Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Roundup

Remembering label sticking contests at the Oregon Dairy

Much of Team TBV is away from home for the next few days, so updates may be spotty. TBV is in Disneyland with family; Strbuk is in Ephrata, where WiFi is spotty, and will update when she can from this weekend's events. Here is a pic she took from last night's book signing.

Philly.Com writes about yesterday's Floyd Landis ride to promote the Univest bicycle race to be held in September. Landis told reporters at a press conference before the ride with 90 or so local cyclists that he doesn't know what to expect from his recent USADA hearings, but he is prepared for whatever comes his way.

WGAL Channel 8
posts an interview with Floyd Landis about his homecoming this weekend which included a book signing last night attracting approximately 500 people, and a sold out bike ride and picnic to be held Sunday to raise funds for the FFF:
I really wish I could just do it and nobody would have to pay anything to ride. I like to meet people. It hurts my pride to have to ask for money in the first place but I really do appreciate the people doing it. Ultimately I would go for a ride anyway," said Landis in an interview with News 8's Meredith Jorgensen

Lancaster Online
has part of an interview where Landis says he thinks he has 4-5 more years left before he's too old. First we've heard it put that way. I guess it means if he can race next year, he'd keep going for that long, and that if he gets a ban, he wouldn't be motivated to try to return for one or two years after the protour doubling would end.

The Washington Post blurbs the upcoming book tour stop Floyd Landis will make next week in DC

Bike Seattle does the same for a July 12th event in Sunny Town.

The Chicago Tribune's
Phil Hersh is disillusioned with cycling's premier event
The Tour de France, and even though he loved its' drama in the past he no longer looks forward to the spectacle, sadly he is not alone.

AFP reports Landis is waiting it out while the tour ramps up.

The Spoof (satire) in yet another attempt at levity uses Floyd Landis as the unwitting target.

Rant got energized by being an official at a crit, and gives us a potpourri of what he's been thinking the past couple of days. It goes from Lance Armstrong's "wiki lite" to the timing of the Landis decision.

Finger Food did get to talk to Floyd Landis yesterday in Ephrata and the interview will appear on CSN soon, additionally Floyd will talk to FF uninterrupted from five to five-thirty PM Monday on CSN on Daily News Live. Here is the partial transcript of the interview. He's waiting on a comment from USADA on something before publishing his real story, and knows they tend not to comment.

Le Bell Lap has a fever, and it's called the Tour de France. He is currently reading "Positively False" to get him through until it starts, and he thinks it's a good read.

An emailer sends the following:

This was my first trip to a book signing.

I phoned the store to see what time that they recommended showing up for the 7 PM talk with book signing to follow. The clerk answering said that there were 40 chairs set up. You could sit in a chair starting a 4 PM. At the time of my phone call I was about 60 miles east of the store and there is traffic on some of the roads going to Lancaster.

I arrived at the Barnes and Noble about 6:40 PM. There were no parking places available in the lot nearest the store. The store aisles were packed with people in a a long sinuous line waiting to get their book signed.

A rumor about a traffic accident spread through the crowd, but you have that covered.

Floyd arrived a few minutes after 7 PM. There was a round of applause when he was introduced. If you got out of line to go stand around the original 40 your lost your place in the signing line, but I figured the extra wait would be worth it because I was in the far back of the line anyway.

Floyd spoke for few moments about why he wrote the book. He said he wrote it mainly to give people from outside the Lancaster area some background on his life and to fully tell his side of his alleged doping since the media wasn't doing a very fair or thorough job.

Then he took a few questions, perhaps less than 10. Not much new in those exchanges, in fact, nothing new that I could discern. There were a few rounds of applause. He was asked to predict the winner for the 2007 tour. He said, "Not me." and laughed.

He was asked why other cyclists don't come against the WADA and USADA. He said that the cyclists need stronger representation and there is no "upside" to them coming out. Just a downside, especially if he loses his arbitration(s). But personally and one on one most cyclists that he speaks with support him and sympathize with his problems.

How long was the signing line? Floyd was done speaking, even with the questions and answers by about 7:20 or 7:25. I got my book and copy of VeloNews with "King Floyd" on the cover signed by 9:40 and there were still a lot of people behind me.

The word was that Floyd would keep signing books as long as people were willing to stand in line and wait to get them signed.

I'll attach two photos that I took of a guy that I stood in line with. He worked with Floyd at the Oregon Grocery market years ago when they were in high school. About 13 years ago or so. Floyd remembered him.
I only know his first name - Brian or Bryan  You are welcome to use the photos if you like.

Other emailers send the following pix as well:

Alex asks, "How many races do you lose?"

Can I drop Hockey and be a Bike Racer Instead?

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Roundup

At Amazon, Positively False is the #1 sports biography, and #4 in sports books, with "It's not about the Bike" at #24 (#6 sports biography) and Walsh is #25.

Lancaster Online says Amber Landis was in an accident trying to turn into Green Mountain Cyclery at 6:00pm. She was was making a left turn, run into from behind, pushed into the oncoming lane, and then hit by oncoming traffic. There was an unnamed passenger with Amber, and both declined treatment. Three others, not identified by police, were transported to Ephrata Community Hospital. Knock wood they are all really OK. This must have been pretty distracting at the 7:00pm book signing. Mr. Gorilla, below, seems even more so in context.

The Kansas City Star writing about the upcoming Tour of Missouri notes that Lance Armstrong made cycling popular, and Floyd Landis, among others, drove the sponsors away.

FOXSports article from a few days ago that we'd missed runs down the Armstrong - Walsh - Doping - Landis controversy, and Landis isn't painted in a flattering light. The author of the piece spoke to TBV, didn't get the quotes he was clearly looking for, and went elsewhere. He slams the June issue of Bicycling because it didn't trumpet story author Loren Mooney being the co-author of Positively False, getting the author of a Bonds book and Paul Kimmage to support the thesis it was a sham story. It claims the book violates the gag, which despite many headlines is not clear to us, and earlier contrasts Landis statement in the book there is no culture of doping in cycling with citations from Voet's book about Festina, and Kimmage's long-standing position.

We thought Landis' "no culture" comment was calculated and intended to shock and cause controversy, and it's certainly a claim that can be argued. Absent further explanation from Landis what he meant by the statement and inclusion, I mark it up as another of those "why did he say it that way" comments that have gotten him roasted plenty of times before, and hope he isn't meaning it the way it's been interpreted by the sharks who have lunged for it.

Bicycling's Boulder Report looks at recent news. While expressing general approval about reporters asking questions, he's wondering if it's good for the sport, and if the tide change has brought it's own smell:

As welcome as it is to see mainstream reporters finally abandoning the starstruck approach, their sudden reportorial rigor comes with no small hint of huffily indignant superiority.

We are shocked, shocked to see such behavior in the press. (FR) takes a Reuters report to read Landis is gearing for the 2008 Tour. We don't think that's news -- if he's allowed to participate, I think everyone assumed he would.

Dugard talks about Jaksche, then wonders if Landis is going to pop in somewhere:
I was saying the other day that Floyd Landis would be somewhere between Washington and Illinois when the Tour starts. Actually, he's got a pretty big gap in his book tour schedule. Plenty of time to fly to London after his July 3 appearance in D.C. and then hightail it back to Illinois in time for his July 9 in... what is it, Wheaton? Back when Big Will was running the show, that bit of guerilla marketing was all the talk. D.C., London, and Chicago are all United hubs. That's a pretty easy ticket.

Ordinary Bo is not entirely convinced that Floyd Landis is innocent of the doping allegations he is fighting, but he IS convinced that the LNDD is completely incompetent.

MediaPost thinks the Versus Network is back to square one with coverage of the Tour because of you-know-what and the absence of Lance. The only silver lining is that the race is wide open.

More Palaver reads Walsh's book and thinks it makes a compelling circumstantial case that Armstrong doped, and thinks one chapter skewers Hamilton, and the last "puts a fork" in Landis.

The Stranger
notes the existence of Positively False, and writes:

Lanids claims he was screwed, and that even though he won the race legit the “unchecked governing bodies of cycling” are determined to talk shit about his pretty sunset. We’ll probably never know the real story. Or at least I won’t: I’m not going to read this book. The only thing more boring than watching dudes ride bikes for a month is reading about it.

Now this is Tragic
comments on the Wiki Defense:
[O]ne person who's benefited from the site's open-use policies is beleaguered Tour de France winner-turned alleged doper Floyd Landis.

Landis invoked the "Wiki Defense," actually posting his entire defense online in the hopes that experts in the fields of chemistry, law, statistics, etc., would come to his side -- and they did. Prior to his Wiki Defense, Floyd was a guilty long before the world understood the difference between and A and B sample; now he seems to have genuine hope that his name will be cleared.

Potholes and Roadapples conducts a Floyd Watch in Lancaster, running down the schedule for the day.

The Road Bike looks at Armstrong's document release and unfavorably compares it to Landis' efforts.

Taking the Long Way went on a ride with Landis, and rescued Amber in distress wrenching for Floyd.

The 800 lb Gorilla
went to the book signing at Barnes and Noble tonight. He found lying about his press affiliations did not ingratiate him with the folks, and he doesn't seem to have shared much love with cycling or Landis going in. Was there really no open TGIF or bowling alley nearby?

Johnny Baseball/Finger Food
talked with Landis today, for future use on CSN, and had this impression:

Meanwhile, I’ll give my knee-jerk impression of Floyd… if charm and class are part of his defense then he wins. He’s definitely a top-notch dude all the way. Having had the chance to talk to hundreds of professional athletes over the past decade, Floyd is at the top of the list as far as interesting and engaging guys. He very definitely could have mailed it in with me after going through thousands of questions and other crap over the past year, but he was intent on having a real conversation and taking me seriously.

It’s too bad he doesn’t play for the Phillies.

I’d definitely put Floyd up there with Scott Rolen, Doug Glanville, Randy Wolf and Mark Grace as far as the absolute best guys to talk to… a top-notch and classy dude all the way.

He also points us to the Lancaster Online story about an accident involving Amber, above.

At DPF, a Chat interview with Walsh is quoted:

I don't believe the testing facilities are shadowy. I do believe in the Landis case, they did make some mistakes. But I don't believe the lab acted in bad faith. I believe because of the volume of the work they do during the Tour de France, they get stretched. But I do believe that Landis did produce a positive test for testosterone last year. Yes, the lab didn't do its work in the most professional manner, but I do believe that he tested positive.

I wonder how he explains the failure to identify peaks in the IRMS.

Podcasts points us to The Fredcast 75 talk with Paul Strauss of the Agency for Cycling Ethics. We haven't heard it yet.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lance goes (partly) Open in response to Walsh

From the Paceline,

Lance Armstrong's attorneys are making publicly available key documents referenced in the recently-published David Walsh book.


We've always thought that Armstrong paints his payout in the SCA case as being more of a vindication than the words in the award support. On the other hand, $7.5M speaks louder than a lot of words do. In the documents above, the ones that seem interesting to TBV are Tygart and Catlin saying none of the 12 USADA tests done on Armstrong were positive for anything, including r-EPO which features heavily in Walsh's book. Vaughters denies first hand knowledge of Armstrong, and says the infamous text message is gossip and speculation.

We added "partly" to the headline because this isn't a complete dump of the documents, nor does it include things relevant to the UK/Times case referenced in the Response Letter -- which would have been better as a PDF, by the way.

With this, we leave Lance-land.

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Thursday Roundup

The NY Daily News politely tells of yesterday's "Word for Word" event in Bryant Park with Floyd Landis where the 2006 Tour de France champions talked about his book and the defense of his reputation before what was described as a small crowd in sweltering heat. The last word in the piece is given to a WADA board member who emphasizes that a positive test result is a positive test result, apparently no matter how badly it was done.

Guardian (UK) reports Landis is hopeful he'll win the USADA arbitration, saying,

"In order to convict me they're going to have to fabricate something."

The New Statesman UK writes of the fan disillusionment and monetary loss that is Tour de France cycling at this time. But, as the TdF prepares to commence in London this year, without last year's Champion Floyd Landis, it remains a beautiful sport despite its' problems.

Univest announces that Landis will lead a mid-day Friday ride after a press conference, celebrating the anniversary of the Univest Grand Prix race.

FOXNews's Brian Kilmeade interviewed Landis on FOX News Radio, and blogs:
I felt conflicted interviewing Floyd Landis — the current Tour de France winner is accused of failing a drug test after the race. I looked the quotes, saw the tests and it's hard to imagine something not going into his system. Yet, I personally found him so likeable. I hope I am wrong, but I just feel like the ruling will stand and he'll be stripped of his title.

Rant thinks The Pledge is just more window dressing by the UCI.

The New Common Sense implores heaven to help him in this time of doping scandals in both baseball and cycling. About the cycling aspect of the story he wonders if those in power, considering the new UCI pledge stating that caught riders who have signed the thing must forfeit a year's salary, will reimbursed Floyd Landis for his excessive financial losses should he be exonerated? Good question, here's hoping no one holds their breath.

Beer Sandwiches lists parts of the perfect athlete, and names examples of perfection. Then in an anti-perfect list, gives:
Honesty- Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Michael Vick, Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, Floyd Landis, Brett Boone, Guellermo Mota-har

The Road Bike gives Positively False a positive review, but kind of wishes some of the swearing had been left out.

Cheater's Life Advice has this snip of dialog, indicating the penetration of L'Affaire Landis in the gestalt:
Whoa what!? You just got caught on TV as the other girl, you lock yourself in the bathroom to get away from everything and then you walk through the cameras and grab the dude and get in a cab with him?Are you serious here!?That’s like Floyd Landis getting away with doping, winning the Tour De France and then using an investigator’s phone to call the lab he got the stuff from to thank them for the quick delivery.

Neil@Road got POd at a question he heard in a phone in press conference with Paul Sherwan ad Phil Liggett today that put into question Floyd Landis' Stage 17 efforts in last year's TdF.

Fingerfood/Johnny Baseball is hoping to get in on a Landis interview tomorrow.
has a roundup. Before getting to Landis, there's this piece of sagacity, marred only by putting quotes around "Watergate Reporter":

“Watergate reporter” Carl Bernstein, promoting his new Hillary Clinton biography, on the state of modern journalism
“One of the things I’ve observed having been interviewed so many times is that reporters tend to be terrible listeners. They have usually decided what the story is before they do the interview, and they will choose the one which will manufacture the most controversy. But manufactured controversy is not news”

Immediately following, they pick this snip from Postitively False:“

I’m sure you weren’t doing anything that everyone else wasn’t doing. You’re just the unlucky one who got caught” - international cycling chief Pat McQuaid to 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, according to the cyclist’s new book

During the Hearing, comments at the Sioux City Journal [LINK FIXED]went wild for a while. One of our fans, "Dave" is possibly D-Queued from DPF. The "Landis-doped" posters never seem to get around to addressing the failure to identify peaks in ALL of the tests, and making the incorrect claim that all of Landis' defense claims address a single test. We'll see.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Walsh's "From Lance to Landis"

From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the Tour de France
by David Walsh

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 26, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 034549962X
ISBN-13: 978-0345499622

Amazon delivered today, and Walsh's book, as expected, is mostly about Armstrong. Having not read his earlier coverage, I can't say exactly what's new, but it appears to be a retelling of old stories bolstered by new details and attributions from sources that have emerged over the last few years, mainly the SCA case.


Doing the "Washington Read" is difficult for lack of an index, but the last chapter, Twenty, before the Epilogue, is titled "I'll Say No." It's about Landis, and paints him as a straight forward guy who everybody likes who was quite possibly doping, and certainly looked like an idiot in the immediate aftermath of the positive A test. In Walsh's view, Landis got better at presenting a public image, but never told a good story.

Walsh quotes Ayotte as firmly behind a "single metabolite" standard, implying that is the last word on the issue. He seems to completely accept USADA's version of all the additional B sample testing talking points, without really discussing Landis' version of those same events. He concludes a section by letting Moreau complain that Landis is "looking for a comma out of place" and trying to "show up some technical irregularity."

Walsh uses then takes the opportunity to drag in the full Vaughters/Andreu IM exchange, including a claim that Lance and Bruyneel tried to punish him in 2004 for signing with Phonak by dumping his "rest day blood refill" down the drain before his eyes before stage 15. Of course, then he went out and finished 21th in the Alpe d'Huez TT on stage 16, and led Armstrong, Kloden and Ullrich over the Croix-Fry on stage 17, which impressed all.

The source for this story, and the "refrigerated bags on motorcycles" is claimed to be Landis. Which Landis denies to this day, but Walsh doesn't mention at all, that I saw.

The general impression is that Walsh is somewhat sympathetic to Landis, but thinks he's been led astray by a Great Satan somewhere -- presumably Armstrong and/or Bruyneel.

I have not read the entire book, only flipped through until I found Floyd. What is present is clearly agenda driven, which is not a sin, nor are the omissions -- Baker did similar things in his e-book on the Wiki Defense we talked about yesterday. Yet the impression is of a rehash of old stories without much truly new factual material or analysis.

It seems to me that if Landis was going to crack and turn on Armstrong, it would have happened by now. Floyd has never said anything I've heard or read to suggest anything bad about Lance, except that he can be a jerk, which isn't exactly news. The saga of the additional B sample testing seems to me to have always been a cash-draining exercise by USADA, not part of a search for truth.

We're left with a well-constructed collection of insinuation, but little provable fact. What I see of the coverage of the Landis case in the book seems to start from the presumption that he's guilty, that this implicates Lance, and everything is seen through that lens. Other details and readings are omitted as inconvenient to the thesis.

Is it worth the read? Perhaps to the same degree you watch cable news of an alternate persuasion, or sometimes listen to talk radio that rubs you the wrong way. It can be useful to know what is being said from viewpoints that diverge from your own. The book contains nothing that makes me reconsider my thoughts about Landis, and little that makes me care about whatever Armstrong may or may not have done.

There still doesn't seem to be a workable solution to the problem of doping, and I don't believe that getting high profile convictions is the key part of an answer. It would be better not to have the need for cases and convictions.


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Wednesday Roundup

Floyd Landis made his second appearance this morning on The Early Show on CBS. Other than Harry Smith misspeaking and saying that Floyd got "testosterone" shots, rather than cortisone shots, during last year's TdF there was not much earth shattering material covered. The "Lance" factor was what seemed of most interest to Smith who was polite, and Floyd was poised in answering that he knew nothing about anything Lance Armstrong did when it came to doping. The case against USADA was also asked about, as well as how Floyd will react to whatever decision is made by the arb panel. The Smith gaff as the interview concluded resulted in a laugh on both sides and a sincerely friendly handshake.

At the Bryant Park book event, Landis looks happy, and hot in the 95 degree and 95% humidity of a crisp NYC Summer.

Florida Competitor Magazine reviews "Positively False" and seems to not only like it, but agrees with its' basic premise that not only is Landis innocent of charges placed against him by USADA/WADA, but also that the inner workings of the cycling hierarchy do not act in the best interests of cycling itself.

Canada.Com posts a Reuters report in which the AFLD states that it will not render any decision on the status of Floyd Landis until after the USADA arb panel announces its' ruling on the future of Floyd Landis in cycling. Lawyers on both sides have been asked by the arbitration panel to submit legal briefs within two weeks of receiving transcripts of last month's nine-day hearing in California. Only after those documents have been sent to the arb panel and they have had a chance to go through them will a ruling be released.

France24 notes that with the absence of Floyd Landis at this year's Tour de France, Alexandre Vinokourov is considered the favorite to win the race which begins in less than two weeks.

FOX hosts video of Floyd Landis' appearance on Hannity and Colmes last night.

The Concord Monitor talks about ramped up rules enforcement in NASCAR, with obligatory Landis and Bonds references. NASCAR is trying to change the "if you ain't cheating you ain't trying" culture by slapping some heavy sanctions for infractions involving the new car being introduced this year. At last week's race in Sonoma, series leader Jeff Gordon was docked points, his crew chief suspended six races and fined $100,000. But Gordon still started the race (from the back) and finished seventh.

We've often made the comparison to NASCAR as a vibrant racing culture with quick and effective discipline. The penalties above, while stiff, are not two-year bans doubled to four, with life ban threatened for another offense.

Morning Call columnist Gary Blockus says Rogge blew his chance and should have threatened to toss cycling from the Olympics.

Sports Illustrated's Austin Murphy thinks cycling is a fraud, believes Walsh, and Lemond, and thinks Landis' doping was responsible for Stage 17.

ESPN's Bonnie DeSimone
talks to David Walsh about "From Lance to Landis." He admits there will never be a smoking gun on Armstrong. He says he'd be more sympathetic to Landis if he'd been utterly and convincingly anti-doping.

The CyclingNews notes that Matthias Kessler has been suspended by his team Astana for an adverse analytical finding for testosterone.

Phonak, the company, has changed marketing focus, and is now behind "Hear the World", with Placido Domingo as the head celebrity, along with the Vienna Philharmonic and Bryan Adams.

Rant briefly reviews some summer reading, Positively False, Baker's Wiki Defense, Walsh, and the latest from Environmental Chemistry.

Dugard talks about Austin Murphy's piece mentioned above, and thinks the magnifying glass is being turned back to Armstrong, and thinks it all is good publicity for the Tour.

Media Bistro/Fishbowl in NY
writes of the Bryant Park appearance pictured above. The author asked Landis' about the UCI pledge, and he told her he'd advise against anyone signing it until the ADAs faced similar scrutiny.

Chicago Bike Racing
talks about Chicago area book tour stops on July 9th and 10th.

What I Think says:
[S]mall pages, big type. Perhaps not a whole lot to say? It should be a short read.

TDFBlog notes Landis' book tour.

Potholes and Roadapples
says the Sunday Ride with Floyd in Lancaster is sold out.

Thoughts from Apex thinks the cycling world has gone mad with doping and the testing and punishment regime deployed against it.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Baker's Wiki Defense

The Wiki Defense.
How the French Lab (LNDD) & US Anti-Doping Agency Botched Floyd's Test

By Arnie Baker and the Wiki Defense Team

(The science compliment to the Floyd Landis book Positively False.)

Pages, 60+ Defense Arguments, 150+ Figures, 50 Tables.


Arnie Baker has released his e-book on the Wiki Defense details to the public, and we've obtained a copy. At 307 pages, it's about the same length as Positively False, but with a lot more density, and a great deal of new (to us) information. Which is to say that it is going to take quite a while to get all the meaning out of it.


The Wiki Defense is divided into three "books". One consists of Baker's analysis of the LDPs and subsequent discovery filings. The second addresses the hearing, considering each witnesses' facts and credibility. The third addresses press coverage.

Book One is interesting in revealing great gobs of discovery material that has not been seen before by us or the public, and which should be mined by students of the case. I will not attempt to nibble into this here, but may as time permits later. It also contains a multitude of comments by Landis' experts in the case, some of which were used in the hearing, and some not. It suggests quite a number of discrepancies that were not raised as issues at the hearing, but which fall into the general bucket of "corroborative" evidence that procedure and competence at the LNDD have not been world-class positive models for others to follow.

Throughout, Baker has scored various issues with a "three star" system, with three being the best. I don't entirely agree with some of his rankings. This might relate to my concern for what I think are effective in the context of the arbitration system, vs. what Baker thinks what is right in a sane world. That is, I don't think there are many three-star procedural arguments that can't be argued away under the WADA system. I'm more interested in the smaller number I might have made 4 stars dealing with specific ISL violations that lead to incorrect results.

Similarly, Baker makes claims that things are ISL violations where I'm not entirely convinced a motivated arbiter could not wave a wand and say, "not a problem."

On the other hand, the picture as a hole should leave a deeply disturbed sense of trust in the "infallibility" of results reported by the LNDD.

Book Two's summary of testimony is interesting in that it suggests what to Baker seemed the important points. In so doing, he introduces non-discovery material that is very interesting. As a foreshadowing, he introduces the idea that "priming the liner" is an obsolete procedure now frowned on by the FDA as an indication of likely data fudging; and that Joe Papp tried to get help from Baker for his case, making some non-credible statement in the process.

Botre: Independance questioned.

On the Landis witnesses, Baker notes:

Amory: Baker accepts completely, and quotes "shingling past the edge of the roof" on taking one data point from the unpublished Cologne study as dispositive of anything.

Davis: Claims numerous ISL violations, general incompetence.

Goldberger: Many violations, not reliable work.

Landis: Denies PED use, involvement with and intention to harrasing call to Lemond.

Meier-Augenstein: ISL violations on IRMS operation, particularly peak identification, and absence of true positive control.

On the USADA witnesses, Baker finds:

Ayotte: Seemed to contradict self and standards on some issues, and not to really know what is done on the lab bench. Baker finds her a not-credible WADA apologist "good citizen".

Brenna: Baker finds him not credible for USADA because of funding conflict, confusion about identification of IRMS peaks, and admission that reprocessing didn't give the identical results.

Buisson: Baker finds she admitted the background subtraction with the OS/2 software was rarely correct.

Catlin: Baker cherry picks his testimony to show disconnection from bench work at UCLAl claim that the UCLA criteria were negative, and dismissing the WADA criteria; And Baker ignores completely Catlin's answer that "doping was going on." He does quote our post on the Curious Cross of Catlin in entirety, embarrassing us with the typos and punctuation.

Frelat: Admits transfers not documents; unable to explain time gaps; talks of "priming the liner" (see below); did reruns, mixed bottles without documentation.

Lemond: Baker discredits his testimony completely, and cites refusal to answer questions during cross-examination.

Mongongu: Convenient memory was not credible; unable to explain time gaps; admits common matrix interference; admits 44/45 trace needed to detect interference; Says retested B samples were AAFs, creating a legal conundrum; "Primes the liner" (see below).

Papp: dismissed entirely, not least because of the news that Papp had contacted Baker for help on his case, and made misleading statements at the time. Baker told Papp's attorney that Papp's case looked solid and that his story wasn't holding water. This apparently led to Papp trying to swing a deal with USADA.

Schanzer: Doesn't make measurements himself, a "good citizen".

Shackleton: Contradicted self, and never got the point of tracking between the 5a and 5b metabolites; not a current expert on IRMS.

On the matter of "priming the liner", Baker includes mail from Keith Hall, the co-owner of MassSpec Solutions, to Simon Davis:

Hi Simon

Neil told me of the running of standards to prime the injector column farce. This used to be done with compounds which were very "sticky" due to their polar nature but with the advent of fused silica capillary columns this went out of the window. IF the liner was dirty and causing the problem then it should be maintained correctly and changed if signs of adsorption are in evidence, this is a standard operating procedure and masses of literature has been published on this. Easy to obtain guides are freely available from the likes of Supelco or Restek on how to maintain injector liners and columns i.e. just go to Google and type Supelco literature and the first or seconf hit will be technical literature and look at general -- helpful guides, gas chromatography articles T112853 and T195895 for instance. Also have a look at as they have myriads of information on such matters. All of it is freely available.

The only reason I can think of that they would continually inject standards is to "pick" suitable data so that it can be fitted into their needs for certain data points. The FDA takes an extremely dim view of such things, it is commonly called "data manipulation" and is a trick as old as the hills, tried many times but now fortunately outlawed by bodies such as the FDA, EPA and any other regulatory body worldwide.

[Emphasis added]

Now, no one has claimed conscious conspiracy to fix data, but there is the whiff here that unconscious action to get things "right" may lead to cherry picking of data from standards runs to get certain results. And I'd like to verify the claims about the FDA and EPA outlawing "priming" with a standard, but don't have the time to chase it at the moment.

In Book Three, Baker quotes some press and blog coverage, pointing to some work by our Bill Hue, Environmental Chemistry, LA Times/Hiltzik, Washington Post/Jenkins, ESPN/DeSimone, Independant (UK)/Fotheringham, NY Times Magazine/Sokolove among the ones that get it.

He concludes with some of the process improvements suggested at the Floyd Fairness Fund.

On the whole, it's an important work for those interested in the case details. There is a wealth of infomation and data that is presented nowhere else. At the same time, it is unequivocally a work with an agenda, and it presents things in the way most likely to reinforce the cause it is promoting. There isn't complaint about cracks in the stories told by Landis witnesses, or strong consideration of counterarguments that can be made against positions that are taken.

I'll read, and re-read it, in hopes of getting more facts to assimilate, keeping in mind I'm only getting part of the story. But I'm glad to have this part at this level of detail.


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Prudhomme in Le Monde

This from today's late edition of Le Monde. It was accompanied by a sidebar recounting mostly guilt-by-association anecdotes casting doubts on the Astana team.


Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France director
"The Tour has been damaged. It has to win back its credibility and dignity."
By Stéphane Mandard

Le Monde: Less than two weeks before the start of the Tour de France, July7 in London, do we know who won the 2006 edition?

Christian Prudhomme: We don't know yet, but categorically, it's not Floyd Landis (the American, 1st at the end of the race, but then testing positive for doping). Only the sport's authority, the International Cycling Union, can say who won.

Le Monde: And who won the 1996 Tour?

CP: Bjarne Riis himself has said he cheated and wasn't worthy of winning the Tour. But the world antidoping code says that after eight years the statute of limitations runs out. What interests me in the Riis case isn't so much that he's admitted to doping between 1996 an 1998, it's to know whether, in 2006 when he was CSC manager, he was aware that Ivan Basso was a client of Dr. Fuentes (at the center of a vast doping network).

Le Monde: Floyd Landis, Bjarne Riis, but also Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani, the winners of the last ten Grande Boucles have all been caught up in suspicions about doping. Does the tour still have any sports credibility?

CP: Yes. And it has to win back its credibility and its dignity. Today, the will is there, since doping is the Tour's enemy. The sport has no need of doping in order to be a magnificent spectacle. But you can't remake the film. What interests me is cycling today and tomorrow. There are unsavory people in cycling, but also some great people. The Tour de France is part of the nation's heritage. It is a great competition, and it's not going to give up saying, “OK, guys, just strip it all off.” I hope whoever is first on the Champs-Élysées with the yellow jersey is the Tour winner.

Le Monde: Nonetheless, during this past decade the Tour's image has been seriously tarnished, hasn't it?

CP: Of course the Tour de France has been damaged. But it is very solid. What other competition could have overcome what has happened to it. Now, it is not radically different from other great sports competitions.

Le Monde: In 2006, the Tour lost viewers on the French TV stations, and the ZDF has threatened not to rebroadcast the Tour in Germany because of the doping cases. . . .

CP: That certain people are asking questions, that's legitimate. But the ZDF will rebroadcast the Tour this year. As for the French TV stations, the Tour nonetheless took 40% of the market, not as good as previous years, but still twice the audience for Roland-Garros, for example.

Le Monde: What are you doing concretely in the fight against doping?

CP: We're doing everything we can to keep the cheaters from cheating. It's already been strongly commented on. Journalists have twisted the knife in the wound. I think we really stuck it to them before the start of the 2006 Tour by putting pressure on the teams to exclude riders cited in the Puerto case. The requests we made before the Fleche Walone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège this year had the same effect: no rider implicated in this sinister affair was on the starting line. And we will go before the Sports Arbitration Tribunal to oppose the presence at the start of the Tour de France of any riders who have not signed the UCI antidoping charter.

Le Monde: Some cyclists' associations are opposed to the charter and believe that the teams and the race organizers also bear a responsibility for the encouragement of doping. In 2006 the reduction of the big Tours to only two weeks of racing was mentioned. . . .

CP: It's a witch trial. Do more people dope for the 100 meters or for a marathon? After 1998, the UCI reduced the length of the big Tours to 3500 km. With the success that everyone knows. It's the rhythm that makes the difference. The shorter the race, the faster the pace. And so it's harder.

Le Monde: Why was an invitation offered to the Astana team despite the suspicions which are hanging over it?

CP: If it comes down to it, you can say we invited the 21 teams which will be at the start because we're not in the Pro Tour. We invited Astana because of their quality on paper, because of the names of their riders.

Le Monde: All the more so, for the principle of caution, shouldn't you have held off inviting this team in order to avoid the risk of a new Landis affair. . . ?

CP: That principle of caution, we applied it so seriously in 2006 that we went to the Sports Arbitration Tribunal, and we lost. If we have to go to the Sports Arbitration Tribunal again this year, we'll go once more. But we aren't above the rules.

Le Monde: The president of the association of professsional teams, Patrick Lefévère, was recently accused by former riders and doctors from his team of having organized its doping. Doesn't that cloud the antidoping message?

CP: Theres a war on with the team managers, and we must aid those--like the French and the Germans--who are fighting to clean up the sport.

Le Monde: The UCI has asked riders to get involved against doping--under pain of exclusion, but requires their teams to race them in the maximum number of races on the Pro Tour. Isn't this contradictory?

CP: That you need continuing heroes throughout a sports season, that's evident. Its true for any serial, sports or not. But it's also evident that there are too many days of racing on the Pro Tour.

Le Monde: An association, "Of bicycles and men," asks that the Tour stop temporarily, "in order to save it from the Evil that's consuming it and will kill it. . . ."

CP: By that logic, we should also stop the Winter Olympics, because they have scandals every four years. Stopping the Tour will not settle the doping problem. On the contrary, it would hand the victory to the cheaters. In the same way that the famous “big family of cycling” was not unhappy to be able to slam Festina in 1998, today there are certain people in the sport who are not unhappy that the bad guys, the cheaters, the thieves are supposedly cleaning up the cycling world.

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Tuesday Roundup

This report on Floyd Landis' appearance on The Early Show today comes to us from Cycling Newbee over on DPF. This morning we are the victims of a power failure and missed Part 1 of the Harry Smith interview with Floyd. Thanks CN. For a complete transcript and video of the interview go to CBS.

Just watched the first part of a two part series. Floyd looks good. I thought he did a nice job overall considering the circumstances. The interviewer asked some difficult, pointed questions, but did so in a professional manner. He was not antagonistic or aggressive, unlike Bryant Gumbel.

They asked about the GL/Will controversy. Floyd did a good job in his response, simply saying it was an all around bad situation, for all involved, including his entire team who worked so hard and put so much time into it. He did not elaborate further.

The interviewer emphasized that he read every page of the book. He raised another interesting question. He basically questioned Floyd's veracity and why we the reader should believe Floyd is a straight-forward, open guy with nothing to hide when Floyd hid the extent of his hip problem from Phonak when he signed with them (obviously discussed in the book). Floyd gave an obviously reasonable response (wanted to ride still, make money, no team would take him otherwise, nobody'd ever ridden with such a condition before, he'd ride as long as he could and then divulge it to the team if and when it became necessary because it was interfering with his racing, etc.), but the clear, underlying, read-between-the-lines message inferred by the interviewer was: well you're either truthful or you're not . . . if you'd "lie" about that (through omission), whose to say you wouldn't be lying about this? The interviewer was taking an overly simplistic, black-and-white view of the world, but he was persuasive in getting his point across imo.

CBS' Harry Smith blogs about the book as well.

In Chicago, the Early Show was interrupted during the Landis interview by an accidental tripping of the Emergency Broadcast system. No telling what the conspiracists will make of that.

Fox News had Landis on Hannity and Colmes, with a report by Newbee at DPF. Apparently no Letterman today, future plans unclear.

The Rocky Mountain News tells us today that Floyd Landis is still scheduled to compete in the Leadville 100 no matter what the outcome of his hearing is:

But even if suspended, the 31-year-old former mountain bike pro can still ride in Leadville, assuming he has the interest and the energy after a tour to promote his book. Race director Ken Chlouber said he'll drop the -NORBA affiliation and pick up insurance through an independent carrier if Landis is suspended.

"I'm hopeful that the arbitration board gives him complete exoneration from those charges," Chlouber said. "But I'm not tied to NORBA. I can get the insurance from other places, so if he can still do a race that's not sanctioned by NORBA, then he'll be able to race here. posts a Reuters piece in which Christian Prudhomme proclaims the Tour de France still strong despite the strain in its' credibility due to the Floyd Landis scandal and the admission of doping by former winner Bijarne Riis. In a related story the Tour de France has announced that it will refuse entry to any rider who does not sign the UCI "pledge".

GQ's Mr. writes a minuscule review of "Positively False" in which Floyd Landis is described as stubborn.

CyclingNews has an interview with Oscar Pereiro in which he is still lamenting the fact that he was not able to ride up and down the streets of Paris in his yellow jersey at last year's Tour de France.

Pommi's discretionary cash is going for the greater good instead of cycling upgrades, and he is concerned that all we'll see on Letterman tonight, instead of Floyd Landis, is Amanda Peet, whose appearance may or may not be worth the loss of sleep.

The NY Observer notes the upcoming Floyd Landis appearance at the Word for Word author series in Bryant Park tomorrow, and snarks that the book title, "Positively False" is slightly defensive. Of course what is really desired is the dirt on Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow. blurbs Floyd's new book, "Positively False".

Jarred Gilker got to ride with Floyd Landis in Central Park in NYC today, and seemed rather thrilled by the experience.

Environmental Chemistry writes an excellent piece that everyone can make sense of no matter how well versed in the case they may be. The chain of custody issue with the Landis samples from last summer's Tour de France is an important and somewhat under emphasized component of the Landis defense. With information gleaned from the USADA vs Landis hearing transcripts from May the point is made that the chain of custody was broken almost from the start of the urine sample analysis:

The rules seem to have been broken as soon as sample B was received by the laboratory. Note the following testimony of technician Claire Frelat (reporter page 686 line 23 through reporter page 690 line 1 / PDF pages 539-542 of hearing transcripts)(3),

Q [Landis Attorney Mr. Suh]. Now, looking at this form, which is 24 USADA 254, show me on the form where it shows that you received -- excuse me. Let me reask that question. Show me on the form where it records the transfer of the sample to you.

A [Claire Frelat]. The transfer is not written, but it is written that at 11:03 I received the bottle.

Q. Well, the form reads, if I'm not mistaken, that at 11:03, the aliquot occurred, correct?

A. In order to do the aliquot, I have to have the bottle in my hand.

Q. Certainly. But where does it show the time or how that you received the bottle, the transfer? In other words, not that you did the process, but where does the form show that the transfer occurred from operator 18 to you?

In other words, as soon as that chain of custody was broken the integrity of the sample must be in question according to WADA's own rules.

Ruminations on Life and Cycling thinks that Pat McQuaid may need to be tested if he thinks that just signing a pledge will stop doping. He also thinks that because of the way Floyd Landis' case was handled we may never know what really happened. We do know that Floyd's privacy was severely infringed upon and still there is no protection for the riders.

UltraRob cites that Rocky Mountain News piece on Floyd Landis' participation in the Leadville 100 later this summer.

Miles with Meaning is counting down the days to this year's Tour de France, and giving predictions as to who the winner will be. He also laments that the innocent Floyd Landis will not be allowed to defend his title as last year's TdF champion. He also provides a thumbnail review of "Positively False".

20 Million Minutes comments on the Pruhomme comments that the Tour de France needs to regain credibility, but is still strong.

CFL Cyclist
picked up Positively False, and calls it well written and easy to follow.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday Roundup

The Rocky Mountain News' Bernie Lincicome writes that despite the "stain" of doping allegations on his accomplishment, Floyd Landis' amazing ride on Stage 17 of last year's Tour de France was till something to see and not forget.

The CyclingNews reckons that partly because of Floyd Landis' absence from the TdF this year Christophe Moreau may have a chance at winning the big race.

VeloNews Monday EuroFile notes that Oscar Pereiro has had one hell of a year not knowing IF he will be declared winner of last summer's Tour de France, not to mention having had all the fun a winner would experience taken from him due to various circumstances. But, he is not the only one with problems, the UCI called an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss abnormal readings from samples submitted by several top riders after the Giro D'Italia. The riders showed lower than normal readings of a hormone and thus their specimens were flagged. They include winner Danilo Di Luca:

Officials from Italy's national Olympic Committee requested an emergency meeting with UCI president Pat McQuaid in an effort to secure data from the governing body's on-going longitudinal medical monitoring of the riders in question.

A CONI spokesman said the agency wants to compare those values to the results of the Giro samples.

"The results are of concern, because all four show hormone levels that are not normal for adult males," the spokesman said. "These results would be more likely to have come from a child rather than a fully mature adult. The fact that four men all produce such results on the same day is extremely bizarre."

The Guardian (UK) headlines Landis as saying, "What people think of me is meaningless" in a fair article that make him sound like he's considering retirement.

"Before all of this happened I used to put more energy and time into caring what people thought about me but the truth is I'm not going to convince everybody," he says. "What people think of me personally is meaningless at this stage. They can think what they like. All I care about now is that the next guy who comes along gets the chance to defend himself. As the system stands, an accused person has no chance of proving he is innocent."

Bicycle Retailer
via Daily Spin notes

In Floyd Landis' new book, "Positively False," the embattled 2006 Tour de France winner saves his harshest words for the World Anti-Doping Agency and USADA, its U.S. counterpart, according to a recent USA Today story.

“USADA brought in LeMond because they couldn’t prove the case on scientific grounds,” said Landis, in an exclusive interview with USA Today. “It was like the weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq]. If you look behind what they said, there is no evidence. They just had to make something up.”

“Positively False” goes on sale tomorrow.

Dugard tells us how he plans to blog during his coverage of the Tour de France this year, and he notes that Floyd Landis, 2006 TdF champion, will be somewhere between here and there promoting his book "Positively False".

Rant had his patience tested recently by incompetent airlines, but at the same time he had a great vacation. Now that he's back in the loop he sees all sorts of disturbing things have occurred since he left. Among them are, the Walsh book about Lance Armstrong, the UCI "pledge", and the "dopey" Men in Black allegations against riders who do not train in their usual team kits. All of this may make Rant want to go back on vacation, soon. In an update Rant wonders exactly what book Edward Wyatt of the NY Times read when he commented on alleged contradictions found in "Positively False".

Finger Food writes a lot about the Philles and whether they will be buying or selling this year. He also comments on his current obsession, Floyd Landis, who will be on the CBS Early Show tomorrow AM and Wednesday, and on Letterman tomorrow night. Now what's this about Led Zeppelin and Lancaster?

There is a reason Led Zeppelin never came to Lancaster and it has nothing to do with the fact there wasn’t a venue big enough to accommodate them…

Could it be... S A T A N ?

DBowen still doesn't know what to think, but has ordered both Positively False and Walsh's book.

WCSN's Greg Ruckman promises to talk about Landis in his next blog post. He's worried about doping at the Beijing Olympics, and likes orange Dutch recumbents in this one.

The Cyclist Blog has a couple of things wrong in this entry, one of which is that Oscar Pereiro has been given the TdF title, he has not.

Ransom Rides 100 will get to reviewing new books by Floyd Landis and David Walsh when he has time, he also intends to talk to another author who has even more to say about Lance Armstrong and doping.

Cycling Fans Anonymous points us to the Guardian piece above.

Guardian Blogs
has the same story, with comments that are on the fence, and frustrated.

Ransom Rides 100 promises book reviews next week, and an interview with David Walsh.

Mistress Electrica (not safe for work)in "Love Pumping" talks about "supersaturating blood with oxygen (sort of like Floyd Landis)" as a way of addressing impotence in clients. On this occasion, we'll pass the opportunity to post a corrective comment.

Absolutely Alex
runs over the Guardian article.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday Roundup

LancasterOnline posts a book review about hometown boy Floyd Landis and his new book "Positively False" with the eye catchingly ironic headline,‘The worst thing that ever happened to me in my life was winning the Tour de France.’" . It goes on to say that even though Lancaster has produced more than a few miscreants over the years, Floyd doesn't appear to be one of them. Book reviewer Jo-Anne Green takes note of the circumstances now surrounding the former Mennonite cyclist whose life has been turned upside down by doping allegations:

Criticizing some of the legalistic but inherently unfair rules of World Anti-Doping Agency, he writes that it "is similar to the way my church applied the words of the Bible when I was growing up in Lancaster County. If you do something wrong — even if you don't know you are doing something wrong and 'wrong' isn't hurting anyone — what you've done is an absolute sin. You're guilty. End of story."

The Contra Costa Times runs a David Letterman Top Ten List in obvious anticipation of Floyd Landis' appearance on Letterman scheduled for Tuesday evening:

Top Ten Floyd Landis Excuses:

10. "High altitude in the Alps made daddy dizzy."
9. "Who can resist Balco's delicious 'spicy chipotle' flavor."
8. "I was trying to impress Sheryl Crow."
7. "Uh ... global warming?"
6. "The world hates Americans already, so does this really matter?"
5. "French bastards must have dosed my quiche."
4. "Wanted to give 'New York Post' excuse to run hilarious 'Fink Floyd' headline."
3. "Hulk no need excuse."
2. "Frankly, I'd rather be a disgrace than a loser."
1. "(Expletive) you -- I'm Floyd -- damn -- Landis."

The Morning Call of Allentown, PA writes extensively about the Lehigh Valley Velodrome noting that thus far the Floyd Landis scandal hasn't put the kibosh on it.

AFP Tour preview incorrectly claims the race is starting without a champion from the year before.

Eurosport via Yahoo gets it right, noting Landis is still the official winner, though under dispute.

The Miami Herald hates the title Positively False, and snarks the forward might be by Barry Bonds.

Finger Food writes that Mrs Finger stole his copy of "Positively False" and so the review of the book is hers. Even though she cannot understand that obsessive selfishness exemplified by professional athletes, she sympathizes with Floyd Landis and liked the book:

One thing that has always bothered me about men who spend their lives playing games is that it ultimately seems like an incredibly selfish pursuit. The older I get the more I feel like my life is not my own. I am constantly thinking about working a full-time job for someone, taking care of someone, cleaning up after someone, or saving money to buy food, clothes, or diapers for someone else. Floyd even admits in his book that he “put training first, even before (his) family. When you want to win, you eat, drink, sleep and breathe cycling.”

The Science of Sport is still talking about doping in cycling and digs a little further into the long history of using PEDs in the Tour de France.

Chronic SF
really talks about sustainable energy, but works in a "climbs faster than Floyd Landis on steroids". Still in the metaphorical lexicon, it seems.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday Roundup

PPOL:News announces the Huntington, NY appearance by Floyd Landis at The Book Revue on June 28th where he will speak about "Positively False" and sign copies of the book as well.

The Sydney Morning Herald posts the usual AFP story about the suspense surrounding the Tour de France starting in two weeks without last year's winner present, not to mention the copious doping stories that seem so prevalent .

Scotland on Sunday
thinks Landis is going to get a softball interview with Letterman, and thinks the epilogue of Positively False presents a confused story about The Call:

He writes that he immediately decided Geoghegan had to be fired.

"The only thing I knew right away was that Will needed to go," the book states. "I went to his room and helped him pack his things."

This looks a little like revisionism. The evidence of the following day at the hearing seems to contradict the book. If Geoghegan had been cast out of the Landis inner-circle the night before, surely he would not have been welcome at the hearing. But he was there, sitting behind his man, very much a part of Team Floyd. There was no talk of him being fired: that came only after LeMond had testified.

So before we ever get to his version of events as regards his doping, we have inconsistencies in Landis's story.

The Science of Sport thinks that the deeper you dig into the history of doping and the Tour de France the uglier it gets, and there seems no end in sight to the controversies surrounding it. Part 2 of Science of Sport today provides a primer on the drugs most talked about in connection with cycling this year.

Bicycling and Hiking Tour Blog finds a lot of what is leading up to this year's TdF is crapola, and feels that the world of Floyd Landis is a bizarre one. He will not buy Floyd's book "Positively False".

The DMc report bought Positively False, and likes it. He thinks it's a good idea to tell some lovable Floyd stories to get people to read about the case. He's a long time competitive cyclist, and anti-doping, believing in serious penalties and a fair process.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Roundup

We've updated our post on the Official Transcripts to include an index to the days, witnesses, and examinations. This will make it a little more approachable.

In so doing, we've discovered we consistently misspelled M. Frelat's name as "Frelot", which we will correct with apologies.


USA Today's Sal Ruibal, in an exclusive, talks to Floyd Landis about his upcoming book, and the violation of the gag order placed on the participants of last month's USADA hearings held at Pepperdine University. While Landis does not believe in the wide spread culture of doping that purportedly exists in cycling he acknowledges that, as in any profession, there are cheaters. As to the tactics used by USADA during the hearings that caused such an uproar over the LeMond testimony Landis says:

"USADA brought in LeMond because they couldn't prove the case on scientific grounds," he said Thursday. "It was like the weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq]. If you look behind what they said, there is no evidence. They just had to make something up."

Landis also comments on his financial situation as well as the UCI rider "pledge" that was established to help insure a drug free Tour de France this year.

The NY Times posts a look at the predicament Versus, the cable channel that will again carry the Tour de France, finds itself in this year as it tries to promote cycling with its' tarnished image. It shows a precipitous drop in ratings from the last Armstrong victory to Floyd Landis' win last year with the assumption that the ratings will plummet further in light of the bad publicity generated by the many doping scandals that have pervaded the sport recently.

The Mail and Guardian Online speculates that it will be a rough road for the Tour de France this year with current champion Floyd Landis in limbo and about to be stripped of his title, not to mention the other doping scandals that have rocked the sport this year.

CyclingNews has letters, and lots of them. Plenty of opinion about the new UCI edict that riders sign the "pledge". Also letters on LeMond, amnesty for dopers, doping in general, doping and the Tour de France, well you get the picture. via Yahoo reports a current ruling that reinforces the impression arbitration is a world to itself, not much subject to judicial review.
[C]ourts are limited to deciding questions of "arbitrability," and that all "procedural" questions about how the arbitration is to be conducted should be decided by the arbitrator.

WGAL announces the upcoming Lancaster "Ride with Floyd" as "$20 a pop", with picnic to follow at Green Mountain Cyclery.

Potholes and Roadapples makes mention of another Floyd Landis homecoming to Lancaster Co., PA happening next weekend and starting with a "Positively False" booksigning Friday June 29th at the Lancaster Barnes&Noble. On Sunday July 1 a ride with Floyd and picnic to follow will take place. Rumor has it that world famous Floyd's Kick Ass Brownies will be served at the picnic.

Outside Magazine blog notes forthcoming arrival of Walsh's book about Armstrong and Landis, and of Positively False. Guess they didn't shop at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Jason Bristols' Blog announces a "Ride with Floyd" event to be held July 1 in Ephrata, PA. For more information, call Green Mountain Cyclery at 717-859-2422. Go to the FFF web site for the official details. The number of riders have been limited to 100.

Spinnin' Wheel hates the title ,"Positively False", but loves the book which she has a great deal od sentiment for. She feels Floyd has, for the most part, picked out and been picked by people of heart and grit to help in his fight against doping charges. And TBV is immortalized in print no less.

Cycling Through Life notes that Tour de France viewership was down almost a million last year when Floyd Landis won the race. Versus is in its' last year of coverage and the current crisis in cycling may not bode well for an extension of that contract.

Johnny Baseball's wife has taken their copy of Positively False out of the mail and won't let him have it until she's done. His review will be forthcoming.

Media Bistro/FIshbowl NY snarks Landis' appearance for the book with comparisons to Giambi, and suggests,
"Go for the story, stay for the free samples of HGH."

Today's ACC Headlines has a picture of the day from the Teva games of a Landis supporter with some supportive signs. This compares to last week's Teva pix of the stalking guy in a "Dopers Suck" T shirt.

SportingLife lists some memorable Tour finishes. It starts with Lemond's 8-second win; Landis last year, allegations be damned; Roche beating Delgado; Pantani; and Lance's last.

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Some men in black

Yesterday's story about the UCI going after cyclists riding in black jerseys prompted some Men in Black to go public with a press release late Thursday. I think we can assume they were among those targeted ny the UCI, though of course we have no way of knowing whether they were among the "not negative" results.

Astana Cycling Team press release

Ever since the UCI announced that it had been giving special attention to six or seven leading riders suspected of having used illicit products, certain media outlets have been busy sowing doubt among the teams. Astana Cycling Team does not want to play these games, and expects the following to clarify matters.

During the course of this present season, if Astana has very occasionally allowed certain riders to train anonymously, that was so that Astana professionals not be continually bothered by cyclotourists--especially on the Côte d’Azur--and was not through any wish to conceal anything. Final training in the Pyrenees, moreover, took place in the Kazak team's own uniforms.

Astana Cycling Team is completely in favor of unannounced tests, which may be conducted by the team itself, the UCI, national federations or WADA. Astana riders do not depart from this policy in any way.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Positively Here

Our copy of Positively False arrived from Amazon this afternoon, and we didn't spend much time eating this evening while doing the quick read. Most of the revelations are already known, and TBV is in too deep to know what's really new and what stories we've heard a few times before.

  • McQuaid said give up -- told at DPF long ago;
  • Offered deal for getting Lance -- double old news;
  • Other USADA cases dropped to get Landis -- more details than earlier reports, but not massively so. We'd heard this months ago, without the details.
  • Eveything about the Lemond story -- retold from testimony and DPF.
  • Enumeration of how Mr. Pound has wronged Landis -- well known, but succinctly put.
Positively False is a good short summary of the standard story. Because of brevity, it's not particularly deep, being only 306 pages. It does a pretty good job of capturing Landis' distinctive speech patterns. This makes it a pretty good snapshot of the way he tells the stories when he's being prudent and toning down the sarcasm. There's a bit of the wiseass present, but it's impossible to capture the essence of his unstudied wryful nature in print. The completist will also want to read "The Book of Floyd" in Coyle's "Lance Armstrong's War" which covers some of the same ground in even more succinct form.

There were a few new amusing anecdotes sprinkled in. One involves dad Paul Landis' adventures in videotaping at early races. At one race, he found himself sucked into interviewing another rider, who seemed to have mistaken his ancient two piece (camera + separate deck) betamax rig as being from a broadcast station. The telling accurately captures Paul's simultaneous courtesy (going along), chagrin at the situation, and dry humour in retelling the story.

There are a few Geoghegan stories that illuminate how much influence Will has had on Landis. The length of their relationship, back to Landis' high school, makes it apparent why what happened later was so difficult to address.

The book concludes with a seven page Epilogue/Afterward about the hearing, where The Call is presented as what happened when, as it says, "Will cracked."

This is consistent with our read of the situation as it happened, and really offers only a new depth to the tragedy of the whole affair.

Those worried about the implications on the gag order for the hearing shouldn't feel too threatened, we don't think. What's presented about the case isn't particularly incendiary compared to some of the earlier rhetoric, and I don't think there's anything worth complaining about.

On the critical information front, we get our (one) mention on page 252*, and what it says is reasonably accurate. So all of our family will get a copy for Christmas, or at some other timely gift giving occasion.

If you're reading here at all, probably you'll want a copy too, validating whatever conclusions you already hold.


*This is called the "Washington Read", except the book does not contain the index that makes that really possible. A Washington Read is where Someone in our Nation's Capital hears of their mention in a new work of non fiction. The either go to the book store or send a staffer, who looks in the index for the Someone's name. The "reader" checks only the pages referenced. If the mentions are either flattering or otherwise important, then the book may be purchased.)

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A correction and expansion

It turns out the original AFP story about the UCI targeting 6 or 7 riders for special attention was about twice as long as what was printed in the online L'Équipe story. Herewith is the rest of the story, as it appeared in

One consequence of seeing the whole story was to reveal that I'd made a mistake in translation. Mme Gripper used a word which I knew well enough meant "uniform" or "kit," but which in the context of the half-story I thought she meant metaphorically. So I translated it as "bizarre manners [of training]." It turns out that she meant "uniforms," as you'll see below. Sorry for the error. It doesn't change much, and certainly doesn't invalidate your comments.

A further consequence of seeing the rest of the story, it seems to me, is to put the UCI in an ever worse light that before. First, insofar as it makes their criteria for selecting their "targets" (their word) even more arbitrary. You could be singled out because you train in what they think is a weird jersey? Gimme a break. Second, because it reveals a vigilante mind-set that we've certainly seen before in WADA and the USADA. Mme Gripper said the DSs were informed their riders were targets . . . wait for it . . . two days ago, after they'd been targeted for months. If the UCI had really wanted to stamp out certain practices, they'd have let the DSs in on the secret investigation from the start. What the UCI wanted was to be sure they had evidence against certain riders, not to stop any practices. Third, with the further details included in the rest of the story, I'm surprised the riders haven't been identfied and named already. Really discreet, that UCI.

"Men in Black"

By the start of the Tour, the UCI will have performed some 160 unnannounced tests, that is, as many as they did in the whole of the 2006 season. This sampling zeal only made sense if it concentrated on the at-risk population. At the beginning of the season, the international federation (as had its opposite numbers at the World Anti-Doping Association, and using WADA's code) identified a target group, based partially on competition results, but also on other criteria like the presence of suspect parameters during blood tests, or the possession of a certificate for abnormally elevated hemocrit.

At the UCI, the target group of 60 riders also included those whose names were cited in the Puerto case. Little by little, as the Tour de France approached--a supersensitive race which was already facing starting without a current winner as long as there is no judgment in the Floyd Landis case--the UCI reduced its target to six or seven riders, belonging to several teams, who were particularly likely to shine in July. "We had information according to which they trained in strange places wearing bizarre uniforms"—which were not their team uniforms, Anne Gripper explained, adding that three of these riders were nicknamed the "Men in Black" [in English in the original].

Responsibility put on the directeurs sportifs

Two "men in black" recently went off to train in an unusual location at which the UCI performed unannounced tests, according to Mme Gripper. A little before the start of the Dauphiné Libéré, a persistent rumor in the peloton claimed that one team being watched trained in black jerseys on the roads of the Côte d’Azur. As far as some riders in the peloton are concerned, a black jersey is not a simple expedient for camouflage, but a rallying symbol for former clients of Michele Ferrari, nicknamed "Dr. EPO. "

Anne Gripper made clear that the directeur sportifs affected by this had been alerted Tuesday to the targeting of certain of their riders, during the meeting of the UCI and the teams of the Pro Tour in Geneva. "We shared our suspicions with them--without naming names--and we made a special request to them to themselves provide us their riders' locations," a task which normally falls to the cyclists and not their team directors. Bottom line: the days leading up to the Tour may turn out, as in 2006, to be filled with action.

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