The LA Times Michael Hiltzik writes an extensive look at the ruling yesterday that now finds Floyd Landis suspended until January of 2009 and without his Tour de France title. The article looks in depth at several issues found within the ruling, not the least of which is the competency of the LNDD, the lab which tested Landis' samples during the 2006 Tour de France. Even though the majority did find some problems with the lab and lab procedures, it was arbitrator panel member Christopher Campbell who took the lab to task in his 26 page dissent:
"WADA should be writing rules that mandate the highest scientific standards rather than rules for a race to the bottom of scientific reliability so convictions can be easily obtained," he wrote.
The issue is critical because the core of Landis' defense was an attack on the integrity and performance of the Laboratoire National de Depistage du Dopage, or LNDD, the French government anti-doping lab that ruled Landis' urine sample from Stage 17 of the 2006 race positive for testosterone use.
LancasterOnline, Floyd Landis' hometown newspaper, spoke with several of Floyd Landis' friends and supporters today about yesterday's 2-1 decision which found Landis guilty of doping to win the 2006 Tour de France. They seem in general agreement that Landis should not seek an appeal of the arbitration decision because justice would be as hard to come by in the appeals process as it was in the arb hearings. Landis' mother Arlene is quoted as saying:
"If it was me, I would say I proved my point and life isn't fair to everybody. I'm not a fighter. I wouldn't do that," she said this morning, adding, however, "I'm not him. If he knows he's innocent, I don't know why he wouldn't."
ESPN contributor Bonnie D. Ford writes that the Landis decision had something that everyone could find comfort in, or feel smug about:
You can select what you agree with from the documents and be smug about how right you were, or you can look at the sum of their contradictory parts and shake your head. Like the far more weighty belated resolution of a certain presidential election a few years ago, the belated resolution of the 2006 Tour de France left us with a few hanging chads.
ESPN also posts the responses to the Landis decision of the Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, who was very pleased with the confirmation of what he knew all along, and Jacques de Ceaurruiz the LNDD director who felt that the decision was unfair, to the LNDD:
"We took a lot of flak," lab director Jacques de Ceaurriz said. "It was a little exaggerated. Things could have been handled better, without attacking the laboratory."
ESPN's Page 2 AM Jump can take real pride in posting the nastiest comments we have seen thus far from mainstream media.
NPR's Morning Edition featured a story on the Landis verdict, with audio available after 9AM EDT.
The Denver Post writes what is today's typical story of confusion with the 84 page Landis decision, and an outline of some Landis case events.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer posts a Philp Hersh piece on the Landis decision which mentions that Landis has a deadline of 30 in which to appeal the 2-1 arbitration verdict to the CAS.
Bicycling covers the Landis story by carrying the AFP version, and reprints the Landis side response in its' entirety.
The CyclingNews speaks with UCI director Pat McQuaid about the Landis decision. He is pleased with the verdict and feels it proves the system works even in light of the fact that the decision criticized certain elements of the process:
McQuaid admits that some modifications should be made, but feels that the system still uncovered the truth. "There are possibly things that need to be changed," he stated. "You cam always get an element of human error where there are humans involved, but the fact is that they had enough evidence there to prove that he was positive. That is the most important thing."
Can anyone say "reasonable doubt?"
The CyclingNews mailbag is open as well with letters that seem to have lost some of their relevance in light of yesterday's Landis decision.
The Philadelphia Inquirer spoke to Floyd Landis about two weeks ago and thought at that time he sounded resigned to receiving the verdict he did yesterday:
...USADA has not lost any of the 35 cases involving athletes' drug tests that have gone to arbitration. And as recently as two weeks ago, during an interview with The Inquirer, Landis sounded like a man who knew he was beaten.
"I wouldn't wish this process on anybody," he said then, his voice tinged with resignation. "I spent two million dollars, and USADA has spent several million dollars, and nobody got anywhere. It's just a tremendous waste of everybody's time and money."
Fox11 News from LA shows exclusive video of Floyd Landis reacting to the arbitration verdict which went against him yesterday by a 2-1 margin. In it he says that the arbitrators who voted for his guilt were either paid off by WADA, or were too unintelligent to understand the science in his arguments. Take a look at it.
AFP Direct publishes a more detailed report on the Landis verdict with Dick Pound remaining uncharacteristically quiet.
The NYTimes Juliet Macur writes about the results of the Landis hearings which includes a quote from Pat McQuaid which seems like a bit of overkill:
“We’re very happy with the result because the testing system was put under immense scrutiny by what you would call a celebrated group of lawyers, some of the best in America, and it stood up under that scrutiny.
Now he can keep the yellow jersey, put it on his wall and dream about it, but Oscar Pereiro is now the winner,” McQuaid said.
The San Jose Mercury News has the Landis story covered as well with this interesting bit from USADA lawyer Richard Young:
"(The flaws) are not something you like to have to deal with," USADA attorney Rich Young said. "You wish everything was clean. But I don't think it affected the (test) result at all."
How could the "flaws" in the system possibly affect the results? Where to start.
The StarOnline.com posts an updated AP story on yesterday's Landis verdict .
The Guardian Unlimited features the Caisse D'Epargne team boss bitterly complaining that the delay in the Landis case has cost his team countless dollars and glory. Other have suffered much more at the hands of this delay in justice .
Rant reflects on yesterday's Landis verdict and thinks that though this case exemplifies the closest thing an athlete can hope to have to a fair hearing, it still shows the enormous flaws within the anti doping system.
Bike Biz describes the Landis split decision as "messy".
MVP Mouth yawns at the Landis verdict and wonders where Lance is.
Triple Crankset is baffled by the Landis decision, he's not alone in that. We appreciate the kind words.
The Bicycle News posts a short blurb on "the decision" and includes a couple of links.
The Baltimore Sun's "O by the Way" blog finds the Landis case to be the saddest of scandals, and very perplexing. The Sun's Bill Ordine has met Paul and Arlene Landis and is thinking of them today as well. As are we all.
Team Spindrift had a doubly bad day yesterday with the Landis decision and a crappy 30 mile bike ride.
Surfacehippy says "bummer" Perfect!
Concrete Brunette thinks the whole thing is a bummer too, for Floyd and for us.
Isn't Her? Her Is! says the Floyd Landis story makes her go GGGRRRR.
Don't be the Mustard wonders, in light of the Landis verdict, exactly what constitutes a PED?
Ahmet Toker is certain now that Floyd Landis doped, and he feels cheated.
The Daily Peloton Forums are buzzing with Landis activity today as would be expected. Here are three active discussions taking place: Everyone Lost in this Case, Arbitration Panel Rules Landis Guilty, and Pereiro Named Winner of Tour.