Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wednesday Roundup

Floyd Landis did a live appearance on Talk of the Nation on NPR from their Chicago studio. The time it is on in your area may vary, and you may get the replay here. Neal Conan the host was very polite, as he always is, but was fairly tough as were many of the listener questions. They ranged from a former teammate (Gordon Fraser) calling Floyd in support, to the to be expected questions about the LeMond testimony at the USADA hearings in May. Landis handled the questioners and the questions with more aplomb than he perhaps has shown in the past. Floyd was on for about a half hour so there was some depth allowed in the answers to the questions asked. If you get the chance it is a good listen.

Comments on the NPR blog are mixed, some bemoaning a "love fest" for a doper, others asking people to look into the case.


The Daily Southtown, part of the Chicago Sun Times News Group, was with Floyd Landis yesterday afternoon where he passed the "eye test" with flying colors. Landis was at an appearance at the Neurologic and Orthopedic Institute of Chicago where he spoke about his Smith and Nephew hip resurfacing device, and much more. Floyd still considers himself the 2006 Tour de France champion despite what Tour officials have stated in the past year. The author had a chance to talk to him at length and ask several of the usual questions, and as to the looming decision in his arbitration case Floyd answered:

Meanwhile, Landis has no idea when he'll hear from his arbitrators.

"There's only two scenarios here," Landis said. "Either they're going to say, 'Floyd's right, this test is wrong, (the lab) didn't do anything right.' Or they're going to have to say, 'We don't care if labs don't follow their own rules, we don't care if labs get just random numbers and apply them to athletes. We think this guy's guilty for no reason at all.' "

There seem to be plenty of reasons to believe he's not.

Suburban Chicago News files another report, and quotes one observer as being leery of Landis' low estimates of doping and complaints about overemphasis by the media.
"I don't think the media probably downplays it that much," he [Brian Botterweck] said. "If anything, I think the cyclists probably downplay it. I think it's like baseball in the '90s almost, a little bit of that culture. If you asked me if he was clean his whole career, I would say no. I would say neither is probably Lance or many other top cyclists."

PR Newswire on YAHOO Finance, blurbs the California "Positively False" appearances by Floyd Landis.

Media's Talk of the Nation does indeed list Floyd Landis as a guest today. If you are unable to listen live audio will be available on the web site by 6PM EDT.

Chicago Bike Racing saw Floyd Landis last night at his appearance in Chicago to promote his book "Positively False". The crowd was friendly and there were plenty of questions and answers. Floyd took a ride early in the day along the lakefront path, so if you thought you saw the 2006 Tour de France champion you were not just in dire need of more coffee. He has a slideshow of pictures from the signing.

If I Were Your Coach gives us some summer reading reviews, and along with David Walsh's book he also read "Positively False". There are some interesting cartoons supplied along with the review.

No Sport Left Unturned writes "funny" notes that athletes parents may have received in an alternate universe. Of course there is one there for Floyd.

Irish KC gets a lot wrong in his blog entry about Floyd Landis, his book, and his case.

Cycle-Licious picks up on the rumor that Lance Armstrong WILL race Leadville against former teammate Floyd Landis later this summer. wants to know where the TTT is, and why it's gone from the TdF.

Once a Runner/Jesse Schoen writes about the disconnect between Landis on NPR and Walsh's depiction.

PJ's Pope Watch says the crowd in the square is growing dispirited. More black smoke.

DPF discussion of Positively False is an argument about who is PR spinning, and who is being more honest. Ludwig accuses us of being onlyl "talking points", and otherwise insightful Sonoma Hills says he gave up wading through us ("that site"). Can't please anybody, it seems.


bi_anne2001 said...

Stage 4 of the tour, I'm surprised what with the haphazard way that the testing is done we havent got a whole load of positive tests so far, lets not forget that their science is SOOOO wrong and inaccurate that it's going to regularly throw up nasty spikes. 180 riders, lets say they test 20 per race, Floyd tested about 50% positive in his 8 or so tests, so by my calcs abount 30 incorrect positives so far after 3 stages are due.... Or maybe the bad testing rule is just for nice guy non-cheating Floyd.....

Luke said...

Actually, I was trying to say that neither the questions nor the answers were all that surprising. I've cleaned up my CBR post to make that clearer.

strbuk said...

Thanks Luke.


bill hue said...

bi_anne 2001;

Let's talk about the evidence a bit and not media junk or simplifications or your mathmatical calculations.

Exactly what impressed you about USADA's presentation at the hearing, which actually constitutes the record concerning the Landis case?

I ask because I saw every minute of the hearing, including the first 6 days in person on my own nickle.

The reason technicians are brought to trials rather than relying on the paper they produce is to test their credibility. I've been watching witnesses for about 20 years, 12 of them as a judge. In all that time, I have never seen two less credible witnesses than Ms' Mongongu and Frelat.

I was also astounded that with all the money in the world and all the time available, USADA chose not to bring a single expert outside the WADA system to testify about the accuracy of the LNDD results in this case.

Instead, they produced Dr. Brenna, who revealed on cross-examination that he had a 1.3 million dollar grant from USADA and then he testified significantly differently on direct than he did on re-direct, some 10 days later..... both red flags as they relate to credibility.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist and I'm not advocating false positives. What I saw at hearing was the sloppiest and most shameful technical lab work that I've ever seen anywhere, at any time.

The folks at the French Open opted to defend significant chain of custody issues resulting from their decision to send the samples from this year's tournament across the Atlantic to Montreal rather than across the street to LNDD. That says a lot, as well.

I'm wondering what you saw at hearing, specifically, that so sonvinces you of FL's guilt other than your continuing attempts to make argument based on your understanding of statistical data, an argument that neither side made at hearing?

Bill Hue

Cheryl from Maryland said...

To add to Judge's Hue's comments, especially since I watched the entire hearing, considering Floyd's test results as a percentage of all results actually contradicts the evidence. No one at the hearing, USADA witness or otherwise, denied that creating readable chromatograms from Floyd's samples was an easy task. The quality of work in making those chromatograms is the issue. Statistics on all samples of all athletes is therefore not germane.

Jeff said...

Also, it was my understanding that the race leaders are tested and about 3 or 5 random cyclists are tested each day, so your number of 80 is a bit high. Also factor in that it appears to take at least a week to complete a test (why FL's sample results were not reported until after the TDF last year and an additional week or two for the B sample).
Maybe something will pop up soon. Also remember the TUEs!

Gary O'Brien said...

TBV: Talk of the Nation will be released as a Podcast by tomorrow.

Cub said...

If I understand correctly, they simply do not perform the CIR test for exogenous testosterone (the test that Floyd supposedly failed multiple times) unless a rider fails the T/E screening test.

Even LNDD can't produce a false positive unless they actually peform the test.

Eolaí gan Fhéile said...

Could you let me know what the lot is that I got wrong about Floyd Landis, his book, and his case, in my blog post on Irish KC?

I'm aware that I got the subtitle of the book slightly wrong - and I have yet to correct it.

I'm not criticizing you - unfortunately you haven't said anything specific whatsoever for me to criticize. Tell me what constitutes a lot wrong and I'd love to address it. said...

Hi, tempers are short, so I apologize the snarky tone. I'll will point out some things as I look at your page now.

1. First/Second paragaphs, spot on.
2. Not really CAS, that would be venue for appeal. This first hearing is at the CAS-AAA (American Arbitration Assoc) level, usually called the AAA hearing.
3. Whether Landis makes a good case or not I'll leave as a matter of opinion. I don't know what makes you think he never accepts that any cyclist is responsible for doping, or creating suspicion in the sport. What he complains about is the almost exclusive focus on doping in media coverage of the sport.
4. He talks about the science a lot. They didn't correctly identify what they were measuring, and there's a lot of science behind that observation. This is the "failure to properly identify peaks" discussion that leaves most people with glazed eyes.
5. He does not talk about "French Conspiracy", he complains about incompetence at a particular laboratory that happens to be in France. That some jingoistic yahoos turn that into the great conspiracy is beyond his control.
6. I can't speak to what you believe of what he says, and he says openly don't believe him, look at the science.
7. He covered about as much of the procedure as can be done in a general-interest program driven by the questions asked. He said people and the process assume the tests are correct as reported, when they are quite complicated and have opportunity for error.

For reference on the science, I'll refer you first to Flawed Methodology

Feel free to pull up the video or transcripts of the closing arguments and see which one was focussed on scientific argument. Transcripts are indexed here
and the videos are here.

In sum, Landis' defense was almost entirely scientific, and the science did not go well for USADA. As payback for showing how bad the process against him was, USADA and the other agencies have engaged in character assassination and mud slinging. He was also dumb enough to have someone working for him who played into that -- which does not affect the science of the evidence.

To date, none of the people who have against him on the science of the case have come up with a refutation of the fact that the LNDD did not identify things correctly, and that this is quite likely to have caused the "positive" reports.

Everything else is noise.

For the most part, I observe that people who say Landis has not refuted the charges have not looked at the actual evidence in enough detail to form any informed conclusions.

It is tempting to start from the premise that he is guilty, and interpret everything from that point of view. Evernything he says or does from that point of view becomes the actions of a shirking, denying dirty doper.

If one starts from the view that he might be innocent of the charge, he comes across as an embattled and sometimes befuddled and flawed human who is doing the best he can with the hand he's been dealt.


Eolaí gan Fhéile said...

Thanks for that - genuinely - but you seem to be starting from the position that I wasn't capable of believing he might be innocent.

In my post I was primarily reflecting on the radio programme and Floyd's case as presented by him in that programme. I accept that his case where it matters is the science, but I made the point that I wanted to hear that on the radio. I firmly believe it to be possible even in a general interest show of that length - I have heard detailed discussions of scientific evidence on radio shows in Ireland, including some that have persuaded me to change my opinion on doping cases.

I don't accuse Floyd of talking about the "French Conspiracy" and state that it is others. Nor do I blame him for them in the slightest, but I see no reason to leave their accusations (old at this stage) unaddressed.

I don't assume that all tests are correct - I believe them to be complicated and prone to errors of procedure, protocol, and more. And while half an hour is very short - especially with somebody else driving the questions, Floyd has had a long time to be able to present his case in public scientifically instead of what I believe I heard which was an emotional appeal. Again I am only talking about the NPR show and not the science which I noted would exonerate him if anything did.

My blogpost was a human reaction rather than a scientific one to Floyd's human behaviour through all of this. Of course that's the opposite of what should be used to judge him, but I'm trusting that science decides in his actual case - if I was an arbitrator then I wouldn't be interested in his public comments, but as an interested cycling human I can't help but be. If he gets cleared I'll happily accept that, knowing that my belief of his guilt was purely based on a hodge-podge of observation.

I've been reading about doping in cycling for 20 years. I still love cycling, and I don't find it black and white. But Floyd's words on doping in cycling have always sounded not right to me. And note I'm also talking about before he began last year's Tour i.e. before he had reason to be that embattled and sometimes befuddled and flawed human that you suggest he might be now.

Hearing him complain about doping procedures and agencies, and media concentration on doping, much more than hearing him talk about individual cyclists found guilty of doping or cyclists in general who are doping is why I say I don't hear him talking of cyclists' responsibility. I believe he should have been talking about this regardless of winning the Tour.

Of course I wouldn't actually convict a man based on his demeanor, but I'll express an opinion based on that, and it's an opinion that can be changed, and can be wrong.

I accept much of what you say, and will check out in depth the links you suggest.

Thanks for taking the time to reply in detail.