Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday Roundup

News
The CyclingNews posts more fallout from T-Mobile's demise as a cycling sponsor, and Bjorn Leukemans has arranged for his "B" sample to be tested at the Barcelona WADA lab. His "A" sample was found positive for testosterone earlier this month after the World Championships.

ESPN publishes a Bonnie D Ford piece on the loss of T-Mobile's cycling sponsorship. The author speaks extensively with T-Mobile manager Bob Stapleton who says that cycling needs to adapt to this new reality, or face extinction. She also speaks with Doug Ellis, owner of Slipstream/Chipotle who has been very public in the battle against doping in cycling, but whose team has yet to face any kind of public scandal.

The Velonews reports that the court hearing the Andrey Kashechkin case, in which the cyclist claims doping controls violated his human rights, has stated it has no jurisdiction in the case:

However, the European Court of First Instance in LiƩge, Belgium, ruled Thursday that it did not have jurisdiction in the matter, noting that the case should have been filed in Switzerland, where the UCI is based. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union but is a signator to the human-rights treaty.

While the court declined to hear the case on jurisdictional grounds, it did offer some hope to those who feared the imapact Kashechkin's challenge might have on anti-doping efforts. The court noted that Kashechkin is probably contractually bound to comply with UCI and WADA doping rules, since the requirement to do so is an integral part of the agreement riders sign when taking out a license to race.



Blogs

Mari and Dave, for unknown reasons, had a quote from Mr. Pound, but it's been changed. Nothing Landis there now.

Zbicyclist appreciated what he read in Fatty's blog about real courage in the face of enormous obstacles.

Traceeloran continues the debate about what constitutes a PED and if PEDs should be regulated and legalized.

Muckbee
reminisces about riding the mountains of North Georgia.

All on the Field posts part 2 of an interview with "Steroid Nation" author and blogger Dr. Gary Gaffney.

42 comments:

Mike Solberg said...

Has anybody noticed that on the July 22 IRMS, LNDD even labeled a peak in between the 5bA and the 5aA? Isn't that peak unaccounted for in any other IRMS 'gram? Notice that that is just two days away from stage 17.

syi

p.s. maybe somebody can add a link to the proper exhibit?

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Mike, do you mean:

Ex 87 Landis F3 from idiots look at data II?

TBV

Larry said...

Mike, while you're asking questions, has anyone noticed that the scale on the y-axis for the "A" sample total ion chromatogram (USADA 171) is much smaller than the scale for the corresponding "B" sample TIC (USADA 348)? I doubt it means anything, but why would that be?

Mike Solberg said...

Yep, that's the one. So you noticed that, huh? There wasn't any discussion of it the comments of "ILAD II."

That looks to me like a major problem for USADA/LNDD. Here we are just two days after the critical test. In the July 20/Stage 17 test it looks like there might be something hidden and unaccounted for in that base area of the 5bA and the 5aA. Then two days later, voila, something is actually identified in that same spot. How can anyone claim that whatever that is in between the two peaks on July 22 isn't sitting there in the July 20/S17 IRMS 'gram, unaccounted for? It even shows up on the GCMS for July 20/S17, as a little bump.

Now, if I remember my Integration for Idiots training properly, it wouldn't even need to have a strongly negative CIR in order to skew the results negative. It would depend on where you placed the starts and stops.

So, it is there. LNDD admits it is there (on July 22). And it is unaccounted for. And the guy was found guilty?

Mike Solberg said...

Larry, the only reason I can think of is a different amount of sample injected. That has to do with the whole linearity question, I think.

syi

m said...

Sigh....

Shackleton figure 3.

Mike Solberg said...

Okay, m, I'm sorry, as TbV has noted I don't quite absorb and remember everything I read here. Remind me again where I can read Shackleton and what figure 3 is supposed to teach me?

They don't call me Mr. Idiot for nothin'.

syi

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Shackleton Fig 3a and 3b from GDC 1101, as shown in Fig 13 of Idiots look at Data, part III.

TBV

tbv@trustbut.com said...

So, it is there. LNDD admits it is there (on July 22). And it is unaccounted for. And the guy was found guilty?

There is something in the 22nd, and LNDD might plausibly argue it isn't there in the others, and since the results are broadly consistent, it "doesn't affect the reliability of the results."

They didn't take a CIR measure of it to give us a clue what effect it might have either. But we know from Integration for Idiots a third peak doesn't even need to be strongly negative to skew results down.

TBV

Mike Solberg said...

TbV: There is something in the 22nd, and LNDD might plausibly argue it isn't there in the others, and since the results are broadly consistent, it "doesn't affect the reliability of the results."

But they can't argue it isn't there on the 20th/S17. It is visible in the GCMS 'gram, as a very similar looking little bump in between 5bA and 5aA. If that July 20/S17 GCMS bump had some carbon in it, it could, in the IRMS, have been of the same magnitude as the number 14 peak in the July 22/S19 IRMS peak. And it could certainly be completely hidden in either the 5aA or the 5bA in the July 20/S17 IRMS.

(And I might add that if it was a metabolites of dexamethasone or methylprednisolone it could well have a significantly negative CIR as well as move around between the GCMS and the IRMS. LNDD did not use the same temperature conditions between the two. In fact, Arnie Baker has now proven that they didn't even use the same COLUMN in the two processes, but different columns with different polarities - but I am working on putting that information in understandable form.)

They have no way to show that didn't happen. Their PROCESS does not meet the requirements of ISL 5.4.4.2.1 Specificity bullet. There is just no way. July 22 proves it.

Mike Solberg said...

By the way, I still don't remember what I am supposed to learn from that Shackleton example. Does that undercut my argument somehow?

syi

tbv@trustbut.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tbv@trustbut.com said...


In fact, Arnie Baker has now proven that they didn't even use the same COLUMN in the two processes, but different columns with different polarities


Huh? Wow! Where did Baker do that?

Larry said...

Mike -

WHAT?

You drop a bomb like "different columns" in a PARENTHETICAL?

If they used different COLUMNS, then yours truly, an "idiot" spelled with two lower case "i"s, says "smoking gun" and "case dismissed".

The public right to know demands that you provide further details. We could have this case wrapped up before the weekend is over.

Mike Solberg said...

Oooo...now I got your attention. It's coming. The evidence from Baker includes quite a bit of graphics, so I'll work with TbV to get it in a presentable and understandable format. It should be ready by Christmas. (jk)

syi

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

syi,

You certainly do. If what you say is true, then it raises some serious questions about whether LNDD really found what they claim they found in Landis' samples, and whether we can rely on their data at all. Looking forward to your analysis.

- Rant

Ali said...

syi,

I can't wait until Christmas. There's so many holes in this case, it's leaking like a sieve. If this is resolved the way true justice dictates, I want to see two thirds of the arbitration panel removed from the bar (and I don't mean the one they prop up every night). Same goes for Tygart and Pound. There's a degree of negligence which must be considered criminal ... this is it.

Ali

jrdbutcher said...

Ali,
2/3rds of the arb panel, if they had any stones and/or ethics, would have conflicted themselves out of serving in the first place.

AAA (not the auto club) should be looking at this. Seriousy.

Mike Solberg said...

Okay, first of all, this all comes from Arnie Baker through email. I do have explicit permission to make it public. The down and dirty version of it is this - most of it is right there in the original LDP:

USADA 0124 says that the column used in the GCMS was an "Agilent 19091s-433." If you dig in the Agilent website, it is clear that an Agilent 19091s-433 is an "HP-5ms" column.

USADA 0153 says that the column used in the GC/C/IRMS was a "DB-17ms." Again at the Agilent website you can find the DB-17ms and learn that it is a different column with different characteristics than the HP-5ms.

Just as one example, the HP-5ms is "non-polar," and the DB-17ms is "mid-polar."

Baker has shown that the LNDD SOP required that the DB-17ms be used for both GC/MS and GC/C/IRMS, but for some (undocumented) reason they used the HP-5ms for the GC/MS. The evidence of that is a little more complicated, so I'll wait on explaining it.

The information Baker has given me also shows specific examples of how substances elute at different times and in different orders on these two columns, and even has an example of a steroid doing so (although not specifically 5aA or 5bA). That's part of the stuff that is graphics heavy and TbV will have to do something with it.

Obviously one of the first things you learn about the connection between GC/MS and GC/C/IRMS is that the chromatographic conditions have to be the same. Now we realize that not only were the temperature conditions different, the columns were different too.

“Whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. . . So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches . .” Luke 16:10. (props to Chris Campbell)

Larry said...

Wow. My jaw is on the floor.

I want to dive into these facts, and hold further comment.

Mike, is there any indication WHY LNDD changed columns? Was this just the way they did their testing (notwithstanding what their SOP required)? Or did they switch for a reason?

Mike Solberg said...

No, no indication of why. But my amateur guess would be that it had something to do with the heavy load of work during the Tour.

Btw, the USADA page numbers I gave refer to the A sample. I'll post the B sample page numbers later today.

syi

Larry said...

Mike, why would the heavy load of work have caused LNDD to change columns? I understand that a column might wear out because it's been used a lot, but they you'd replace it with the same type of column.

Also ... if you've changed both the temperature conditions and the column type, is there anything left of importance that has stayed the same? Is this the equivalent of using a different GC machine for the two tests? Is this the equivalent of doing the GC/MS and the GC/IRMS months apart in time?

Ali, careful about that disbarment stuff. We lawyers are supposed to zealously represent our clients. We don't know if any of the attorneys engaged in unethical practices. After all, these new facts appear to have been in the record all along. We have no evidence yet of a cover-up. I see no reason to accuse anyone of wrongdoing.

Bill Mc said...

Larry,

Re: your comment about no evidence of a cover-up - if you do not think that wrongdoing is evident, then how about reckless disregard for the truth.

Mike Solberg said...

The relevant page numbers for the B sample are USADA 0303 and USADA 0329.

Re why? I was just thinking about the amount of time it takes to run the tests. If they used a different column they could presumably run two samples at once, instead of waiting for the one column to be available again. But that might not make sense, because they probably wouldn't be doing any other IRMS analyses at the same time, so I don't know. Anyway, the reason doesn't really matter. They didn't document the reason, and, as an undocumented variation from their SOP, it is a violation of the ISO 17025.

The questions in your second paragraph are why I was delaying talking about this. I was trying to understand those issues better. From a legal standpoint I am not sure it matters. A violation is a violation. From a "search for the truth" perspective, I don't know. There must be some explanation for why the 'grams still do follow the same general pattern of peaks, although there are certainly some deviations from that visible. That is part of this that needs to be more fully explored.

syi

Mike Solberg said...

btw: when I said earlier,

"Baker has shown that the LNDD SOP required that the DB-17ms be used for both GC/MS and GC/C/IRMS, but for some (undocumented) reason they used the HP-5ms for the GC/MS. The evidence of that is a little more complicated, so I'll wait on explaining it."

I meant that the evidence it was a variation from the SOP is a little more complicated, not that the evidence they used the HP-5ms is a little more complicated. That's right there in the LDP pages referenced.

Larry said...

Mike, LNDD could have run two samples at once, but still used the same type of column to run both samples.

Bill Mc, disbarment is a VERY serious threat, one that no lawyer is going to take lightly. No one has seriously accused the USADA lawyers of unethical conduct, and any such accusation is going to require MUCH more than what we know now. Many cases are decided without presentation of all of the relevant facts, and many cases are overturned on appeal, and very few of these cases result in anyone being disbarred. Please remember that in our system, a lawyer is required to represent the interests of his or her client and (under most circumstances) is required to preserve the client's secrets. Yes, a lawyer can go too far in his or her zeal for a client, but there's no evidence that anything like that has happened here.

Ali said...

Larry,

You said "Ali, careful about that disbarment stuff."

You know what, I don't want to be careful about that stuff. I've never been comfortable with the disconnect between the truth and what the legal world regards as acceptable "evidence". That's why we're all here discussing this case now, isn't it? The truth got lost somewhere in the background ?

I'm afraid I cannot reconcile my own philosophy with one which accepts "winning" as a higher priority than finding the truth. I know that you guys are paid to win, but prostitutes are paid to put-out, right ? I would take their honesty over a lawyers any day.

Sorry, I know that sounds bad, but I blame lawyers for much of this situation (Tygart, Pound, etc)

Ali

Bill Mc said...

Larry, yes disbarment is a very serious matter, as if ruining a man's reputation and career on the basis of very questionable evidence isn't. Given all of the chicanery and mendacity we have seen in this whole Landis affair, I cannot help but think that the "attackers" (USADA, WADA, and their agents) should face risks commensurate with those faced by individuals that they attack. In that light, disbarment seems like an appropriate remedy.

But, all of that is just a distraction at this point. The focus here should continue to be on the science (or lack thereof) that was misused to attack Floyd Landis. There will be time afterward to deal with the miscreants.

Larry said...

Ali, it's the job of the lawyers to represent the interests of their clients, within the rules. There's no evidence that any lawyer broke the rules, and at this moment, there's no reason to suspect that any lawyer broke the rules.

The legal system depends on everyone (even USADA) having access to attorneys that will present their cases with skill and vigor. It's an adversarial process, by design. At the end, we're hoping that justice will emerge. It doesn't always happen, and sometimes, the system fails because the lawyer was too zealous or not zealous enough. You don't have to like the system. However, in 4000+ years of civilization, this is the best system we've come up with. If you have any suggestions to improve the system, send them to me and I'll see what I can do.

As long as you're in the mood to cast blame, do you have anything critical to say about the role that science has played here? Heck, at least we lawyers don't pretend to be purveyors of truth -- we freely admit that we're representing our clients. How about the scientists? Do you think they came across as lovers of truth? Seems to me that they lined up on one side of the arbitration or the other, depending on who paid them, and if they weren't paid, they didn't work (except for a few like you). That sounds a lot like that OTHER profession you mentioned in your last post.

Why blame Tygart? We all know he was representing his client's position. He didn't swear on a Bible. Why not blame Brenna, and Ayotte, and the scientists who swore to tell the truth? I can defend Tygart's conduct, can you defend Brenna's?

I'm not at all upset about any of the stuff you wrote, just feel the need to call you on it. I'll tolerate a certain amount of dumping on the lawyers, but in this case, I'm not going to tolerate too much from a scientist! :^)

Bill Mc, I see no evidence of any lawyer misconduct, and at this moment see no reason to suspect that any such evidence exists. If such evidence emerges, I will try to be the first to say so.

jrdbutcher said...

The Majority Award arbs shouldn't have been involved. There was a clear conflict of interest wrt WADA/IOC, recent evidence being their junket to China where elbows were rubbed.

The Majority Award arbs didn't write their own Award. Substaantial portions were written by their "scientific advisor". No one has been able to point to the authority that allowed him to become the de facto 4th arb. Our Canadian friends on the panel just kind of made it up as they went along and took it upon themselves to appoint him.

Conflicts galore. They should have recused themselves. AAA has an ethical problem built into their system as it allowed arbs to be involved with a hearing in which they had a vested interest in the outcome.

Now add to that the likelihood that they have purposefully misrepresented the facts of the case in the Award that they signed their names to, and there is a greater problem.

While I can sympathize with Ali's frustration, I don't generally blame lawyers. I do, however, place much blame with two specific lawyers, Brunet and McLaren, as they did not separate themselves from the influence of another specific lawyer, Dick Pound, and their cronies in the IOC and WADA hierarchy.

USADA lawyers may or may not have something to answer for? I would venture to guess they do because they also knowingly misrepresented. Loose rules of discovery may allow them to get away unscathed. Dollars and "trade secrets" had less to do with witholding documents from the Landis side than the need to keep the relavent facts in check to help ensure plausable finding against Floyd.

Let's hope CAS gets this right and Floyd sues the a**es off of those guilty of conspiring to frame him.

Just my opinion.......

m said...

If I may interject here.

What a load of hyperventilating paranoia and crap!

There has been no cover-up here as far as I can see or unethical conduct by the arbs or lawyers.

The models of the GC machines and the column specifications were identified in the lab documentation package which was supplied to Landis. Landis had an observer at the B sample who could observe the models and ask questions. Too bad he was an incompetent.

Yet Landis's lawyers and experts have made nothing of this. Why don't you accused them of covering up and unethical conduct? Why don't you hang them for malpractice?

You can't accuse the Arbs or USADA's lawyers when even Landis's attorneys didn't think it was important.

But probably Landis' lawyers and experts were right. It isn't important, either scientifically or legally.

Sheesh.

The most you can claim is that you are more brilliant than Landis's lawyers and experts, so go at it.

Ali said...

Larry,

In case you hadn't realised, sometimes I can be an ass.

And I do blame the "scientists"

(I'm now an "idiot" and an "ass". This place is doing wonders for my self esteem)

Ali

Larry said...

M, hope none of that invective was aimed at me. I am not trying to be smarter than Suh et. al., but I do have the advantage of the discussion here and the benefit of 20-20 hindsight.

Ali, you're cool with me. You weren't saying anything more than what many people were thinking anyway. I just want the discussion here to stay fair, and focused. Just like you, I think.

Mike Solberg said...

m, I don't think there was any cover-up. As you say, the information was in the LDP all along. I do think that Landis' team just missed this in prep for the May hearing, but they had an amazing amount of information to sort through, and had to focus on what they thought were their best bets.

I guarantee you at least one member of Landis' team, Arnie Baker, thinks this is a very big deal, and I would suspect it will be part of the CAS appeal.

Also, I might note that, as described above, the reprocessing documents were an important part of the chain linking all this together, and they only had that mass of information three weeks or so before the hearing. Without those documents they didn't know that the switch in columns was a violation of LNDD's own written method (SOP) and thus a violation of ISO 17025.

All along the Landis team has focused on the legal arguments, as they have to in this context. This didn't become a clear legal violation until they had time to look closely at the reprocessing documents.

Also, I haven't figured out how to post the information yet, but the information from Baker makes it clear that peaks can and do switch order with different columns, and there is at least one study which demonstrates that for steroids.

I agree with TbV that this probably doesn't mean a change in the order of the metabolite peaks, but it sure could mean there is movement of other peaks, which could interfere with the peaks of interest, and LNDD has no way of showing that that is not the case, as I believe they have to have according to ISL 5.4.4.2.1, and as required by common sense.

syi

Russ said...

Larry,
"However, in 4000+ years of civilization, this is the best system we've come up with." Did you mean the "Star Chamber" as Bill labeled the WADA/USADA arbitration process, or the US Justice system which is purposes a presumption of innocence?

btw There was a recent study of California arbitrations concluded. It seems CA is the only state that collects the statistics which made the study possible. If I recall correctly, arbitration, as a result is now under congressional review!

Russ

Larry said...

Russ, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Did you think I was defending the ADA arbitration process? I don't think I said anything like that.

The discussion was about the role of lawyers generally in society, and (to put it bluntly) whether lawyers are prostitutes. I took the relatively unpopular position that lawyers are not prostitutes. I pointed out that lawyers participate in a system of jurisprudence that is by nature adversarial, where lawyers are expected to advocate vigorously on behalf of their clients. This is the "system" I was referring to with my reference to 4000+ years of civilization.

You mention the presumption of innocence. That's another important advance in human history, but since it doesn't relate directly to whether lawyers are prostititues, I was not discussing this presumption.

We were not discussing the ADA system of arbitration per se. This system needs reform, and I think I've said so here. But one of the positive aspects of this system is that FL could hire a team of dedicated and skilled lawyers to best present his defense.

To all: this is my last post for a while in defense of lawyers, or in defense of my defense of lawyers. I want to spend my time focusing on the meaning of these "plain sight" facts.

m said...

Larry,

My invective was not aimed at you, but at almost everyone else who posted (probably with the exception of Swim). They deserve a spanking for hysterical lynch mob mentality.

Larry said...

M, hope you understand. Some people here feel that they've been lied to. MY first reaction on hearing this new information was to spew out a string of four letter words that would have made a rapper blush.

I think we all have to understand that this is a very, very complicated case. I've been reading through the testimony again to see if I can find anything of interest on GC columns or use of different GC machines (so far, nothing), and I'm astounded all over again at the number of different aspects of the doping testing that both sides had to contend with. With 20-20 hindsight, we can now focus on those issues we think are more relevant or more interesting, but how many of us could do this in May? Or even in July?

So M, I think we all overlooked this piece of evidence, including USADA and the FL team. I don't assume that USADA was aware of this all along and hid the truth from us, nor do I assume that the FL team knew about this all along but thought it was too unimportant to mention. This fact managed to stay hidden from all of us too, despite our best efforts to understand this case.

I think the first job is to figure out what this point means. I personally think it means "case dismissed", but I'm still in the middle of my analysis, and I'm looking forward to hearing yours.

jrdbutcher said...

M,

Thanks for the insult, and an invective right back at you.

The mob doesn’t seem to me to be either hysterical or interested in a lynching. Some might enjoy the spanking you think they deserve, but I’m not going to venture to guess about their kinks or yours. For me, I’ll decline the spanking.

There has been unethical conduct by the Majority Award arbs. It was unethical for them to accept the position as there were/are conflicts of interest wrt their ties and/or aspirations within the IOC. That was demonstrated by their presence in Beijing, along with others in attendance, shortly before the Malibu hearing. Quite bold. They didn’t seem to be fazed by the appearance of impropriety or the actual impropriety of their junket. It was also unethical of them to appoint a de facto 4th arbitrator, for any reason. Please cite the authority that allowed them to engage in that maneuver which resulted in a further stacking the deck against Floyd.

I think the “hysteria” you noted was closer to righteous indignation and a celebration that the Majority Award arbs (all 3 of them, and that doesn’t include Campbell) were caught in an outright lie. As TbV has noted, the Majority Award arbs wrote, “The GC column is, of course, the same in both instruments”. TbV charitably characterizes this as being a “misstatement of fact”. I’ll call it an outright lie.

As far as the lynching is concerned, I think you are mischaracterizing the sentiment. I won’t speak for others. I called for guilty parties conspiring against Floyd to have their a**ses sued off. That would require a legal process that includes real, not show, due process and does not constitute a call for a lynching. If you want to ramp up the rhetoric with words meant inflame, that’s your call. Enjoy.

For the record, I believe there existed a climate ripe for a huge mistake like this to happen in connection with the 2006 TdF. My thinking is that Floyd was unlucky enough to be in a position to draw the short straw. WADA/LNDD wanted high profile rider(s) to be caught doping to show progress on the war against doping. This would tend to support Dick Pound’s bombastic statements regarding cycling (and a very few other select sports) to be populated by competitors who systematically dope.

I think LNDD pulled the Floyd is a doper trigger before they could check their work and confirm their results. The story leaked to the press, as is the norm with much of LNDD’s business. With a high profile rider, a high profile race, statements from McQuaid and Pound, and a zealous press in possession of information that was supposed to be confidential at the time, it was impossible for key officials (UCI/WADA/LNDD/ASO) to summon the courage to dial back the rhetoric and handle the situation in a professional manner. This case was not ready for prime time. The B-sample had not even been tested.

It was a comedy of errors. There was no early conspiracy. That came later, as it was political suicide for key officials to admit to a mistake in the hyper hyped situation they got themselves into. The rest of the “fix” had already been taken care of. It was written into the rules to begin with and gave a clear and unfair advantage to WADA/USADA in adjudicating the case. The part they truly regret is leaving in the “sunshine clause” that allowed Floyd to demand a public hearing in Malibu. They weren’t too thrilled Floyd had/has the stones to make the data public either.

I say, let the sun shine in and onward to CAS. YRMV.

m said...

JRD and Larry,

Don't pretend that their cries for vengeance wasn't invective also.

I don't pretend to measured argument when I want to kick butt, they do when called on it.

m said...

JRD,

That comment was directed at you also.

the Dragon said...

jrdbutcher, points well made...If Arbs, WADA and USADA were charged with ethical behavior, they would be found NOT GUILTY.

m, Thanks for the compliment, I might take it more peronally if I could find one instance where you DID NOT make excuses for any LNDD shortcoming. I accept it as frustration that more are not drinking the koolaid.

Regards,