Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Roundup

We're all still waiting, and it's now Day 5 in the Landis decision watch.


News
Bike Biz notes that the Landis hearing decision announcement will take place before Interbike's Outdoor Demo and Carlton Reid speculates that IF Landis wins he may make a triumphant appearance at this year's cycling trade show.

The Guardian cites a Reuters piece which quotes representatives of the Landis legal team stating a verdict has been reached by the USADA arbitration panel and a decision in the Landis case can be expected within a week:

"The arbitration panel has reached a verdict three days ago. They have 10 days to announce it so the decision will be known by next Monday at the latest," Kelly Power, marketing manager with Landis's lawyers Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher told Reuters on Monday.

The current version of the Reuters piece removes the claim the decision has already been reached.

BBC Sport publishes a short blurb on the closing of the Landis hearing and the pending announcement of its' findings.

The Beeb also runs a longer piece about "saving the soul" of cycling, concluding:

How much longer will TV, the public and the sponsors stay loyal if more people can recall Landis and Vinokourov than the legitimate winners of the event?

PezCycling News
applauds the UCI for the new feature on its' website detailing the ongoing fight against doping:

... if you want to see if your favourite rider is in the rider test pool or not check out the UCI’s website. Just remember that the top ranked riders are automatically on the list and then after that the UCI adds riders that they at some point in time have declared to be, ‘of interest’. Some interesting names I found on the current list just to name a few are, Joseba Beloki, Santiago Botero, Cristian Moreni, Ivan Basso, Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis…

The CyclingNews
quotes Iban Mayo as saying he has had a very difficult time coping since his positive EPO test became known.

CyclingNews also has McQuaid changing his tune and calling for life-bans for first-time offenders, and a zero-tolerance policy. We presume he's sticking with WADA strict-liability and process rights too. Where is the rider's union?

Yahoo Eurosport also provides a short article on the Landis arbitration decision due sometime this week, and at this late date still manages to get some basic information wrong. The piece claims that "excessive levels of testosterone" were found in Landis' urine which was tested at the LNDD, and that the implied crux of the case is the mislabeling of Landis' samples.

ESPN posts a Bonnie D. Ford piece on the final victory for the Postal/Discovery team at the ToM. Many reasons are given for the demise of Disco, but doping scandals and the resultant lack of sponsorship are certainly among them. Director Johan Bruyneel is contemplating a job at Astana, and if he takes the position would consider it a challenge to "correct" that team. On a hopeful note, in the past when American teams have folded, another invariably rises from the ashes.


Blogs
PJ notes that Day 5 in the Landis watch begins with black smoke on the first ballot. He wonders if he will be listening to Handel’s Messiah or Mozart’s Requiem when all is said and done.


Today's Sermonette
is disgusted that he had to dig so deeply into the NYT "other" sports section to find that the Landis arbitration hearings had been officially closed.

Racejunkie wants the "Doping Summit" invitees to party hard when they get to Paris, funny thing is not everyone who has a stake in the future of cycling was invited to the soirée. RJ makes further comment on the Vuelta and of course the looming Landis decision:

I note that it's almost time for Floyd Landis and Iban Mayo to officially fry, as the arbitrators announce that they've closed their inquiry at last and intend to completely destroy Landis' career based solely on the grotesque results-obfuscating bungling of a pack of monstrously inept lab chimps, I mean, release the completely neutral untainted results of the Landis hearing on Friday. Am I the only one thinking that if the Landis team hasn't already started writing their appeals briefs, they oughta get crackin'?



James was at the Tour of Missouri and hoped that Floyd Landis might be there, he was not. James noted that BMC parked next to the anti doping trailer, but they said it was merely a coincidence. There are lots of photos to look at too, and BTW thanks for linking us.

Rant thinks that timing IS everything, especially the timing of the announcement of the Landis decision. Rant also talks about Pat "Iron Fist" McQuaid and his call for lifetime bans on first doping offendes and Disco's swan song at the Tour of Missouri.

Your Craigslist Posting for a Bike Sucks finds those chopper bicycles heavy, awkward, and unfit to ride uphill, unless you're Floyd Landis.

re: Cycling gives Rant and us plugs, and concludes a post with a long parenthetical:

(And why do I say it's more likely he'll be found guilty of cheating? Just this: As shown time and time again, the anti-doping "system" in cycling is a "system" the same way a neck-tie party was a system in the Old West: It has shown itself to have no concern for due process. Landis is a cause celebre here in the States, but arguably much worse has happened to other riders at the hands of doping and cycling and team officials who feel compelled to act before all the evidence is in. The world will little not nor long remember Michael Rasmussen, but any time you yank the leader of the nearly certain winner of the Tour off the road and tell him to pack his bags, you've administered a cure that's far worse than the disease.)

Life Liberty and Property also plugs us, and hopes Landis is cleared:

I really hope that Floyd is found innocent. We named our dog Floyd and I don’t want be reminded of cheating every time I call my dog.

Is LLP related to Bitch Kittie, or do we have two dogs with common namesake?

Potholes and Roadapples
picks up on some legal saber rattling Landis did in his interview at the Univest events the other week.

We've never had a good idea what action Landis can successfully take outside the CAS universe, and it's not worth starting anything that is a loser from the start. As a public figure, it's nearly impossible to sue for defamation in the US, but perhaps not elsewhere. Any successful action probably requires him to win the USADA case (and CAS appeal if any) first. There's probably a lot of contractual and license disclaimers to fight through to get at many of the parties. We're not saying he wouldn't have a case, but it might be tricky to pull off. On the other hand, if he loses at USADA or CAS, it's even less clear who he might successfully take action against in any venue, even if the presumptions are different. Maybe Suh and Jacobs have some great ideas we won't know about until papers are filed.

15 comments:

Mike Solberg said...

The Guarding piece also says that he "tested positive for the banned male sex hormone testosterone" - egad! I think The List is getting a little strict. Your not allowed to have any testosterone in your body?

Ugh. How can anyone still get this wrong after all this time?

syi

strbuk said...

Mike, maybe they haven't been paying attention? :-)

str

Bill said...

As for getting things wrong - I have for many years followed the precept of "never attribute to malice anything that is adequately explained by stupidity". In the Landis case the number of things which have been gotten wrong by the anti-doping establishment (WADA, USADA, LNDD, et.al), the cycling establishment (UCI, et.al.) and the various media outlets and mouthpieces is so overwhelming that stupidity in not an adequate explanation. So, in my opinion, malice and other forms of malfeasance must be in play in some, if not all, of these realms.

PEM said...

Once a mistake is made, it is next to impossible to fix it 100%. It is annoying to read and for some, it takes away the writer's credibility. How many of you believe lemmings commit mass suicide off of cliffs?

The writers may also be plain lazy. It is much easier to write “high testosterone” verses “elevated testosterone to epitosterone ratio” and then have to go on to explain what epitosterone is.

I am also reading a lot of cynical and negative comments about the “decision” as if it was already made against Landis. Let us all be a bit more patient and criticize or support the ruling and justifications after they are released. Otherwise, “we” appear just as bad as the “elevated testosterone” writers.


Peter.

jrdbutcher said...

Julien Pretot, author of the 9/17/07 Guardian story about Floyd Landis, is in desperate need of a fact checker.

“Landis tested positive for the banned male sex hormone testosterone but has maintained his innocence, blaming the positive test on incompetence by the French laboratory that analysed his urine samples.”

No. Testosterone is not banned. It is, in fact, found in the body of every healthy male athlete.
Yes, Floyd Landis blames the positive test, in large part, on incompetence by LNDD.

“His lawyers say the samples were mislabelled by the French laboratory which conducted the tests, the process was unreliable and the rider never in fact returned a positive result.”

Yes. Floyd’s lawyers questioned the labeling of samples attributed to their client.

No. The issue surrounding labeling of Floyd’s samples was not the thrust of the Landis defense at the hearing.

No. If by “the process was unreliable”, Prelot is referring to the “science”, then again, no, Floyd’s attorneys did not claim the science was not reliable. They were not allowed to question the “science”. The “science” is considered to be infallible by WADA rules.

Yes. If by “the process was unreliable”, Prelot is referring to the way in which LNDD carried out its testing, then yes, Floyd’s attorneys did claim the process was unreliable and the rider never in fact returned a positive result.

“Testosterone can speed up recovery after exercise and generally improves stamina and strength.”

I’m not sure why Prelot ended the story with the above statement?

Synthetic testosterone has not scientifically been proven to be a performance aid in endurance sports such as professional bicycle stage racing.

Prelot entirely misses the thrust of the Landis defense. In my feeble layman’s terms, the thrust was that because LNDD’s testing was done so sloppily and their records of what was actually done are so poor, they cannot even accurately claim their results reflect what they think they were testing for. (they don't know what they were testing for) Further, LNDD erased all of the evidence that could prove or disprove the claim of a positive test.

For a professional reporter, Prelot could easily be outdone on this story by a semi-interested high school student taking a remedial writing course.

Paul said...

Note on the decision:

I'm new to the board, but I heard today from a very well-informed source (within Floyd's camp) that they expect the decision to come down this Friday.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

I don't think there's malice, as such, involved. It's more a matter of "wanton indifference" to details, truth, justice, honesty, due process and the like. Its about protecting the interests of the money invested in the Olympics, and everything else is window dressing.

TBV

wschart said...

TbV:

That's kind of how I see it. There was an original screw up, probably just the result of sloppiness and incompetence, then everybody trying to cover their collective asses. As far at the media goes, some writers probably had some sort of ax to grind, but in many cases I think that they were lazy, got their "facts" just by reading something of the newswires or in their competitors rag, and went with that. And often they simply mis-state what they've been told. I've had some experience with the press and have some idea what goes on.

On a different (and hopeful note), as a resident of the Show Me state, it seems that the Tom was well received here. Living in Columbia, I went to see the finish of stage 4. There was a good crowd lining both sides of the finishing straight; all seemed to be very enthusiastic. The local paper had extensive coverage; most days there were 2 or 3 articles: one on the front page, more of a "color" article, and one on the front page of the sports section, a "news" article recounting the race itself. There was a regular diary by Chris Wherry, a rider on Toyota-United, and several days there was a column by one of th sports writers. While one or two of the latter seemed to be a bit perplexed about the technical details of cycle racing, they all seemed to be quite favorable. There was only an occasional mention of scandal or doping. All the coverage was more significant when one considers that Saturday was the home opener for the University of Missouri. The word is that the ToM is guaranteed thru 2009. I think this bodes well for the future of cycling, at least here in the US.

Bill said...

TBV,

If it is as you stated above: "Its about protecting the interests of the money invested in the Olympics, and everything else is window dressing", then I do not think that what we have seen in the Landis case, among others, is "wanton indifference" because the decision to protect their interests (i.e. money) at the expense of the rights of athletes is a proactive stance that leads to specific actions that are intended to be detrimental to the lives and careers of athletes. If that isn't malice, then what is?

I think it is time to "bell the cat" by being frank about the attitudes of some of the principals in the anti-doping establishment.

("Eightzero") said...

As a way of passing the time, we can speculate about how we'll hear about the arbitrators' decision.

1. We read about it in L'Equipe, or some other tabloid;

2. It is announced on Floyd's website, floydlandis.com or FFF;

3. One of the alphabet soup group posts it (ASO, UCI, WADA, USAC, USADA) (m-o-u-s-e...)

4. Mainstream media (SI, CNN);

5. Press release from Floyd's legal team.

#1 seems most likely.

Cheryl from Maryland said...

I think another issue to add is the problem of the egos of the organizers. Every word I hear from Dick Pound, Pat McQuaid, Mr. Prudhomme, et. al. has the subtext of "cycling would be nothing without me, why are you paying so much attention to the riders, look at me, me, me?" As a result, they keep inserting themselves, rushing to judgement, making premature statements to the press, leaking information, and generally behaving like spoiled little brats because they can't accept that they are support services.

pcrosby said...

I know that someone indicated that the ten days would be counted as calender days and not business days. As shown by Rant, this creates a number of timing problems beyond those that politicians usually leverage (for example: late on a Friday is the time to break bad news; it misses the news cycles, gets coverage on Saturday when it gets the least attention).

In most legal and government proceedigns only work days are counted, with the reasonable assumption that folks do not work on weekends or holidays even if the issue is an important one. I am a bit sceptical of counting calender days.

In any event, such counting focuses on the last day. If the decision is pushed to the last day, then I would interpret it to mean that there was continued "discussion" of the content of the decision until a final version had to be produced. An earlier release of the decision will mean that the majority was agreed on its content and waited on the dissent, if there is one.

I suppose that it is possible that each of the panel members could generate their own decision if they cannot agree on the analysis that supports the conclusion. The U.S. Supreme Court has often done that, arriving at a decision but without a single, majority rationale for it. Such a situation would argue for a late decision since each would want to polich their opinion as much as possible.

In the long run, the agonizing wait is difficult and speculation like mine is of little value. For personal reaons I hope for a decision before Sunday since I am going to be computer deprived until October 3rd. Hate to rely on the press for information.
Pete Crosby

blackmingo said...

TBV/Bill:

I have little doubt Dick Pound is malicious while barking his misstatements about high testosterone levels. Like a parent, he is trying to nurture and feed his WADA baby at any cost (truth, justice and honesty). He may be conveniently unaware of what his testing program is actually testing -to sell the illusion that he is actually leaving it to the scientists.

As for the local and national media outlets -with notable exeptions (Bonnie [De Simone] Ford and Michael Hiltzik) -I think they are just cutting and pasting. Their regurgitation, although it continues to bother me, I regard as indifference to details (of which in this case, there are many).

Best,

Dan

wschart said...

Regardless of whether or not it's calendar days or business days, it seems that the panel had a great deal of freedom as to when they formally closed the proceedings and trigger the countdown. They could, if they wanted too, hold off on closing until they had produced their written opinion(s), or if they wanted to time their release for after the Vuelta or someother consideration. Or it is possible that they were actually working on the case until last week, and closed things simply because there was no more reason to keep them open. With the closed nature of their deliberations, we probably will never know, especially if there was some ulterior motive involved.

Michael said...

Hey, remember when this was supposed to be an open and shut case?? Here we are 14 months later and still trying to figure out what happened?

This system sucks. That's why I believe Floyd's in trouble. AND MAN, I HATE THAT. I'm hoping the arbs step up the plate and do the right thing. And realize that they will quickly be removed from the list of approved arbs.....