Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday Roundup

It's quiet this morning, no news from yesterday's opening session of the Floyd Landis CAS hearing in New York City. Our pre-hearing Q&A can be found here.

The VeloNews reports the UCI has filed a law suit against former WADA president Dick Pound for making remarks about its. anti-doping program that were"injurious and biased". Mr. Pound was uncharacteristically unavailable for comment.

In more VeloNews the CAS has promised that the Danilo DiLuca ruling will be announced in 10 days time. Would that the Landis ruling could be so timely.

ESPN publishes the list of team the ASO has invited to the Tour de France this year and as was expected Astana is not among them, though two American teams were invited. Rabobank and High Road (formerly T-Mobile, see story below) were included. Considering their checkered pasts, the motives of the ASO again come into question. Here is the list of teams:

Agritubel (Fra), Slipstream Chipotle - H30 (USA) and Barloworld (GBr). The ProTour teams are Gerolsteiner and Team Milram (Ger), Quick Step and Silence-Lotto (Bel), Team CSC (Den), Caisse d'Epargne, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Saunier-Duval-Scott (Spa), High Road (USA), Bouygues Telecom, Crédit Agricole, Cofidis, Française des Jeux and AG2R La Mondiale (Fra), Lampre and Liquigas (Ita), Rabobank (Ned).

The CyclingNews reports this morning that two more former T-Mobile team doctors have been implicated in systematic team doping practices during the 2006 season:

The investigation commission of the Freiburg University Clinic has released first conclusions of its inquiry into the doping practices of its doctors regarding the T-Mobile team. In addition to the former team doctors Andreas Schmid and Lothar Heinrich, the commission concluded that also Andreas Blum and Stefan Vogt had been involved in the doping treatments of T-Mobile riders during the 2006 season.

Blum and Vogt reportedly received payments in relation to illegal doping practices. The commission was created to "reveal the methods used by the cycling team to additionally remunerate team doctors, without the knowledge of the University Clinic." It also concluded that blood doping took place in the immediate surroundings of the Clinic, and that further performance-enhancing methods had been applied to pro cyclists between 2001 and 2005, even if former T-Mobile pro Patrik Sinkewitz did not give any names for this assumption.

The VeloNews Mailbag has a few letters about the ASO/UCI controversy, but is much more varied in subject coverage than in previous weeks.

The Steroid Report notes the beginning of the Landis/CAS hearing yesterday and cites one of our favorite bloggers in his discussion. Thanks for the blurb.

Steroid Nation likens Landis to General Custer, and wags a finger at the cost to the poor suffering taxpayers.

WADAwatch, in lengthy but important reading, can't find a part of the WADA code that lets WADA foot the bill for USADA, and says CAS has the ball:

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has an ordained power, at this moment, to slap down the callous presumptions and presumptuousness of WADA, and provide the Athletic world, through this single, system-rocking Landis case, the maximum amount of 'judicial interpretation' WADA 'thought' it wanted.

Article 3.2.1 (burden on Athlete; departure);
Article 6.4 (lab conformity with ISL, etc.);
Article 7.1 and 7.2 (burden on ADO; 'ensurance of zero departures');
AND: the International Standard for Laboratories...

There is also this observant sidebar:

Floyd's case forces upon him the legal burden to prove that 'departure from the International Standard occurred which could reasonably have caused the Adverse Analytical Finding' (Art. 3.2.1), if evidence exists of laboratory failure to follow ISL requirements. This is another major clause that has been 'screwed tight' by the WADA redrafting exercise.

Yet there exists the prior burden, ignored in most analyses of the Landis case, which places on an ADO or Signatory 'with results management responsibilities', the preliminary burden to ensure that there was no departure (See Art. 7.1 and 7.2, as mentioned above).

The importance of this cannot be minimized, because it puts ADOs forward, whose neutrality should (HA!) be as unassailable as that of WADA, as the first line of protection of an Athlete's rights.

The opposite legal effect is in practice; in the Landis case, USADA should have signalled 'ISL' departures to the LNDD lab in France, and to WADA: in reality, USADA hid those, and fought to suppress such evidence from being admitted.

WADA Watch goes on to say there is another trial going on in NY, that of Richard Young, who has had his fingers in a great many things, and makes clear how large the stakes are.


Gary O'Brien said...

Heh. The UCI is suing Dick Pound.

Secretly I hope Pat McQuaid and Pound both represent themselves. It would be the greatest episode of LA Law ever.

jrdbutcher said...

It looks like WADA Watch is quite right that WADA has exceeded its mandate by taking on a significant funding role in the CAS/Landis hearing. Nowhere is such funding listed as a role/responsibility of WADA. This seems to be proof positive that WADA is not a neutral observer or neutral enforcement agency. This is proof positive that WADA is interested in a specific outcome to their Landis dilemma. There is a clear conflict of interest. WADA is not even pretending to follow its own code. If the CAS arbs have any b&*ls, they will bi*%h slap WADA with a finding in favor of Floyd and questioning the very rationale for WADA’s existence, in its current form.

As a citizen/taxpayer of the United States and the great state of Delaware (Dela where?), I am not happy my tax dollars support USADA, an agency that prosecutes USA athletes without them benefiting from due process that citizens of our nation expect. (WADA is also partly funded by our tax dollars) I’ve even asked Congressman Castle why, face to face. Although he voted in favor of a similar bill (House/Senate) by Sen. John McCain to support USADA with our tax dollars, he would only say others think USADA needs more funding and he didn’t know enough about the specifics to comment. However, he committed to look into the subject and get back to me. Repeated calls to Rep. Castle’s office have yielded me zero, so far. Delaware is a small state. I’ll see him face to face and ask the question again, hopefully in front of a larger audience next time.