Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Roundup

The Daily Lobo writes that sports is in the gutter, and gives lots of examples including Floyd Landis and the 2006 TdF. Something needs to be done and fast, like punishing the offenders with stronger sanctions and fines. Kobe Bryant's adultery is also cited. How exactly do you sanction that?

The VeloNews
reports that Pat McQuaid is ready to talk about the structure of the pro tour, as long as the UCI runs it:

"The UCI is prepared to renegotiate the structure of the ProTour," McQuaid told the regional French newspaper Sud-Ouest. "What we won't do, however, is compromise as to the leadership of the UCI and the governance of cycling."

But Patric Clerc seems to feel differently about this issue:

"The piloting of cycling's reconstruction cannot be given to the UCI," Clerc said. "We will have to do it with all those who reject the current system in order to find our values again: riders, teams, sponsors, federations ... will all need to unite." That unity has been elusive since the creation of the ProTour in 2004.

Stay tuned. Things will likely get uglier before they get better.

Velonews has some other interesting articles, including an interview of a self-flagellating Joe Papp with a doctor about some of the medical problems he had caused by following the advice of the doping underground. We can be in total agreement with the message, "don't try this at home."

VN: How much blood did you lose into the hematoma?

JP: I believe the quantity of sludge that was removed surgically was close to 1200mL - is that possible for a horrible internal hematoma in the gluteus maximus?

VN: Yes it is. You basically lost one fourth of your blood volume into what should have been a trivial bruise because your blood was way too thin from medically unsupervised and incompetent abuse of anticoagulants. This would put most people into class 2 hypovolemic shock.

Velonews also passes on the word that yes, CONI is appealing the Petacchi case to CAS. This is because they disagreed with the Italian Cycling Federation's clearning him of his asthma inhaler overuse charge. Thisparticular scenario could not happen in the US, because USACycling turns its cases over to USADA at the beginning. However, WADA, and UCI and USADA itself could appeal to CAS should Landis win in his case at the initial stage.

And, as we know, CAS appeals are "de novo", which means the CAS panel considers the case from the very beginning, as if the earlier proceeding never took place. Completely new evidence and argument may be made, and the scope is not limited to errors the original panel may have made.

Yes, this is multiple jeopardy. It is this way to keep the Elbonian Frumble Federation from waving their hands and clearing their star with a nod and a wink with no recourse for the enforcers of fair sport. Most people believe this policy to be a Good Thing in the struggle against doping. It only seems troublesome when your honest federation clears your star of something, and is then hauled before a less friendly audience -- as, perhaps Petacchi is experiencing.

CyclingNews gives its take on the UCI/ProTour/ASO issues as well.

CyclingNews Letters are still talking about the folding of Team Disco, and one writer wants to know why it is taking so long for the Landis decision to come down. The world wonders, too.

The Daily Peloton blurbs the Univest Grand Prix to take place on September 8 in southeastern PA. DP also writes about the Cyclospotif 100K which is a cross between a timed recreational ride and a race where a "secret" guest rider will participate. Wonder who that could be, knowing that in 2006 Floyd Landis made an appearance at the Univest race at the request of John Eustice. With the Shenandoah race below in the same vicinity, we wouldn't be surprised.

Triple Crankset writes about the recall of some Smith and Nephew hip resurfacing implants due to mislabeling. The wrong size may have been used in hip resurfacing surgeries, with some of the mislabeled devices being distributed in the US. One hopes, and assumes due to results at Leadville, that Floyd Landis' BHR device is not on the recall list.

Surface-Hippy, about hip resurfacing, is invoking Landis as a positive example, and it corrects misinformed details-- but doesn't talk about the recall.

Recovox News announces
that Floyd Landis has been invited to and will be participating in the Shenandoah Mountain 100, the finale in the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series to be held on Labor Day weekend near Harrisonburg, Virginia. Landis accepted an invitation to race the Shenandoah Mountain 100 made by Scott Scudamore, who served as MC at a Floyd Fairness Fund event held in Northern Virginia in January:

"I am honored to be invited to be part of the Shenandoah Mountain 100 event. I look forward to racing on the challenging course they have put together since it includes the kind technical trail riding that first got me hooked on mountain bike racing," said 2006 Tour de France Champion Landis, who started his career growing up and racing his mountain bike throughout the mid-Atlantic.

PedalPushers Online gives a transcript of a Landis Book Tour appearance in Suffolk County on June 28 under the headline, "The Jury is Still Out." On the peloton knowing what was coming on Stage 17:

What happened was, we made a plan in the bus as you often do, and I didn't make it perfectly clear to everybody on the team that I didn't want anybody to know what was going on so a couple of the guys told their friends and well in the peloton next thing you know, everybody knows. So, rather than get upset about it, since everyone knew what I was going to do. I decided we'd just pretend that it was a joke. (laughter) They weren't very happy about that because I can tell you, I've been in that position where I'm working for someone else in the race, and when you get to the last mountain stage in the tour, the last thing you want to do is race up the first mountain in the stage as hard as you can. And I certainly didn't make any friends doing that. But my only choice at that point was to pretend that it just didn't matter because it was just going to be a wild gamble. But ordinarily it's not wise to tell everybody exactly what your plan is.


PEM said...

The day is almost over, and still no comments. Well, I guess I will rattle the cage a little with another thought. I have no intentions to create problems for Floyd, but this is something I have not read anywhere and have been thinking about since Landis had his surgery.

I am surprised that no one has suggested Landis now has an unfair advantage or the potential to have an unfair advantage with an artificial hip. Consider today where there is zero tolerance for having traces of drugs in your system at levels that clearly have no benefit, such as in some hair tonics or nasal sprays. Someone could suggest an athlete cannot have any assistance, whether at a chemical and cellular level using drugs, or with mechanical implants. If not today, maybe in 10 years, technology will be available to have implants which may increase power output. It surprises me that sports governing bodies have not suggested this.

I recall seeing a documentary, where an athlete had lost both legs below the knees. When he wore specially designed springs in the shape of a “J”, he was able to run the 100m faster than the current world record.

Again, I do not want to add any further complications to what Landis is already going through, but I am curious to know what others think. Perhaps for Landis, this is equivalent to a therapeutic exemption?


Bill said...

Comments about how long the arbitrators are taking keep appearing
here from a variety of sources. But, when you consider the daunting
task the arbitrators are facing, their protracted silence is quite
understandable. Their options are to:

1. Find in Floyd's favor while minimizing the damage to the
anti-doping establishment or

2. Return an adverse finding against Floyd that overcomes
(or ignores) the substantial evidentiary record of errors,
omissions, and outright fabrications at multiple levels
within the anti-doping establishment.

Clearly a Hobson's Choice if ever there was one. said...


The one-legged guy got a ruling, and it was decided his carbon leg gave him an aerodynamic advantage, so he couldn't compete in the open category.

Since the hip implant is a passive device, it has no performance amplifying possibility itself. However, if it were made of some super nano-mumble that was significantly lower weight than the bone it replaced, I bet you could make a good argument that would be an unfair advantage. This is not an immediate issue given the state of the art with materials.

In the meltdown case, you might imagine someone replacing a bunch of bones with very lightweight implants that have a short lifetime. Whether anyone close enough to competitive would take the multiple risks (surgery, recovery, rehab, training, then more surgery etc. when it breaks) is hard to imagine now.

Since we've seen bikes go from steel to plastic in 20 years, I don't know that we won't see carbon nano-tube bone replacement structures by 2030, maybe with chrome endcaps like the BHR or titanium like some others.


Larry said...

PEM, I think that if Landis' artificial hip gives him an unfair advantage over other riders, then of course it should be subject to scrutiny. It falls under the same category as Casey Martin (disabled golfer) using a golf cart or Tom Dempsey (ex-field goal kicker with a club foot) wearing a special shoe. To be sure, these are not comfortable topics and these are not easy decisions to make, but that's what the various sport governing bodies are for.

Until recently, an artificial hip was a handicap -- I kind of doubt it has now become an advantage, but maybe some day it WILL be an advantage. That would be kind of nice, come to think of it.

Bill, do you really think that any decision in favor of Landis could be crafted in a way that minimized the damage to the anti-doping establishment? I think that any pro-Landis decision would be incendiary, regardless of the grounds used to justify the decision.

It's a strange case. Normally I'd look for any pro-athlete ruling to be based on the dryest, narrowest and most cut-and-dry grounds available, figuring that such a ruling would avoid controversy and be most likely to survive on appeal. But in this case, any pro-Landis decision will make the front page of every major newspaper in the U.S. and Europe, and regardless of the grounds, it's going to be a huge blow to the anti-doping establishment.

Moreover, if the decision is too narrow, Landis may be seen as having gotten off on a technicality, and that won't be good for the arbitrators either. I think it's too easy for the CAS on appeal to dismiss any technical ground for a pro-Landis decision as a kind of "harmless error". If the decision of the arbitrators is going to stand up (I would argue), it's going to have to be based on substantial grounds.

In other words, the headline in the NY Times cannot be "Landis Escapes Punishment on a Technicality." It would have to be something closer to "Arbitrators Find That Lab Botched the Landis Case".

("Eightzero") said...

The interview with Papp is stunning. I knew this was dangerous stuff, but I guess I really didn't know how just how critically toxic this stuff is.

It's troubling that an adult would do something like this. It appears Papp didn't have any sort of appreciation for just how dangerous this is, but what is really stunning is that he didn't seem to care.

To all those that say "why do we care if they dope," we need only refer to this interview. Imagine kids wanting to "Be Like Mike" with rile models like this.


nahual said...

From and including: Thursday, May 24, 2007
To, but not including : Friday, August 24, 2007

It is 92 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date

Or 3 months excluding the end date

Alternative time units
92 days can be converted to one of these units:
7,948,800 seconds
132,480 minutes
2208 hours
13 weeks (rounded down)

May 24th was the last day of the LANDIS V USADA hearing. So there's been 13 weeks (rounded down) for the arbiters to work their "daunting task" which in work hours means 520 hours. And what is that billable amount? These guys are in over their heads and sinkin' daily

Larry, I think LANDIS V USADA is such a small blip on the US radar there will not be a NY Times headline, only a mention and story in the sports section. Dollar to a Donut?

wschart said...

A pro-Landis finging which minimizes damage to the anti-doping establishment is not that hard, IMO. Simply find that LNDD botched things, perhaps implicitly if not explicitly paint LNDD as a rogue lab, and since things were botched, Landis must be cleared. In effect, LNDD would be forced to fall on the sword.

I agree with Nahaul, a pro-Landis decision will not be front page material, at least in the US. Especially now, what with football starting, the pennant races in baseball, etc.

Larry said...

Nahual, I'll take the dollar and pass on the donut (if I posted a picture, you'd know why!)

wschart, I'll put aside for the moment the page of the NY Times where the Landis decision (pro or con) would be reported. I DO think it will be on the front pages of the French papers, but we can put that aside too.

If Landis wins, the ASO will consider this to be the worst possible affront to the integrity of their race and a direct attack on their control over the Tour, and I think that would be the case regardless of the grounds used by the arbitrators to reach their decision. The ASO wants to take Landis' maillot jaune away from him in the worst possible way. It will stick in their craw if Landis' name remains in their record book. Remember, when the Sinkewitz doping result was released by the German authorities during the course of the Tour, the French claimed the release was part of a conspiracy to bring down the Tour. And of course, Sinkewitz was not even in the Tour at the time! If the ASO went this crazy about Sinkewitz (a guy who was CAUGHT and was out of the Tour), imagine their reaction to a pro-Landis decision!

Even if the guys at ASO were a bit more rational, we need to realize that these guys are in a war with the UCI and others. They'll use a pro-Landis decision as ammunition.

In a more normal case, yes, maybe it would be possible for the arbitrators to write a low-key and bland decision that the ASO and others would quietly accept. In this case, I think it's impossible to slip this decision under the radar. The grounds for the decision will not matter nearly as much as the result.

Yes, it is possible to write a pro-Landis decision that's aimed squarely at the failure of the LNDD, without attacking WADA or the ASO or the drug testing regimen in cycling. I think that even a broadly worded decision would be limited to the facts in the Landis case -- I did not mean to suggest that the arbitrators could go beyond these facts and attack the entire system of drug testing.

The question in my mind is, how broad the criticism of LNDD in this case? I'm not asking how broadly LNDD deserves to be criticized for the way they handled the Landis case, I'm asking what grounds do the arbitrators rely upon for their decision. You want to rely on grounds that are likely to stand up on appeal. Do you say simply, they screwed up the paperwork? In effect, that the LNDD probably did its work correctly, and all they need to do in the future is to fill out a few more forms? Or do you say that the lab exercised gross incompetence?