Friday, January 04, 2008

Friday Roundup

The Boulder Report is breaking news that Michael Ball is talking to Landis about working on his Rock Racing team in a tactical role. This follows a parting of the ways of Rock Racing and Frankie Andreu, who had been the DS up until about Christmas, with announcement today (at Velonews). Wags at DPF had been anticipating a shakeup at Rock, and there were even some rumblings anticipating a Landis connection. Betsy Andreu (ElizaB) belately shot back at some pointed questions in the run up, and caught a tide of approval as the announcement of Frankie's departure came out today, along with apologies.

Landis can't take any job that requires a USA Cycling license, since he is suspended. We're not clear what that entails, actually. He probably can't drive a team car, but can he sit in a seat in the car, unofficially?

Somebody might want to look at that rulebook carefully.

Rock Racing is looking like the reincarnation of the Oakland Raiders of the early 80's-- full of outcasts, and not making any friends with the Powers that be. Let's hope there isn't a Lyle Alzado in the bunch.

The CyclingNews Letters column today has lots of letters, two or three of which have their say about how the UCI treats its riders and needs to establish fairness guidelines in testing procedures.

ESPN posts a story from its magazine which asks if the punishment given Justin Gatlin is fair and seriously questions how WADA conducts its business:

Everything that's wrong with the World Anti-Doping Agency's code can be found in the tortured analysis of this argument by the 2-1 majority on the arbitration panel that handed down the decision. It goes on and on -- and on -- about how the arbitrators in the 2001 case clearly intended to show Gatlin wasn't at fault. "Mr. Gatlin neither cheated nor intended to cheat," wrote the judges, Ed Colbert and Sam Cheris.
But here's the Catch-22. Since the WADA code wasn't in effect back then, the 2001 panel didn't make an explicit "no fault" finding under the code that would let the 2007 panel discount it as a violation. You getting this? Gatlin is being punished by the WADA code for the simple fact that the WADA code wasn't in effect in 2001.

The piece further calls into question the practice of getting athletes to help USADA/WADA catch other drug cheats and enablers, such as Gatlin did:
Here's where the case gets ludicrous. Instead of holding Gatlin up as a model, the USADA's prosecutors invoked yet another rule in the endlessly flexible WADA code. This one states that a defendant's cooperation has to yield evidence of a new, undiscovered doping violation. Never mind that Gatlin's tapes will no doubt be used in an upcoming federal trial in which Graham stands accused of obstructing justice. (They've already been handed over to Graham's defense.) The USADA's general counsel, Bill Bock, argued that Gatlin didn't do enough to merit a reduction of his ban.


The net effect of this decision might be to discourage the very cooperation that the USADA says it wants. During his years as the agency's general counsel, Travis Tygart, who was recently promoted to CEO, helped run up a perfect 36-0 win record in arbitration cases. But as defense lawyers get better at picking apart the science of these cases, the tide might be turning. On Dec. 15, the USADA suffered its first-ever loss when an arbitration panel ruled in favor of another Beijing hopeful, sprinter LaTasha Jenkins. The panel found that a urine sample that tested positive for nandrolone in Belgium was tainted by two European labs that didn't follow international standards.

Gene Bisbee wonders what happens competition wise if Floyd Landis is exonerated by the CAS.


jrdbutcher said...

Interesting story on Gatlin and WADA's world of Catch-22's.

Here is a story about Martina Hingis being banned by the ITA for 2 years for cocaine:

It's short on details. Her ban is backdated to October (not sure how that was calculated) and she forfeits about 130k in winnings.

If memory serves, there were CoC issues that were not mentioned in the current story?

Not sure many care as this relates to anti-doping. Cocaine doesn't seem to be a very empowering drug for top level tennis competition and she's retired. ~130k is a small drop in the bucket wrt her career earnings.