Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Irregular Report 44

We figure from the latest scheduling order that the USADA reply in the Landis Federal case will probably be turned in Friday or Monday next week.

Reuters notes CAS handled nearly 300 cases this year, a record. Half the cases dealt with football (soccer) issues, and 1/3 with doping -- and Landis mentioned as one of prominance. Matthieu Reeb, the CAS boss, expects more under the revised WADA Code.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)'s new code, which comes into force on Jan. 1, steps up the war on performance-enhancing drugs. It will give sport's federations greater scope suspending for players who test positive, according to Reeb.

"The athletes will have nothing to lose in coming to us to try to get their suspensions reduced. We'll have to be vigilant in maintaining our rapid procedures," the Swiss lawyer said.


He seems to have forgotten about the $100,000 fine added to the Landis award on appeal. Or maybe he thinks that shouldn't be possible, even though he signed off on it.

AP/Eddie Pells reports Kayle Leogrande was given a two year suspension for a non-analytic positive based partly on testimony of Suzanne Sonye and Frankie Andreu, and partly on other evidence. Joe Papp, who figured in the Landis hearing, also turns up with pictures of Leogrande holding EPO vials. Papp and USADA say they were taken at Leogrande's; Leogrande sais they were taken at Papp's house. Leogrande was not re-hired by Rock Racing for 2009.

Those interested can read the USADA press release, and the PDF of the arbitration award.

Papp himself chips in with a couple of comments to this post, clarifying where pictures were taken, and objecting to being characterized as a "patsy". While we think he was badly used by USADA in the Landis case, TBV has no other opinions about him to inflict on the readership.

NBC/Abrahamson thinks the Leogrande case marks a positive sea-change.

Rant writes about the two year "non-analytical" suspension given Kayle Leogrande. Looks like you have to be very careful about what you write on a post card these days, and damn those pesky cell-phone cameras.


TopTenz cites Landis among the cases that make TdF Doping Allegations the #4 sports scandal of all time, behind the #3 Black Sox, #2 MLB/Steroids, and #1, OJ Simpson.

ESPN/Sprow passes the observation that teens are cheating at "unprecedented levels", and wonders if Bill Belichick (sic), Kelvin Sampson, or Floyd Landis are to blame. We wag our fingers at parents. And bears.

ESPN, among many, passes the urgent news that Armstrong will ride in Le Tour, but maybe to support someone else. The Giro/Tour double might be too tough for him to try to lead both.

The Examiner/Raia reports on some fiddling with the Amgen ToC route, with changes to the Prologue and first stage, and reduction of the Women's event to a single day. We think the Palomar finish is still planned, but don't see where it would be on the tentative route. A comment says it's the final stage to Escondido. A read of his source article at Velonews shows it isn't a mountaintop finish, which dissappoints us. There will be lots of time to organize a chase after the summit.

With the final stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California as a difficult point-to-point road race, there is a chance to see an overall lead change, as well as a change in the KOM jersey leader on the last day. With four climbs, including the highest point ever reached in the Amgen Tour of California, and two sprints, Stage 8, sponsored by Amgen, can easily be characterized as the most difficult final stage that the Amgen Tour of California has ever seen. The cyclists will have to fight through the very end of the race, due to the addition of Palomar Mountain (5,123 ft.). At 11.7 miles, a seven percent average grade, 4,200 feet of climbing and 21 switchbacks, Palomar Mountain will provide a challenging conclusion to the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. Organizers expect a hard sprint to the finish; as with all the Grand Tours of Europe, winning the final stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California is a prize coveted by the riders.


Velonews had one reader who wrote to welcome Landis back with the OUCH team, and VeloNews' "explainer" Charles Pelkey finally puts to rest the question of the first rider DQ'd from Le Tour for "cheating".

In a Cycling Weekly interview Lance Armstrong says he feels Floyd Landis didn't dope, well more specifically he said in an "American court of law" Floyd would not have been found guilty.

TruSport has posted something that has left me almost speechless from laughter. Geez Floyd, a slacker housecoat? What the fetch? Hey what about plagiarism?

17 comments:

jrdbutcher said...

I’m indifferent to the conspicuously tattooed Leogrande and it would have been much more illuminating had Leogrande insisted upon a public hearing, like Floyd did. Still, early reports indicate USADA did not completely act within the spirit of its own rule, however, its own rules allow it excessively wide latitude. My early opinion, for what little it’s worth, is that there was probably wrongdoing on both sides.

If the reports are correct, here are some of the early facts and my take on them:
· S. Sonye and F. Andreau reported to have told RR owner/mngtmnt that Leogrande spoke to Sonye about using doping products. --- Background info.
· Andreau is later let go from RR. Not sure when Sonye left RR? --- Background info.
· Story goes public and USADA becomes aware of the accusation. --- Background info.
· RR suspends Leogrande for ~two weeks while considering the situation. --- Fair enough.
· USADA targets Leogrande with additional testing. --- Fair enough, there is an accusation that may have merit.
· RR reinstates Leogrande as there are no official charges against him, nor are there any AAF’s. --- Fair enough.
· ToC does not allow certain riders (including Leogrande) to ride, even though no official charges have been made wrt those riders. ToC resorts to the sloppy and cowardly “open investigation” card to do their dirty work. – Not fair enough.
· At some point charges are made, Leogrande is withdrawn from racing, and a hearing is held. --- Fair enough, but a public hearing would have been more informative.
· USADA wins arbitration hearing, reportedly due to the following points (not all inclusive):
· Sonye says Leogrande described (boasted?) to her about the details of his use of doping product at Superweek. Leogrande denies the accusation. --- Tie. She said/he says not.
· C. Ayotte (WADA Lab Director/USADA witness) claims there are indications Leogrande used epo, according to their exhaustive testing, although no AAF was declared. --- This is crap and trying to have it both ways. Either their testing is good and they get him, or it’s not and they don’t.
· Leogrande’s expert witness disputes Ayotte’s contention. Says testing didn’t indicate epo use. --- Advantage Leogrande.
· Ayotte contends testing from Superweeks did not show naturally occurring epo, as it should have. --- This appears damning to Leogrande, but could have also been due to faulty testing or sample handling? Tie.
· Leogrande’s expert concedes Superweeks tests should have shown naturally occurring epo. --- Again, tie.
· USADA produces a picture of Leogrande holding vials of epo and a note thanking Papp for the epo. --- USADA clearly wins this round by a slam dunk.

In summary:
· Sonye and Andreau were irrelevant, except to set the stage. There motivations were too questionable to be worth much in a fair hearing.
· USADA’s testing at Superweek and subsequent months of targeted testing on Leogrande turned out to be inconclusive crap. I want my money back USADA!
· The picture and accompanying note to Papp made USADA’s case. I’m not sure how USADA was able to obtain them, but they were very fortunate to have had them. They really need to think of some way to appropriately thank their admitted doper and patsy, Joe Papp. It appears they could have just gone to him and saved everyone the time, expense, and inconvenience of sham dope testing.

This is based upon quick reads of the material I could find over the last two days. Critiques, criticisms, and corrections are welcome.

jrdbutcher said...

I wasn’t able to read TopTenz, but the synopsis indicates it’s fouled up. Their #1 wasn’t even a sports scandal. It involved a murder accusation against a guy that used to be an exceptional football running back at the collegiate and highest professional levels. Other than the accused being a former athlete, the murders had nothing to do with sport and should not be categorized as a sport scandal, much less the number 1 sports scandal.

#4 doesn’t cut it either. It is a sports scandal and one of large proportion. However, the scandal should be the way the alphabet soup handled the affair. On the whole, Floyd acted well and honorably. With few exceptions, I have great difficulty trying to apply those concepts to the other side.

#3 – Black Sox is an indication cheating has been alive and well for a long time. Dig deep into human history, and it might indicate we’re doing about average or a little better? Still it’s handy to blame our parents. Hell, some even deserve the blame.

If the ToC organizers have any brains, they will keep the Palomar finish and make sure Floyd is riding.

beeble said...

The lack of merit in the adverse non-analytical finding speaks for itself but was Leogrande really stupid enough to have his picture taken with the vials of EPO?

You really have to question his common sense if he did.

joep said...

Would you please stop with the "patsy" characterization? It wasn't appropriate in 2007, and it's not appropriate now.

jrdbutcher said...

For clarification, Leogrande was supposed to have rendered his sample testing, at Superweeks, useless by putting a soapy substance on his finger and then placing his finger in the stream when producing the sample, thus contaminating the sample and causing it not to show naturally occurring epo. This is damning to USADA and its sample collectors. There are procedures in place to prevent that, and other sorts (wizzinator) of tampering by an athlete. It appears the sample collectors took their eye off the erm…… Their eyes were not focused where they belonged during the collection process. Again, this shows gross incompetence wrt WADA approved anti-doping process that directly effects the accuracy of the testing. If they can’t take samples properly, and they can’t record CoC properly, and they have to get creative with gambits like re-testing B-Samples when the corresponding A-Sampes did not register AAF’s, and they don’t know how to operate/maintain their testing machines properly, and eyeing it up is good enough, and when the full mass spec that could have cleared a certain matter up is not produced, and when you can’t beat him with the science, then you baffle them with your bravo sierra, and fine him 100k for your trouble in manufacturing said bravo sierra ………, then the term “WADA Expert” becomes a sad joke. Do I sound slightly bitter that a great many cyclists, cycling fans, and a good portion of the general public actually believe the bravo sierra USADA, and other members of the alphabet soup, served up wrt Floyd?

In spite of their grand claims of special knowledge and infallibility, WADA’s/USADA’s testing did not get Leogrande Reports of the events of his hearing show that. Papp (I indicated he is a USADA patsy and probably shouldn’t have because I just don’t know for sure, but that whole thing about ducks….., in the meantime, apologies to Papp, he’s not a patsy) seems to have provided the smoking gun to USADA (I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume {big leap to assume} USADA directly tied the pic and note to Leogrande’s actual use of the product{s}). That demonstrates just how bad USADA testing can be at producing an accurate AAF for epo (and other banned substances), even for a rider it deems suspicious (knows was using) and targets with additional (much more than the norm) testing.

In short, if you believe in the WADA approved testing, and sometimes targeted testing, then you are believing in a hit or miss system with lots of misses. The testing in Leogrande’s case didn’t come close to measuring up. The pic and Papp’s thank you note from Leo did the job. But then again, Santa’s coming too and there is a bridge I’d love to sell to you at a good price.

joep said...

Thanks for the "retraction" of the Patsy comment. Trust me (but verify at a later date) that I am not a patsy. The reality is that there is no one who is in a position to understand all of the variables and the complexity of the calculus that affected my decision to again cooperate with USADA. From my perspective, taking a long-term view, the cost:benefit ratio of again testifying strongly favored my testifying.

That said, there is a major clarification to the story that must be made, based on Eddie Pells' misreporting of the decision.

***The pictures introduced as evidence against Kayle were taken by me at Kayle's house, of his EPO. The origin of the photos was described as such by USADA.

However, it was Leogrande, as Respondent, who claimed otherwise DURING the course of the hearing. In an attempt to explain away the photos, he "testified" that they were taken at my house.

The AP story fails to make clear the difference between what Leogrande claimed in an effort to cover himself, and what the facts of the evidence are: the pictures were taken in his house in California when I was there for Redlands in 2007.

I live in Pennsylvania; Kayle lives in California. Kayle has never been to my house in Pittsburgh, nor does my family own the kind of refrigerator shown in the photos.

Eddie Pells advised me that the AP will issue a correction to reflect this, as he admits to having misread the decision and not qualified the fact that only Leogrande claimed that the pictures came from inside my house.

In the decision, look at para's 21 and 45, and you'll see the language: "Respondent testified that they [the photos] were taken at Joe Papp's home" and "Respondent testified [that the photos] were taken at Joe Papp's house."

From this it becomes clear that Kayle is the only one arguing that the photos were taken at my home.

Pells based his reporting on the text of the decision, since neither he nor any other journalists were at the hearing. As long as the correction goes out as promised, I forgive him for his oversight, since someone quickly skimming the text of the decision and not familiar with the actual hearing transcripts could be led astray.***

----

Lastly, I've already started getting hate mail and anonymous threats against me, while at the same time being called a patsy or a victim. Let the record show that I'm saying right now to everyone who has threatened me: "There is nothing you can do to me or say about me or claim against me for which I haven't already prepared a response."

This is why I say I'm not a patsy. There is much more at play here than the little bit of speculation that surfaces after one of these hearings, and I would have to be a fool or a moron to not calculate the effects of as many different outcomes and scenarios as possible.

I think what happens is that many people become terrifically frustrated by their lack of understanding of all of the variables, and they assume that I'm being used by USADA or am selling-out other riders because I'm bitter about having been caught myself.

The reality is infinitely more complicated than that, but will become clearer as time goes by and more dominoes fall.

bill hue said...

I posted this over at Rant and am adding it here.

2 quick observations;

1) Ayotte’s testimony that her lab would have declared a non-negative for EPO based on its criteria (compared to UCLA’s determination that the sample was not non-negative based upon its criteria) as set forth in paragraphs 23, 24 and 25 was rejected, seemingly even as corroborative evidence to the non-analytic positive determination, as the Panel noted in paragraph 71. This Panel believes that WADA’s regulations must be predictable to be relied upon (i.e., two accredited Labs may not have differing criteria for non-negative result declaration). This is at least the second time a Panel has not found Ayotte’s supporting testimony persuasive and one wonders how much credibility she carries at this point.

2) Are the 270 odd phone calls, I.O.U. and pictures with Joe Papp an insinuation that Papp trafficked EPO to Leogrande? Is that what USADA was implying? And, was Joe given an opportunity to dispute that inference at hearing or did USADA once again just throw him under the bus for their own purposes? If USADA keeps using Joe’s activities as “proof” of drug trafficking in cases not involving Joe directly, how long will Joe put up with USADA suggesting he is or was a drug trafficker before the Federal Government actually takes note? Where is his lawyer????

joep said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joep said...

Bill, Please - stop portraying USADA as this exploitative, nefarious group, at least with respect to their relationship with me. They didn't throw me under a bus. I understand that you want to take them to task at every opportunity, but you're doing exactly what I just noted here:

"I think what happens is that many people become terrifically frustrated by their lack of understanding of all of the variables, and they assume that I'm being used by USADA..."

How can you presume to know what took place before or during the hearing and draw the conclusion that I was thrown under a bus by the organization that is fighting for clean sport?

You ask, "Did USADA once again just throw him [Papp] under the bus for their own purposes?"

I answer: No.

bill hue said...

Here's the deal Joe. I don't ask questions because I presume to know the answer to them.

For what it is worth, as, if and when I am able from a third person viewpoint to understand the machinations of USADA's use of your testimony, I will certainly file a mea culpa, if the circumstances demand that. I don't hate you or disrespect you.

We are probably at a stalemate, though, on your insistance that we just "cut it out" until we learn the whole truth. In science other than WADA's, we form a hypothesis and then subject it to testing that either affirms or disaffirms that hypothesis.

If you have gotten something from USADA that you don't want to share with people who don't have any way to know your personal affairs or right to know of them for that matter, that is certainly your prerogative.

But,you will also acknowledge what the nature of USADA's use of your circumstances looks like to people who have no inside knowledge, won't you?

That said, if they don't use you again (in the not pejorative sense of the term) and more comes to light, maybe we will come to understand the big picture.

But, it would be much easier to put this baby to rest if we simply understood "the rest of the story".

Bill

beeble said...

Joe,

Thanks for stepping up on here to clear up a few things.

I still have to laugh about the pictures though.

PEM said...

And Joe Papp is experiencing first hand, how difficult it could be to correct information when the press make errors in their report.

joep said...

I don't understand the hubris of someone who can suggest to me that I'm being thrown under a bus, even as I sit here and say that I'm not being thrown under a bus. If (to speak of myself in 3rd person) Joe Papp sits here and says he doesn't believe that he'd been thrown under a bus by USADA, then why would anyone continue to claim that USADA had thrown Joe Papp under a bus?

And this talk of scientific methodology and testing a hypothesis and wanting to know "the rest of the story..." The entire point of my saying that the calculus is too complex for anyone but me to determine the cost:benefit ratio of my testifying is ... to make the point that if I say I wasn't thrown under the bus then I wasn't thrown under the bus and I get to make that determination because it's my life, not yours,. If you insist on saying the opposite, then you're being foolish because you can never - no matter how good you are at empathizing - know exactly what it's like to be in my shoes, living my life.

jrdbutcher said...

Joe,

I’m the one who made the patsy comment and I’ve made a qualified apology. I don’t know what your deal, or lack of deal, is with USADA and it’s none of my business unless you’d like to enlighten me and other readers.

However, it looks, at least on the surface, as if you’ve made a deal with USADA (the devil). FWLIW, I’d think better of you if you had been pressured to make a deal to testify. I didn’t find what you had to say at Pepperdine to have anything directly to do with that hearing and if you did it on your own volition, then you were being just being a PITA in the same sort of way LeMond was. (I’d also rather think LeMond was thrown under the bus at that hearing than be saddled with thinking someone I appreciated as a racer has become a mean spirited sob, but that’s just me)

The Leogrande thing is altogether different for you because you seem to have had direct knowledge. If the postcard and pic, and I have no reason to doubt, are in fact authentic, then you had substantial direct knowledge. The rub is that just brings up the whole rat vs. witness dilemma. The “rat” being a co-conspirator or co-wrong doer giving up his/her accomplices. The “witness” being an innocent bystander reporting or testifying about what he/she saw.

The question becomes, if you weren’t thrown under the bus by USADA and you were not / are not a USADA patsy, then are you a witness, a rat, or something else altogether, and why? You don’t have to answer, but I think you can appreciate how labeling can sometimes be a useful tool to help us organize our thoughts and experiences.

bill hue said...

Joe,

Here is what I asked:

"And, was Joe given an opportunity to dispute that inference at hearing or did USADA once again just throw him under the bus for their own purposes?"

Joe says only Joe can know whether the deal he made was good for Joe.That presupposes that one can only judge his acts by the affect he perceives them to have had on his life.

One can logically ask whether Joe's choice was rational. To test that, we wouldn't ask Joe, we would ask what a rational person would have done under his circumstances. We do not know the nature of the deal, so we can't answer the question objectively.

Assume Joe is right and what he did served his purposes. He couldn't be a patsy under that scenario.

However, he could suffer adverse consequences, willingly, in trade for something else, for which USADA obtained a tactical litigation advantage.That would be "thrown under the bus".

Joe sounds like he has already suffered adverse consequences, receiving hate mail and death threats. That may be worth it to him but it still is an awful thing for USADA to expose him to, whether he goes willingly or not.

And I have every right, my hubrus or foolishness or whatever judgement you make about me notwithstanding, to draw that conclusion based on the facts as presented.

I can be persuaded otherwise but that requires a little more facts coming our way.

With all due respect,
Bill

mwbyrd_70@yahoo.com said...

Joe,

Here's the deal. The people following the Landis case and now Kayle's case just want all the facts that seem to conveniently go missing. You just add more fuel to that fire with the following statement:

I think what happens is that many people become terrifically frustrated by their lack of understanding of all of the variables, and they assume that I'm being used by USADA or am selling-out other riders because I'm bitter about having been caught myself.

The reality is infinitely more complicated than that, but will become clearer as time goes by and more dominoes fall.

I think everyone reading this site and followng the cases would have a lot more respect for you and other riders if you would explain why things are 'more complicated' and what you mean by 'more dominoes fall'.

Reading your posts, you write well enough for us to understand. You may not like the term patsy, but when you don't tell the whole truth, people will draw their own conclusions. You've posted that you know something we don't and then get upset when people try to grasp the truth by what is presented to them.

I ask, what do you have to loose by telling everyone your story with regards to the Landis/Kayle cases. I'm sure TBV would be willing to post your story.

I know I'd be VERY interested in reading it. It might clear up a lot our questions to how the system really works.

("Eightzero") said...

AToC seemed to promise the mountaintop Mt. Palomar finish when they first announced going to San Diego, but it didn't make much sense. How can the final race finish be on top of a climb, with all the needed logisitics of getting spectators there and down after the race? Too bad they had to give up the plan for non-race reasons. Seemed to work on Brasstown Bald for at least a stage before the end of the race. And 09 TdF is working in Mt. Ventoux before the necessary downtown parade laps.

Anyone know if the '09 AToC will be broadcast on Vs (or otherwise) in HDTV?