Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Roundup

The NY Times posts a piece about the announcement that Bijarne Riis would be stripped of his Tour de France title and his name would be expunged from the official Tour de France guide. In relation to this, and the ever increasing littany of doping allegations and confessions, WADA chairman Dick Pound has stated that perhaps some form of amnesty for riders who confess to doping should be instituted:

“If I were king of the world, I would be encouraging anyone who knows anything about doping to come forward and only then decide what sanctions to apply,” he said. “If you take the half-empty view of this, it could be seen as an effort to shut everyone up. On the half-full side, I’m sure they’re going to say, ‘We don’t condone doping." Cycling’s drug problem has become so messy, Pound added, that it might be time to grant riders and team officials, both past and present, an amnesty in exchange for their complete testimony about doping.

In the meantime Floyd Landis languishes in the twilight zone waiting for the arbitration panel which heard his case last month to render its decision.

The NY Sun posts an op-ed piece in which the author states that yes he can believe wholeheartedly that Floyd Landis cheated to win the Tour de France last summer, and that college students take the same chances and knowingly cheat every day:

What goes through these kids' minds when they send plagiarized papers to plagiarism detectors? This is like Landis handing cups of his own steroid-laced urine to anti-doping officials. In light of my student-plagiarizers, what is incredible is not how a good kid could do something bad under pressure.

Landis' story is shocking for what it tells us about us: that humans are stunningly good at undermining ourselves through self-deception, especially when placed under stress

CyclingNews Letters has one from Bill Kinkead in which he proposes amnesty for cyclists but also thinks that USDA stooped to new lows in its pursuit last month of Floyd Landis due to the strong case the Landis defense presented against USADA:

Landis's experts absolutely demolished the work done by LADD, (the French lab) and were rock solid in cross examination, in spite of the USADA lawyers using tactics better suited for a defense attorney representing organized crime figures

The evidence presented by Landis's team was so good that the USADA lawyers changed their tactics and spent the rest of their time and nearly all of their closing arguments attacking Landis's character because of the stupid phone call made by his former business manager to Greg Lemond. It is absolutely infuriating to see the American taxpayer funding McCarthyite tactics of guilt by association.

The Olympian publishes an AP piece in which the author states that doping has pushed cycling to its knees as this year's Tour de France quickly approaches.

Rant hops into the "way back machine" and gives us the sad tale of 1972 Olympic swimmer Rick DeMont who, even though HE followed all of the IOC rules, was still stripped of his swimming gold after he tested positive for a banned substance. Whose fault was it? The USOC team Drs. never reviewed his medical forms. Rant draws scary parallels to the Landis case.

Spinnin' Wheel wants us to remember that even though the French press thought Floyd Landis had no panache in the Tour de France last year, stage 17 for a few brief shinning moments proved them very wrong:

With all the science and the rhetoric and the legal tactics and the easy jokes at Floyd's expense, it seems many have lost sight of just what went on over there in France last July. And that is, Floyd took a dead hip and a less-than-ideal team and endured a grueling three weeks of racing in a steady, workman-like fashion with great skill and great humility. I don't know if that's panache, but I'd put him on my Wheaties box any day

2per goes all Dickensian on us today and writes that for cycling it IS the best of times and the worst of times.

Introspection Section is just not buying that Floyd Landis could simply recover from his disaster on Stage 16 last summer in the TdF to go onto the fantastic ride he had in Stage 17, while drinking the night before no less.

Bicycle.Net inexplicably uses Paris Hilton and Floyd Landis in the same sentence.

Podium Cafe takes a look at the "one hit wonders" of the Tour de France.


Mike Solberg said...

TbV, it seems there was another interesting bit in the NYT article: that the ASO "statement said that if an arbitration panel sanctioned the 2006 winner, Floyd Landis, for the use of performance-enhancing drugs, he would also be stripped of his title." Does that mean they have backed off on their decision to deny his existence no matter what? Now they are actually going to wait for the results of the arbitration?

strbuk said...

I wondered about that too, but I believe that it was tour director Christian Prudhomme who made the statement that the TdF no longer considers FL its champion (I believe he said this right before the beginning of the hearings?). There is some confusion to be sure as to WHO gets to determine the winner after the results of the arbs are announced, especially IF FL is exonerated. That would really mess things up.


Mike Solberg said...

Doesn't Christian Prudhomme work for ASO? Or is not that simple?


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


Prudhomme does, indeed, work for ASO. He was making statements about Landis not being considered the Tour victor eons ago. And he did say, shortly before the hearings took place, that any mention of Landis would be expunged from the TdF's official history, regardless of the outcome.

I don't know if he's softening his position or not. But he sounds like he's leaving a door open so that he can say, if Landis is exonerated, that now the Tour considers Landis to be the true victor.

- Rant

Eightzero said...

There's not a chance this side of The Hot Place ASO can back off their assertion that Floyd is not their champion. Imagine a best case result from the arbs: a 3-0 that USADA didn't make thier case. ASO won't accept that, and will say that he doped and that (I can hear it now) "he got off on a technicality." Truh of the matter is ASO determines who is the champion, not the athletes.

Dan Koeppel said...

First, let me say that I lean very strongly toward Floyd's innocence. However, if you use the standard detective's credo - means, motive, opportunity - Landis had them all:

- The means: a substance - testosterone - that may provide a single-day performance boost, and whose presence is difficult to detect (and easy to argue against, even if detected.) Moreover, using testosterone is a one-time thing: if he gets through the day and the post-race testing clean, he probably won't need to use it a second time.

- Motive: very strong.

*He's facing a hip replacement that might result in having to never race again (a possibility, even if the public pronouncements are optimistic.)

*More than likely, because of the standings up to his heroic stage, he's lost the Tour de France.

*Given that his career might end, winning the TdF becomes key - the difference between vast riches and fames and working as a product manager at Trek.

Opportunity: a stage that is well-suited to him - if he crushes the competition in an unprecedented way.

Like I said, I lean toward Landis being innocent anyway, and I am absolutely certain that he should be exonerated because due process was not followed, and his rights were trampled. Still, there's plenty of reason to speculate on his guilt.

Unknown said...

As the foregoing comments suggest, I am relatively certain that we are not going to get a clear answer to whether or not Landis doped, even if the panel backs WADA it will be argued that the system was stacked (Who knows what Bostre is doing now with the panel) and if Landis "wins" it will be argued that he just convinced the panel that LNDD was not competent. No "Guilty/Not Guilty" verdicts here.

Side question for the technicians and scientists that I hope is not too far afield. The National Center for Drug Free Sport runs the NCAA collection and testing system. It indicates that it will report a T/E of 6:1 and over 20 substances at the 2 ng/mL and over for its Anabolic Steroid Panel. I think I understand the comparison to WADA on the T/E, but I would really appreciate confirmation from knowledgeable sources and comment on the other standard. Thanks in advance.
Pete Crosby

snake said...

Dan said: "Still, there's plenty of reason to speculate on his guilt."

Yah. I certainly believe he hasn't received fair treatment and that anti-doping agencies need major overhaul. I want to believe he didn't dope, but I have a hard time dismissing Dr Don Catlin's statement:

"No question, doping was going on, it's inescapable that's what was going on."

Unknown said...

Had to jump on this: The New York Times just posted a short article on its website reporting that the IOC is trying to add skateboarding to the London Olympics.

Not surprisingly, there is no international federation of skateboarders for the IOC to deal with. So they have been meeting with the International Cycling Union to have the ICU take over skateboarding and make the proposal for including skateboarding at the London games.

Skatboards have wheels, so I guess there was some thought process involved. I wonder if the powers that be at ICU have ever met a skater or attended a competition. This could be one of the more classic mismatches in history.
Pete Crosby

Cheryl from Maryland said...

I'm there with you Pete Crosby --

1) what sane person would want to be involved with the UCI if there was an alternative?

2) Snowboarding a better match.

Cheryl Washer

cat2bike said...

I remember Don Catlin saying, that they are all doping if the test comes back positive; no matter what. I got the feeling that he did not feel that in his gut; just quoting the party line he's had to toe all these years. Maybe I'm wrong, I was going on body language; and maybe I saw what I wanted to see...

If the UCI gets involved with skateboarding..........NO, it can't happen! The UCI lives in the early part of the 20th century; when there weren't any skateboards!!


TiGirl said...

Also, wasn't Dr Catlin's testimony of the "no question doping going on" thing looking solely at the LNDD version...the one that *after* Catlin's testimony, Landis' witnesses testified couldn't possibly be valid (given the lack of knowledge how to run the machines, the stopping and starting, etc???)

I don't think Dr Catlin's testimony took into account the errors that caused the files or profiles (or whatever it is called)to look that way in the first place.

Is this not the crux of the case?

Am I wrong??