Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Roundup

Time passes, and it is now Day 3 of the wait for the announcement of the Landis hearing decision. The watch continues at PJ's Endless Cycle.

The sun has set, and we move to Day 4.

We just did a big update to the TBV Timeline.


AP/Canadian Press says the hearing is closed. That must mean it's true.

The CyclingNews confirms that former Phonak director John Lelangue will head to the BMC team as "second" director sportif and is already present at the Tour of Missouri. Also, the UCI is "serene" about the hard line it's taking over Alejandro Valverde's exclusion from the upcomming Wolrd Championships.

The CyclingNews Mailbag contains a number of responses to a previously written letter about the LNDD and the Landis decision with one being written by Richard Foulkes MD criticizing the lab which found the Landis samples to be positive. He proposes that samples be sent to university labs where standards are high and procedures are regulated. The testing done on the Landis samples was poorly conducted and the technicians poorly trained. The testing and procedures must be able to survive peer review and this should be attainable IF the lab is credible:

The weight must be placed on these labs to use proven tests by peer review methods that are followed with excruciating methodology by well trained technicians. Any impropriety or error, out goes the test whether or not the test may have been positive. If "leaks" to the press happen the license of the lab should be questioned. The legitimacy of this man's whole career is now gone! And by these massively sub standard methods! Did you read the same transcript that I did? So be mad about the disruption of the sport but demand that that the agency that is profiting from the perceived scandal is doing work that can be trusted and demand that the athletes have representation and defence against a one sided system of prosecution. Our tax payer dollars are paying for many of these labs!

And CyclingNews had a piece on the 7th with Levi Leipheimer unhappy with the UCI's dubious enforcement of rules they say outlaw the "Praying Landis" or "Praying Mantis" time trial arm position. The rationale given is the with elbows bent, there is some kind of illegal "support" being given not present with horizontal arms, according to an interpretation of Article 1.3.023, which reads:

1.3.023 For road time trial competitions and for the following track competitions: individual and team pur- suit, kilometre and 500 m, an extension may be added to the steering system. The distance between the vertical line passing through the bottom bracket axle and the extremity of the handle- bar may not exceed 75 cm, with the other limits set in article 1.3.022 (B,C,D) remaining unchanged. A support for the elbows or forearms is permitted (see diagram «Structure (1B)»).

For road time trial competitions, controls or levers fixed to the handlebar extension may extend beyond the 75 cm limit as long as they do not constitute a change of use, particularly that of provid- ing an alternative hand position beyond the 75 cm mark.

For the track and road competitions covered by the first paragraph, the distance of 75 cm may be increased to 80 cm to the extent that this is required for morphological reasons; «morphological rea- sons» should be taken as meaning anything regarding the size or length of the rider's body parts. A rider who, for this reason, considers that he needs to make use of a distance between 75 and 80 cm must inform the commissaires' panel at the moment that he presents his licence. In such cases the commissaires' panel may carry out the following test: ensuring that the angle between the fore- arm and upper arm does not exceed 120° when the rider is in a racing position.

(text modified on 7.06.00; 1.01.05)

and going back,

1.3.013 The maximum height of the hand support point shall be level with or below a horizontal line passing through the horizontal plane of the saddle top. This point of support may not be situated behind the axis of the steering column.

The overall length [forward projection] of the handlebars may not exceed a limit set 15 cm forward of a vertical line passing through the front wheel spindle.

Somebody point out where any of the words above seem to suggest a requirement that extensions be horizontal. The only thing we can guess is that Figure 1b happens to draw them in that position. If that is normative, then compact frames must be illegal as well.

features an audio interview between Scott Jagow and Diana Nyad on cheating in sports. The text of the audio is available and shows that Nyad didn't exactly get her numbers straight in her talking points about Floyd Landis the cheater who got caught:

Nyad: Well, I guess all we have to look at is Floyd Landis's bank account. He spent $4 million on his defense last year, and he's wound up being -- if not technically yet, at least virtually -- stripped of his title and, you know, his fame and his good name. And was that worth it? Has it been worth it to the sport? I mean, look what it's cost the Tour de France -- the television ratings, and you know, the public trust. So when they're caught, boy, it sure isn't worth it.

Comcast Sport's
John Finger reports the news that the Landis arb panel has officially closed the hearings.

The Boulder Report notes the possible official closing of the Landis hearings and says that we may indeed have started the countdown to a decision. But there may be a problem with the time allotted a retroactive suspension. If Landis is found "guilty" he may receive a three year suspension due to a USADA rule that prescribes this in the case of an ineligible athlete who competes in a sanctioned event. Leadville was sanctioned by NORBA:

According to USADA’s protocols, Section 10.8, ineligibility (the suspension) starts on the date of the hearing decision, but “Any period of Provisional Suspension (whether imposed or voluntarily accepted) shall be credited against the total period of Ineligibility to be served.”
So USADA indicates a provisional suspension is essentially equal to ineligibility. But then the rules of ineligibility might apply. The pertinent one, from the following section: “No person who has been declared Ineligible may, during the period of Ineligibility, participate in a Competition…authorized or organized by any Signatory or Signatory’s member organization.” Since NORBA is part of USA Cycling and USAC is a signatory to the WADA Code, a suspended rider can’t race in a USA Cycling-sanctioned event.
...And, during what has otherwise been a 13-month voluntary break from competition, Landis did race one NORBA-sanctioned event, the Leadville 100.

There's no knowing if USADA would try to invoke this rule, but it's there on the books. Thanks for the plug.

Guardian (UK) snarkily discusses the latest PE-outfit, the "IonX" base layer being worn in the Rugby World Cup for a 2.7% improvement. It is an "ion energised" fabric, see here. It's allegedly WADA approved, raising the question of placebo effect. We suspect it is at least as effective as pyramids placed under the bed.

TV3 (NZ) tells of the "Artic Skin" vest winning a "Dyson Prize" for innovation. It might be targeted at endurance athletes. There must be something we're missing -- cooling vests have been around a long time, and the problem is that you'd need a rack on the back of the bike for the Styrofoam cooler with the ice water, pump, and batteries, which might mess up the power to weight ratio. Maybe the guy invented the solution to that. No word on WADA's position.

WTNH/Finz rants on the Patriotgate, and drags Landis in:
Floyd Landis wasn't the only cyclist in the Tour De France cheating by taking performance enhancing drugs. So should we just shrug our shoulders and say, they all do it, let him keep the race championship trophy.

The habit of pronouncing guilt before there's a decision is hard to break. That problem will be over about this time next week, at least.

PJ notes the dawning of Day Three in the Landis watch and sees more black smoke. He thinks heavy garlic might encourage progress.

Xanga lays into Bellicheck and Tom Brady of the Patriots, invoking Landis as well.

The Shalott Sports
does an "onion" pastiche and writes a fantasy news report which states that from here on out the first, second, and third place cyclists in the Tour de France will be considered having tested positive for PED use and removed from the podium making the fourth place finisher the winner. A fake Prudhomme is quoted:
“Therefore, those who achieve victory in the Tour de France must be cheating. And they will be dealt with as cheaters and the penalties are stiff.”

The sanctions that created the most buzz are those that will be handed down to not only the Tour champion but the second and third-place competitors as well. The rules state that the cyclist holding the yellow jersey at the completion of Stage 20 will be immediately stripped of his title, suspended for two years from the sport of cycling, and forced to appear before a bipartisan US Congressional Committee on doping led by Rep. Thomas Davis (R.) of Virginia and Rep. Henry Waxman (D.) of California. The racer in second place will be suspended for one year and must appear before his nation’s own highest governing board for questioning, while the third place cyclist will not be suspended from the sport but will be ordered to appear before a committee in his local municipality and in an anti-doping ad in NBC’s popular “The More You Know” commercial series. Additionally, all three top cyclists will be subjected to a transcontinental smear campaign. Prudhomme assured the international throng of reporters that “nearly all your editors are on board for this, and you will be too, you precious little (inaudible)s.”

20 Million Minutes notes the closing of the hearing and forthcoming decision.

Rant notes that the "21st stage' of the 2006 Tour de France may finally be coming to an end, but wait there may be more:

In addition to Stage 22, there is a possible Stage 23. The 23rd stage of the storied 2006 race could occur in Switzerland or in North America, with a hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The 23rd Stage could even occur simultaneously with the 22nd Stage, depending on the courses of action chosen by various players. In the 23rd Stage, either side represented in the 21st Stage, along with the UCI and WADA, and perhaps others, too, can request a hearing before the CAS. This hearing would be an entirely new case, starting from the beginning, rather than an appeal of an existing decision. In other words, the 23rd Stage could be a “do-over” for Stage 21, and it can be called by parties who weren’t officially taking part in Stage 21.

Humble Dad has been dreaming about the Alps for a long time, wanting to follow the tracks of idols like Hampsten, LeMond, Armstrong and Landis. On a business trip, he found some time and starts up the Galibier...


wschart said...

Everybody is assuming the leakers are LNDD, but there were leaks in the Thorpe case and LNDD was not involved. I am wondering if the leaker is in WADA.

jrdbutcher said...

Probably more than one party has been involved in leaking results of A-samples and other information that should have been confidential, depending upon which case we are talking about. L'Equipe seems to have an inside edge with regard to LNDD. WADA, UCI, and/or individal lab techs have also been suspected in leaking confidential information. It's certainly a practice that is against the rules/regulations but seems to have been accepted and/or encouraged judging by a lack of follow-up to find and/or sanction the guilty parties.

As noted by Rant, and others, it indicates a near complete disregard for the rights of the accused and a "we'll do whatever we want" attitude "because we are the law" on the part of the alphabet soup.

What the alphabet soup doesn't seem to get is that their attitude with regard to "due process" or even following their own rules, is offensive to most thinking people and it ultimately undermines what should be a positive cause.

The alphabet soup needs to collectively take their hands, firmly grasp their neck just above the shoulders, and pull their heads out of thier own a%%es. Their lack of commitment to being responsible for following rules and procedures is making a mockery of their handling of the anti-doping process.

wschart said...

You may be right that there are a number of leakers, but in one way, ultimately WADA is responsible. As you point out, these leaks are contrary to their rules, yet they take no action, not even (AFAIK) to speak out against them; and hence are tacitly approving of them.

daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...

Been a while since I've read any of the UCI rules, but rule 1.3.013 clearly allows the aero bars to be angled up to the extent that the furthest hand position is level with the seat height. And if you look at how much higher the seat is than the handlebars on a typical racing setup, that's plenty of angle to create a "Praying Landis" position (depending on the model of aero bar one uses).

Mike Solberg said...

About the time trial position. It seems to me that the thing that comes closest to banning his position is "This point of support may not be situated behind the axis of the steering column." That refers directly to the hands on the "hand supports" - but could reasonably be taken to apply to the "extensions" (aerobars) as well. But you can see from pictures (search google "praying landis" to find some) that even in his TT position, his forearms are ahead of the axis of the steering column, so, eh, beats me!