Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday Roundup

News
The San Bernardino County Sun posts comments from local friends and fellow cyclists who feel depressed and disappointed in the 2-1 arbitration decision that went against Murrieta resident Floyd Landis last week. Bike shop owner Scott McAfee , who had held a fund raising event for Landis in June said:

"If you're going to ruin someone's career,you better have your procedures straight."


Amen.

The NYT further expands yesterday's story of a DEA crackdown on steroid labs which have an extensive connection to China.

ESPN has Pat McQuaid quoted as saying that Spain may be the root of many doping evils and needs to not only enact laws on doping but vigorously enforce them as well.

The Times Argus had Floyd Landis as the answer to an obscure clue in a sort of word game. You'll need to look far down the piece to find it.

The San Diego Union Tribune says that even though no one in golf is likely using steroids or HGH it's a good idea to test since, "line between honor and cheating these days is as thin as Floyd Landis' yellow jersey." Seems you gotta get your cheap shots in where you can these days.


The Boulder Report comes to the conclusion that after all the time, money, drama, heartache, and PR disasters, what the Landis case taught us is that the anti doping system no longer works:


I have written before about how disappointed I was with Floyd’s defense, which I saw to be aggressive to a fault, overly technical and relying too much on public relations. The circumstantial evidence surrounding cycling indicates that it’s entirely likely that he did use synthetic testosterone. I still think all of that is true. However, after the trial, and looking at the opinions, I think the case could as easily have gone Floyd’s way and, in the interest of the system’s integrity, maybe it should have. Did he do it? I don’t know. But neither can I be sure that the anti-doping community convincing proved its case. And that we all must live with that question is unacceptable. The problem that remains then is whether we have the political will to change the establishment, and if so, what would we do?



It's rather long winded but worth the read.


MSNBC
posts an AP Eddie Pells piece which dissects the Floyd Landis statement of appreciation to donors that was posted on the FFF yesterday.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent asks various readers which sport is doing the best job of policing itself where doping is concerned. Jeremy Simon seems to have a reasonable answer, but a lot of the respondents think that cycling is the worst.

GMA News TV posts a chronology of the Landis case, from the beginning.

The VeloNews Tuesday Eurofile has plenty to say covering the Bettini vs McQuaid story, as well as the idea that the pro cycling teams have agreed to cover the significant costs for the testing of their riders. This latest anti-doping initiative was suggested by the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT) association and is in part a reaction to the internal programs established by CSC and Slipstream. The silence of "the Lance" is also covered


The IHT reads like a soap opera script as it describes the machinations that accompany the beginning of the World Cycling Championships. Paolo Bettini won't sign "the pledge" which has the UCI's Pat McQuaid in a snit. Meanwhile McQuaid is still trying to keep Alejandro Valverde from participating, but if the CAS rules in Valverde's favor McQuaid concedes that he will be allowed to ride. And, local officials in Stuttgart are crying out for the exclusion of admitted/reformed doper Erik Zabel. Sounds like fun.

Blogs
CFA unequivocally states that if Lance Armstrong thinks he is now only a cancer crusader and can spend the rest of life denying he has any interest in cycling, thus allowing him to refuse comment on the Landis decision, he is nuts!:

This is his new mantra, and you better believe it is paying off for him in big ways that have nothing to do with cancer. He is earning himself vast reservoirs of goodwill that insulate him from any and all doping accusations that might still linger and follow him. So good for Lance, he may have suddenly and mysteriously lost any ability to multi-task, but before long he will surely be granted sainthood and permanent lifetime immunity from any and all negative innuendos. He might have been ruthless and arrogant, but he never was dumb.


Veloguy passes on a piece with more non comments from Armstrong


Steroid Nation hops on the "Armstrong will not comment on Landis " bandwagon:

Frequent champion Lance Armstrong, almost as frequently questioned about doping, says he don't know and he don't care about his former bud Floyd Landis' doping conviction last week.



Thoughts of Hazel Mae calls Floyd Landis a chump and then is chagrined to not be able to come up with a good punchline. That's OK,really.

Chuck the Cyclist
fears that he sadly may have to look for another American hero.

cwdtrek82 has too much to write about and too little time now, so comments on Floyd Landis will have to wait. But there was time to write lots about the current Genesis tour and Dad.

Edocblog got to hang with mountain biker Dave Wiens,winner of this year's Leadville 100 where Floyd Landis came in second . Kent and Dave were manning an aid station together at the Vapor Trail event and Kent got to hear the blow by blow of the battle between Landis and Wiens at Leadville.

CrystalZENmud
sent another open letter to all of the WADA laboratories urging reform in light of the Landis ruling and the upcoming WADA summit in November.

In further ZENmud news, a new blog is born. WADAwatch will concentrate on WADA news and discussions and leave the old CrystalZENmud blog to talk politics and other current issues. WADAwatch will keep its' eye trained on WADA.

team raceAthlete provides three perspectives on the Landis arbitration decision. One is pro Landis, one thinks Floyd got what he well deserved, and the third one is that oldie but goodie (?) from "The Onion" about a drug free Tour de France.

Rant puts together the "The Science of it all" giving a GC/MS/IRMS primer for the scientifically challenged with descriptions of how the tests work, and highlighting as well potential problems with retention times ect. Rant explains the relevance of this to several internet discussions that have ensued since the announcement of the Landis decision.

Clearly Sports
obviously thinks that for Floyd Landis it's all about the dollars, claiming that not only was Landis rumored to have been a rampant drug user before the 2006 Tour de France began, but that Floyd is also so arrogant he assumes the public will just believe him when he says he is innocent. To say this is "snarkworthy" would be a gross understatement, but it's obviously representative of at least some sports fans.

The Outdoor Weblog
notes that Floyd Landis continues to maintian his innocence.

Where I Stand thinks that Floyd Landis deserved punishment. No one feels sorry for Landis now who must face the consequences of his actions. That's one way to look at it.

17 comments:

GMR said...

If only Lemond could learn from Lance and Merckx on art of silence.

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

Amen, gmr. Amen.

("Eightzero") said...

Anyone know where in the majority's award/opinion they deal with anything other than stage 17 samples? IIRC, there was a retest of remaining B samples from other stages. I'm afraid I don't track some of the identifiers very well, but is there any explanation of how some are supposed to show evidence of an AAF, while others don't? And how combined this is consistent with an AAF?

Help?

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Eightzero, I don't believe they did, probably because they secured the result they wanted without needing to go into them.

TBV

("Eightzero") said...

Ah. The "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" theory of jurisprudence. As we used to say in government service: "if the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of."

I *really* want to know what the CAS would have to say about this. Anyone know if anyone other than Floyd would have standing to appeal? Could the owners of Team Phonak(or their successors in interest?) After all, the prize money is due them by contract, I think.

MMan said...

Hadn't seen a link to this one yet:

http://boulderreport.bicycling.com/2007/09/lessons-from-th.html

Slopes10 said...

Snarkworthy? wow, the guy was doping and he was caught. Why should we care so much about him?

sam said...

If Floyd doesn't continue his fight...isn't that a little like Bush stopping short of Baghdad in '91 ?

Dan said...

slopes 10

why? maybe i'm a fan. maybe i watched him crack on the road to Toussuire while burning my feet on the side of the road. maybe i screamed my head off at the tv the next day.

maybe i'm a lawyer. maybe i appreciate due process and i'm offended by the lack of it here in this case.

maybe i just believe the guy.

Bill Mc said...

Dumb question time:

It seems that the issue of Retention Time has become somewhat pivotal in Floyd's arbitration, with Floyd's group saying that they are out of spec and USADA saying that they are Ok because two machines were used in the tests. Without delving into the correctness, or not, of the USADA position, my questions have to do with when the information that two machines were (possibly) used first surfaced.

1. Was there any mention of two machines in the data and documents that were generated at the time of the tests?

2. Is there any kind of signature that is attached to the data that identifies the specific device(s) used for the tests?

3. Were the machine(s) used in the testing identified in the information provided to Floyd's group?

What I am trying to get at with my questions is whether or not there exists an "audit trail" that proves that two machines were indeed used, if so, then how Retention Times are apply in such a situation becomes an issue. If there isn't an audit trail, then the claim of two machines is just an unsubstantiated assertion, and a last minute one at that, that should be viewed with the great skepticism.

Anyone have any information about this?

("Eightzero") said...

Golly. Is the Wiki Defense about to become the Wiki Appeal?

Count me in. I just wish I had something of value to contibute.

wschart said...

eightzero:

Essentially, the case was a question of whether or not Landis doped on stage 17. The panel, while throwing out the results of the A sample for this stage, found that the B sample test results were reliable and sufficient for conviction. Whether or not he doped on any other stage was immaterial.

Some might argue that the pattern presented by the results of the extra B tests is improbable and indicates erroneous results. Maybe, maybe not. The panel apparently did not consider these extra tests in reaching its decision, so again this is a moot point. I wouldn't want to hang my hat on that as a defense.

As far as CAS, remember that CAS is not a court of appeal as we are used to in the US, which essentially reviews the case to see if it was properly conducted and/or if there is new evidence to warrant a new trial. CAS starts a whole new case.

("Eightzero") said...

wschart: The other "B" sample evidence would be relevant to whether or not there was doping on stage 17. That the panel did not consider this is very much not moot. If they considered it and rejected it, fine, but I don't think they did. They seemed to merely ignore the evidence. A defense predicated on unreliability of the testing procedures seems reasonably sound.

CAS is indeed a de novo review of the evidence. A typical court of appeal in the US system is of course not de novo, but generally only for errors of law; not "to see if it was properly conducted and/or if there is new evidence to warrant a new trial." That's a mis characterization of US appellate review.

bi_anne2001 said...

Maybe he only doped before stage 17 though, so other earlier tests would come up negative (which would explain the superhuman effort after looking a broken man the day before and being out drinking whiskeys the night before!. Negative tests would not prove his innocence, but positive ones would confirm guilt. Floyds team were keen for the Stage 17 b samples not to be tested, so I imagine they were as keen with the others.

wschart said...

eightzero:

Your description of the US review system is what I was trying to say by using the description "conducted properly", so we in fact agree there. The point being is if the panel should have considered the other B samples as a matter of "law" but didn't is not an issue at CAS. Whether or not the data presents a pattern that is exculpatory would be an issue that the Landis team would have to raise in CAS, if indeed they felt this was exculpatory.

Again, the panel in essence decided that the positive B sample from stage 17 was sufficient to convict. And indeed, it ultimately will come down to this. If the stage 17 B sample does indeed indicate that Landis used a banned substance, what he did or did not do on another stage is moot. If all the extra B samples had tested negative, he still could be convicted simply on the basis of the stage 17 results. However, I will concede the point that, if the data from these other samples does indicate a problem with the results from the stage 17 tests, that could be relevant.

bi-anne2001:
The procedure is that if the A test is positive, the athlete is offered the option of accepting the A results and the resultant ban, or requesting the B test be done. The athelete has I believe 5 days to make this decision. However, in this case McQuaid, if I recall correctly, made the request; the stated reason was he wanted it to be done as quickly as possible as the French national holiday period in August was rapidly approaching, and the lab would be closed. If Landis wanted to appeal, he would of had to request this testing had not it already been done. His actions since then seem to indicate he would have requested this testing as the necessary next step for an appeal, had he not been pre-empted. Whether or not his delay indicates that they "weren't keen" is of course a matter of interpretation. He might have simply been reviewing his options, or even just finding out the correct method to make the request so that it couldn't be thrown out on procedural grounds. They certainly didn't want the other samples tested; as you point out negative results would have been of no use to them.

Ken said...

bi-anne2001,
The assumption that stage 17 was superhuman is one that continues to annoy me. Also the misplaced belief that you can't have a good day right after a bad day. I've never even raced professionally and I've experienced that. Anyway, stage 17 was a good ride by Floyd, along with 70 bottles of water, and terrible tactics by the other teams. I suggest posts like this one for your reading pleasure; http://pelotonjim.wordpress.com/2007/03/08/another-look-at-that-stage/

Michael said...

The Boulder Report was finally worth reading. I've been disappointed the TBR in the past because I've felt it's been very biased against Landis. This article went a long way to say, "Hey, wait a minute. Based on the evidence, I don't know if Landis doped. Maybe the system isn't as good as I thought".

And to BIANNE: I had two beers and a bowl of cereal for dinner last night and a cliff bar for breakfast. Guess what, I felt great and had strong 40 miler this morning....