Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Roundup

In case you have missed it with all that has been posted on TBV the past few days be sure to read Floyd Landis' op-ed piece,"Dopers Must be Stoned" (or so says Patrice Brunet) published here on Monday.

The CyclingNews notes the opening today of the WADA Anti-Doping Summit in Madrid, Spain where Dick Pound stated that doping is not only the greatest threat to sports that has ever existed, but also that it is a threat to public health in general:

Outgoing WADA President Dick Pound drew a connection between doping and endangered public health. "Doping is without doubt the greatest threat ethical sport has ever known and has become so pervasive that it places public health at grave risk. It is incumbent upon the Sport Movement and Governments of the world to continue to bolster efforts to battle the scourge of doping ... by approving refinements to the World Anti-Doping Code and by discussing emerging trends and strategies for continued progress.

Pound also sets his sights on Operation Puerto, and rightly wonders why he has only received information from it concerning cyclists:

"It just doesn't make sense that only cyclists are dopers," Pound, who believes the Puerto case goes beyond just cycling, to the Associated Press. "The only documents given to me are related to cyclists. That is quite different to saying that all of the documents don't include other sports."

In a PM update the CN tells us that Michael Rasmussen is suing his old team, Rabobank, and that if he is suspended for two years by the UCI his cycling life is over.

ESPN outlines the key changes that would occur within the WADA code, if approved, at the ongoing anti-doping summit in Madrid. Here are a few of the salient points:

Athletes to face a four-year suspension [up from two years] for a first doping offense in "aggravated" cases. This includes athletes involved in a larger doping scheme; using prohibited substances on multiple occasions; if the athlete enjoys the effect of the prohibited substance for a period longer than the term of ineligibility; or for impeding the investigation of an anti-doping offense.

Athletes to be considered guilty of a doping violation if they accumulate a combination of three missed tests and/or fail to provide information of their whereabouts within an 18-month period.

Athletes to get reduced bans if they admit to doping; assist officials in catching other drug cheats; lead investigators to a larger doping scheme; or prove the prohibited substance was not intended to enhance performance.

Testing time between "A" and "B" samples to be reduced; athletes to be provisionally suspended after a positive "A" sample.

WADA can appeal a sanction or non-sanction by national anti-doping organizations directly to the Court of Arbitration of Sport.

The VeloNews
contains numerous "Poundisms" coming from the anti-doping summit in Madrid this week. Among the most memorable may be this comment on seeking the leadership of the CAS:

Pound said he's interested in the soon-to-be-open spot as head of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"I'm available," said Pound, who is both an accountant and attorney. "Listen, it would be the first time in 30 years that the IOC has given me a job that I actually understand."

Many would unfortunately have to agree with the above.

further notes the retirement of Dick Pound and his "dirty job well dome", and makes the point that he all too often refrained restraint in favor of headline making quotes.

The quotes two legal experts in sports litigations who say that the newly proposed WADA code, in which penalties for some doping offenses would be increased, does not effect the athlete's human rights. It does not mention the proposal to eliminate the "B" sample testing procedure. The piece is accompanied by an old photo of a "drug tainted" Floyd Landis which in itself seems to illustrate what can happen to some of an accused athlete's basic human rights when rules are violated within the WADA code.

The BBC has an article by Victor Conte, the BALCO founder, on things he'd want done to clean up sport. His big thing is out-of-competition tests. There should be more worldwide of highly ranked athletes, done by WADA directly and not national federations, and two missed tests should be considered a positive.

Rant discusses the Rabobank/Rasmussen independent report issued earlier this week.

talks about Dick Pound and OP, and also throws a challenge to former Landis trainer Allen Lim who now works with the Slipstream/Chipotle team. CFA snarks that Lim should obviously know more about Floyd Landis' possible doping than he had said and wants journalists to go after Lim to come clean, as it were.

Blakely says that those who think that testosterone is useless when abused in the manner Floyd Landis is alleged to have used it are just plain wrong.

Adam says "so long Dick".

Balderdash thinks one of Dick Pound's infamous quotes from the past year is "funny", many would disagree.

Science FictionTwin
gives us "virtual Floyd Landis". As Gary says, it's not what you think.

WADAWatch promises more from the anti-doping summit, soon.

Did Stevil Kinevil
have a close encounter with Floyd Landis, or was it Memmorex? An intriguingly confusing blog begs these and other metaphysical questions.


jrdbutcher said...

Proposed changes to the WADA code, as reported by ESPN, don’t sound earth shattering.

1. A four-year ban, up from two years doesn’t change much in practical terms. Depending upon the age of the athlete, a two-year was often an athletic career ender anyway. For top level road cyclists, the additional two-year ban from a ProTour team only enhanced the career ending possibilities. Also, if the ban was just, it had the unintended consequence (hopefully unintended) of sending a rider with a history of doping back to the Continental or lower ranks, where that doping experience might be passed on to developing riders aspiring to the ProTour. That said, the ProTour issue is likely moot in 2008 and moving forward. In summary, the two-year ban was already substantial, but didn’t seem to deter by WADA’s way of thinking. What makes them think a four-year ban would be any better at deterrence, since we are essentially quibbling about semantics?
2. More detail is needed here about the whereabouts program and what constitutes a violation. There is more than one recent example of a rider being accused publicly about a whereabouts violation when the sanctioning body was mistaken for not updating their records with info provided by the rider. There is probably a technological solution to that problem if a whereabouts program is the way to go and WADA truly wants to do it right. (Proposed Biological Passports could make this program largely moot)
3. There is the whole “rat” vs. witness issue here. A witness reports what he/she sees. A “rat” is a conspirator who provides information on his/her co-conspirators in exchange for preferential treatment. It’s a reward system for at least two sets of negative behaviors. That doesn’t sound like a positive system to me. Also, not sure why the completely different subject of providing proof that a prohibited substance did not enhance performance is lumped I here? Again, more details are needed. Such as, what would constitute a legitimate standard of proof? Is this a real olive branch, or is it an apparent catch-22 like SOP’s and ISL violations?
4. Reduced testing time between A and B samples sounds like a good thing, if the testing is done properly. Does this mean that WADA has abandoned the idiotic proposal to do away with confirmation testing and to rely only on A samples? How will reduced testing time be implemented if there are questionable samples from late stages in future TdF’s when LNDD goes on vacation shortly after the race conclusion, especially if other labs, such a Gent, can’t get their results to match those of LNDD? (sarcasm intended)
5. Not sure here, but generally support WADA’s ability to appeal to mirror that of the athletes. WADA should not have special status wrt appeal vs. an athlete.

Any news on penalties for officials/agencies that leak confidential information and a myriad of other violations of current rules ……………..???

jrdbutcher said...

CFA seems to me to practice GIGO with some of his assumptions.

I’ll agree with part of CFA’s quote of Vaughters. Let’s hope Vaughters is right and this mess gets overturned at CAS. Sadly, nothing will repair the damage done to Floyd or serve to approximate the potential life he could have been living had LNDD completed the testing, as most of the uninformed public thinks they did, with Floyd’s 2006 TdF samples.

Lim probably knows more about Floyd’s power output than anyone, perhaps even Floyd. Given that Lim has data that shows Floyd’s output has been repeatable over time tends to anecdotally lend support to the notion that Floyd was falsely accused. High power numbers have been recorded during time periods when Floyd was tested and not suspected of doping. Neither opinion is proof. Anecdotal at best, and it depends upon which side of the argument you are on.

GIGO said...

Those who wish to see what data Lim collected can go look at GDC 1080
and GDC 1091

This includes data from 2005 and 2006.