Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Roundup

News
The Intellegencer writes about yesterday's circuit bike race and craft festival in Doylestown, PA where Floyd Landis held an autograph session. The crowds were said to be good though no numbers were available.

Pez went to Univest, and found Floyd a fan favorite, along with some other F's, and had time for some Q's:

Pez: What does it mean for you to come out to today’s events?
Floyd: It’s good. John Eustace has been supporting me publicly much more than a lot of people and if I can help him in any way I’m happy to. Also, he’s got a good thing going. A lot of cycling fans are cyclists themselves so to have a ride before the race is a very good idea.

Pez: How are you doing these days; mentally, physically, and the hip?
Floyd: My hip is fine. Physically I’m not in bad shape. I’m training a little bit now and pretty much missed a year of training but I’m doing well. Mentally I’m ready for some kind of progress at some point.

Pez: Do you want to get back and race the Tour de France?
Floyd: I would like to race again. Whether it’s at the Tour or not again I don’t know if that’s the only thing that matters but yea, I would like to race.


The CyclingNews reports this morning that Alejandro Valverde will fight the UCI ban on his participation in the World Championships with a threatened lawsuit. The UCI claims to have additional evidence of Valverde's involvement with Operation Puerto.

Bicycling
provides an audio report on Saturday's Univest Grand Prix held in Souderton, PA. Floyd Landis rode in the accompanying Cyclosportif.

The Montreal Gazette posts a scattergun column largely about Les Canadiens but lists heroes and zeros too. You can guess which list they place Floyd Landis on.

Sportingo/Parisotto
wants to warn Lance and Landis about the new wave of in-house testing, but we're not entirely sure why. Lance is retired; Landis was on the first team that did it, and is in favor of efforts like the Slipstream/ACE partnership. Maybe it was the headline writer -- Parisotto is really afraid these efforts will be geared to outfoxing the WADA labs, not weeding out cheats. Perhaps he missed the 'independant' part of the testing in these programs? Update: we're informed the original article is from February, so it's not timely.

Blogs
Shining's Ultra Blog gives some SM100 flavor, with a few Landis mentions.

Sabernomics, about baseball, talks about misinformation about PEDs and the cost effectiveness of testing. Comments liken PED use to bank robbery, making for an enlightened debate. Sabernomics had earlier warned of the slope baseball may be on by looking at cycling and doubting that PED enforcement model is one to be followed.

Phantom Reflections feels that the Tour of Missouri is just what cycling fans weary of Tour de France fallout need. He imagines Floyd Landis being vindicated on the last day of the Tour, that's an interesting thought.

Extrmtao did something different last weekend, he rode alone and enjoyed it. He also recommends Harlan's account of racing with Floyd Landis recently at the SM100.

Kingp1n, for reasons as yet unclear, links us in his blogroll. Some of his posts are amusing, but it's a little inscruitable. What's the frequency, Kingp1n?

Rylo had a lot of time to read in the past year and provides a list of "best reads" which includes "Positively False".

10 comments:

jrdbutcher said...

Robin Parisotto made some uneducated assumptions and would have been well advised to do a bit more homework regardng how in-house testing is conducted with regard to some high profile cycling teams.

Slipstream and CSC have independent testing and reporting in place. T-Mobile's program was a fair attempt that was initially fatally flawed because they didn't disassociate with a lab, and its doctors, that was previously involved with doping members of an earlier incarnation of the team.

I applaud the in-house testing systems brought online by Slipstream and CSC. They are proactive and offer independent testing, independent reporting, and sound science. As I have many reservations about the quality of testing done in WADA approved labs, I also see their initiative as a check and balance to the WADA approved lab tests. It's a means of helping to protect a clean rider from false allegations of doping by WADA labs.

An iniative that helps keep the testers honest is positive in my book. Pun intended.

wschart said...

Right! This seems to be another article where the assumption is made that all or most cyclists dope and then the conclusion is made that in house testing programs will either be a sham or will be conducted not to catch/prevent doping but to verify that masking or other means of avoiding detection are working.

No doubt that doping is a problem in cycling, however I see no good evidence that it is totally pervasive, rather a lot of innuendoes. It also seems to me that there are teams that realize that doping presents a danger to the sport, both from the sense of being hazardous to the riders' health and the sense that cycling as a sport suffers when riders are caught doping. If we are to combat doping in professional cycling (indeed any professional sport) then the teams themselves need to be involved and proactive.

Dragging up the spectre of the East German sport program is rather just a bunch of sensationalism; it bears little relevance to what is and might be happening in cycling today. Might just as well discuss the Black Sox scandal.

raamman said...

I don't believe the teams care any more for a riders heath than one cares about a junkie you might see in an alleyway. Just pro-active crisis management. It negates the ideal of good sportsmanship both for the team and the rider. I'll agree that it helps the team protect itself from scandal and controversey from a rider testing positive during a race, but it does not lend itself well to the idea that all it's riders are clean all the time and therefore in my opinion, it is not a real solution to the doping problem we have in the sport.

jrdbutcher said...

raamman,

How does in-house anti-doping testing with independent oversight negate the ideal of good sportsmanship for both the team and the rider?

In 2007, Slipstream and CSC don't seem to have had problems with doping controls performed by WADA approved labs. WADA was initially sceptical about at least CSC's program, but has since voiced faint approval. Given that WADA isn't too excited about the teams treading on their turf, it there were roblems, WADA would be quick to make them public.

I think it is pretty sportsmanlike for the teams (CSC & Slipstream) to put significant budgetary resources behind their testing programs, especially as they are leaning toward educational components for the riders and logitudinal testing that many have asked WADA for. WADA has thus far declined due to what they claim is limited financial and other resources needed to carry out logitudinal testing combined with educational components.

If CSC and Slipstream can do it, WADA's explanations seem more like feable excuses to me. WADA finds a way to do what WADA wants to do. IMO, WADA's #1 vision is perpetuating the agency. IMO, they (WADA)could give less of a rat's ass about the health of the riders and the notion of sportsmanship than the most mercurial managers of the current upper level cycling teams.

In-house team anti-doping testing has not been held out to be the soulution, even by CSC or Slipstream. With independent testing, independent reporting, and independent oversight, coupled with a sceptical stance from WADA to keep the teams honest, it is a solid move forward toward a solution. Checks and balances. It's good to hold both the teams' and WADA's feet to the fire, considering the current climate.

raamman said...

what is sportsmanship ? in a judo match, both opponents face each other and bow, neither attacks at that time, although it would be a prime oppourtunity. when lance fell in 03(?) when his handelbar got tangled with a spectators bag- no one attacked- that is sportsmanship. the testing programs are like wiretaps on your phones, breathalysers before you can turn the key in the ignition...sure, it might be prudent in our society, but it is unacceptable unless one has demonstrated it is required. the testing is like calling all the cyclists drunks who need breathalysers; and as a fan of cycling I do not wish to be seen as a fan of drunks and cheats or those who would cheat given the slightest opportunity. I realize it might seem a utopian concept beyond the keen of some people; but with all due respect, understanding that is knowing what sportsmanship is.

wschart said...

Drug tests by employers are nothing new. Most of the jobs I have held had as a condition of employment the requirement that I would submit to a drug test if asked. As best I recall, the only time I actually was tested was when I served in Nam in 1971-2, but the fact is I could have been required to pee in a cup at any time, or face being fired.

This, IMO, has nothing to do with sportmanship. Sportmanship is what competitors do with respect to each other, officials, spectators, etc.

Team Slipstream and other teams doing in house testing may only be doing it to CYA, or they may have some degree of desire to help their riders too. Who can actually say what the motives are?

jrdbutcher said...

raamman,

In just about any sport, judo included, there are officials who perform refereeing duties in an effort to produce a "fair" contest. Using your example, should a judo competitor attack their opponent when it is time to face one another and bow, there would be a penalty. Sportsmanship takes on many forms. wschart pointed out a few examples.

What CSC and Slipstream have done with their testing programs is proactive and contain positive aspects, where as WADA's testing program is almost exclusively punative. CSC's and Slipstream's programs tend to show more respect for the riders, sponsors, fans, and maybe even the "gatekeepers", in a manner of thinking. As showing respect is a key component in sportsmanship, I'll proffer that in-house team testing carried out similarly to CSC's and Slipstream's is, perhaps, more sportsmanlike than an absense of such a program, especially as it relates to this generation of riders given the near absoulute power of the testing agencies over a good portion of the riders day to day lives (in competition testing, out of competition testing, and the whereabouts program) and ultimately, their livelyhood-assumed guilty until proven innocent.

raamman said...

I will assume that there can be a judo match between 2 competitors without any refs- attacking before the match begins will give victory of sorts, so would shooting a man in the back. Some would- others wouldn't. What is the point of competition ? is it to win or to compete to the best of your ability ? Why does the crowd applaud the lantern rouge when he passes ? I will agree with wschart who said "Sportmanship is what competitors do with respect to each other, officials, spectators, etc." and wish to add that sportsmanship is with respect to oneself. I am not trying to defend wada or anything, but in team testing, while may be prudent on behalf of the teams and sponsors, to myself as an outsider seems complicit in medically supervising the extent to which a rider can cheat before a race. I don't need to test myself for drugs before a job interview because I know I am clean- you can go ahead and test me if you like. Now, if I told you at a job interview that I peed in a cup this morning to see if there were any detectable traces and found none so i'll be happy to pee in a cup for you now- how confident would you be that I don't do drugs ? Would you give me the job even though the test proved clean ?

jrdbutcher said...

raamman,

We may just see things differently on the issue. Sportsmanship, I think, was originally your arguement. It wasn't mine, but I followed along with your line of reasoning. IMO, sportsmanship comes from the individual and can't truely be legislated, so at this point, I don't see how it connects well with the issue of doping in professional cycling. Ideally, if all riders showed good sportsmanship, there wouldn't be a need for WADA labs, OoC testing, or officials of nearly any kind. Publisize a race, the course, and a start time - let the race happen and the first to finish is the winner. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't work too well, but it's a nice dream.

As a former athlete who was subject to occasional drug testing and also was subject to drug testing in my professional life after athletics, I would have appreciated the check and balance afforded riders from CSC and Slipstream with regard to the testing process. Even though I didn't have a problem with the tests, I was never happy with the testing agencies having the near final say on my results if I were to register a false positive.

I, and most athletes, did not/do not have the resources to fight back in the manner that Floyd has been able to. I doubt Floyd would be in the position he now finds himself in had his team has a CSC/Slipstream esque testing program in place.

I don't buy into the notion that those programs are set up to beat the official in competition or OoC tests. From a rational cost/benefit approach, it makes much more sense to me that they were put into place to protect the teams' investment in their riders and in the teams' reputations against unfounded, incorrect, false, or malicious allegations of doping. Those kinds of things, true or false, can put a team out of business and leave its employees looking for work.

jrdbutcher said...

Read Rant's Blog noted in Tuesday's Roundup above. Some of the same thoughts. He's a much better writer than me.