Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tuesday Fallout

It's the day after the CAS decision went utterly against Floyd Landis. Reactions and analysis are still being expressed, and if you want to read the CAS transcript it can be found here.

The NYT reports the sometimes lackadaisical Monaco Cycling Federation has given Rassmussen a two year ban for evading controls. Tip from a poster.

ESPN's Bonnie D. Ford in a "must read" writes of the stunning "tone" of the CAS decision which went against Floyd Landis yesterday saying you didn't have to read between the lines to realize the panel felt its time had been wasted. Floyd Landis sounded resolute in a reaction quoted in he piece:

"They will never get to the end of how much I can take," Landis told ESPN.com Monday, sounding much as he used to when he was talking about what is blithely called "suffering" on the bike. "I'm not happy that I'm the person who has to take this, but I would never allow myself to be treated this way and ever give up."

Despite yesterday's ruling Landis encourages those who still love cycling to watch the Tour de France this year as it begins this weekend:

"I hope people who are interested in bicycle racing forget about me by the end of the week and turn on the television and watch the Tour, and give those guys the respect and attention they deserve," he said.

Finally, Ford comments strongly on the imbalance of the "justice" of this case, and the potential future effects on other athletes:

If the pendulum is going to swing back to the right side in the war on doping, the labs have to be held to as high a standard as the athletes, or higher. Otherwise, we can just throw a tarp over all sports, empty the kegs, turn out the lights, lock the gates and tell each other it was great while it lasted.

The LA Times Michael Hiltzik, who has written extensively about the Landis case, notes that the CAS removed a potential "shadow" over cycling's anti-doping system when it rules so vigorously against Landis. Still, despite his meager options at this juncture, Landis sounds almost defiant in his reaction:

"Clearly this was a foregone conclusion," Landis said in an interview after the ruling was released. "I refuse to accept that the world works this way. I don't buy it." He said he has not decided on whether to pursue further legal options.

Hiltzik notes Landis' surprise at the tone of the decision:

Landis said he was taken aback by that aspect of the ruling. "I didn't expect it to be a personal attack on me and my defense," he said.

The Houston Chronicle said Floyd Landis took a third strike in his quest to to regain his 2006 Tour de France title. The article needs a fact check however as Landis' parents are cited as being Quaker. Anyone vaguely familiar with Landis' career knows he comes from a Mennonite family.

The CyclingNews quotes Maurice Suh this morning:

"We are very disappointed in the result," Suh told Cyclingnews. "The evidence strongly supports Floyd's innocence. We maintain that the French laboratory's work violated proper procedures and that these violations were not simply technical in nature. They resulted in the inaccurate findings at the heart of this case."

Lancaster Online
mushes together other stories.

Cycling Weekly Tuesday Comment thinks that the Landis case was altogether a colossal waste of time and money.

Finger Food writes movingly of the "kid from Farmersville":

Could it be that a kid from Farmersville will continue to take the punishment from the government-funded bureaucracies so that they can prove its worthiness? Did the kid from Farmersville lose years from his prime and all of his money so the laboratories, corporations and government-funded bureaucracies can continue to put on shows like the Olympics without anyone questioning their integrity?

Never mind that no court in this country would ever dream of hearing a second of the case against the kid from Farmersville. But in that other world, when there is money to be made off the backs of athletes, little things like justice don’t matter much

SportsLaw Blog isn't to speed with most of the details, but read the award:

The last point is the nastiness of portions of the ruling. The arbitrators were clearly irritated by some of the contentions raised by Landis's attorney, notably claims of "bias/fraud, forgery and cover-up." Yes, there may have been shoddy lab work, the panel noted, but that did not reach to the level of fraud. Also, the panel accused Landis's representatives of making these claims when there was no evidence to back them up. Notably, the arbitrators rejected the argument that the evidence could have been tampered as "fanciful."

Possibly, they may have been angered by Landis's insistence on a public hearing not only to prove his innocence, but to shine a spotlight on USADA and the rules it enforces and also establish a pattern of incompetence at the French lab where his urine was tested. As a parting shot, they ordered him to pay $100,000 in legal fees to USADA, an amount that has no rhyme or reason, since USADA spent a great deal more than that. It seemed more as spanking a wayward child than anything else.

Endless Cycle
writes briefly of the "Habemus Judicium".

Fred Fortin hung on as long as he could, but he can't do it anymore.

Rant, who raises a glass to Floyd, is stunned and frankly so are we. Rant notes the complete drubbing Maurice Suh took at the hands of Richard Young and was surprised he scored no valuable points along the way:

It seems the original panel appeared to give more consideration to Team Landis’ arguments than the CAS panel did. Could the case presented to the CAS panel have been so radically different to explain this result? I’m really puzzled by this result. I can’t say it was totally unexpected. At best, I thought that Floyd’s chances were a coin toss. I just never realized that the coin toss was of the variety “Heads I win, tails you lose.”

Racejunkie calls the CAS hearing which Floyd Landis lost yesterday a "witch hunt" and sums up the "award" thusly:

So what did the 3-zip firing squad actually conclude? Let's review the decision: (1)Floyd's a meanie; (2) his witnesses are meanies; (3) his lawyers are double meanies; (4) ergo, meanies oughta pay...

Eight Zero has given it some more thought, and he got the message:
Do not ever suggest the tests are inaccurate, the science unsound, or the procedures inadequate. They are like Caesar’s wife – beyond reproach, because those in charge say they are. End of message.

And has a few additional words for Landis:

Anti-trust. RICO. 42 USC 1983. Bivens action.

HuffPost/Dave Hollendar wants to know what that cheater Landis owes Oscar Peirero. There's a place to leave comments.

SportsYenta is glad its over.
Let's sum it up: Floyd Landis is a cheater and a bad, bad man who wasted his money with all this legal mumbo

WADAwatch says we still don't know who cheated: WADA or Floyd Landis. He's starting to look at the ruling, and is finding some inconsistencies in logic.

Bicycle Blog notes yesterday's devastating Landis decision and says we're a good place to start when looking for info on it. Thanks.

Supreme Dicta
thinks all cyclists have always doped, so that is not the issue. The issue is the system within which athletes have to work when accused and how capricious it is.

I'm beginning to understand much more clearly why it is we love Rule of Law here in the United States. Generally speaking, prosecutors here keep their damn mouths shut until they are within the proper venue. WADA, USADA and heads of other agencies have used their positions as bully pulpits, and its an embarrassment.

The anti-doping system requires revision . . . because there is no good guy here. Floyd Landis used banned substances to recover from a massive “bonk” during stage 16, in which he cracked on one of the difficult climbs and fell out of the top ten leaders of the Tour. A guy like that should get the hell out of my sport. But, the procedural safeguards for athletes are inadequate. As much as I hate watching cycling on TV these days (robots on steroids on bicycles), it seems to me that WADA has been given authority to prejudice hearings, determine guilt ad hoc, announce this to the public, and complain when athletes defend themselves. God forbid that we should do what CAS says should be done – seek the truth in the matter.

Triple Crankset says yesterday's Landis ruling may end any desire Floyd has of racing again.

Bikinginla thinks there is no surprise that Floyd Landis lost his appeal because no one could come back from such a major bonk the way Floyd did in 2006, but admits,
The simple fact is, they were never going to rule against their own testing procedures, and throw the entire process in doubt. Not gonna happen, no matter how good a case he built.

Belgian Knee Warmers
feels the truth was swept aside, and the $100,000 fine is just plain piling on. This is a recommended read with interesting comments.

I’ve read the full transcript of the AAA hearing at Pepperdine Law School in Malibu, California. More than 1000 pages. I don’t see how a reasonable, rational person who doesn’t have agenda can come to a conclusion other than Floyd Landis wasn’t caught doping. That doesn’t necessarily mean he was innocent, but if he was doing something, LNDD didn’t find it. That’s fundamentally the problem with the outcome; the truth got swept aside in the rush to get a conviction.

Veloiciti feels Floyd Landis is obviously guilty, but has learned about the potential ineptitudes of the anti-doping establishment.

PRBSports says "the game is up" for Landis.

DrugMonkey at ScienceBlogs thinks LNDD probably got it right, but he doesn't feel good about it. It's a longer, fairly good piece. We're plugged.

Kadisco considers the legacy of the case to be the unflattering light on the ADA establishment. Another plug for us.

RoadCycler didn't think Landis had much of a chance, but awaits further action. He thinks we give "pretty significant" coverage.

Smithers in Minneapolis
says good riddance, and thanks us for all the links.

Cyclieisio.us wants to move on, but thinks we're were as good a place as any to start looking at case if you want.

comment thinks Floyd should have kept Lance's Doctor. We assume that means Ferrari.

The Money Shot gives this week's "vaunted" middle finger to Floyd Landis. Floyd may want to give it right back.

EuroPeloton says, "Who cares? It's Tour Time!"


mwbyrd_70@yahoo.com said...

I'm still sickened by the ruling of CAS. From the Hiltzik article:

The three arbitrators issuing Monday's ruling -- lawyers from New York, Paris, and Auckland, New Zealand -- were even more supportive of the lab, which they said was guilty of little more than "minor procedural imperfections."

Referring to charges by Landis' attorneys that the lab had falsified documents, fabricated records and deleted important analytical data to support its findings, the arbitrators said they found "no evidence at all to sustain any of these serious allegations."

The inconsistencies in record-keeping Landis turned up might have reflected "less than ideal laboratory practices," they ruled, "but not lies, fraud, forgery, or cover-ups."

Even CAS agrees the lab made mistakes. How big of a mistake does it take to make it OK to question the test results? We're talking about tests that measure things at a microbial level. It would only take a minimal mistake in the positive or negative way to affect test results.

Landis proved mistakes were made. CAS just brushed them aside. It's sickening.

I was glad to see that Paul Scott was still on Floyd's team. That says enough to me that Floyd is innocent. This guy quit his job, started his own anti-doping system (I believe) to defend Floyd.

I wish a journalist (a well known one) would bash the system and not write a piece that is politically correct.

I wish USADA would crash and burn. Use their budget to lower my gas prices...

jrdbutcher said...

I'm still sifting through the Award, Arnie's Wiki 2.0, the closing briefs from both sides, and various news reports.

I ran across this on Velonews:
"The actual appeal process began with a determination of the grounds of the appeal. The USADA lawyers first filed a motion to exclude any new arguments from the case beyond what was presented in the original arbitration, and the CAS agreed."

If the report is accurate, how does a motion to exclude new arguements square with the concept of a de novo hearing and why would CAS agree to such a motion?

mwbyrd_70@yahoo.com said...


My impression was that CAS turned down USADA's request and the CAS case was infact de novo.

THe bigger question is why would USADA not want new information presented???? Were they afraid of something?

jrdbutcher said...


You may be right, but that is not what the article indicates. The intraweb gives us information quickly, but often at the expense of accuracy. It sometimes takes a while to find out what is correct.

Like others, I'm kind of backing into this. I read the closig briefs in the wee hours of the morning on Monday before the decision was announced. I've read portions of Arnie's 2.0, and I'm also working on reading the transcripts. I have not read any pre-hearing motions, yet.

Sandman said...

Overall, it strikes me that this is what you get when a bunch of heavily-invested politicians decide they're going to design a medico-legal process with the focus not on accuracy/fairness but on "catching the bad guys". You get sloppy adherence to the basic standards of laboratory testing and only lip service paid to nit-picky things like chain of custody and due process. You get access to appeal but are strongly discouraged from such action and even risk fines if you have the temerity to attempt it. None of us can know the capital-T Truth of this case, but WADA has created a system where they start out with absolute certainty of their version of the truth and proceed to lay the Duke lacrosse stick on anyone who gets in their way.

PEM said...

Old Runner Guy posted at DPF, the best analogy I have read so far, of how the antidoping system has disguised itself as a fair system.

Smithers said...

I didn't actually say good riddance.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Smithers, it wasn't quoted, but was intended to capture the spirit or your piece. Do you feel misrepresented or vaguely misattributed? I think the latter, but would consider changing it.