and history of this doping testing lark. I'm so tired of reading the same uneducated comments about what the results mean. Why can't people just accept that they don't have a scooby about the science but they have a gut feeling (BTW scooby = scooby 'doo' = rhyming slang with 'clue').

Anybody who can't recognise this farce as the travesty of justice it represents, needs a slap round the side of the face. They must be brain washed, preprogrammed gun fodder. My advice is bring on the next war, introduce conscription and we can restore natures natural balance ...

Michael said...

ANON 12:16,

Like the other posters said. Go ahead and tell us the riders name and how/why you know this.

Thanks,

Mike

Anonymous said...
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tbv@trustbut.com said...

He left a bunch of names and teams, but no reasons. That's not a contribution to a discussion, but graffiti. It's gone.

TBV

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