Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday Roundup

A smiling Floyd Landis at yesterday's
Colorado-Eagle River Ride.
He seems trimmer. Look out Lance.

Reuters via Yahoo reports Iban Mayo tested positive for EPO on the Jul 24th rest day, and has been suspended by Saunier Duval. En Espanol, from El Pais; and Also see Marc's translations of some European stories.

The Vail Daily posts a story about Floyd Landis' participation in yesterday's Colorado-Eagle River Ride and the excitement it created among the peloton:

“You could tell where he was riding because there was this big pack of guys — everyone was around him,” said Scott Van Deren, of Sedalia. “I got on the Floyd peloton early

In a sidebar, a rider tells of getting a little extra help:
“It’s kind of like having a Tour de France winner as your domestique for a while.” — Mike Kloser on Floyd Landis dropping back when Kloser flatted and bringing him back to the lead pack.

The NY Times writes that with the developing split between the ASO and the UCI, next year invitations to the Tour de France will be issued using new and different criteria.

The LA Times says colorfully that the Tour de France is beleaguered to the point of being wretched, and that there was nary a mention of Floyd Landis. tells it like it is, if you are looking for a "clean" sport you're in for one hell of a search, there is no such thing.

The Home News Tribune thinks that yesterday's TdF route past the LNDD was certainly no coincidence.

The Age (Aus) in an article about Evans, repeats the crap that Landis' "spike" led to suspicions. Pretty much everything said about Evans' progression applies to Landis as well.

Pez has a last Tour report by Chris Carmichael, and it gives reason to think Landis won't be in top tour form should he come back -- the year off will have taken a toll.

CycloBlog notes Astana has fired Vino following a B positive. This is the first confirmation of a B positive we've heard.

SciencePark gives a rundown of flow cytometry, the test at issue with Vino.

Mediocracy gives a well deserved "Water is Wet" award:
The New Scientist boggles over what distinguishes top athletes from lesser mortals. What explanation first comes to their minds? Well, drugs, of course.

Linda went on the Colorado ride, hung on the Floyd train for about 5 seconds, and needed magic pills to complete the century -- more proof that Landis did something.

Nick's Verdict shares recent pictures from what appears to be a lot of fun, one of them is of Floyd Landis at a recent booksigning.

En Worb notes last year's Tour de France defining moment, and runs down this year's events.

Richardsona shares a picture he took last year in Paris.

Heartspeak says that Floyd Landis killed the year 2006 with his positive drug tests.

Bunchs Big Blog wonders who would have thought that last year's Tour de France would be considered the "good old days"?

Media Guru thought the worst was over, boy was he wrong.

Pete's Blog calls it "Le Joke de France", go Aussie.

Andy Bunker says Landis has been riding the White Horse in the current sports apocalypse. We're not sure what to make of that metaphor. Riding one of those horses is bad, but it's a white horse which is good. Is this like deciding if a chewing gum wrapper goes into the metal or paper recycle bin because one side is foil and the other paper?

Funny Class notes tells a cautionary tale about a wrestler accused of steroid use.

PlayKilling thinks everyone is tired of Landis, and that he's guilty.

TdF Lantern Rouge asks some interesting questions about why Moreni would dope.

Pedal Pushers
reviews a bunch of cycling books, including a positive one about Positively False.

Kenneth Norton has some more pix of Landis at Google on Flikr.

Groklaw, which remains one of our major inspirations, tells of a significant legal victory about getting away from arbitration, in part because of California law. It's worth the click, but here's a relevant quote.
The Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 16, doesn't authorize interlocutory appeals of a district court order compelling arbitration. Once arbitration has got you, it's really got you, as you will see when you read the ruling. In the courts words, to overturn an arbitration award, "a party needs to show 'affirmative misconduct' or 'irrational[ity]' in the arbitration to vacate" it. That's why companies like arbitration instead of the regular court system, I suppose. And here is the guy wanting to do a class action, and now he's been told he has to go through arbitration, but the same court that is upholding that requirement is at the same time upholding the other new terms added, presumably, including the waiver of any class actions. Worse, as the court explains, if he won the arbitration regarding damages claims, on what basis would he then have standing to appeal? It would then be theoretically possible that the decision that forced arbitration on him would also insulate the decision from any review.

Interlocutory appeals are rare, even when they are allowed. I hope you remember this next time you agree to any contract demanding arbitration to settle all disputes. So, with usual options closed to him, and arbitration by necessity closing off any class action, what to do? Douglas petitioned for a writ of mandamus. You surely don't see those every day, and they succeed even less often. It's what the law calls an extraordinary remedy, meaning you can't just ask for it like ordering a hamburger at McDonald's. There are very strict rules on elements that must exist for a court to even think about granting such a motion, including that the lower court has to have made an error of law, which doesn't happen that often, and it's entirely discretional on the part of the court.

notes that not only has Mayo tested positive for EPO, but may also have tested positive for testosterone:

It is not the first time Mayo has been implicated in a doping story as last month he was suspected of having failed a test in the Giro d’Italia. However, he was cleared by the UCI.

Mayo was reported to have tested positive for testosterone, the banned male sex hormone which snared Floyd Landis on his way to victory in last year’s Tour de France. But the UCI said in a statement that Mayo, who was tested following his victory on the 19th stage to Terme di Comano, had not breached doping rules.

Chancelucky snarks that cheaters, like Floyd Landis, cheat partly for the attention hey get, and that no one remembers that it was actually Oscar Pereiro who won the 2006 Tour de France.

Josh Tinley
aks if cycling has hurt itself with its' openness about drug testing, and should we be really proud that it's nearly impossible to cheat now?

Outside Blog's John Bradley says this year's Tour de France was the hardest to watch in the 20 years that he has followed the race. And even though he fears that some of the men who run the teams now were also those who may have been a big part of the doping culture in cycling in the 90s he still feels that with the younger generation of cyclists coming up there is hope. He thanks the WADA chemists and says the sport counts on them, let's all hope that his hope is not misplaced.

Spinnin' Wheel
fears that with the present climate in cycling even if Floyd Landis is completely exonerated he will never be welcomed back into the pro peloton.

Quote of the Day

But hey, at least he’s [Vino] keeping his sense of humour. In reference to German news reports that said he used his father’s blood for the tranfusion, he said:

“I heard that I made a transfusion with my father’s blood. That’s absurd, I can tell you that with his blood, I would have tested positive for vodka.”



CB said...

With respect to Vino's test results and hiring Landis' defense team -- as homologous traces last for weeks, wouldn't it be constructive to immediately conduct multiple independent tests? If negative, he has start to a solid case; if not willing or not negative... Not a luxury afforded in testosterone metabolites...

Larry said...

CB -

An interesting question!

Put yourself in the position of Vino's legal team. Assume for the moment that Vino is taking the same line privately that he takes publicly, namely that's he's innocent of doping. Would you recommend that Vino have immediate independent testing performed?

You have the following possible outcomes:

1. The independent tests are ALSO positive. Great. Now you have to either hide the second set of test results (which you may or may not be able to do, legally), or you have twice as much stuff to explain away.

2. The test results come in negative. That's good news, but really, how good is that news? Perhaps the prosecuting authority (not sure who it will be -- I think Astana is a Swiss-licensed team, so maybe the Swiss?) can legitimately claim that too much time has passed since the in-competition positive test, and that during that time Vino could have purged his system (naturally or medically) of any evidence of doping. At best, you (as Vino's lawyer) would have set up a "he said, she said" kind of scenario, with dueling expert opinions as to whether Vino doped. Absent any other evidence, the arbitrators in Vino's case would then probably rule against Vino. If you have to choose between the "expert" that has been appointed by the sport, and the "expert" selected by the athlete's legal team in an effort to clear his name -- who would you choose?

Conclusion: as Vino's legal team, you'd probably decide that having Vino re-tested is a low-reward, high risk kind of strategy.

Unknown said...

First I want to thank the TBV team for all they have done. I can't describe it all, but it made me pull up the site every day before the N.Y. Times. It really became the source for solid information, discussion and analysis. Thank you.

I was struck by an element of Vs. discussion with Armstrong yesterday. Lance commented on the life of a cycling pro as a simple one: eat, sleep and train with single mindedness. He may have been the epitome of this, but it does reveal a reason that the riders have not formed a protective association. Even the top riders are individual efforts who focus on themselves. They scatter to train and are tied to teams to the degree imposed by the team. Most seem to come up the "hard" way, like boxers. They battle their way to the top layer inflicting pain and agony on themselves. I would be interested in a survey that showed the level of educational attainment; I think that these are folks who early saw an avenue to success and pursued it to the exclusion of alternatives.

With few exceptions these are not folks with organizational skills or life experience that equips them to create an effective reporesentational group that can protect their interests. They are journeymen without a union.

If they could organize, then that might provide the eyes to monitor the watchers that many have called for here. WADA/UCI is not going to willingly cede any power and has shown it cannot self-police. National Federations have too diverse a set of cultures, as do national governments, to form a counterbalance. The teams are at the mercy of UCI/AOS and cannot stand up to them - sponsors disappear when you get barred from races.

The rain of shoes has been suspended and now we wait for the big boot to fall. A ruling in favor of Landis may still give some impetus to a cleanup of practice and procedure, but it will not be as strong as it would have been, unfortunately.

Cycling is only one sport that falls under WADA. It seems to have become a favorite whipping boy, perhaps because it was vulnerable due to doping, but perhaps due to the nature of its organization: Money, power, and prestige at the top with a disorganized population of largely unsophisticated, young athletes with tunnel vision focused on their dreams.

Respected, savvy riders leave the sport or become team managers. It is time for someone to try to form a real riders union that will both protect the riders and the sport. Sometimes, dreams come true.
Pete Crosby

Mike Solberg said...

I think that Mayo and testosterone comment was about last years positive screening test (during the Giro?). But they didn't find exogenous, and he proved that he could naturally be more the 4:1. That's what I remember reading somewhere in the last 24 hours.


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