Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Roundup

News
VeloNews/Neil Rogers has an interview with Landis, described as, "his most outspoken, acerbic interview ever." The galled profanity starts in the answer to the second question, and he rakes Steve Johnson over the coals for what he calls "lying" in the interview last week.

Landis talks about Rock Racing, what he calls "Team High Horse", and on the general handwringing:

Look, the more they talk about it, the worse it gets for cycling. Of course we need to fix it. You will never solve all the crime. There is always going to be a police agency, because there are always going to be people trying to rob liquor stores. You’re never going to fix it. The more we talk about it, the longer this goes on. I’m not saying ignore it. I’m saying in the background enforce the rules the way they are written and leave it at that. That is what police do. That’s what the government does. The government enforces rules, and a person that breaks the rules pays for those rules in defined way. And after that, that’s it, that person then goes back out to live their life. In cycling, that’s not how it works. And the way it is now can never help cycling. It’s going to always be a mess until people start to realize that we have to have people enforcing the rules, and the rest of the time, the show goes on

On the state of cycling:
If I never race again, I have a hundred friends of mine who I’ve spent years of my life with, and I know how hard they work, who deserve better than what they are getting. And it’s not just people in a gray area who other people are wondering if they’ve doped or not. It’s everybody. It’s people who just love to ride their bikes because they love to do so, and the sport attracted them because it was something that appeared to be better than what it is now. Really, there are a lot of people in this sport that deserve better than what they are getting now, including you guys, the press, everybody. Everyone deserves better than what they are getting now, and it all comes down to the people at the very top, people like Steve Johnson, who say, when something bad happens, oh I wasn’t paying attention. You know what? If you are the referee at the Super Bowl and you weren’t paying attention, you’re fired. Your job is to pay attention.

Amazingly, Rogers still doesn't get what the dispute in Landis' case is about-- whether the CIR test result is correct:

NR: I understand your defense argument against mishandling of the original urine test, but how do you explain the presence of exogenous testosterone that showed during the carbon isotope ratio test?


Landis answers at length. Go read.


The CyclingNews says that concerns over any redundancies in testing between the new UCI "blood passport" program and in-house individual team testing are nonexistent as they "compliment" each other:
Slipstream director Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews that the team will continue testing its own riders even after the UCI rolls out the 'biological passports'. "We'll continue with our testing, but we will be fully integrated with the [UCI's] blood passport system. I am 100% behind the UCI's system and we will back it financially to any degree they deem necessary. We will also continue with our ACE program, as we feel it's a complimentary element to the biological passport program."

CyclingNews also covers the retraction by German TV of the Austrian blood doping lab story, but the story will not end there as the investigation into systematic doping programs at the labs continues. Finally, Andrey Kashechkin and his lawyer have parted ways.

In the AM update the CN reports that Mario Cipollini will sign with Rock Racing and return to competition as well as management of the team:
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that "Super Mario" is currently in Santa Monica, California, for technical and administrative meetings. An agreement that he would join the team was reached Wednesday night after a five hour meeting with Ball, and the contract may be signed as early as Friday. The 2002 World champion may make his come-back next month in the Tour of California.

As we learn in the Landis interview at VN, he couldn't take the job, so Cippo is in.

The CyclingNews letters column today has lots of notes debating whether or not Lance Armstrong ever doped, and one that wants the UCI to finally draw a line in the sand and declare the "biopassport system" a new beginning.

ESPN's Bonnie D. Ford continues her conversation with Sliptream's Jonathan Vaughters in a Q&A which includes some comment on the controversial IM incident with Frankie Andreu:

Q: People might look at you and say, "You're smart, you're driven, you probably could have gone into another industry. Why do this?"

A: Everyone on the planet knows about that little IM conversation I had with Frankie Andreu.

[The alleged transcript of a July 2005 instant messenge chat between Vaughters and Andreu has surfaced in multiple media reports. The on-line conversation turned to the subject of doping and Vaughters referred to anecdotes he had heard from the 2004 Tour de France involving Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong and the Discovery team. Vaughters later characterized the content as "gossip."]

That was sort of like before I had this dream, and it was when I didn't know what to do with this passion I had. I was angry about what was going on, and there was nothing to do about it other than bitch and moan to your buddy on the Internet. That was a very public example of how negative I was at that time. And now, I have something entirely and totally positive that I can pour all that into. It's very cathartic for me. Now, with Taylor Phinney on our junior team, you can draw the line of responsibility very directly. You have someone who will, almost certainly, be one of the best professional riders in the world in six years' time. So is it not your responsibility to do everything you can? I know his mom and dad. I don't want to have to lie to his mom and dad seven years from now … but the sad story is that in cycling 10 years ago, that is the way the story would have gone


The VeloNews quotes Ivan Basso as saying that his two year suspension for doping was the best thing that ever happened to him. Glad he has found the perspective to come up with such generous feelings.

VeloNews also updates with the Cipo return story and speculates that Michael Ball's "good friend" Mario may plug the manegerial hole left by Frankie Andreu's departure.

A reader points us to an organized debate held on the 16th, moderated by Bob Costas, over the question, "We should accept performance-enhancing drugs in competitive sports." No prizes for guessing which side Mr. Pound represented. For the position, one civil libertarian, a professor of pediatrics and bioethics, and another of practical ethics and bioethics, including stem-cell research. Against, sportscaster George Michael, former ballplayer Dale Murphy, and former-WADA president Mr. Pound.

Images here, transcript here.

AP/Rachel Cohen
covered the debate, which swung some opinion in the audience, but not decisively:
Before the nearly two-hour debate began, 63 percent of audience members indicated they were for prohibition and 18 percent believed the drugs should be allowed, with the rest undecided. Afterward, 59 percent said they should be banned, and 37 percent said they should be permitted.


TBV's view is that some PEDs are dangerous (speed), some demonized ones are likely harmless (hgh), others (steroids) in-between; and that the testing and enforcement situation with the current prohibitions is a mess that produces neither justice nor a "level playing field". What it does produce is large amounts of hot air. Including us.

Pez talks to Frankie Andreu, late of Rock Racing. He's no longer associated with ACE, and isn't sure if he'll get a job with VS for the Tour this year.

The Mercury News, among others, says former SF 49ers defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield has plead guilty to a charge of lying about PED use, including "the clear" and EPO. This is part of Jeff Novitzky's continuing BALCO investigation. The news is the EPO, which hasn't turned up in many NFL rumours before, and it's the first time I've remembered hearing BALCO and EPO linked. Stubby was noted for having a big "motor", going full speed in the 4th quarter-- at least, until he moved away from BALCO. When he went to the Redskins as a free agent, he was considered a bust.

Blogs
Rant says the word of the day in Germany might be "oops", as ARD cops to having perhaps been a bit premature in breaking the Humanplasma Austrian lab as doping center story. Trouble is, it's really hard to put toothpaste back in the tube once you've squeeze it out. Then again, where there is smoke there may be fire.

A prescient comment
notes that teams with their own testing are going to keep doing it, because they don't really trust the UCI's blood passport system. Well, nobody trusts anybody. This will lead to trouble when one set of tests say one thing, and the other says something else, and testing by WADA labs says something else again. We suppose this is progress of a sort. "A man with more than one watch never knows what time it is," where the man with one knows for certain, even if he's wrong.

Racejunkie reviews the most interesting cycling stories of the week, including the possible mistake made by German TV in accusing the Humanplama labs of being doping centers for various athletes. And why, with all they could be writing about cycling, does the mainstream sports media in this country choose to report that Lance Amrstrong is running the Boston Marathon?

Benjacat notes that Floyd Landis will be racing in the NUE Mohican MTB 100 in Ohio this spring and wonders if this will be troubling to anyone. Yes, we're sure some people in some offices in Colorado will not be happy.

Potholes and Roadapples notes the closest race to Floyd Landis' hometown of Lancaster, PA in the NUE series this year.


Finallllly, as if the roundup for today would never end, Bike Snob NYC was leaked some correspondence between Michael Ball of Rock Racing, and Steve Hed, of the wheels.

That'll do for today.

43 comments:

beeble said...

The cool thing also was that ESPN story on the Slipstream crew was the lead story for a few hours last night on espn.com.

When was the last time something positive about cycling was the lead on ESPN?

Michael said...

Man, if Steve Johson doesn't get an interview with Velonews to tell his side of the Landis story, he's going to look even more like a political puppet.

Landis calls him out.

Landis is no longer just a cyclist. He's become more polished and it comes across that way. I sure he would have just preferred to be a cyclist.

Whareagle said...

I predicted this confrontation with Johnson. Ya'll go pick up an old copy of "In Spite of Ourselves". Prouty does a good job of explaining just how lame the USCF and now USAC really are.

And don't forget - Frankie Andreu WAS on the same board at USAC... Action, Inaction, Politics, Sex, and Salaries. Someone contact Bisceglia and get his opinion. Fop-wristed fools.

("Eightzero") said...

After reading that interview, all I have to say is .... damn. Floyd, you da man. I have even more respect and more admiration for Floyd than I did before.

How many years will pass before we universally recognize FL as the hero of modern cycling? And where's the FFF when I need to make (another) donation to his righteous cause?

Mike Solberg said...

Well that interview with Niel Rogers is certainly interesting. All the foaming about Steve Johnson isn't all that fascinating. I guess I just have lower expectations about how much integrity people have about doing their jobs. There aren't a whole lot of people like Atticus Finch around today.

But the science stuff was interesting. Floyd said:

But relatively speaking, what they did was say, this has to come out between 3 and 7, because we assume it’s 5, and our margin of error means it can be plus or minus 2. Their [known negative sample] came out to 7.4 and 1.3, but they said, well, whatever, that’s close enough. No, that’s not close enough. Your machine is not working, you f--ks. If you have a margin of error — and this lab in France specifically decided on its margin of error, they are the one that decided this parameter — if you can’t get yours within the margin of error, how the f--k do you know that mine is right? Here you are testing one you know is right. They knew the answer should be 5, and they knew the machine has variations, the answer is never going to just be 5, sometimes its 6, sometimes its 4, sometimes its 7, sometimes its 3, but that is the range we are aiming at, and we know the machine is working and we get that. But when you get 7.4 your machine is not working. And that is what they based their measurements on.

I wonder if that is a preview of the CAS brief and argument?

If so, then perhaps Ali has nailed it. Can someone tell me exactly what Landis is probably talking about? I have not really paid that much attention to the margin of error, calibration, and statistical stuff. What is he likely talking about exactly?

syi

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

Mike,

I'm not 100% certain that this is what Floyd is referring to, but I seem to recall that one or more of the blanks showed a "positive" (or "non-negative" to use ADA-speak) result. In other words, a reading beyond LNDD's own margin of error.

From a process control standpoint, if your calibration tests can't be performed within your own margin of error (however that margin of error was determined), then there's something wrong with your measurement device.

(And, yes, I do have a statistical process control/ISO 9000/QS 9000 background).

That's what Floyd's comment sounds like to me, anyway. FWIW.

- Rant

Michael said...

Hmmm...when is the new article with Rogers going to hit the main page on Velonews?

Did we get a sneak peak or is Velonews burying the article? Or waiting for the print version before going live?

Cub said...

Rant said :
"From a process control standpoint, if your calibration tests can't be performed within your own margin of error (however that margin of error was determined), then there's something wrong with your measurement device."

... or with your procedures, or with your personel, or with the blanks you were testing, or a combination of these things.

All you know is that something's wrong somewhere and that any test results you produce prior to figuring out what's wrong are unreliable.

I wonder if they are allowed to "use their experience" on the testing of the blanks? It's almost comical if they can do this and still not get the "correct" results. Well, I suppose it's not comical to Floyd.

Has anybody figured out how many times in Floyd's case LNDD tested blanks, and how many times the blanks came up falsely positive?

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

Cub said:

... or with your procedures, or with your personel, or with the blanks you were testing, or a combination of these things.

All you know is that something's wrong somewhere and that any test results you produce prior to figuring out what's wrong are unreliable.


True. Well put. Something's rotten in the state of the testing lab if they can't get their own calibration tests to come out within their own tolerances.

- Rant

Mike Solberg said...

But which calibration tests, or other tests, are we talking about? Which USADA page numbers?

I am just concerned that one of the things Floyd was talking about was the CIR reading of the IRMS internal standard, which, I agree with USADA, is a non-issue. In that part of the chromatogram there is too much interference.

What other calibration problems are there?

syi

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

Mike,

Not entirely sure which tests or page numbers. Later on today or tomorrow I'll try to hunt that down -- unless someone else finds it first.

You're right, if it turns out to be something that's non-issue, then raising such a concern to the CAS would not be a winning gambit.

- Rant

Ali said...

syi,

The only cast iron violation of their own performance criteria that I'm aware of (forgetting that recent events may mark me as an unreliable witness on ... anything ?) was the retesting of the Stage 17 Floyd samples where their own SOP procedure, when reperformed on the same data (that's the same electronic data, not even a complete rerun of the test) resulted in a difference of greater than 1.9 delta units from their original measurement. That's a clear, no questions asked, non-conformance.

Having said all that, I'm not sure what Floyd referred to. That's the only "banker" that I can think of.

Ali

Larry said...

Ali and others:

My recollection is that some of the testing of the blank urine produced AAFs, and that LNDD had delta readings on the 5aAC internal standard that were more than 0.8 off the expected delta of -30.0.

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

Larry,

That's my recollection, too. But I haven't found the page numbers yet where those results are shown. Maybe after I get back from my swim I'll find those references (too bloody cold in Milwaukee to be riding today, it's currently -6F).

- Rant

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

Mike/Larry,

Darndest thing. I spent several hours perusing the lab documentation pack, and I found some pretty interesting stuff ... but nothing that was a clear indication of a negative urine blank testing positive. It could very well be in there, but if it is I didn't find it. Or perhaps there's some indication of that in the additional tests from April. I didn't look through that documentation.

Memory is a tricky thing, I have to say.

What Ali points to is something I've found bothersome for a long while.

Using the same data, LNDD should be able to get the same results if they process it a second time. Not approximately. Exactly. The same data run through same calculations should equal identical results. The fact that they didn't get the same results when reprocessing the Landis data says there's something wrong in how they process that data.

And that's the kind of thing that makes me question whether we can trust any of the reported results. How are we to know (and how could the majority have known) which results are the correct results and which are in error? Or whether any of the results were correct?

Larry said...

Dan -

You're right, the blank urine did not flunk the CIR test. See USADA 186 and 352.

However, when LNDD reprocessed the EDF files, the blank urine flunked the CIR test for 5A-P using the Auto and Masslynx means of measurement (that is, if you don't subtract the 0.8 uncertainty from the measured values). See the majority opinion paragraph 139.

I don't know if this is what FL was referring to.

Ali said...

Interesting that during the reprocessing exercise, their manual "adjustment" of the result that the software calculated on the blank A and B samples resulted in a significant change to both, making them less negative (less dopey).

However, when they "adjusted" Floyd's auto result it became more negative on the A sample (I guess maybe -5.65 just wasn't negative enough)

Three things are worth highlighting here.

Firstly, by their own admission, the LNDD lab knew which was the blank and which was Floyd's sample. That was the case for all the CIR results presented in the case.

Secondly, their SOP is to override the automatic software calculations and manually intervene to "adjust" the results as they see fit.

Thirdly, they had already leaked an opinion to the media that he was guilty.

When you put those three things together, how is that not an even worse situation than the dreaded "same person on the A and B, validating own result, case dismissed" scenario ?

I'd take the same person on the A and B analysis any day, as long as they didn't know who the samples belonged to. At least you'd have a fighting chance of an objective decision.

This is so flawed from an experimental point of view, I can't find the words to describe it.

Finally, Brenna's testimony that the adjustments made by the technicians was just a "quality control" activity and that it was the software that calculated the result was deliberately misleading.

That was important testimony as it removed the possibility that they had any sort of control over the results.

It was also complete BS. I can't believe he got away with that. Once they choose to set things up manually, all the software does is to perform the calculation they tell it to. They assume complete control over the result.

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

Larry,

Thanks. I didn't have a chance to look at the majority opinion at work today. The day job's actually keeping me fairly busy.

What's still bothersome to me is that when reprocessing the original data the lab couldn't produce the same numbers. None of the methods used in the reprocessing produces an end result that matches the original "results."

Once the data is acquired during the actual testing of a sample, then using the same software with the same algorithms to analyze it should yield identical results. (Assuming that the original work was properly documented, so the person doing the reprocessing could set up the same integration points, etc.) If the manual method really is LNDD's standard operating procedure, their documentation from the original tests ought to have notes about what starting and endpoints were for each of the integrations. As Dr. Davis noted in his testimony, the software even had the capability to record that information for later use.

This raises two issues in my mind. First, the original work must not be thoroughly documented, even in whatever notes and information LNDD may have kept to themselves and not included in the LDP. Second, the people processing/reprocessing the data don't fully comprehend what it is they're doing.

In either case, it's hard to believe the data presented by the lab when they can't even get the same numbers on a second go-round. And in the case of reprocessing, I don't think that margin of error applies. If properly done (and as I said, if the original work was properly documented), the results from one of the methods used in the reprocessing should be identical.

The only way you're going to get a difference, maybe, is if the data is run through different software (like the MassLynx software, noted in paragraph 139). Depending on the exact algorithms (and the assumptions behind those algorithms) used in the MassLynx software or a different software package, the results could be different.

Think of it this way: 1 + 1 = 2 (assuming we're talking base 10 here). Every time you add 1 and 1 you should get the same result.

So, what happens if someone adds 1 and 1 and comes up with, say, 5? Their answer is incorrect.

The problem I have with the results of LNDD'S reprocessing is which (if any) of the results they produced is correct? How can we know? I don't think we can.

Dr. Botre's report, quoted in the majority opinion makes an interesting justification for why LNDD's manual subtraction is scientifically sound. But he never addresses the most central point. Why is it that none of the reprocessing methods fails to yield identical results?

We don't really know if any of the results is correct. They certainly aren't repeatable. And one thing good science is, is repeatable.

Anyhow, that's a point which has been discussed before, both here and elsewhere.

Ali,

If I'm following you correctly, I'm in complete agreement about the Brenna testimony you're referring to. If the lab techs are using a manual method, where they perform (or define) the background subtraction, and they manually process the data, they have complete control over the results -- by virtue of how they choose to define the background subtraction and the endpoints for the integrations. Sure, the software performs the calculations, but anyone who understands calculus could do that work, provided they know the algorithms or derivative equations involved. The computer merely performs the number crunching.

Imagine saying, "Well, I performed my calculations on my handy-dandy HP-25 Professor Jones, so if I failed the test, it's because the calculator didn't do its work properly." Somehow, I don't think that would convince the prof to change your grade. At least, it wouldn't have worked with any of the profs I've ever known. ;-)

Cheers.

Mike Solberg said...

But guys, if there is no variation expected in reprocessing the EDFs, then why do it at all?

If it really is just a matter of running the same numbers through the same number cruncher, it doesn't seem like they would bother. There must be some element of variation there (which they were examining presumably) or else they wouldn't bother to run the numbers.

syi

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

"Why is it that none of the reprocessing methods fails to yield identical results? "

Actually, what I meant to say was, "Why is it that none of the reprocessing methods yields identical results?"

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

Mike,

Actually, the point of reprocessing would be to see if the numbers do come out the same. If they don't, there's something wrong with how the lab is processing the data. And if they don't come out the same, then the question to be answered is, "Why?"

The answer to that question could explain much about the originally reported results -- and whether the original results should even be believed.

Ali said...

Rant,

I can confirm your speculation as to why their SOP method couldn't reproduce the same result with the same data ... they don't record what they are doing.

They move the integration limits (and hence the background subtraction level) until they are happy they have the right result, which they determine "using their experience" (no other explanation was offered).

Once they're happy they just stop there ... "c'est ca !". They don't record what changes they made or where their "experience" finally led them to. So when they have to repeat the analysis, they have to start from scratch each time.

That's why they couldn't reproduce the results using their SOP and why they had differences greater than 1.9. The "experience" method clearly isn't a repeatable one. Given that you'd think they would have to record how they got their results, wouldn't you ?

That's not just my speculation either. It was an observation by Dr Davis and he sat there and watched them do it.

Of course, it does have the advantage of removing all traceability of how they derived the result.

It would appear that no standards of professional behaviour are too low for this lab.

How can any observer take the ADAs seriously when they not only tolerate such malpractice, but actually publically defend it.

Amazing.

Michael said...

How come Floyd's lawyers didn't ask such simple questions in the hearing?? I sure would have made the majority arbs decision much harder to defend.

It seems to me the case was mired in too much scientific mumbo-jumbo...

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

Michael,

Good point. I wouldn't even hazard a guess, except to say that I think they were rushed to put on their defense after losing so much time dealing with Mme. Mongongu and Mme. Frelat. Perhaps they meant to, but it fell through the cracks.

Of course, this also begs the question of why Dr. Botre didn't raise such questions, either, during his assistance to the panel.

dailbob said...

Michael, You said:

It seems to me the case was mired in too much scientific mumbo-jumbo...

Probably true given that the arbitrators don't have scientific backgrounds. With no offense to the Legal Eagles here, one of the reforms I thought was needed is that the panel should be comprised of three Analytical Chemists (not associated with WADA labs) with a Legal Advisor, instead of it being three Attorneys with a Scientific Advisor.

Cheers

Larry said...

Rant, Ali, Michael, D-Bob -

I am living in a moderately self-imposed TBV exile at the moment, a state in which I intend to remain until at least part 1 of the Legal Opus is finished and in the hands of the Editor of this Blog.

But if you walk through the transcript of the arbitration, you'll see that Suh made a pretty big deal of LNDD's inability to repeat their initial July-August 2006 CIR readings when the EDF files were reprocessed. I know that Suh stresses this in his opening statement, and that he asked Brenna about it in cross-examination. If memory serves, Brenna said something to the effect that he would have been concerned about this if it came up in his lab. I know that this issue was touched on in Ayotte's testimony also, but I don't remember if Suh asked her about it in cross-examination. Again, if memory serves, Ayotte tried to pin the discrepancy on a single reading.

Ali, IMHO, this issue does not involve a question of "traceability", which is defined as the ability of a test method to relate to a known standard. It's an issue somewhere in the vicinity of "repeatability", probably closer to "intermediate precision", than any other concepts I've run into in my research. “Repeatability” is a method’s precision measured where the method is performed on identical test items in the same laboratory by the same operator using the same equipment within short intervals of time. “Intermediate Precision” is the variation in results observed when one or more factors, such as time, equipment and operator, are varied within a laboratory. (This is a hint, by the way, of how I'm spending my time in exile.)

Guys, in your discussion here, you're neglecting to consider why the EDF re-testing was performed in the first place. The EDF testing was primarily about trying to show whether there would have been an AAF if LNDD had used automatic methods or more up-to-date software to compute the CIR. But the EDF testing indicated that, if anything, the use of better software and automatic CIR computation would have made the 5aA reading worse for FL. THIS was a point stressed by the prosecution in its opening statement at arbitration, and may have been one of the reasons why Suh did not spend more time than he did to bring the EDF retesting front-and-center.

Finally, I think you need to look harder at what was involved in the EDF reprocessing. It simply cannot be the case that the LNDD lab technician was unable to locate integration points to match the points used when the data was first analyzed. During the hearing, Suh stressed that LNDD tried something like 20 times during the EDF reprocessing to repeat the results they'd found back in July-August 2006. LNDD KNEW the result they were supposed to duplicate, and I'd bet you all drinks at your local pub that LNDD REHEARSED the EDF reprocessing before they performed it live in front of Dr. Davis et. al. No, there was clearly more involved than searching for the right integration point. I remember there being testimony about moving and creating data points - I think this is where the "using my experience" line came in. I don't exactly know what it means to move data points, so I can't tell you what's involved. And it's not like we can use common sense as a guide here. But common sense tells me that there was more involved than simply trying to find integration points.

Back into the cave for me.

Ali said...

Larry,

I don't want to distract you from your legal opus, but just one question on the EDF files.

There are lots of potential explanations for the CIR results, but the only way they can be validated is to gain access to a copy of the EDFs.

How can the ADA be allowed to withold the only evidence that would give the athlete the opportunity to prove his innocence ?

I can't get my head around why that's allowed. It's just perverse.

Any findings would be subjected to the scrutiny of the ADA and the hearing panel, so there's no scope for deception.

Larry said...

Ali -

I won't argue about perversity (if that's even a word).

The ISL says that the lab only has to produce the items in the LDP. The EDF is not a part of the LDP. The arbitrators have discretion to order the lab to provide more stuff, and the reprocessing of the EDFs (under the control of LNDD and Dr. Botre) was as much as the FL team was able to get.

Even in a court proceeding, there are going to be limits on what each side can get from the other side in discovery. I honestly don't know whether FL could have gotten hold of the EDFs if his case had been held under federal or state rules of civil procedure.

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

Larry,

I think your supposition about the techs being prepped ahead of the retesting is possible. To my eyes and ears, the testimony of at least one of the lab techs during the May hearings appeared to have been coached.

Under questioning by USADA, Cynthia Mongongu seemed much more confident and sure of her answers, and much quicker to respond. Under cross-examination by the Landis side, however, she seemed evasive and appeared not to grasp exactly what she was being asked. Getting a direct answer out of her, for Landis' lawyers, seemed akin to pulling teeth. At least, that's how it appeared to me.

That being the case, the possibility that the lab techs were coached before the April retesting wouldn't surprise me at all.

Looking forward to reading your Magnum Legal Opus

Larry said...

Mr. Rant -

You can be certain that all witnesses on both sides rehearsed their testimony. That's pretty much SOP. The last thing we attorneys want in a courtroom is to be surprised by one of our own witnesses.

jrdbutcher said...

Rehearsing testimony or checking your facts, pre hearing, is fair and prudent.

Witness coaching gets you into a grey area or an area that you should not be treading in, depending upon the ethics of the coach and witness.

If the coaching involves instructions such as: answer the questions truthfully and directly, but don't offer any more detail in the response beyond what the question requires, then that is fine. If the coaching involves asking the witness question he/she is likely to be asked by the opposing side, in order the get the witness comfortable with an adversrial setting, then that is fine too.

Coaching a witness to be evasive, misleading, or to outright lie is, of course, out of bounds, unethical, illegal, and should result in severe sanctions as it undermines the very basis of the process.

I'm guessing the lab techs were coached. Given that assumption, the questions that come quickly to mind are: Was the coaching ethical and were the witnesses ethical? Did they stay within bounds or did they cross the line?

Ali said...

jrdbutcher,

Given that Brenna was misleading in his testimony to the point of almost perjuring himself (had he been under oath), I don't think USADA enforced any ethical boundaries on the conduct of their witnesses (quite the opposite, infact).

Somebody should point out the fact that they're supposed to be fighting the "win by any means" attitude, not promoting it.

jrdbutcher said...

Ali,

Brenna was under oath. If he lied, it's purgery. It was up to Floyd's side to make an issue of it/prove it or the arbs to recognize/sanction it.

I don't think we're at cross opinions. See my rant posted on this site in the comments section, today, 1/23/08.

Cheers

Ali said...

jrdbutcher,

I saw your post, that's what prompted me to reply and no, I didn't think we were at cross opinions.

Amazing that I didn't realise they were under oath.

I'm going to go back and review the testimony, although if I recall correctly, it was mostly verbal sleight-of-hand and unfinished answers (to me, that's lying, but not everybody shares that opinion).

Ali

jrdbutcher said...

Sorry Ali,
The post I intended to point you towards is actually contained in the "Friday Roundup", and was written today (Wednesday). Sometimes I'm slow.
Cheers

castor said...

jdr butcher - what makes you say that the French lab witnesses were illegally coached? If that were the case, wouldn't they logically have given far more perfect answers? It seems TBV has found plenty of fault with their testimony already. I'm just not sure what proof you have for such an 'almost' accusation.

Furthermore, Landis' recent interview was a real distraction. Did the man not know he was being interviewed? He says F*** God knows how many times, totally undermining his ability to be professional, and then has the gaul to refer to one of the French lab workers as a 'girl' - excuse me, Floyd, but that's a woman - a professional. We're living in the 21st century, not the 19th.

If I or any of us were to use such language within our own professional work life or organizations, we'd be sacked or reprimanded in a second. I don't know what he wants to prove from tha interview, but he's clearly lost any audience that would have trying to understand the science. That man seriously needs a publicist or SOMETHING if he wants to win some public opinion.

Michael said...

Castor,

Come off your high horse. This man (Floyd) had been vilified by the organizations that were supposed to protect him.

So he used some cuss words? Good for him. It's not like he has anything else to lose, especially as far as the public views him. Most of the publie (ie media) have already written him off.

I thought the article/interview was perfect. It showed a human being that's been railroaded by broken procedures. We got to see and read what it would feel like to be in Floyd's shoes.

So what if he referred to one of the lab techs as a girl. She is a 'girl', correct? Why is that a big deal to you.

And as far as professionalism goes, do you really think/believe Floyd has been treated professionally by WADA, the UCI, USADA and US Cycling?

He said what most of us have been thinking about the case since it started.

Mike

castor said...

Michael - I'm not on a high horse. It seems that we simply have different sets of personal criteria. My mom told me at an early age that women should not be referred to as girls because it's diminutive and patronizing. All my female friends agree. Understand - this is Floyd in an interview - not a chat discussion or idle conversation.

He makes it so difficult for some people, like myself, to fire up much of a rallying cry for his cause. Why can't the man engage in professional behaviour during an interview - it's just stuns me - not because I'm offended (lord knows I've heard far, far worse) but the man is running a charitible foundation for people aflicted with disorders similar to his to help them. If this is the man who is heading that foundation, he ought to pay far better attention to how he conducts himself if he genuinely wants to raise money for those people.

If that sounds old fashioned, I'm sorry. I just feel that people who ask for money for charity ought to think of the people that they are representing. It's not only fair, it's respectful.

jrdbutcher said...

Castor,
I have not read your whole post(s), but I'll start by answering the first question you posed to me:

A. I did not write that the lab techs were illegally coached. You are attributing words/statements to me that I did not make. Go back and read my post more carefully.

Seems you might be on a high horse. The very first question you asked of me is based on a false premise.

castor said...

Jdrbutcher - your comment was I'm guessing the lab techs were coached. Given that assumption, the questions that come quickly to mind are: Was the coaching ethical and were the witnesses ethical? Did they stay within bounds or did they cross the line? Your implication from this is clearly that you think the lab techs were coached, especially since you then proceed to make assumptions based on that assumption. And, assuming that you're trying to make a point, what exactly is your point? Coached or not coached? And why do you come to this way of thinking, and, ultimately, what is your point? I'm trying to follow your points about coaching and wondering if it's going to be about a conspiracy.

Ali said...

Castor,

I think jrdbutcher was suitably uncommital in his question about coaching.

I wasn't in my response to his question. I think they were coached as well as they needed to be ... don't answer the questions in an honest, open manner. That's all that was required. As for a conspiracy, I wouldn't describe that as a conspiracy. That was simple, blatant distortion of the truth from some witnesses.

Ali

jrdbutcher said...

Castor,

You seem to be attempting to take my statement out of context. No matter, it still stands on its own. I wrote that I guessed they were coached. That is different than writing that they were, in fact, “illegally” coached. When one adds words, subtracts words, or doesn’t carefully read the words written, then the meaning will be made to be different or made to seem different. I don’t know you. I don’t know if English is your first language. If it is, then I don’t know if you have some sort of condition that makes it difficult for you to comprehend a post I wrote that is fairly clearly written.

My post was, in part, intended to explain and demonstrate the differences between witness coaching that is ethical/legal on one hand, and unethical/illegal on the other.

I don’t know if the lab techs from LNDD were coached, but guess they were. There are some indications that they were. If my assumption that they were coached is correct, then I wonder if they were coached ethically/legally or unethically/illegally.

This is a very rough explanation/summary. I don’t understand what problem you have with me asking hypothetical questions.

I don’t appreciate your mischaracterization of what I wrote. I never stated that the lab techs were “illegally” coached. That is a gratuitous assertion on your part.

I make it a policy to avoid interaction with posters who twist my words to make points more to their liking. Discussion/debate between us is now in your court.

castor said...

butcher -
ESL writer, or someone with a condition that makes it difficult for me to comprehend? That's sarcastic and mean. Thanks. Have a great weekend.