Botch of the Week
Iván Gutiérrez lost the lead of the Vuelta a Valenciana on Thursday after the group he was in was led off course by the motorcycle official in the final five kilometres of the third stage. The chasing group of 25 riders was bearing down on two escapees ... and had brought the gap down to less than twenty seconds when they were led the wrong way at a roundabout and onto a highway which was filled with rush-hour traffic.
The official response: "Sorry, nothing we can do"
The CyclingNews says the UCI is claiming the agreement reached by the pro teams to participate in Paris-Nice was in fact not unanimous:
But the UCI insists that not all team managers were present at the meeting, and some were opposed to the AIGCP's proposals. "After having consulted several team managers, the UCI notes that Mr (Eric) Boyer's statements do not correspond to the actual situation: several teams were not consulted. It is thus false to assert that the teams unanimously decided to participate in the Paris-Nice," read a UCI statement issued on Saturday.
Not only did a restricted number of team managers attend the AIGCP meeting, but the majority of these declared that they were opposed to the contents of the press release of 27 February." added the statement. "The truth is thus that the teams did not come out in favor of participation in the Paris-Nice irrespective of the conditions. In fact, several teams contacted UCI seeking to take part in the Paris-Nice under UCI regulations."
ESPN posts an AP interview with Astana's Johan Bruyneel in which, among other assertions, he claims that the now defunct Discovery team failed to secure another sponsor because of the continuing dispute between the UCI and ASO. He doesn't say anything about prejudice ASO may have against him or his ex-Discovery riders.
The Daily Peloton announces the choice of consultant Rock Racing has made to run its in-house anti-doping program, no surprise it's old friend Paul Scott:
“Rock Racing is proud to partner with Scott Analytics in our commitment to change this sport for the better,” said Team Owner Michael Ball. “The Athlete Passport Program will ensure the integrity of our team and reinforce our position that all of our riders should be eligible to race.
The program was developed by respected anti-doping researcher and Scott Analytics Founder and President, Paul Scott, who also served as Director of Clients at the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory and Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Agency for Cycling Ethics, Inc.
CyclingFans Anonymous considers the selection of Paul Scott for Rock Racing's anti-doping program by Rock (and Landis)' attorney Maurice Suh to be less than confidence inspiring. Noting that Scott seems to have left ACE, it strikes CFA as just too chummy.
Science of Sport considers punishment for doping, and is taken aback by the vindictiveness expressed, and the confidence some people have:
O]thers within the IOC have even suggested that doping offences should be criminalized - jail time the result of a positive test.There are some interesting comments as well. The Landis case is invoked as one that would probably need to be "let off" in a more punitive system with a "beyond a reasonable doubt" burden of proof. Floyd has said he'd be happy with that kind of system, in "Dopers must be stoned"
The problem with increasing the punishment - testing will be even more vulnerable to attack
What interests me about this is that no one is looking at the testing procedure and systems, but rather assuming that testing is capable of reliably catching athletes who do cheat. For the implicit assumption when one calls for increased bans, is that the process that will ultimately give that ban is sound, and not likely to collapse under what would become even more pressure to be correct. If the system for testing and then processing positive tests is even slightly flawed, increasing the bans simply invites even more legal wrangling and controversy.
[i]f you're thinking I'm going soft of dopers, let me address the balance. Because while the chance of "false positive" is a real one, what concerns me more is that dopers who test positive will have even more chance of getting away with it, because the entire process that ultimately delivers their sentence would now be under even more pressure to avoid a false conviction.
The Smoking Gun has the transcript of the Barry Bonds Grand Jury testimony. TSG's presentation of the indictment seems to show that the counts are about Bonds' memory of the timeline, and knowledge. It doesn't actually say, just underlines parts of responses deemed dubious.
Here's a summary of a quick read of the testimony.
There's 12 pages of discussion of granting him immunity from everything but perjury, then it gets into substance. Then discussion of background with Greg Anderson, and starting training with him as a coach in 1998. Suggestion of blood testing to identify deficiencies on page 19; About 6 blood and about 4 urine tests; Introduced to Victor Conte by Anderson on page 22, sees him perhaps 3 times; "Flax seed oil" around page 25; He doesn't seem to know what a lot of the stuff is, trusting his old friend. Around page 35, he says he did an ad for BALCO as quid-pro-quo because he believed Anderson was getting things from BALCO for free, and that he never paid for it. Page 36 starts discussion of "lotion" -- Bond's says Anderson said, "Here try this it might help", without discussing what it was. Bonds repeatedly says "whatever, just make the pain go away." He didn't think any of what Anderson administered did him any good, since what he was looking for was arthritic pain relief.
Around page 44 talks of learning young not to get into other's peoples business as part of celebrity childhood. He presents himself as intentionally uninquisitive. Page 44 denies Anderson ever injected him, or that he injected himself: "I'm not that talented, no." Page 47, reviewing documents and bills that Bonds says he's never seen, and denying blood draws in February and March when he'd be in spring training. On page 50, Bonds says that, "everyone talks about steroids at one point or another, players or whatever", but he never did one-on-one with Anderson. Page 55 denies EPO, and some other things, at least knowingly; Page 55 begins to have suspicions after BALCO broke in the media that some of the things Anderson gave him might have steroids in them. "If it's a steroid, it ain't working", he says, because he detected no effects. Page 58 shown some documents purporting to be from Anderson, "12-2-02, T, 1 CC, G"; he denies knowing what it is about, specifically that it means testosterone and HgH. Page 63 offers this gem:
Q: Did the Giants training staff have any involvement in working with you with Mr. Anderson?
A. No way.
Q. Okay. And back --
A: We don't trust the ball team. We don't trust baseball.
Q: Why not?
A. Because I was born in this game. Believe me. It's a business. Last time I played baseball was in college. I work for a living now.
On Page 65, he's shown paperwork that seems to be T/E test paperwork. He has know idea what it is about. There are values of 14.0, 10.5 and 1.3; and on Page 69, another test with 16.6, 5.5 and 3.0, which we take as T, E, and ratio. On page 71, we learn he paid Anderson $15,000 for year of training assistance. On page 76, we learn Conte used Quest Diagnostics Incorporated in San Diego for test processing. He's being shown test run by Conte that show apparent positives for Nandrolone and Methenolone. This is the first he's heard of it.
They take a break and come back. He says he always got stuff administered by Anderson at the park before a game, never at home; never got anything sent to him by Conte by mail or Fed-ex. He'd never heard Conte had sent his samples out for steroid testing until this session. On page 98 he specifically denies getting testosterone and Hgh from Anderson in December 2001, per a schedule on a document. On page 101, he does say he takes a bunch of pills, but doesn't know what they are. On page 104 says he could not have done a blood test -- he was at training in Ariziona, and only his doctor here draws blood. Page 108 denies Anderson ever went on the road with him, or that he had the pills, oil or cream with him on the road. On page 110, he thinks the "schedule" before him is odd if it's for steroid doping -- "I'm not overly naive, but I don't think you would do something and then -- I mean, aren't you supposed to do this every day or every other dan and every once a week or something like this? And you go through a cycle think? This is too irregular. It just seems odd to me." On Page 112, he's shown a lab report from BALCO, with a reading of 11.2 and a target rande of 9.5 to 29.7. He doesn't know why BALCO would be testing for it. On page 113, he admits he should have seen the test result documents, but he never inquired. On page 115, it is suggested that Anderson put Bonds' samples in for processing under his, Anderson's name. He's shown some more documents dealing with a Dr. Goldman, who he doesn't know anything about. "I'm shocked at some of these things that I've seen." On Page 120 they address some samples give for MLB testing, paperwork for which seems to have found Anderson's hands. Bonds may have had him check, because he doesn't trust baseball. There's a BACLO test referenced with Goldman that shows free testosterone greater than 5.00, with reference ranges 0.95 to 4.30. He doesn't know why BALCO would have been running such tests. He was never told of any results, except that he was "OK, everything's fine." When he worked out with Anderson, "I mean he works in a gym. I could suspece what goes on in a gym. I don't work out in the richie gym where everybody is rich. I work ina dungeon gym. You know, my thinking of what they may be doing is their own business. I don't get involved into their business. " He says he didn't talk with Anderson about steroids, many many times, and it was a line in their friendship that wasn't crossed: "I don't want to know anything. That's exactly right.", page 126. On pages 128 and 129, he denies planning legal strategies with Anderson. On page 133, some allegations are made about Steve Hoskins and some possible blackmail, and a discussion with the FBI about Hoskins. Bonds does not recall steroids coming up in that interview. The grand jurors ask questions, and he talks about giving big bonuses to lots of people after his 73 home run year, and giving out rings. They, and Anderson's training money are gifts; he doesn't consider Anderson his employee. He hasn't entered any of this on his taxes as gifts, or tried to write them off as expenses. He has another trainer, Harvey Shields, who has also given him different creams over time, but not recently. There is an answer quoted by Smoking Gun, about why he didn't build Anderson a mansion: he's a rare rich black man, and he's keeping his money. There is reiteration that he never paid BALCO, and that the ad was a favor for free protein shakes, including those given to his dad when he was dying of cancer. The end.
All of this, to us, seems reasonably consistent with the reports we've heard of about the testimony over time. He says he didn't know if what he was taking was steroids, and he probably should have checked more than he did.
For perjury, it seems like there would need to be some documentary evidence to contradict the knowledge he denies having about what Anderson was giving him, or testimony that showed he was lying about some point. It is far from clear that, absent the above, it can be proven he knew he was being given steroids. Willfull ignorance and confusion about dates doesn't seem exactly perjurious to us. I don't know that I'd have voted for this indictment absent some other information that is not public. Maybe Bonds is a ham sandwich.
This is the last we'll go into this. Our prurient interest got the better of us, just this once.