Due to the immature ravings of some miscreants, we've felt obliged to turn off the ability to make anonymous comments. I do this with great regret, having been open to them for 10 months and gotten good responses by being that open.
It's puzzling how the comments that are made by the vandals can be seen as promoting their supposed cause, and it's gone on long enough to suggest they are not going to stop.
We may revisit this decision from time to time, but I'm tired of playing cat-and-mouse.
We sincerely regret the inconvenience this will pose on the many responsible parties who make comments, from all viewpoints. To post comments, you have to create a Google account and be logged in to it.
September 07: Hearing Award
October 07: Hue's Hearing Appraisal
November 07: Major document Release
January 08: Larry's Curb Your Anticipation
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Due to the immature ravings of some miscreants, we've felt obliged to turn off the ability to make anonymous comments. I do this with great regret, having been open to them for 10 months and gotten good responses by being that open.
We've been asked about archiving documents that appeared on the USOC pressbox. Rather then copy them, we'll refer you to a search of the site that reveals all the things there:
The LA Times Michael Hiltzik publishes a piece in this morning's edition in which he writes that the recent Floyd Landis vs USADA hearings, whose outcome is pending, exposed not only a lab whose competency is questioned, but also a rigid anti-doping system in which errors and mistakes can be concealed:
Among the flaws Landis identified in the lab's procedures was that it failed to calibrate its instruments properly, reducing its results to mere guesswork — possibly skewed by a desire to find the results it was looking for. Christiane Ayotte, the director of WADA's Montreal lab, who had characterized the lab's errors as mere "boo-boos" that shouldn't invalidate its findings, acknowledged under cross-examination that in one analysis of a Landis sample, the lab actually had identified a compound that wasn't there.
"What is it?" Landis attorney Howard Jacobs asked as the witness frowned at an errant analysis page.
"No clue," she replied.
The Colorado Springs Gazette posts an AP blurb about this weekend's Teva Mountain Games in which Floyd Landis will participate. Any winnings his team may accrue will be donated to the fight against prostate cancer.
SF Chronicle runs an editorial saying cycling has hit rock bottom deeper than any other sport, and that a vast shakeup is needed. Remember the Chronicle chased BALCO for a long time, and is quite harsh on local star Barry Bonds.
Lancaster Online writes of the "vigil" taking place waiting for a ruling, and has quotes from Landis' parents and local friends. (tip in a comment.) There's this confused version of The Call, clarified in a followup here.
Garrett was also in the room. So was his wife, Mary Ann, the Umbles, and possibly Landis' parents, Paul and Arlene.
The Lancaster County contingent was part of about 15-20 people who were in the room in Geoghegan's parents' home, where they were staying, about 45 minutes from Pepperdine. They gathered in the large room most evenings for dinner and conversation.
"According to the time frame, we must have been in the room when the call was made, but we didn't realize it, because everybody was on their cell phones," said Garrett, who had expected to be called as a character witness for Landis. "It was a very hectic time."
Darlene Umble was sitting across the dinner table from Landis at the time the call would have been made. She said people were coming and going into the room.
"I didn't know about anything that had transpired. I didn't know about it until the next day," she said.
FloydLandis.com has a short blurb by Dr. Kay about Landis race-testing his new hip at the Teva Mountain games. He's still donating any earnings to Athletes for a Cure.
Rant takes on the SF Chronicle editorial above.
Outside Magazine's blog reminds us that former cover boy Floyd Landis will be competing in this week's Teva Mountain games.
Kona Tales gives us words to live by from Floyd Landis.
Velogal is in love with Hiltzik's new article, quoted above.
Attack Machine likes Hiltzik too.
Lex Autism liked the Boulder Report wrapup.
Go Faster Jim is irked by the reactions to the Telekom admissions, while saying the Kangaroo's are still out regarding Landis.
Internal Pigdog thinks Landis is toast, along with Ullrich. We get a plug, so it's just an opinion, and elevated above the snarks below.
Jose Mousetrap compares the Landis hearing to the Sopranos.
Snarks O' the Day
Velo pas terrain has a photo-cartoon, with a balloon coming out of Landis's mouth saying
Tell me Richard, how did you manage to stay popular in France whilst the rest of the world knew you were a cheat?
to which the ostensible Virenque replies, "Have you tried crying on TV?"
Floyd saying, "whilst?" As if.
The Minister of Information drags in Phil Spector, Alendrei Lugovoi, Jerry Fallwell and Tinky Winky.
Free PacMan thinks that Jones should run for President with Landis as his VP running mate.
Filthy McNasty ranks Landis a bigger A-hole than A-Rod, Bonds, Kobe, Ron Mexico, and T.O -- and he dropped a zero on the amount raised through the FFF.
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Posted by strbuk at 5/31/2007 03:29:00 AM
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
The LA Times posts an article by Patrick Brady which in light of recent doping confessions and the Landis hearings, proposes that cycling institute its own "truth and reconciliation commission":
But as Landis' case shows, cycling's anti-doping system pursues the athlete as the root of the problem. In fact, if riders are the users, it's the team managers and doctors who are the corner dealers.
So cycling is at a crossroads. These initial admissions could finally turn the tide against the omerta — the sport's code of silence. But Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme has called for anyone who admits doping to be banned. Confessing in exchange for unemployment isn't much of an incentive
The Bangor Daily News in the editorial "Wining Prescription," proposes that with all of the recent admissions of doping by cyclists, and the steroid problem in major league baseball, the commissioners of the various sporting bodies should develop safe use levels of PEDs and enforce those rather than continue an ineffective effort at a total ban.
The CyclingNews presents an interview with Dave Zabriskie at the Giro in which he extends his hopes for a good outcome for friend Floyd Landis after his recent USADA hearings.
Hawkes Bay Today NZ in an op-ed piece, feels we have Floyd "the flawed" Landis to partially thank for the recent outbreak of doping confessions in cycling.
The Independent Online relates the reality of a summer of discontent and scandal for American sports fans, and Floyd Landis is surely part of that reality.
Parish the Thought is still not ready to weigh in on the Landis hearings.
VisitorsLockerRoom points to an audio clip of radio guys riffing on Landis talking about The Call, and then goes back to excuse of the day history and weener jokes, before moving on to Spanish lawyers.
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Posted by strbuk at 5/30/2007 03:51:00 AM
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Over at DPF, folks have been poking around the per-lab AAF statistics, no doubt provoked by the 300% higher rate claimed for LNDD in the Landis opening statement. We first looked at lab stats back in September, using the 2005 data. These are new observations using the 2006 data.
First, Nomad takes a look:
I finally went back to look at the data more closely. Incidentally, a direct link is:
The distribution looks vaguely gamma, but the fit wasn't all that great. Anyway, some interesting things:
The mean percent AAFs was 2.16, while the percent total AAFs was 1.96. That's probably mainly because UCLA, which does 3x as many tests as anybody else, has an AAF rate of .99. However, in general the larger labs seem to have fairly mainstream results, with Paris and Ghent, Belgium being exceptions.
The variance of the AAF rates is 2.14, standard error is 1.47. So talking about being 1/2 the average rate doesn't really mean the same as being 2x the average rate. Being as low as .48 is still within 1, while LNDD, at 5.41 is 2.3 or so over. Of course, this distribution isn't normal, having no left tail, so we can't really talk in terms of confidence intervals directly. Somebody with more stats knowledge than me can probably tell us more on this, but it's pretty academic.
Cycling has an A sample AAF rate of 4.17%, over a full percent higher than any Olympic sport. Some of those are TUEs, and some are multiples on the same athlete as in the case of a longitudinal T/E study. But the same can be said of other sports, so the higher rate is definitely a bad thing.
LNDD finds 12% of the total AAFs in the system, more than any other lab. They only do 4% of the total tests. In contrast, the next highest lab in terms of % total AAFs is UCLA at 9.4% of AAFs, but it does 20% of the tests. (OK, that should've been easy math from their AAF rate being half as much the average.)
LNDD finds 10% of all testosterone AAFs, which is more than one would expect from their share of all tests. Their 12% rate seems to be at least somewhat a consequence of a lot of cannabis use, (nearly 20% of the total) though UCLA and Montreal have a lot of those, too.
Under the category of strange statistics.
Paris reports 2.38% of all the tests that it runs as positive for anabolics.
UCLA reports 0.37% of all the tests that it runs as positive for anabolics.
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(From Dario Pegoretti, builder of the Jack Handey Bike given to Landis, via BikeBiz forum)
" To my customers, dealers and friends:
I know some of you have been patiently waiting for frames that are in the works. In some cases it has been many months. For this I apologize.
Unfortunately, I have been sick off and on for the past six weeks or so and often couldn’t find the energy to work. It became so bad that I sought medical attention. After extensive testing I have just learned that I have cancer, in the form of Lymphoma.
I will start treatment, including chemotherapy, next week. My doctors tell me that the response to these types of treatments is individual. Different people can react to the treatments in vastly different ways. They cannot predict how it will affect me. It is not known if I will be able to return to work the day after each session or if it will be two weeks or even longer before I have the strength.
I do, however, have the desire to fight this disease on my own terms, not from a recovery bed. I will continue work to complete the orders I have in hand as well new orders as they come in. However, I cannot put a timetable on any orders at this juncture. Please continue to be patient and be assured that no short cuts will be taken to rush frames out the door that aren’t up to my usual standards.
If you have questions or concerns about your order, pending or future, my well being or anything else please direct them to the Dario Pegoretti distributor in your country. While I enjoy receiving emails from customers around the world I will not be answering them for the foreseeable future. Please accept my apology for this and understand that I will still read every email I receive.
Posted by DBrower at 5/29/2007 02:27:00 PM
Driven by curiosity, I went looking for other uses of the Dancing Monkey metaphor, and found fewer than I'd imagined.
We may need to credit the Hon. William Hue with original coinage of "the dancing monkey" as used in a courtroom. I'm sure he'll be amazed to have that be his most lasting contribution to world culture.
Here's one about the nomination of Justice Roberts:
Roberts wrote that the Metro's mandatory arrest policy was not unconstitutional in part because it would not have been "regarded as an unlawful search or seizure under the common law when the Amendment was framed," that is, under the law as it stood in 1791.
The guy's a loony douchebag and a tool of the State, but that irrelevant. Let's face it, his nomination isn't about the court. Bush said it was going to take him a month to decide on a nominee. He pulled this guy out of thin air to distract from the fact his Chief Advisor is a traitor, and the pres corps is getting aggressive because they saw one of their own to go to jail over it.
I'm surprised he didn't put him in a fucking gorilla suit, and direct the press to "Look at the monkey! Look at the funny monkey!"
INCITE connects another reference:
Textbook case of the Wookie Defense. Saddam made money from scam Y therefore scam X ceases to be of any relevance. Look at the monkey! What were we talking about? Damn that Kucinich is a crafty one!The Wiki article referenced above cites TWO uses of the Chewbaca defense in Episode 214 of South Park:
In the second use of the Chewbacca Defense, he ends by suddenly producing a monkey and shouting "Here, look at the monkey. Look at the silly monkey!" causing a juror's head to explode.BlackBeardStruck wrote in 2004:
He [Bush] used to hate people from
Californiauntil they were brainwashed by the republican monkey boy named – here, look at the monkey, look at the monkey! Arnold
Pickle and Chips has a comment from 2003 that says:
In that case the choice AT THE START should have been to pick the country with poorest human rights record and/or with a known tendency to suppress resistance in a violent manner. At the moment this is just convenient restrospective justification. "Here, look at the monkey. Look at the silly monkey."Comment by Poet's Chemistry may have the origin:
The Dancing Monkeys
A PRINCE had some Monkeys trained to dance. Being naturally great mimics of men's actions, they showed themselves most apt pupils, and when arrayed in their rich clothes and masks, they danced as well as any of the courtiers. The spectacle was often repeated with great applause, till on one occasion a courtier, bent on mischief, took from his pocket a handful of nuts and threw them upon the stage. The Monkeys at the sight of the nuts forgot their dancing and became (as indeed they were) Monkeys instead of actors. Pulling off their masks and tearing their robes, they fought with one another for the nuts. The dancing spectacle thus came to an end amidst the laughter and ridicule of the audience.
-"Not everything you see is what it appears to be."-
The references in Eugene O'Neill's "The Great God Brown" don't quite fit.
We will leave further exploration to William Safire.
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Posted by DBrower at 5/29/2007 11:06:00 AM
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The Denver Post gives us a little more detail on the upcoming Teva Mountain Games with a thumbnail sketch of each day's activities. Floyd Landis should be competing this Saturday and Sunday.
Rant today talks about the Wiki Defense set in motion by Team Landis, and why some of the things presented by Dr. Arnie Baker at various FFF town halls were omitted in the actual hearings.
TourSquad thinks that if something, like a fresh start for all including good testing programs and amnesty, isn't done soon you can kiss cycling good-bye.
BikeTeamOne knows that the Tour de France is already in trouble this year, since we may not know last year's winner until after this year's winner is crowned.
Absolutely Alex looks at "unsporting behavior" and thinks that cycling is in danger of falling into disrepute. Which may be the understatement of the year.
Broken by the Fall notes that after gaining interest in cycling by watching OLN, now Versus, it's become hard to find it in her heart to be a fan anymore with all of the doping scandals. She feels the taint on cycling by the prevalence of doping is like the taint on Christianity by those who do not practice its tenets.
Pleased to Meet You watched the auto racing marathon that is Memorial Day on TV, and would have been accused of doping like Floyd Landis had he been able to stay awake during the constantly interrupted coverage.
Tangential Ramblings is torn about supporting this year's Tour de France because of recent events including the Landis hearings.
20/20 finds that cycling has made too much use of "creative truth" in the recent past.
Debatable Land takes on NYT's handwringing by George Vecsey we linked the other day.
Brand Soul talks about "ethical dilemmas", starting with Landis "behavior regarding the use of EPO", and proceeds to ask a few other questions, equally informed.
Potholes and Roadapples notes Landis' appearance at the Teva Mountain Games.
Posted by strbuk at 5/29/2007 03:32:00 AM
Monday, May 28, 2007
The Belfast Telegraph catches up and posts an article about the appearance of Dr Wolfram Meier-Augenstein at the Landis hearings. The compensation the Dr. received for his appearance at the procedure was noted as was his lack of confidence in the LNDD and the results they produced in analyzing Landis' samples after last year's Tour de France.
The Philidelphia Inquirer's Bob Ford notes that finally a Tour de France winner has been "nailed' and admits to doping, but it wasn't Floyd Landis.
The Times (UK) runs Paul Kimmage's rumination on doping in cycling. He's not surprised by anything.
Vail News tells us the Teva Mountain Games are starting, and Landis is still scheduled to compete. They think he might give his team an edge. We're not sure -- he took at least a week and a half off training recently.
Snark O' the Day
Contra Costa Times seems not to have been paying attention, repeats the sort of list that was fashionable last August:
TOP FIVE LIST
Floyd Landis' top five explanations for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs:
5. Never been a good test-taker
4. Thought they were grading on the curve
3. Drank a bad batch of Snapple the night before
2. Once shook hands with Greg Anderson
1. Wanted to do something Lance Armstrong had never done
Environmental Chemistry's editor's blog posts a piece about their disappointment at the lack of real science reporting presented in the mainstream press coverage of the Landis hearings. He wonders why it takes a small time newspaper like the Anchorage Daily News to cut through the tabloid chatter and get to the heart of the matter, and that is an incompetent lab is determining what happens in the professional lives of many athletes, not just Floyd Landis.
Rant picks up in the theme above and is right on in his indignation that there was no science reporter to interpret for the masses what the majority of the testimony was about in the Landis hearings:
OK, for the technically less inclined, what does this mean? In calibrating their equipment, LNDD doesn’t run a standard (or known) sample that contains all of the metabolites they’re looking for in a testosterone screening. If memory serves me correctly, the sample LNDD used only contained one of the metabolites.
Now, the tricky thing about this testing is that you need to match a number of peaks on a graph for a known compound to peaks on a graph for the unknown compound (that would be Landis’ sample, in this case) in order to identify what the sample contains. If they line up, then you’ve got a match. If they don’t, then no match
Manuel's View thinks that with doubt now being cast on Floyd Landis' performance in last year's Tour de France fans may be disillusioned enough to seek "real' competition and watch the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) . The UFC is undeniably honest in what it's purporting to do, and you can trust that what you see is what you get.
Tow.com thinks that now it's come to light that Floyd Landis, and almost 4/5 of the peloton, doped during competition Lance Armstrong's accomplishments are even more spectacular. Seems Lance was the only clean rider, and won against a bunch of cyclists using PEDs.
Passion2Ride is struggling to regain the fitness she lost and while climbing hills yesterday ruminated about whether Floyd Landis will have to struggle to regain his fitness as well. She hopes to see him on a bike competing again someday because he's a great rider, and happens to be "hot".
Biking and Hiking Tour Blog is scratching his head over the state of the pro peloton
Kat on a Wire Finds the Floyd Landis saga is more like a witch hunt than a search for justice, and at the same time is contemplating "computational doping". Kat wonders if a software program she is thinking of, that would manage computer memory making it easier to access, would be like those who use PEDs in cycling. Would it give an unfair advantage?:
There are clearly some similarities: person uses artificial substance to enhance their ability to perform; person may get more money and more prestige as a result of better performance; person isn't competing solely on their natural talents. There are also some strong differences: sport has one winner (individual or team) whereas research competition usually has several; elite sporting is more financially lucrative than elite research; the public gets emotionally caught up in sport.
DPF finally starts to discuss the relevant science from the hearing, and you3 seems to be showing how the LNDD methodology has problem. OMJ isn't buying it quite yet, and Nomad is provoking everyone to work on their answers. Duckstrap seems to tie things together at this evening's end. Full Post with Comments...
Posted by strbuk at 5/28/2007 04:51:00 AM
Sunday, May 27, 2007
The video archives of the hearing are at Courtroom Video Network. We don't know how long they will be there, and there doesn't look like there's a way to download them.
UPDATE: A reader has downloaded, converted and sent them to us, and we've put them up in a permanently available location at archive.org.
The Anchorage Daily News' Craig Medred, in a must read op-ed piece, said that in all of the time he has interviewed US Olympic athletes he has never heard a good word about USADA, and after that Landis hearings he knows why. He feels the only reasons Joe Papp and Greg LeMond were put on the stand was to smear Landis, they offered nothing in the way of real science, and it showed the lengths to which USADA will go to "win":
Landis' scientific experts pretty well shot up the work of the French lab that found him positive for testosterone use last year, but the USADA is sticking to its belief in the infallibility of that institution because, well, it's an institution.
The fallibility of science-driven institutions was smeared across the skies of America for all to see when the space shuttle Challenger exploded over Florida. Science is fallible because it is a product of people. People make mistakes.Sometimes people die because of these mistakes. Sometimes careers are simply ruined. Win or lose at the hearings, Landis will have a black mark next to his name foreve
ESPN.com's Bonnie DeSimone reviews the hearing, and on the whole thinks going public was worthwhile, if not without its own complications:
Character issues will always hover over doping cases, even though there are probably jerks who race clean and nice guys who cave to temptation. USADA opted to offer the arbitrators a chance to judge Landis by the company he kept in addition to the hormones found in his urine. The agency's tactics can be questioned, or labeled a distraction, but to be fair, so can those Landis used.
The Geoghegan/LeMond incident is scrawled across the mural of this case like graffiti. It injected a tabloid tone into the hearing that could very well have a chilling effect on accused athletes contemplating their defense strategies in the future. It served as USADA's Miranda warning: Anything you say can and will be used against you right along with your body fluids.
However, there's probably a middle ground here. If an athlete has nothing to hide and few rash acts to account for, allowing the public to view lab documents and enabling people to sit in on a hearing seems unlikely to tilt the process against him.
The NY Times George Vescey tells us to go ahead and watch the Tour de France this year, but don't take it seriously. Despite the hearings and impending results for the "loopy" Floyd Landis, the biggest blow to the race come from Bjarne Riis' recent confession that he cheated to win the race. We could all be watching a dying sport.
Chicago Trbune's Philip Hersh aims at Lance, passing through Riis, Ulrich, Andreu, Hamilton, Heras, and Landis.
CyclingNews thinks Omerta is being chipped away.
IOL.za passes on Joe Papp's suspension.
Rant in a piece we missed from yesterday, wonders what happens next in the cycling world with all of the confessions and revelations that we have seen of late. And he wonders what the effect of these confessions will be on Floyd Landis's case.
Can't Holder Tongue realized yesterday that in the desperate fight to find the lost keys maybe they have been located after all, and maybe the lab made errors that gave false positives for Floyd Landis.
Bicycle.Net thinks that all in cycling need a blanket amnesty, and then we start all over again.
Edge of the Road has a different solution:
This is a sport that deserves to be shut down. It should be put on hiatus, until it figures out how to police itself. Or until athletes somehow decide that honesty is the only way to glory — and big paychecks.
Erik is starting to think everybody in cycling dopes.
LoneCactus seems to be thinking much the same.
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Posted by strbuk at 5/27/2007 05:27:00 AM
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Some opinionated observations from close up at the hearing:
- Most people, including me, did not get the importance of the methodological peak identification problems that Brenna nearly perjured himself to try to bury. LNDD has a designed-in mistake in their SOP for IRMS that is common among all tests they have ever run. They don't run a calibration mix that includes the 5a, 5b, and pdiols, so they can't identify peaks in the IRMS correctly, or in conformance with the ISL IDCR -- creating an ISL violation on any AAF they have ever declared on 5a or 5b - pdiol. This is a disaster for LNDD and whoever has said their procedure was correct -- including Brenna, Ayotte, Catlin, Aquilera, and Botre.
- Landis spent too much time on Mongongu and Frelat, which hamperered them later. There was probably more we weren't given because of time constraints. Depositions would have helped an expedient hearing.
- USADA's Young was very good at gaming the system, both procedurally and during direct and re-direct examinations. He's not so good at cross of technical witnesses. By way of example, consider the brouhaha over time during closing arguments. Young held back nothing in his summation, but made Suh shorten his to allow time for rebuttal of a response that Young never made. This shortened Suh's summation, and was a pure "game" move. Similarly he routinely coached his own witnesses with leading questions and "walking" and "talking" objections.
- People who are nice in the pressroom and halls can still write incredibly slanted stories. Looking at multiple sources is usually a good idea. A good way of checking bias is counting paragraphs covering one side vs. those presenting the others, and where they occur in the story.
- There were many snipes by counsel about discovery issues. There is something clearly broken in the way those disputes are handled. Perhaps it is the lack of teeth in the ability to exclude evidence, or the lack of effective discovery deadlines.
- Lemond should never have been allowed to testify, and his testimony was probably allowed in to punish Landis for the Will-provoked circus. There are hanging legal issues to be explored whether Lemond's refusal to answer Armstrong questions was proper.
- Lemond's attorney should have not been at the USADA table, he should have been behind the bar or in the witness box. He should not have spoken on the record, and should only have spoken to his client in private.
- Bringing Papp and Lemond in at all did not speak well to USADA's scientific case.
- We think a lot of people were reading TBV. Young's "rabbit out of a hat" remark in close seemed taken directly from us; Suh's calling USADA on walking and talking objections came after Bill pointed it out; And Suh's successful use of the "Young Gambit" -- "the expeditied nature of arbitration, as USADA has often argued" also came after we pointed it out. We think Herr Doktor was amused by the greased pig analogy.
- We think some of what was in the Arnie Baker slideshows was not very important, but that USADA spent a lot of time preparing as if those were the only key issues. They were certainly warned that there was other stuff, but USADA never seemed to have looked for or found it.
- At hearing, the real deal-breakers are the ISL failures to properly identify peaks. These came out in the DPF discussions, but the particular detail of wrong cal-mix leading to know known elute time in the IRMS was sprung at the hearing.
- All the rest is lab sloppiness that can account for some quantitative errors in the result, but it's hard to know how much effect anything would have. This includes acquisition non-linearity and all the possible analysis errors, both manual and automatic.
- The retesting was a foot-bullet, as we suspected. The base science case was unaffected, in that the peaks were not identified any better than they were the first time, because the methodology is wrong. However, both the retesting and reprocessing gave detailed views into the workings of the LNDD that were useful to know. Sitting and watching Mongongu and Frelat work was very important. Having Davis and Scott see it was more useful to Landis than Brenna and Botre were to USADA.
- Will Geoghegan showed up, and took his lumps. My opinion is that if he'd been trying to intimidate Lemond, he'd have done a lot better job of it, and remained anonymous. I'm sticking to the incredible lapse of judgment, insane prank theory, as unpopular as that may be.
- Things got very serious in the press room after Lemond's testimony. The amusing novelty was gone, and it was onto a different plane, instantly.
Some things that got challenged, and remain in dispute:
- Whether overlapping peaks with the same CIR get reported correctly or skewed one way or the other. Herr Doktor said skewed against Landis, Brenna said in Landis' favor. Neither said there was no-effect.
- The real story of the alternate B sample testing and negotiation: Why LNDD, why no split, timing, etc. There are some documents there I'd love to get to see what happened. I don't think anyone has been telling the whole truth.
Things we expected or hoped for, but didn't see:
- The mass-spec identification of the IRMS data, to check for co-elution.
- A clear example of sloping baseline effect on reported ratio.
- A clear example of how linearity could affect results.
- A clear example of shoulder affecting results.
- A clear example of unknown baseline improperly added or subtracted affecting results.
- The UCLA IRMS results from the August OOC tests
There was some flattering coverage of us in a few places.
- Bicycling, in the tidbits section;
- Opinio Juris, at length.
- Sports Illustrated (page 2)
- EnvironLaw, part 1 and part 2.
- What Sport What called us "Trusted Enough" in a feature.
- USA Today Sports Scope.
- CyclingFans didn't like our take on Lemond, and inability to get a print copy of L'Equipe.
- Information Cul-de-Sac
It still looks like we'd have to buy a link to be noted at CyclingNews, or Pez, and with our budget, that ain't gonna happen. Readers are right, VeloNews is softening up.
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The Chicago Tribune's Philip Hersh notes the admission yesterday of Bijarne Riis that he doped to win the TdF in 1996. Hersh goes through a laundry list of cyclist admission, non-admissions and accusations from the pro peloton that looks like a cycling hall of fame and naturally includes current TdF winner Floyd Landis' recent hearings. Hersh wonders if cycling has even a shred of credibility left, something on the minds of many people no doubt.
The Washington Post carries an Ellen Goodman op-ed piece about extreme makeovers, athlete-style. She wonders about doping, hip replacements, lasik eye surgery, all of the non-natural ways that athletes try to make the field of play uneven.
Spinopsys thinks that with the Riis admission yesterday of doping to win the TdF, Floyd Landis might as well keep the yellow jersey from last summer because eventually his conscience will catch up to him and we'll get the truth.
Music Sports and Adventure thinks Riis makes Landis denials harder to take.
AOL FanHouse is irked Riis will get a pass because McQuaid wants to honor the 8 year "statute of limitations"
Triple Crankset thinks,with reference to Phil Hersh, that it's time for not only Floyd Landis, but also Lance Armstrong to just come clean.
Passion2Ride is finally getting out and getting fit. After recovering from Floyd's Powercamp, and being marooned in front of the computer watching the Landis 'circus" it's time to get on the bike and just go.
Crowlie takes Young's character slams in closing at face value, and thinks Landis should have defended himself quietly.
Adventure Blog says, "Breaking News; Cyclists Dope!"
MASI Guy vents on Sports Illustrated's blind spots to doping in other sports
Kevin Pflum returns to the topic after last talking last summer, and thinks The Call demonstrated Landis has the ethics to dope.
Potholes and Roadapples talks about the book tour touching down in Lancaster.
REmeidaKing says test them all, every day, all year.
CyNicoleSN says take his title, already.
Steve and the Tank thinks Baseball has issues, but Cycling has a major problem.
Phantom Reflections is glad he bought a Klein instead of a Lemond.
Regal Vizla doesn't know any German or Spanish doctors, and has never met Landis.
For the record, though, I have no idea whether Floyd is innocent or not. I have to admit that what little I know of Dick Pound, the WADA, and this French testing lab, a lot of high school science experiments seem to have more integrity. While there so many bizarre details about his case, I have to admit that his lawyers' argument that why would Floyd take synthetic testosterone, a stimulant with no known short-term benefits, to win stage knowing that he would definitely be tested at the end of it, is pretty convincing. I hope I'm not gullible.
If you read the comments we delete before we get to them, we're gullible too - but "no short term effect" is not the defense we'd like to hang our hat on.
Numb Butt Becker shares his feelings: "Fuck Floyd Landis"
Can't Holder Tongue thought the only two options were (a) he cheated or (b) he was sabotaged. Dumb error hadn't previously entered her mind.
Spinnin' Wheel sees walls crumblin down in a lot of places. Still livid with Geoghegan, gives us a nice plug, and closes with:
In one of those bizarre twists of fate, I found this on the inside cap to a bottle of iced tea I had recently:
"Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good." - Joe Paterno
Some found Floyd's similar reasoning in his testimony to be trite, but it rang true to me. And I couldn't help but think of Joe Pa[terno]'s sentiments in relation to USADA, who relied so heavily on The Call in their closing statement. Is that really how they want to win this case, would that really taste good? We have seen in recent days that some don't seem to much mind the taste, and felt it was the only dish on the menu.
Full Post with Comments...
Posted by strbuk at 5/26/2007 05:12:00 AM
Friday, May 25, 2007
In this post by You3 at DPF, we get the start of an understanding of the impact of background subtraction, along with a summary of the important parts of the defense as presented:
I think that the Landis defense was pretty clear that they assert that there was an error in the analysis.
The defense lawyers presented evidence that
1) the analysis failed to conform to various International Labratory Standards,
2) the analysis failed to conform to the IRMS equipment manufacturer's specifications,
3) the documentation on what algorithms are implemented for background estimation and subtraction by the IRMS machine no longer exist
4) the operators and their supervisor were not trained by the IRMS manufacturer or someone qualified by the manufacturer
5) the executed process was not documented sufficiently to be reviewable or repeatable,
6) there were no controls in place to establish or validate the accuracy of background/baseline subtraction for complicated urine matrixes
7) there were no IRMS calibration samples for 3 of the 6 metabolites
8) there were no SOPs in place to specify the process for the placement of integration limits.
From here on out, we're starting to get into the deep end.
I don’t think this forum [DPF] has done much exploring the process of background subtraction and the nature of the potential errors that might occur. As far as I could tell, the Isoprime1 software allows the specification of some number of points that are believed to lie on the the background baseline curve. The software then interpolates a curve between the points and considers this the background baseline 12C height. Further, it must interpolate the d13C values along the line between the points. This, in effect, establishes a 13C height curve, but the height is 2 orders of magnitude smaller than the 12C curve. To the extent that the reference points are further apart or the actual background baseline is more complicated, the more prone to error will be the estimate of the curves.
The testimony from Davis was that no one knows anymore what algorithms are used by the IsoPrime1 OS2 software to do the interpolation of the 12C background baseline height or the d13C values along that line. Anyone who has drawn smooth curves with reference points in PowerPoint or any other drawing program knows that unexpected twists in the curve can occur as points are specified. The IsoPrime1 operator could view baseline curve and the effect of the baseline curve on the m/z 45/44 ratio plot. But, there was not indicatation that the user interface provided explicit information as to the quality of the fit of the curve, although it did provide the d13C measurements of the peaks after background subtraction.
Let’s look at how sensitive the d13C measurement is to accurate background baseline subtraction. It turns out that the smaller the elute peak and the larger the background contribution, the more sensitive the measurement is to errors in the background measurement. By my estimate, the sample B 5a-diol (USADA0350) measurement is 4 times more sensitive to background measurement error than the 5b-diol measurement in “Mix Cal Acetate 001A-100ng ing” (USADA362). Error is also more likely because the background curve is complex and there appears to be co-elution in the neighborhood of the 5a-diol peak. This differing sensitivity to error between MixCal and urine samples tends to undercut the assertion that the MixCal analysis establishes linearity of measurement since the measurement of background ratios would tend to stress the linearity of absolute measurements of m/z 45 and 44 quantities. In particular, the background has the lowest currents (abundance), but the measurement must still be accurate.
The background area underneath an elute is not documented in the LDP. In order to estimate the area, I assume the elute peak is a Gaussian curve. From the area and the height, the standard deviation can be calculated. I then estimate the width of the peak as 6 standard deviations. I estimate the height of the background contribution from looking at the plots on USADA0349 and USADA0363. Then, I calculate the area of the background as the product of that height and the width of the elute peak.
The table below captures the characterization of the two peaks:
(edit: Note, I take the reported area to reflect just the elute, not inclusive of the background. I can't be certain this is correct. By examination of the plots, the height includes background.)
Landis B/F3 MixCal
Values from the LDP:
Elute d13C: -31.88 -33.63
Raw peak height: 2.33e-09 3.28e-09
Elute 12C area: 2.1502e-08 2.7273e-08
Background d13C: -56.94 -77.27
Background height: 5.0098e-10 2.0077e-10
Elute std dev 4.69 3.53
Percent raw 12C
area elute: 60.4% 86.5%
Percentage raw 12C
area background: 39.6% 13.5%
13C/12C ratio: 1.087896e-02 1.085929e-02
Elute 13C area: 2.3392e-10 2.9617e-10
Elute width: 28.1 21.2
Elute height: 1.83e-09 3.0792e-09
Raw peak d13C: -41.80 -39.52
Raw peak 13C/12C: 1.076744e-02 1.079309e-02
Raw peak 12C area: 1.4097e-08 4.2565e-09
Raw peak 13C area: 1.4939e-10 4.4135e-11
I can now calculate the amount of background 13C that needs to be attributed to the elute peak, instead of the background, in order raise the d13C measure of the peak by 3 delta units. The Landis 5a-diol needs to change attribution of 0.48% of the background 13C, while the MixCal 5b-diol needs to change by more than 4 times more at 2.01%. Note that the background d13C measure for the Landis 5a-diol is still in line with that of the blank sample analysis at -64.54.
If the background subtraction for the Landis sample was in error, attributing 0.48% too much 13C to the background, then a d13C measure that was 3.00 delta units too negative would result. Did this happen?
Landis B/F3 MixCal
elute: 0.48% 2.01%
elute & bkg 13C: 0.190% 0.271%
New elute 13C area: 2.3465e-10 2.9709e-10
New elute 13C/12C: 1.091283e-02 1.089311e-02
New elute d13C: -28.87 -30.62
Delta change: 3.01 3.01
New bkg ratio: 1.054569e-02 1.015224e-02
New bkg d13C: -64.54 -96.55
Lastly, I calculate the percentage of background 13C that needs to be attributed to the elute in MixCal analysis in order to generate a 0.5 delta error, such that the error would be at the edge of the margin of uncertainty. When this percentage of re-attribution is applied to the Landis sample a delta change of 2.01 occurs, an error more than 4 times larger.
Landis B/F3 MixCal
elute: 0.3341% 0.3341%
elute & bkg 13C: 0.1323% 0.0451%
New elute 13C area: 2.3443e-10 2.9632e-10
New elute 13C/12C: 1.090254e-02 1.086492e-02
New elute d13C: -29.78 -33.13
Delta change: 2.10 0.50
New bkg ratio: 1.056138e-02 1.033284e-02
New bkg d13C: -60.14 -80.48
This analysis does not consider the contribution of oxygen isotopes to the errors. The background curve interpolation actually needs to interpolate a baseline value for all three detected ions. Around 7% of the m/z 45 ions are actually oxygen isotopes, not 13C. The contribution of the oxygen isotopes is calucated from the abundance of m/z 46 ions.
Any error that creates a more negative measurement is amplified by a reduced derivitization ion correction. An error of -3.0 delta units will generate a larger error in the corrected value.
(noted by an emailer)
USADA finally announced Joe Papp's suspension. It was signed on May 17. He's getting two years, and DQ of results back to 2001. So "the deal" is they treated all his admissions as a single offense. Naturally no word on the traffiking angle that came out when he testified at the Landis hearing.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Phil Sheridan feels that no matter the outcome of the recently completed Landis hearings, Floyd Landis is a loser and cycling is a filthy sport.
World News and Christian Views prints Floyd Landis' reputation , no matter the final outcome of the hearings recently completed in California, will be forever marred.
FoxSports On MSN says that a time bomb has been lit and that 6 weeks or so from now, when the Landis arbitration panel is expected to render its decision it may go off. In a piece filled with alleged French conspiracy theories, and the mud that was created by the LeMond fiasco Floyd Landis is seen as someone whose reputation may have been besmirched by that mud. He scored points with accusations that the LNDD was badly run, as were some of his tests, but whether that will be enough to produce a favorable outcome remains to be seen.
Sportinggo has a doctor write about how sick cycling really is in light of the current revelations, but has this to say about Landis:
Let it be known that I would be happy to ‘pull my head in’ if the court finds in favour of Landis. I have just as much disdain for sloppy laboratory processes because in my game, Medical Science, sloppy lab procedures could end up killing patients. The standards should be no different in anti-doping labs.
CyclingNews Letters go back and forth, less pro-Lemond than you might have expected.
Not sure we got this before. A comment points to a good Philly.com piece by Bob Ford about the hearing, and how the results seem fore-ordained to be a 2-1 conviction.
Rant tales a look at the "call" referenced last week in the Landis hearing by Greg LeMond and ruminates about why LeMond would testify. In a later post Rant takes a look at the suspension that Joe Papp received from USADA and that he signed off on it the day before his testimony in the Landis hearings.
The First 100 Miles is waiting patiently for a Landis decision, and while she is saddened by all of the Telekom doping admissions, she is not looking forward to defending cycling to friends. Such is the current cross cycling fans bear.
misterbicycle wants his subscription canceled, they all cheat.
Sirened says it's now official,cycling should just legalize doping.
Who Sport What reflects that there are No heroes in cycling after the admission of doping by Bjarne Riis, and he may be right.
Ajiva feels that the admissions of doping from European riders, such as Riis, make the "Circus Landis" hearings look absurd, and that Floyd should feel shame.
Environmental Chemisty, who we credited with a READ THIS standalone, follows up with a rebuke of LNDD's Chain of Custody:
[M]y connection to drug testing and COC protocols has drawn me to the drug doping hearings of last year's Tour de France winner Floyd Landis. Given what has been exposed during the hearings over the past week and a half, if I were being tested now, by the WADA accredited French testing laboratory LNDD I might not be so confident my tests were being handled properly. I was absolutely horrified to read the testimony of the witnesses and what it has exposed about LNDD. I was especially appalled by what was exposed during the testimony of Dr. Simon Davis
Phantom Reflections passes on the state of the coffers:
Velonews is reporting that Floyd Landis has all but exhausted his legal defense funds. This means that if he is found guilty, he doesn't have the cash for an appeal. You can add driving riders to poverty right after character assassination, which apparently are both in the charters of the USADA, WADA, and at least hinted at by the UCI.
(We're reminded we don't link as many Velonews stories as we should, and I think it has something to do with they're not showing up well in various searches. Don't be surprised to see a bunch of links to Jason Sumners's good reports all at once.)
I'm Pretty Sure We've Heard This One Before thinks that the Landis hearing was like watching "The Big Lebowski", and he still thinks Floyd is guilty, and wants him to be honest and come clean.
Who Sport What talks about TBV in his latest blog entry.
Blame the D*** Computer thinks that the whole Landis saga is very sad. Thanks for the plug.
QuickRelease.tv wants everyone to vote, and thanks for the compliment.
The FredCast Podcast has an update on the completed Landis hearings, and other cycling topics.
Bicycle Races are coming Your Way is convinced that that it takes two and that not only do the cyclists need to come clean, but so do the governing bodies controlled the sport.
An Athlete's Rise and Fall in the World feels that the alleged intimidation tactics used by Floyd Landis' former manager are confusing at best, and that if synthetic testosterone was found in Landis' sample it was there, period.
Agent Holly notes what seems to be book tour:
..Floyd Landis, winner of the 2006 Tour de France, signing copies of Positively False
- 6/27/07 12:30 PM at Bryant Park Reading Room - 42nd Street. New York, NY.
- 6/27/07 7:00 PM at Bookends - East Ridgewood Ave. Ridgewood, NJ.
- 6/29/07 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble – Red Rose Commons. Lancaster, PA.
- 7/2/07 7:00 PM at Chester County Book & Music Co. – Paoli Pike. West Chester, PA.
Oz Report complains about Landis hearing coverage by the mainstream media. We don't rate, but the echo chamber takes over and our note gets picked up by HighClearing.
Proleptic Life thinks Landis has imploded, from both the call and by the post.
Ordinary Bo just laughs at the Telekom revelations, and wonders:
If the Tour officials don't take Riis' championship away from him, then what does that say about their unrelenting threats and attacks on Floyd Landis?
Dugard talks cycling and Tlekom and Riis and throws up his hands.
Jody has taken some pictures of Landis for publication, and shares some thoughts.
Thought Mill think's Riis's admission today takes some heat off Landis, a contrarian view. Full Post with Comments...
Posted by strbuk at 5/25/2007 02:56:00 AM
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I want to bring a reader's questions regarding my own ethics to the forefront so that there is an answer that all can see.
The reader observes:
Lastly, the the Judge - I have to ask - is it ethical for you to be reporting with a bias on a case the whole while that the proceeding was going on? You judged Floyd innocent prior to the full arbitration? I hate to say this, but golly, I certainly hope I'm never in your court. Perhaps I'm just being naive..
...same poster as above: I correct myself in saying 'you judged Floyd innocent before the full arbitration?' - I agree that we must assume a presumption of innocence, but this is different in the fact that he was tested and the results indicated doping. That was fact before any of the final analysis was complete. To make snide comments about the prosecution before they've even presented their full case is simply juvenile. Everyone talks about the science, and yet science that isn't in favor of the Landis camp is routinely avoided
Here is my reply:
Thanks for your question.
I, like you, hope never to see you in my court.
Your observations about my judging Landis innocent before hearing all the evidence was incorrect and ignored virtually every post I have ever made, in public, and I have posted everything under my own name. I'm glad you corrected yourself but I must also point out that I have also never judged him innocent, even now. I have stated that that job belongs to others and I will wait to read the decision before I come to any final conclusion. I will publish a detailed analysis once the decision is published.
As to your notion that I was juvenile and snide in my observations concerning the prosecution , others might disagree with you. I think you are incorrect, myself, but that is my opinion and you have yours. Everyone is free to have their own opinion. I proudly stand by the entirety of my work here and elsewhere.
You have asked a question about my own ethics as a Judge. I obtained an opinion of approval from the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Judicial Commission prior to engaging in any commentary concerning this matter and the authority granted contained no limitations.
Apparantly, according to parts of your observations I did not choose to publish here, you think this blog is "out of control" and "became more biased in the desperate hours". Finally, you state that FFF should prove they didn't pay any money to Geoghegan "as the fair thing to do for all those people who have donated so much."
Unfortunately, this blog isn't everybody's cup of tea. You probably should address your additional concerns directly to FFF as we have no authority to respond on its behalf.
Only one new story today (I'm expecting more action tomorrow), in Le Monde. Le Monde is an afternoon paper which comes out with the next day's date on it. So this story, which appeared on the website and in the newstands this afternoon, was dated May 25, 2007. (That probably accounts for the error in the first sentence. [Note: Reader cam suggests that in fact the hearings did end on May 24--Paris time. I'll agree that that's the proper explanation.])
At the end of his hearings, Floyd Landis cotinues to deny doping
by Stéphane Mandard
The Landis page is temporarily on hold. Thursday May 24 [sic], the hearings for the 2006 Tour de France winner--in front of the American Arbitration Court (AAA) in Malibu, California--came to an end with closing arguments from attorneys for the rider and for the American Anti-doping Agency (Usada). The Usada had begun disciplinary proceedings against Floyd Landis--who faces a suspension of two years and the loss of his title--following his positive test for testosterone after the 17th stage of the Tour. The court's decision is not expected to be known for at least a month.
The hearings, which lasted nine days, did not bring any new elements to light. True to the line he has been following, Floyd Landis continued to deny having doped.
An incontestable result
He only just admitted that the initial explanations he provided to explain his abnormally elevated level of testosterone--drinking beer, taking cortisone, or even having a naturally high testosterone level--had been wrongly suggested to him by his first lawyers. The experts called by the two sides argued for diametrically opposed conclusions regarding the integrity of the results from the Naitonal Anti-doping Laboratory at Châtenay-Malabry (LNDD), where the analyses were done of the racer's urine specimens. Landis' defenders maintained that the measuring instruments were improperly operated and that one could not clearly conclude that a test was positive. To the contrary, "The data are excellent and clearly show testosterone," concluded Wilhelm Schanzer, director of the Anti-doping Laboratory of Cologne (Germany) who had been called as a witness by the Usada.
An independent report commissioned by the French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) also concluded that the results of Floyd Landis' positive test for testosterone were incontestable. Moreover, the rider has agreed with the AFLD not to race in the 2007 Tour.
Full Post with Comments...
Posted by marc at 5/24/2007 04:28:00 PM
During testimony about whether linearity was important, Dr. Brenna made the statement that "it's ensuring the yardstick measures the same at six-inches as it does at six-feet"
Which I thought illuminating-- six feet is rather off-scale for a yardstick.
I think this got confused, but we can explore this over time.
I believe what cross of Dr. Brenna was getting to, but not quite closing upon, was that the peak identification methodology of the IRMS testing at LNDD is fatally flawed by design.
Cross of Brenna's rebuttal seemed very close to catching him in an outright lie, but Suh let him off the hook, perhaps from being short on time or distracted by the upcoming close. It was by far the most aggressive questioning of the hearing.
None of the accreditation inspections, internal review of the process, or Dr. Aquilerra and Dr. Botre's supervision of the retesting and reprocessing detected this methodological flaw.
Well, perhaps Aquilerra and Botre noticed, but they didn't say anything about it. Which is a more charitable interpretation?
It has to do with the correct use of relative retention times, but the simple explanation still escapes me. I believe this is the heart of Herr Doktor's testimony, and that Brenna's rebuttal tried to sidestep the issue by diversion on a non-relevant point, which was done correctly.
If the more technically adept of our readers can try to explain, we'd all be indebted.
[UPDATE:] Clearest answer so far:
The testimony indicated that by ISL every peak needed to have a retention time that was sufficiently close (1% or 0.2min) to a corresponding peak in a reference sample. This check insures the right peak (elute) is chosen, the gc column is behaving correctly and there are no contaminants or interferences. But, what reference is to be used for IRMS peaks? If you use the GC/MS reference results, the elution times don't match. It turns out that there isn't even a good linear fit to the relationship according to my calculations. In cross, USADA addressed this issue by pointing out that the calibrations samples (MixCal?) could be used for reference times. But, Davis pointed out that some of the metabolites are not included in those samples, specifically Andro, 5a-diol and P-diol, in other words all the ones that matter for Landis. So, there is no way of establishing that these 3 peaks elute at a time sufficiently close to corresponding peaks in a reference sample.
I think that everyone believes that these peaks are mainly composed of the expected metabolite, but a key ISL check is missing with regard to proper GC operation, contaminants and interferences.
I have previously observed that it would be good to include both 5b-diol and 5a-diol in the calibration to validate that there are no unexpected interferences between the two peaks.
Herr Doktor Professor Wolfram Meier-Augenstein also pointed out they have a cal mixture with the right references in the lab, but choose not to use it.
The LA Times Michael Hiltzik reports on the final day, before deliberations, of the Landis hearings at Pepperdine University. Amidst mud slinging by USADA, unsure science, and unexpected drama, the case ended with the closing arguments. USADA brought up the drama from last week surrounding Greg LeMond and tries to impugn Floyd Landis' character with what his former manager had done. Maurice Suh denied the "guilt by association" tactic and then stuck to the science of the case:
Time gaps in the analytical record, he argued, suggested that the lab had re-analyzed control samples repeatedly until it obtained results that showed its equipment was working properly.
"That's not quality control," he said. "It's fraud."
Technically only the hearing phase of the proceedings is over, the verdict still needs to be rendered, and either side can appeal the decision to the CAS.
The Age.com.AU notes that Floyd Landis' fate is now in the hands of the three member arbitration panel.
The VeloNews Jason Sumner also writes about the end of the nine day odyssey that was the Landis Hearings. Predictably USADA said that Landis was guilty, the facts of the case, the results of the testing, showed that. Team Landis hammered on the unreliability of the LNDD results and asserted that this hearing was about more than just one athlete's fate. No decision will be announced for at least six weeks, and either side can then appeal to the CAS. Regardless of the outcome Landis was successful in pointing out lab inconsistencies and the overriding power of the anti-drug establishment.
BikeBiz,in one of the more intriguing stories of the day, asks just who will wear the "golden fleece" in London at the beginning of the Tour de France this year? Floyd Landis' fate may not be decided by the beginning of the race, and heir apparent Oscar Pereiro is now unlikely to be given the yellow jersey either. Any guesses?
Bicycling posts an AFP story noting that now the wait for Floyd Landis begins.
The Carlisle Sentinel .com posts Eddie Pell's AP summary of the final day of the Landis hearings.In it is is observed that the world has likely not heard the last of Floyd Landis and his defense team.
The NY Times Lee Jenkins sums up yesterday's final testimony, cross examinations, and closing arguments. Landis lawyer Marice Suh pointed out in his summation:
“The only thing they want you to see are these results,” Suh said. “They never want you to look behind what supports them.”
USADA's lead lawyer Richard Young pointed out:
Young, was not quite as theatrical as Suh in his closing argument. Given a chance for rebuttal, Young said, “When the facts aren’t on your side, you accuse people.”
No decision is expected in the case for at least a month.
The Valley Advocate posts an editorial piece in which Floyd Landis is seen as a loser no matter what the the decision of the arbitration panel is.
CNN.com , in a slightly unrelated issue, reports that German superstar cyclist Eric Zabel admits to having doped during the 1990s.
ProCycling covers the last day of the Landis hearings,summing it up as a "win at all costs vs systematic failure" scenario, as it all supposedly came down to character and science, for both sides.
The CyclingNews also covered yesterday's closing arguments in the Landis case. Maurice Suh, lawyer for Floyd Landis, described the LNDD's lab work as "garbage in garbage out." No decision will be expected for at least a month.
Rant thinks that Floyd Landis deserves better than what has been heaped on him in the past 10 months. Floyd's legacy now cannot be what it might have been because of the exploitive nature of the media looking to sell papers rather than be really straight about the whole truth. Heres hoping Floyd can go for a ride today and just forget for awhile.
The First 100 Miles wonders just how Floyd Landis will be able to wait for what might seem like an eternity for a decision from the arbitration panel that heard his case. Thanks for the kind words, you're very welcome.
Velogal says "shame on you USADA" for spending tax dollars unwisely and consistently taking the low road. Thanks for the "thanks".
Sabernomics was happy that the Landis hearing was public and feels it exposed the closeted system that is WADA/USADA. He is not sure if Landis can be cleared, and after what he saw he feels that Floyd will not be able to get back his reputation, or any of his endorsements. BTW, thanks for tuning in.
The Boulder Report's Joe Lindsey writes a very considered piece about his disillusionment with what Team Landis presented at the recently adjourned hearing, and with cyclists in general who scream they are innocent of doping charges. The Landis PR campaign is blasted for giving us all the impression of what they were planning on emphasizing at the hearing, most of which never came up. Lindsey also claims that most people think Floyd Landis is a liar, and that he would not want Floyd to spearhead any anti-doping reform. Lindsey concludes:
I think Landis is a good person at heart. But in more than a decade of covering cycling, I’ve seen this drama play out many times, always with the same ending. I was willing – hoping, even – that he would be able to provide some compelling reason to believe not just that the tests couldn’t prove he doped, but that Landis was innocent, a clean winner of the world’s greatest race. Unfortunately, nothing he presented at the trial brings me any closer to that position.
Doping wishes the anti-doping labs had their stuff together better so that cheating athletes couldn't stand up to them in court.
EnviornmentalChemistry.com's posts an editorial this morning which states the revelations made by the Landis defense about the LNDD were appalling:
I am not a cycling enthusiast, but my connection to drug testing and COC protocols has drawn me to the drug doping hearings of last year's Tour de France winner Floyd Landis. Given what has been exposed during the hearings over the past week and a half, if I were being tested now, by the WADA accredited French testing laboratory LNDD I might not be so confident my tests were being handled properly. I was absolutely horrified to read the testimony of the witnesses and what it has exposed about LNDD. I was especially appalled by what was exposed during the testimony of Dr. Simon Davis, who has a PhD in mass spectrometry and did much of the designing of the mass spectrometer in question (including writing parts of its procedural manual).
Steroid Nation very aptly puts the concluded Landis hearings into proper perspective this morning, and life such as it is goes on.
The Grayzone thinks that it's now even tougher to be a cycling fan since the Floyd Landis hearings. Full Post with Comments...
Posted by strbuk at 5/24/2007 03:28:00 AM
Only an Agence France Presse story this morning, which appeared in L'Equipe online. I expect the big wrap-ups will be posted for tomorrow's editions.
After nine days of hearings, here are the final arguments of the two sides. First, from the lawyers for the American Antidoping Agency (USADA), then, those from Floyd Landis' lawyers, who concluded the American rider's hearings in front of the independent American Arbitration court (AAA). We must now wait several weeks to know the verdict.
Richard Young, for the USADA, first tried again to prove Landis' culpability, to justify the two years' suspension requested by the disciplinary authorities in charge of the fight against doping. His manner was pointed: "The science is solid. Mr. Landis had traces of exogenous testosterone is his specimens from the 17th stage. He cheated, and he was caught." The American lawyer then defended once again the work of the French laboratory which conducted the famous positive tests: "The technicians of the LNDD have been called incompetent, on the one hand, and evil geniuses, on the other. What Landis is trying to make us believe is that they were both at the same time. The panel has the opportunity to judge their credibility. They did their work with pride. They are not people who have anything to hide."
Young then did not pass up recalling the Landis clan's slips during the trial, notably the incident involving Will Geoghegan, friend and representative of Landis, who threatened Greg LeMond several hours before the latter's testimony. Landis' cross-examination regarding this matter, one recalls, was not particulaly shrewd, calling LeMond's credibility into question. It remains to be seen what importance this affair within the affair--far removed from the technical case--will take on in the judges' deliberations.
Young's adversary, Maurice Suh, for his part, put together a brilliant argument to demonstrate his client's innocence, focussing especially on the technical side of the case. During his closing argument, Landis' attorney was insistent about the handling, identification, and analytic errors made by the LNDD, and he repeated the testimony of all the witnesses called by the Landis camp, who had denounced the lack of diligence of the French laboratory. Some of these witnesses had even explicitly called Landis' positive test into question, explaining that such sloppy work could not serve as the basis for "suspending an athlete two years."
Suh ended in a grandiloquent and theatrical manner, emphasizing the points that will probably be important to the arbitrators: "This case should never have been taken this far. But it was. And now it should stop." The question the judges will have to answer is whether the errors and omissions of which the LNDD is accused did or did not play a role in their analyses--in effect, a way of establishing whether Floyd Landis did or did not dope during the 2006 Grande Boucle.
To the expectation that it will be several weeks before we know the verdict, Sport24 added:
The greatest likelihood is that the loser will appeal to the Sports Arbitration Tribunal (CAS).Full Post with Comments...
Posted by marc at 5/24/2007 01:04:00 AM
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
That's over, and after the drive up I5, back home. Summaries, analysis etc. will follow, perhaps not until the weekend. We're a little burned out. Roundups will continue, probably at the normal rate.
I have pictures of slides from Young and Suh's closing, but it's kind of a hassle to upload, so that will wait.
One question to ponder: If USADA was worried about Landis "tampering" with data files, now that they know about "save method" in the software, is there a reason not to give him a copy now? They could always run a "method" he provided against their own known-good data if there was any question.
[UPDATE:] USADA has refused to let Landis have his actual data. It has remained in the posession of Dr Botre. Davis was only allowed "remote control" access during the reprocessing at LNDD. Young attempted to argue that was "good enough"
Special thanks are due the rest of Team TBV: Paula, who has been doing roundups all alone for the duration, Marc in Paris, and our guest star Bill Hue, who has added a level of insight that could be found nowhere else.
None of this would be possible without the unfailing support of my children and wife, who have given me all the rope necessary.
Suh is a the podium, settling in. Brunet and McLaren is present. There are exhibit boards. Campbell shows up.
Brunet moves away; it gets quieter. Brunet is back.
SUH: thanks for time, consideration and attention; also to Dr. Botre. A long 8 days. We said the case was a disaster, and a disaster is what we've proven.
We've shown significant errors in every phase of every test. Identification, QC, chromatography, manual processing, deleted data, and other ISL violations.
Perhaps the most important, common sense.
We have tried to look behind the false positive, and what supports it. Incompetence and
Dr. Botre quote about reliability of the process. Believes in good stuff, not bad labs, cherry picking, and Incorrect results.
Burden of proof discussion; bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegations mace.
"Must present evidence" is not the same as saying the results are good. No speculation, looking for facts. We've left USADA's summary of results, which we've left up, because we want to look behind it.
USADA hasn't even tried to demonstrate, making only conclusory statements.
All these things run together. There's reasons manual processing needed; why data deleted; fabric of QC failure at LNDD. Any one broken link is fatal to the case.
Failed identification. Both the TE and IRMS. If you don't identify correctly, the test is worthless.
ISL Violation -- three diagnostic ions required. LNDD only looked at one. Goldberger brought 10 examples to demonstrate. UCLA shows how to do it right. LNDD chose to do it wrong.
This is not a theoretic problem, we can brush off with "that's OK"
Identification in T/E identified compounds that were not even there. USADA did not even try to prove TE results. Produced summary charts, results only, without supporting information following the results.
All the longitudinal results are invalid because of lack of supporting data; not even addressed.
Response has been it's just corroboration. It's not if it doesn't follow the rules.
Every single S17 TE is unreliable. It's out.
Shouldn't have proceeded to IRMS.
Identification to IRMS. Must do two kinds of identification. The results are sitting here in view, but what about the identification they are doing the right thing?
Whether or not this is the proper method, even though Dr. Brenna tried to suggest it didn't matter this morning. But USADA and the LNDD techs said it was.
And Dr. Brenna said so. They said relative retention is how you do it.
Our table show relative retention times way off what they should be according to the ISL.
Without being able to associate the peaks you don't know what you are looking at. How do you know the forest is what you are looking at.
Should stop here. Failed to identify.
Failed Quality Control.
Mix-cal acetate is not an acceptable positive control.
We've never said the MCA's are bad. It doesn't mean it's accurate. Perfect 6" group off to the left means you are precise, but not accurate. When you turn to others, we see urine a bad matrix. You job as a lab tech is to separate and identify it.
That you can identify things in MCA doesn't mean you can do it in Urine.
MCA cannot be a positive control.
The MCA's are out of range in the blanks and actual samples. Brenna said "there were standards at each level".
Chart by M-A shows affect of inaccuracy on the internal standard.
How do we even know they are the internal standard? The relative retention times are wrong.
We do know there are 2 in the sequences in A and B samples.
We know QC steps not run immediately before and after the samples. Curiously, the time it would take to rerun samples. We don't know. Should be documented.
Errors build one on top of one another. Pattern of mistakes, necessary to cover the previous mistake, which creates a need to do something else.
B sample, another time gap, time to rerun samples to get the result you want.
Both times, the operators signed off -- these are not QC, it's a fraud.
Bad chromatography-- throughout this case. Examples from Goldberger and M-A.
S17, S11, S15, S19, S20; similar problems in all.
Saw study from M-A, shows what can happen to per-mil values. Chart with effects. All over; Showed a 2 mil difference in an example. Mr Young's example was more significant than he imagined when he gave it to M-A.
You can't assume the athlete is guilty and back into it with the science.
Fatal chromatography with 2/1 trace; it doesn't have the resolving power that Dr. Brenna says it does. M-A explained it too. M-A showed you that when background changes, you can't assume background is being integrated correctly.
USADA did not meet burden. Questions were speculation, lawlessness, not rules.
Manual processing. No changing defenses here. "We almost never knew"
Why an audit trail? ISL requires to prevent what we saw here. The software allows you to document matters of subjective judgement.
Deleted Data. Why needed? Which ISL provisions apply? "Another competent analyst could evaluate the data." What's done here is shocking and wrong. Why was this being done and hidden it it's correct.
-32.22 isn't -31.76, and we're that to support quality control. Outrageous.
Just in Sample A? No, also in B.
The pages came from some other sequence. We don't know.
Log Files. It's a pattern and practice at LNDD. We almost didn't get them.
We've had them testify. Sometimes they remembered, sometimes not. Sometimes "the results were not correct."
There is no interpretation of the rule that allows that.
All this needed because of previous failed steps.
All the check marks in USADA briefs of things done correctly.
Other ISL problems -- CoC quotes from rules. The CoC form is a summary only. We have to rely on memory.
We have never claimed the techs are evil geniuses. We think they are neither. Untrained, lack of procedures. Nothing to suggest they are evil. It does surprise us that an operator with 6 months of training was testing the TdF champion's B sample.
CoC quote from Landaluce.
Lab documents, crossouts, improper procedures. Our point has never been that these were someone else's samples. It was about sloppiness and lack of care. Seven errors on one page. What does that tell you about quality and training? It's no good.
In March of this year there was a discovery dispute, and LNDD produced in March. This was one dealing with preparation of reference solutions. We saw some strange things. This is supposed to be a living documents. Supposed to be a conteporanesous log, but the handwriting is the same all the year.
How often in March to you write previous year? I have never written the subsequent year. We got it in March 2007. We think this is fraudulent and made up in response to our request.
This should concern us all.
Strange lab practice.
We're not saying any of these thing alone is enough to invalidate the results we've had up all week.
Can you now have a comfortable satisfaction everything was done right?
What happens? GIGO
Same sample, we get a bunch of different T/E values. These make no sense.
These violations have a result.
Inconsistent reprocessing results. This shows what happened during the reprocessing. We shouldn't just cherry pick the results. The mistakes made in one part are
We find it curious that auto processed blanks appear to be positive.
Inconsistent retesting results; Amory's argument. Except for 7/13, the 5a and 5b don't move together. USADA's theory here says Landis took T to parade around the Champs E'Lysee.
No evidence anything can produce those 5a and 5b skews.
The longitudinal-- Catlin said "there is no sign of steroid use until you get to the box"
Marches through Opening statement assertions.
Claim that we shifted theories is simply not true. We didn't have a theory, because we didn't have facts.
USADA has had a shifting theory. It used to be that things were perfect. Now it's "good enough" if we cherry pick the data.
The ugliest part of the argument is that if the ISL doesn't apply to these problems, then the ISL is a fraud. It applies by it's plain language.
Bunch of things in USADA's brief, statments made that are demonstrably not true.
If I were them, I'd have shifted my theory that everything was done perfectly.
WADA Code of silence vs. The Oath.
Mr. Young says they don't have to come, but how are they going to resolve telling the truth with the WADA "ethics".
It is offensive to call it a code of ethics, it's a code of silence, and we've seen it here.
"We'd better be creative" means "we're going to lie."
Two witnesses called and discussed at length by USADA. Joe Papp, who took so many drugs he didn't know what they were. Subject to lifetime ban. Haven't heard about that. They didn't call an andrologist.
Lemond did get an admission.
We were shocked by Geoghegan's actions, it wrong, and disgusting, and there should be no guilt by association, and should have no bearing on the science.
Can we be proud of LNDD's work? It matters not just to Mr. Landis. This is the first case to challenge the systematic failures of a laboratory.
This is a day in court for every athlete that LNDD has accused. Right now at LNDD, we may have lab techs with 6 months training who think what they are doing is right.
Can we approve of this work? Deleting files, changing data, not being able to identify the substances in questions.
If we do, that is what is coming to the 2007, 2008, 2009 tour.
Every athlete deserves to be treated better than this.
YOUNG: When the facts are not on your side, you accuse people, of lying, hiding, trafficing. We trust the panel to reach its own conclusions.
CAMPBELL: Provide findings of fact and findings of law, please.
CAMPBELL: sometime after final transcript?
SUH: one week after that?
YOUNG: whatever you want -- could take us a couple of weeks?
SUH: two weeks is fine.
BRUNET: Hearing will be adjourned, not closed; after final documents. This is unusual in arbitration, but I'd like to thank a number of people, the longest arbitration in First Pepperdine personnel, the AAA, Susan Pollakoff the media liaison.
I'd pay special tribute to lawyers on both sides, working on very challenging circumstances. Complicated data, and make it accessible. [ names individuals ] Also Dr. Botre, for Paris analysis and the hearing. Also legal assistance. Thanks to the court reporter.
Because this was a public, I'd like to thank the members of the press who have been respectfull of the panel and the press. We were concerned about possible disruptions, and this did not happen.
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