Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday Roundup

This report on Floyd Landis' appearance on The Early Show today comes to us from Cycling Newbee over on DPF. This morning we are the victims of a power failure and missed Part 1 of the Harry Smith interview with Floyd. Thanks CN. For a complete transcript and video of the interview go to CBS.

Just watched the first part of a two part series. Floyd looks good. I thought he did a nice job overall considering the circumstances. The interviewer asked some difficult, pointed questions, but did so in a professional manner. He was not antagonistic or aggressive, unlike Bryant Gumbel.

They asked about the GL/Will controversy. Floyd did a good job in his response, simply saying it was an all around bad situation, for all involved, including his entire team who worked so hard and put so much time into it. He did not elaborate further.

The interviewer emphasized that he read every page of the book. He raised another interesting question. He basically questioned Floyd's veracity and why we the reader should believe Floyd is a straight-forward, open guy with nothing to hide when Floyd hid the extent of his hip problem from Phonak when he signed with them (obviously discussed in the book). Floyd gave an obviously reasonable response (wanted to ride still, make money, no team would take him otherwise, nobody'd ever ridden with such a condition before, he'd ride as long as he could and then divulge it to the team if and when it became necessary because it was interfering with his racing, etc.), but the clear, underlying, read-between-the-lines message inferred by the interviewer was: well you're either truthful or you're not . . . if you'd "lie" about that (through omission), whose to say you wouldn't be lying about this? The interviewer was taking an overly simplistic, black-and-white view of the world, but he was persuasive in getting his point across imo.

CBS' Harry Smith blogs about the book as well.

In Chicago, the Early Show was interrupted during the Landis interview by an accidental tripping of the Emergency Broadcast system. No telling what the conspiracists will make of that.

Fox News had Landis on Hannity and Colmes, with a report by Newbee at DPF. Apparently no Letterman today, future plans unclear.

The Rocky Mountain News tells us today that Floyd Landis is still scheduled to compete in the Leadville 100 no matter what the outcome of his hearing is:

But even if suspended, the 31-year-old former mountain bike pro can still ride in Leadville, assuming he has the interest and the energy after a tour to promote his book. Race director Ken Chlouber said he'll drop the -NORBA affiliation and pick up insurance through an independent carrier if Landis is suspended.

"I'm hopeful that the arbitration board gives him complete exoneration from those charges," Chlouber said. "But I'm not tied to NORBA. I can get the insurance from other places, so if he can still do a race that's not sanctioned by NORBA, then he'll be able to race here.

Canada.com posts a Reuters piece in which Christian Prudhomme proclaims the Tour de France still strong despite the strain in its' credibility due to the Floyd Landis scandal and the admission of doping by former winner Bijarne Riis. In a related story the Tour de France has announced that it will refuse entry to any rider who does not sign the UCI "pledge".

GQ's Mr. Clean.com writes a minuscule review of "Positively False" in which Floyd Landis is described as stubborn.

CyclingNews has an interview with Oscar Pereiro in which he is still lamenting the fact that he was not able to ride up and down the streets of Paris in his yellow jersey at last year's Tour de France.

Pommi's discretionary cash is going for the greater good instead of cycling upgrades, and he is concerned that all we'll see on Letterman tonight, instead of Floyd Landis, is Amanda Peet, whose appearance may or may not be worth the loss of sleep.

The NY Observer notes the upcoming Floyd Landis appearance at the Word for Word author series in Bryant Park tomorrow, and snarks that the book title, "Positively False" is slightly defensive. Of course what is really desired is the dirt on Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow.

FloydLandis.com blurbs Floyd's new book, "Positively False".

Jarred Gilker got to ride with Floyd Landis in Central Park in NYC today, and seemed rather thrilled by the experience.

Environmental Chemistry writes an excellent piece that everyone can make sense of no matter how well versed in the case they may be. The chain of custody issue with the Landis samples from last summer's Tour de France is an important and somewhat under emphasized component of the Landis defense. With information gleaned from the USADA vs Landis hearing transcripts from May the point is made that the chain of custody was broken almost from the start of the urine sample analysis:

The rules seem to have been broken as soon as sample B was received by the laboratory. Note the following testimony of technician Claire Frelat (reporter page 686 line 23 through reporter page 690 line 1 / PDF pages 539-542 of hearing transcripts)(3),

Q [Landis Attorney Mr. Suh]. Now, looking at this form, which is 24 USADA 254, show me on the form where it shows that you received -- excuse me. Let me reask that question. Show me on the form where it records the transfer of the sample to you.

A [Claire Frelat]. The transfer is not written, but it is written that at 11:03 I received the bottle.

Q. Well, the form reads, if I'm not mistaken, that at 11:03, the aliquot occurred, correct?

A. In order to do the aliquot, I have to have the bottle in my hand.

Q. Certainly. But where does it show the time or how that you received the bottle, the transfer? In other words, not that you did the process, but where does the form show that the transfer occurred from operator 18 to you?

In other words, as soon as that chain of custody was broken the integrity of the sample must be in question according to WADA's own rules.

Ruminations on Life and Cycling thinks that Pat McQuaid may need to be tested if he thinks that just signing a pledge will stop doping. He also thinks that because of the way Floyd Landis' case was handled we may never know what really happened. We do know that Floyd's privacy was severely infringed upon and still there is no protection for the riders.

UltraRob cites that Rocky Mountain News piece on Floyd Landis' participation in the Leadville 100 later this summer.

Miles with Meaning is counting down the days to this year's Tour de France, and giving predictions as to who the winner will be. He also laments that the innocent Floyd Landis will not be allowed to defend his title as last year's TdF champion. He also provides a thumbnail review of "Positively False".

20 Million Minutes comments on the Pruhomme comments that the Tour de France needs to regain credibility, but is still strong.

CFL Cyclist
picked up Positively False, and calls it well written and easy to follow.


ArchPundit said...

The chain of custody issues alone should lead this to be dismissed--and as I repeat my mantra, the most infuriating thing about the whole deal is that because of mistakes like that--very basic lab procedures broken--we'll never have a satisfactory evidence to 'convict' or to 'clear' Landis and that's probably the worst outcome for the sport.

nahual said...

Speaking of truth, perhaps Floyd was following the Jainist vow of "Truthfullness (Satya) to speak the harmless truth only."

And growing up with Lou Gehrig's hero status for removing himself from the game, why would any strong, and strong minded American athlete self incriminate himself to judgement before trial of the competition?

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Larry you are absolutely correct the worst thing about this is that because of bad lab procedures there can be no clear cut verdict as to guilt or innocence. In part this is why we have spent so much time and effort researching and writing on this issue.

Bad lab practices must be exposed and the system must be forced to take responsibility for its own actions. If a athlete cheats they should be held accountable. Likewise USADA, WADA, their testing labs and personnel must also be held to the highest standards. The goal of fair play and the countless honest athletes deserve nothing less.

Oh, interestingly enough, as of 12:00 EDT, Google News had not picked up our latest article and they normally pick up our articles within a half an hour of our publishing. So our article might not get the amount of readers it would normally get. :(

cat2bike said...

Harry Smith was beating the Will/LeMond call to death. Then he starts in on the "withholding" info on his hip from Phonak. If he read the book cover to cover, he was focusing on shallow stuff, considering what was in the book! Denise the team doctor on Phonak figured out Floyd's hip was a problem without him saying a word; that sounds like a doctor who's paying attention to her patient!! Floyd did great in the interview; I was disappointed in Harry Smith!!

grimid said...

re: chain of custody

IMHO, the lab thinks they did nothing wrong, they knew who had the bottle when. Besides, who's gonna check on it and what are they gonna do about it?

I work in the food industry - we are required to prove who had what, when and where at all times due to cross-contamination issues (allergens, sensitizers, biological contamination, etc.) We have very stern inspectors from lots of different federal & state agencies who examine tons of paperwork that we sign off on. Believe me, if there are real consequences to answer, you can keep track very well.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Isn't it interesting that we can quickly compile a list of everyday industries that require some form of documented CoC and standardized procedural checklists (heck we even had checklists when I worked in an IT department)

Yet LNDD saw no problem with the lax CoC at LNDD and apparently LNDD doesn't make use of standarized checklists given all the steps the two lab techs admitted to forgetting to do.

And to think, our sporting heroes are putting their reputations and careers at the mercy of such sloppy practices.

strbuk said...

Just watched the beginning of Letterman and it indeed looks like Floyd will not be on tonight. Anyone know what happened?


Unknown said...

Lets agree that the chain of custody was not the best, but that no-one was out to get Floyd and it was his sample tested. People want to get him off on a technicality rather than if he doped or not. Are we arguing that the chain of custoday was that bad on his A Sample, B Sample, and all the other B samples that were sunsequently tested and proved positive? Ridiculous. Lets hope he gets off because he didnt dope, rather than a techjnicality.

grimid said...

Well, the problem as I understand it is that he "did" dope. Once the lab reports an AAF, that's all-she-wrote. There is no questioning that conclusion because the test is deemed infallible - that leaves determining if the lab is competent and/or followed proper procedures - which is what this all boils down to.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...


It is not that we want Landis to get off on a technicality. And I personally don't believe an incomplete CoC and horrendous lab mistakes are a "minor" technicality. The simple fact is, there is absolutely no to prove that the tests were positive or negative because the lab practices were so bad that they can not be trusted. Quite literally LNDD lab practices could raise to the level of criminal fraud and/or negligence in some parts of the world.