Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday Roundup

AP/Eddie Pells flushed some more information out on the financing of the USADA prosecution of Landis at the hearing that starts tomorrow. Turns out WADA is footing most of the bill for USADA's outside attorneys, and the agency is irked the UCI hasn't offered to pony up. The UCI says it is USADA's responsibility. We say: Third base. Everybody is being tight lipped about who the witnesses (if any) are going to be. Don't expect much breaking news.

The AFP previews Floyd Landis' CAS hearing which commences behind closed doors tomorrow at the office's of arbiter Rivkin's law firm in Manhattan. The hearing is expected to last 5-6 days and the announcement of the panel's decision will be made from Lausanne.

The VeloNews
reports the UCI has scheduled meetings with rider reps and teams concerning the recent dispute with the ASO , and will also commence disciplinary hearings with the French cycling federation over its role in the divide between the agencies .

The CyclingNews says that the "on again off again" relationship between Rock Racing and Mario Cipollini seems to be OFF, apparently for good this time.

In earlier CyclingNews reported late yesterday, AIGCP has allegedly entered into an agreement with the ASO, thus cutting out completely any authority of the UCI. The agreement concerned team invitations to the Tour de France, and other ASO cycling events, which will be staged under the auspices of the French cycling federation, as was Paris-Nice:

Now, a new chapter in the conflict will be opened, as the teams will negotiate race participation conditions not only for the next event organized by ASO - which would be Paris-Roubaix - but for all of the competitions owned by the organizer. "ASO will announce the team invitations to its races in one week approximately," (AIGCP president Eric) Boyer explained. "Then, we will sign participation contracts for the whole season."

The head of the UCI, Pat McQuaid, had suspended contacts with the AIGCP last week. Still, Boyer insisted that "it's them who cut ties with us, not vice versa. I'm still open to discuss with McQuaid. He just has to understand that our interest is to race, and that we cannot boycott an organizer who owns the most important race on the calendar."

NPR's Talk of the Nation hosted a piece yesterday about PED's and academics, everyone's getting into the act. A link to the podcast can be found with the article.

The AP has a story likely to be widely misread, about a positive in Billiards by German national champion Axel Buescher, for an EPO masking agent. What masking agent is not exactly made clear; as we've learned, the devil is in the details. To be clear, the dude did not test positive for EPO per se, and the "masking agent" might be something as innocuous as Zack Lund's finestride.

Finally, ESPN/Mark (Game of Shadows) Fainaru-Wada has a long piece about Marion Jones going to jail, outlineing her aggressive defense (which no doubt colors US and likening it to what Clemens has done. It also compares the aggessive defense to Kelli White, who confessed and moved on. (Betsy Andreu says we should just substitute a lot of other names for Jones and see if it rings any bells.)

The underlying, unasked questions are whether there is ever anyone falsely accused, and what the appropriate defense would be for such a person.

Rant pens a "fictional" tale of two cyclists that has an eerily familiar scenario.

The Boulder Report notes the set is being struck for the Ball and Cipo show, announced with a two line press release, and no availability for interviews. Well, that was fun. Lindsey goes over some of the fallout.

Hmm, we had Basso for one ToC in Disco livery, now Cipo for one in Rock. Next year, maybe we'll get Lance back in Astana for a one-0ff. They still ride Treks.

Racejunkie posts a few juicy tidbits this morning, including an interesting rumor or two, and also gives us a nice blurb. Thanks RJ.

The Steroid Report notes recent biases in the press that seem to go against Floyd Landis. SR has been reading about Landis in some old familiar places, and feels that no taxpayer money should be spent on regulating any sport.

Fatty got lots of well deserved GOOD news yesterday!

Velo Vortmax
thinks sniveling disgruntled US taxpayers, who have footed USADA's bill in the Landis case, should seek relief from the AFLD:

If USADA and the taxpayers are burdened with expensive litigation to defend the poor lab performance of LNDD then WADA should encourage the laboratories to train their personnel on how to run the tests, how to set up the equipment, how to code the data on the Lab Document Package, how to make corrections correctly, and how to maintain a credible chain of custody. Then these expensive and prolonged appeals would be prevented saving everyone money. U.S. taxpayer and athlete. Until WADA makes a valiant attempt to correct the existing problems appeals will continue since the laboratory results can not be relied upon to prove the Adverse Analytical Finding

AFLD really needs a new accreditation contractor at this point since COFRAC seems incapable of meeting even the minimal audit standards required for an WADA/IOC laboratory. COFRAC accreditation audit 1 1174 was used to validate the Landis LNDD "B" IRMS tests done at LNDD in order to validate the AFLD suspension; in spite of obvious lab errors. For example, the IRMS operating guide was missing, the IRMS tubing was set up incorrectly. Frelat injected the "B" sample calibration mix into the IRMS five hours before the Carbon Isotope Ratio (CIR) was run. Between the injection of the calibration mix and the CIR the IRMS was left unattended, an obvious violation of the chain-of-custody requirement. Landis' "B" sample was degraded. Other violations are documented in the Lab Document Package and by witness testimony.

Cycledog digs his fangs into the bad headline that has been used on Pell's piece on the cost of the Landis case. He may want to avoid mistaking the headline writer for the author of the body.

The FredCast
runs with the news that WADA is picking up USADA's bill on the Landis appeal, and has little sympathy for the whining by the agencies about the cost:

Personally, I don’t see why anyone is upset that USADA, WADA, or any other alphabet soup group has to foot the bill for this case. Part of the reason they exist is not only to test athletes, but also to adjudicate cases of suspected doping. If this is part of your business and your charter, then budget for it.

Typical pseudo-governmental agency. I’m surprised they aren’t considering a doping tax to be added to the purchase of all new bicycles sold in the U.S.


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

Let's see ... weren't there stories a while back about being able to beat the EPO testing by dropping soap flakes into one's urine? So could it be that poor Axel tested positive for ... SOAP?!!!!

bostonlondontokyo said...

I can't believe we've made it to the appeal so quickly - where did all the time go? I can't help but sit back and think of how complicated these issues have become - NOW we see suggestions that there is a suggested link between the Tibetian protests and the shaming of Beijing for their hosting of the Olympics. The past few years, in my opinion, could be catagorized in one area as the 'politization of sports' - yeah, at times it's funny, but it's also rather scary.

I do wonder what will be the outcome of the hearings. What makes me feel good, in a sense, is that I have the notion that this will be a 'fairer' process ('Fairer' has always struck me as such an Orwellian word, but apt nonetheless.) I've not yet read about any hidden agendas entering into the proceedings in New York (yet...). The lines drawn seem fairly clear, and more or less the same as before. The wild card here would be the minds of the arbiters. Again, so far, I've not seen much data that suggests there are strong biases that could potentially skew interpretations too much.

When you think about the levels of counter-conduct (my nice way of saying mis-conduct) that have occured on all sides of the doping issues of the past year, it is indeed such a sad state of affairs, and no ruling body seems to stand out in an attempt to actually create an even playing ground.

I should have known that Landis' case would only be part of this larger trend toward politization. Maybe it is best for Landis that his case, regardless of its outcome, will soon be over, he'll be viewed as one spoke in the wheel of scandals, and he can return to racing.

Unknown said...

The Olympics in the era of Nazi Germany, later, the Munich games, the Moscow, and the LA Olympics were all highly politicized. These are just a few examples. Nothing new with the politicization of sports. Ebbs and flows….

BannaOj said...

*worries about strbuk*

Are you ok? It's unusual for you to not have a post for Wednesday by now.

And I do appreciate all the work you put in!

BannaOj said...

ahhh! You were working on the Q and A.

Thank you strbuk and TBV.

Fantastic as always

strbuk said...

Bannaoj my Wednesday post was up at 6:30AM EDT. That's going to have to be early enough!! :-)


BannaOj said...

Yeah, I think it might have been a computer glitch on my end, because all of a sudden the new information appeared.

Anyway, let it be known that I did worry about your well-being when I couldn't see the update. Which hopefully lets you know that you are appreciated!


strbuk said...

AJ you warm my heart with your concern. Unless my isp goes down (unlikely since it's Time Warner's Road Runner) OR we suffer a power failure I will be posting TBV, have no fears!! Now whether I will have any real info is another story, I HATE these closed door hearings. Than again I sort of hated the open door one too, hmmm...