The LA Times' Michael Hiltzik writes about this week's WADA anti-doping summit in Madrid where the doping agency faces some difficulties despite some "victories" this year including the arbitration decision that went against Floyd Landis. The crux of the conference will be to update and implement "The World Anti-Doping Code":
The new draft, which is to go into effect in 2009, is almost certain to be approved. It will stiffen the penalties for several categories of drug use and water down a key procedural protection for athletes -- the requirement that positive findings from an athlete's primary, or A, sample be confirmed by tests on a backup, or B, sample taken at the same time. Several cases against prominent athletes, including Jones and Kenyan distance runner Bernard Lagat, had to be dropped after their B test results were negative or inconclusive. Under the new rules, a B test would not be needed to confirm a doping finding if the prosecuting agency "provides a satisfactory explanation" for the lack of confirmation. "That's a huge change that the anti-doping agencies have always wanted," said Howard Jacobs, a Los Angeles-based athletes' lawyer. "The B test is one of the very few safeguards the athlete has, and now they want to do away with it." Another proposed change would lengthen the possible suspensions imposed on athletes accused of doping. For a first offense, athletes found with even a trace of a banned substance in their sample are currently subject to a two-year ban from competition. (A subsequent violation carries a lifetime ban.)
The attempt to toughen penalties and tighten procedures comes at a time when WADA took some lumps at the Landis/USADA hearings where criticism of the LNDD, a WADA sanctioned lab, was part of the Landis defense. But, the ugliest part of the conference may actually involve the selection of retiring president Dick Pound's replacement, stay tuned.
The CyclingNews provides more details on the Michael Rasmussen story this morning with Rasmussen's response to the investigation into his dismissal last summer due out tomorrow. Also it appears the UCI's Pat McQuaid has some issues to deal with himself in Belgium today as he faces calls from European event organizers that he respect the traditions of cycling there, or they may take their marbles and play somewhere else. In the PM update the CN provides more details from the investigation into the Michael Rasmussen saga from last summer. It also appears that Danilo DiLuca will not bother to appeal his three month suspension by CONI to the CAS.
The NYTimes this morning reports that the "Mitchell Report" on steroid use in baseball is due to be published very soon, and all anyone cares about is naming the names. And from the Health Section better living, or performing, through chemistry is discussed.
The VeloNews posts a blurb for the appearance of Genevieve Jeanson, the Canadian cyclist who admitted to using EPO, on Bicycleradio.com this evening.
Reuters notes that few tears will be shed over Mr. Pound's departure from WADA, and cites Floyd Landis as one particularly dry-eyed observer.
ESPN reports that Patrik Sinkewitz's cooperation with German authorities has paid off. He will face a substantial fine of five figures, but will not be criminally prosecuted
The Boulder Report reads like a Floyd Landis old home week entry, without Floyd Landis. Joe Lindsey writes about Dave Zabriskie's wind tunnel testing done with the scientific assistance of Allen Lim. Further down in the piece the PowerTap/Zipp collaboration is expounded on.
Rant catches us up on actual Floyd Landis news including comments on the selection and naming of the CAS panel which will hear the Landis appeal as well as Floyd's op-ed piece published yesterday on TBV.
Derwood remembers a seemingly long ago epic day, and he has photos to remember it by.
Dugard thinks that endurance sports need to reclaim their relevance, and that athletes in more popular sports genres who cheat need to be treated by the press just as badly as they treated Floyd Landis.
Racejunkie looks first at Rasmussen, and crystallizes our own thoughts on hearing the "independent" conclusions:
Rabobank Lied, and It's Still All Rasmussen's Fault
Doesn't that work out well for the backer of the report?