Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Roundup

ESPN reports that BALCO founder Victor Conte plans to write a tell-all book on steroid use which will name names, criticize federal officials, and expose the ineptitude of present anti-doping programs.

The CyclingNews
says that Danilo DiLuca's season may end soon as CONI has assembled a panel of anti-doping experts to review the AAF Giro winner Diluca produced after a stage in last year's race. Depending on what the panel determines DiLuca could face a two year suspension, in the interim he continues to compete. In other news the UCI continues to say it has good reason to sue Dick Pound over his past disparagements of the agency, and that despite WADA's pull out from the biopassport program the UCI will continue its implementation.

The ScienceNews has an article on the T/E test genetic problems, refering to a paper that is now published; we talked about this in "Breaking Science" a while back, which is now updated with the full citation. (tip from an emailer).

Rant has been very busy with an ambitious project, writing a must read history of doping in sport. "Dope" is available for pre-order now, and will be out in June:

... most of all, what I hope you’ll get out of the book is an appreciation and understanding that doping is not a problem that just magically appeared over the last twenty years (despite how the many in the mainstream media seem to cast the story). The desire to boost human performance, and to find ways of pushing the boundaries of what we’re capable of, has existed for a very, very long time. And at one point in time, “the human experiments” that doping athletes perform were once even considered merely using technology in man’s quest to be better, faster and stronger. The perfectibility of man/woman, if you will.

Velo Vortmax continues his look at theories as to why USADA sent Floyd Landis' "B" samples back to the LNDD when many other suitable, and closer, labs were available. He reviews the "convoluted" trail of events by stating what is known and then goes into what he wonders about. Vv also wonders why Landis lawyer Maurice Suh did not pursue certain questions at last May's USADA hearings, questions whose answers might have had interesting consequences for many, including Travis Tygart.

Racejunkie talks about lots of things this morning, one of which is the "new" book about Jan Ullrich by Jef D'Hont, who has lost patience with the former T-Mobile rider for not fessing up.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Roundup

The CyclingNews reports that just one book about the doping affairs of T-Mobile/Telekom, specifically Jan Ullrich, wasn't enough for former soingneur Jef D'Hont:

Jef D'Hont is writing another book, and this time he is taking on Jan Ullrich. His first book, published last year, set off a series of doping confessions and investigations. "Before the first book, Rudy Pevenage asked me, 'leave me out, and Jan, too, please. Because we both want to tell our stories ourselves.' I did what he asked – but they didn't. They haven't said anything so far. So I will."
In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, D'Hont said that he had heard from Ullrich after saying that he had made remarks directly relating the former Telekom rider to the use of EPO. "He called me one time, and asked, Jef, did you really say that? I said, yes, I did. He said other things too, but I can't speak about those – not yet. I am sure that Ullrich is sweating about it, because I have a tape of what he said." He continued, "In my second book there will be a lot about Ullrich."


The Steroid Report thinks cyclist Tammy Thomas will be acquitted of perjury charges.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday Roundup

Reuters/Yahoo has Verbruggen "conceding defeat" to the ASO.

“We’re completely isolated and ASO demonstrated the extent of their power in the world of cycling. They had the backing of the French sports minister and the French presidency. It was a lost cause,” Verbruggen said.

He accused ASO of organizing “a privatization of cycling which ignores international regulations in order to create new ones for their own interest.”

“ASO is now a private professional league,” said Verbruggen, a claim ASO has always rejected.

We wonder if this vice-president of the UCI cleared his statements with President Pat McQuaid first.

ESPN features a Reuters peice that reveals Verbruggen likely did NOT talk to Pat McQuaid first as McQuaid says he, and the UCI, are not going away and will fight on:

I've no intention of resigning," the International Cycling Union (UCI) head told Reuters at the track cycling world championships.

There are 169 other national federations in the UCI that want to develop the sport of cycling and who are willing to follow the rules," said McQuaid.

"The teams and riders have decided to go with ASO. We're worried about that but if ASO create another body to manage professional cycling and if sponsors and teams go with them, we'll let them go.

The CyclingNews reports that Alberto Contador is stickin' with Astana.

WADAwatch has a rewrite of his open "Amicus" brief to the Landis Appeal Panel. In toto, is an indictment of Mr. Young's work product under his WADA hat:
47. If the Code is incomplete; if the Code as written, is legally biased against Athletes and imbalanced, in favor of not disciplining a Laboratory whose work shows substandard performances, or 'departures', if the precedent hearing was able to conclude that there existed a sufficiency of evidence to penalize Mr Landis simply because the Code contains loopholes that allow egregious Laboratory errors to be ignored, these may be attributable to the one individual who has worn two hats in this case. WADA may be funding this appeal illegitimately, to protect the entire body of work that it has deliberately produced, under this attorney's guidance.

Rant wonders if what we have been seeing in cycling over the recent past is foretelling the apocalypse. Can the four horsemen, or riders, be far behind?

The Fat Guy has 35 days left to get in shape, and consequently is a bit behind in his Landis news. The hearing concluded Monday, and yes the silence is still deafening. The bad news for FG is that based on our experience training last year, he's in trouble.

Velo Vortmax reviews the sad truth of what happens when an athlete is presented with an AAF. The burdens of proof are on the accused, the presumption of guilt is also there, and judicial fairness in a system stacked against the athlete is nonexistent.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Roundup

The CyclingNews further reports on the schoolyard brawl between the UCI and WADA. It's an eye for an eye now as WADA has withdrawn its support from the UCI's bio passport program, ostensibly in retaliation for the UCI lawsuit against former WADA head Dick Pound. Pat McQuaid expressed his shock at the action as "we haven't done anything against WADA...this is against Dick Pond":

McQuaid also stated that the organization would continue its best efforts to implement the biological passport program, even if WADA withdraws its support. "From our point of view, we are still committed to the biological passport," said McQuaid. "This is a knee-jerk reaction from WADA and I hope that in the coming days with some consideration they might take a slightly different view.

In other news Andreas Kloden responds with anger at the insinuations that he was involved in the systematic doping within T-Mobile in 2006, and with the ASO looking for minority ownership of the Vuelta the director of the race has "warned" Astana that they had better not do anything "stupid". It's nearly impossible to operationally define "stupid" in cycling these days.

The Boulder Report's Joe Lindsey writes an apt open letter to Dick Pound, Pat McQuaid, and Hein Verbruggen. Here's hoping someone clues them in and they take the time to read it.

Bike Radar breaks the news that Valentino Fois, a domestique for Pantani, has died of unknown causes at age 35. As common with many unmarried Italian men, he was living at the parental home, and was discovered by his mother. Fois was recovering from substance abuse problems, and had served a doping suspension. The BR report contains this section, which has be reprinted some places with everything after "habit" removed, in an example of the very premature and opportunistic exploitation it warns against:
Fois had spoken in recent months about how doping had acted as a conduit to what later became a full-blown drug and alcohol habit, but it would both premature and opportunistic to use attribute his demise to the wider problems of his sport. Fois was always known in the peloton as a fragile and deeply impressionable individual.


It is more than likely that Fois, like Pantani, was killed by depression. Cocaine might have been il Pirata's ultimate poison, but his life was gradually squeezed out over several years, not obliterated by a few grams of powder. For years Fois had been suffering in the same way. In recent months he'd found some relief in books on Buddhism. He'd undergone successful treatment in a clinc for addiction and mental health problems. But it may all have been too little. The man who hoped that cycling might prove Fois's life raft, Amore e VIta boss Ivano Fanini, told me last month that, while making excellent progress, Fois was still clearly grappling with old demons.

It bears repeating: whatever that autopsy tells us, Fois's death should be seen as nothing more than the tragedy of a young man who'd spent years at odds with himself and his world. He never gave up, but sadly, this morning, after 34 and a half years, life gave up on Valentino Fois.

Living Vicariously may have made a bunch of people on his flight sick with the flu he'd caught, but at least in between visits to the bathroom he got to read "Positively False" and found Floyd Landis' arguments about incompetency at WADA compelling.

The Service Course takes the cycling media to task for labeling certain teams and riders as "clean" and uses part of Floyd Landis' interview with VeloNews to make his point:

“From my point of view, the problem that is taking cycling backwards and not forwards is that it’s becoming polarized. You have teams like Team High Horse, or whatever they’re called these days, and Jonathan Vaughters’ team, and they are saying we don’t care about winning, we just want to be clean and so it’s okay with us to get whatever place we get because we’re not doping. You know what? That’s one of the most offensive things you could ever say. That immediately accuses everyone who finishes ahead you of doping. That’s hypocrisy. That’s asinine. They have to stop saying that. It’s all fine and good that they are against doping, but for them to say we’re not interested in winning, we’re just interested in being clean is an accusation of anyone that is better than them.”

We'd be happy if everytime a writer said Joe Blow was a "clean" rider, it was qualified correctly: Joe Blow, a professed "clean" rider, we might be closer to the degree of skepticism that would be realistic.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday Roundup

Velonews/AFP is reporting WADA is dropping out of the Biological Passport program, and is blaming the suit by the UCI.

Rumors we've heard suggest the program was having financial problems anyway, so this may be just a politically convenient way of dropping the ball.

The CyclingNews says that British cycling performance director Dave Brailsford, and teammate Bradley Wiggens, both back Robert Hayles, who was determined to have slightly elevated hematocrit levels. Hayles denies any PED use. It seems a sad novelty during these dark days to have a cycling federation actually support an accused rider:

Once he heard the news, he said that he approached the rider to ascertain what happened. "I spoke to Rob," he told Cyclingnews. "I looked him in the eyes and asked him straight up. He is absolutely devastated, he is in bits, as you would expect. But there is a process to go through and I have confidence in that process. I am sure in a few days time we will all be sitting there saying, 'okay, this has been resolved.'

Having confidence in "the process" can be a dangerous and disillusioning leap of faith.

In other CyclingNews it is repoted that the CAS made a complicated "compromise" decision of sorts in the case of Italian rider Michele Scarponi:

After a ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Michele Scarponi's suspension was reduced and the Italian rider will now be eligible to race again as of August 1, 2008, instead of the original date of November 15. The CAS actually lengthened his ban from 18 to 21 months, but took into consideration two "periods of inactivity" by the rider, thus moving up the date of his potential return.

The CyclingNews letters this week cover wide ranging subjects from Cadel Evans, to anger over Rock Racing's exclusion from the Tour of Georgia.

Racejunkie conveniently provides ten guidelines that may give us a glimpse into just how it is determined who will be accused of doping and how to get out of it if you are, who will race again if they are accused of doping, and who will not. It's a must read.

The Car Whisperer is anxious about the new racing season and is having disturbing dreams, one featuring a disheveled Floyd Landis, with a gun. Not to worry, Whisperer, he's a fully qualified, self-proclaimed redneck, so there will be none of that "Landis shot at me and missed" stuff.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday Roundup

ESPN reports on the testimony yesterday of Patrick Arnold former lead chemist of BALCO who not only created many of the "designer" steroids at issue in the Tammy Thomas trial where he testified, but who also gave great insight into the world of doping. IRS criminal investigations agent Jeff Novitsky and Don Catlin, former head of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab, are also expected to testify.

Yahoo! says that Novtsky is coming under some scrutiny of his own from the Hon. Susan Ilston, the likes of which we do not see happen in the friendly-to-prosecutors WADA/CAS system.

In more news from ESPN Patrice Clerc will not back down from his stance that Astana will be banned from the Tour de France this year, but is magnanimous in his offer to include them NEXT year IF they mind their Ps and Qs. Ironically, Clerc expressed concern that the ongoing spat with the UCI will impede the Tour's ability to monitor the cyclists' blood levels and detect doping. Huh?

The CyclingNews has plenty of UCI news this morning, mostly the reaction of WADA to the UCI's lawsuit against former WADA head Dick Pound. WADA finds the legal action highly objectionable suggesting that the UCI should have spent its money elsewhere, like at Floyd Landis' CAS hearing. In other UCI news the agency met with the CPA yesterday to discuss the threatened discipline of riders who took part in the UCI unsanctioned Paris-Nice.

The VeloNews says two riders taking part in the world cycling track championships have been determined to have high hematocrit levels. One was Dutch rider Pim Ligthart and the other was Brit Robert Hayles:

A team spokesman confirmed to AFP that British cyclist Robert Hayles' hematocrit level was at 50.3, but British Cycling Performance Director Dave Brailsford said in a statement he did not suspect Hayles of doping.

"We are totally supportive of the screening system. Considering the thousands of tests performed on our large squad by now, it is not unusual to get one or two such anomalies," Brailsford suggested.

The Age (Aus) riffs on the phrase "moving forward", coming from Maurice Suh's mouth, among others:
You see, thinking about it going backwards is not only impossible but totally bleeding useless even if you could.


Velo Vortmax is angry with the continued stream of misinformation from the CyclingNews on the Landis case, at this point they should know better. Vv then goes on to point out the numerous credibility problems he perceives WADA/USADA has and encourages us all, while we wait for the Landis CAS decision, to "wail" on them to effect some kind of constructive change in the way they operate.

WADAwatch thinks the recent genetic study may call into question TD2004EAAS. No worry mate, it'll still be deemed correct, unless it is changed.

Rant notes the "time" factor in the Landis case, mostly that all of this has taken way too long, and he also points to the continuing inaccuracies contained in the CyclingNews wrap up of the Landis CAS hearings.

Potholes and Road Apples reports that Green Mountain Cyclery in Ephrata,PA, where Floyd Landis found a second home when he was a beginning cyclist, is expanding. The shop will become a destination for customers and will include: a coffee bar, classrooms, a dedicated women's area, a major expansion in inventory due to the increased size of the shop, and transportation for riders going to shop sponsored and other events. Congratulations Mike, best of luck!!

Piglito reviews some ancient cycling history of controversy as shaping and being shaped by cheating scandals.

AlpeD'Huez speaks of hollow victory:

Court battles have dragged on and soon we will find out just who has won the 2006 Tour de France.

But what sort of victory will it be for Floyd Landis?

Sport at all levels is about winners and losers. The winners stand on the podium and receive applause.

This happens within a short space of time of the event - not weeks or months afterwards

Receiving the victory months afterwards is a very hollow victory

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday Roundup

The AP says WADA is taking it organizationally, and will help Mr. Pound defend himself against the defamation suit by the UCI. Since your tax dollars go to WADA, does that mean the media will now complain about money being used to defend him? We'd hope this is an action taken because of an indemnification clause in Mr. Pound's old employment contract, and not something done by WADA as a discretionary gesture.

“This action by UCI in suing WADA’s former president is in fact an action against WADA,” the anti-doping agency said Tuesday in a statement. “WADA will instruct legal counsel to represent WADA and its former president in this regard, and to robustly defend and reject the unfounded allegations made by the UCI.”

Pound is a candidate for the presidency of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. He recently stepped down as head of WADA after leading the agency for eight years.

Does anyone imagine the suit against Mr. Pound may be a tactic to derail his candidacy at CAS, even if it is doomed on its merits? Or that it has something to do with Verbruggen being an IOC figure in Beijing who'd be happy to say for six months, "I can't comment on matters of pending litigation."

The CAS election is scheduled for April 3rd.

Reuters drags Landis into it:

WADA hit-back at the UCI on Tuesday saying that it found it strange that the cycling body found finances to launch a lawsuit against Pound after declining to contribute to the Landis appeal on the grounds that it had "no budget".

We're glad to know that WADA, despite the drop in the dollar and the budget complaints they made in Madrid, is rolling in enough money to bankroll USADA's case against Landis and to defend Mr. Pound's rhetoric.

The VeloNews expands on the "UCI suing Dick Pound story" the other direction, with questions as to why they have the money for this, but NOT the funds to help out with the Landis prosecution which WADA helped defray:
"UCI specifically declined to contribute to the Landis case on the grounds that it had 'no budget' to do so. Yet the appeal was specifically conducted under UCI rules, involved a breach of the sport’s anti-doping policy, and is a major case for the sport," the statement reads.

Pot, meet Kettle.

Reuters relates pretty much the same information on the end of the Landis/CAS appeal that appeared here yesterday. The piece says no decision or comment can be expetced until at least June. It could definitely be a long time in coming.

The CyclingNews also mentions the end yesterday of "disgraced" cyclist Floyd Landis' CAS hearing and notes post hearing submissions are due April 18. In other news the Freiburg clinic/T-Mobile story from last week is revisited with more detail on the possible involvement of Andreas Kloden in the scandal. Kloden is expected to meet with Astana ds Johan Bruyneel today to discuss the "vitamins" he alleges he took.

In a later edition the CN makes note of the ASO's selections for the spring classics, predictably Astana is not included in any of them. gets the award for the snarkiest headline coming out of the conclusion of the Landis/CAS hearings yesterday: "June D-Day for Shamed Ace".

VeloNews' Mailbag is full of righteous indignation over Rock Racing's exclusion from the Tour of Georgia.

The Boulder Report
feels that the handwriting was on the wall for Astana and the ASO this year. While their exclusion for the TdF is regrettable and perhaps unfair, Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador really should have known better than to sign with Johan Bruyneel.

Scientific American has a story on The Doping Dilemma. So far the comments are under informed, so feel free to enlighten the audience there.

WADAwatch submits an open"Amicus" brief to the CAS panel on the Landis appeal. It's lengthy, and interesting, and focuses on four issues:
  1. What level of confidence can be associated to the evidence that the Laboratoire Nationale du Dépistage du Dopage (LNDD) offered (being a French governmental laboratory, now renamed the 'département des analyses', and hierarchically placed within the Agence française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD))?

  1. Is Landis inculpated only due to an unequal application and enforcement of the WADA Code between classes of stakeholders?

  1. Is WADA's reliance on 'Judicial Interpretation', as a means to amplify unexpressed, or hypothetical meanings of its Code, actually a Quigley violation” to proper WADA rules promulgation?

  1. Given the aspects of Argument III, supra, is participation by WADA in financing a majority of the USADA appellate costs in this case a legitimate use of its funding under the controlling 2003 WADA Code, or does it establish a very discriminatory precedent toward future Athletes, whose defense of their cases, solely due to WADA's inordinate reliance on 'judicial interpretation' as opposed to proper Code drafting, may be more contentious and thus more expensive than otherwise would be the case under a properly drafted WADA Code?

(emphasis added)

WADAwatch has consistently taken the position that vagueness in the WADA Code is to the detriment of the athletes, raising the complexity, uncertainty, and cost of cases. The need for interpretation has resulted in a lot of "it means what we want it to mean because we wrote it so we know our intent now even though we didn't say so explictly when we wrote it" arguments from advocates such as Richard Young. Like, say, the infield fly rule only applies when the sun is in front of second base, we just didn't bother to say so.

The definitive example in the new (2008) WADA Code is that observation there is a definition of ADAMS, the computerized tracking system, but none for "aggravating circumstances" which can lengthen a suspension. This leaves it discretionary, creating an uncertain additional threat to any athlete that dares contest a charge. WADAwatch is correct to call this absurd and unfair, though it meets many of the "stakeholder's" desires to browbeat the athletes and reduce the cost of enforcement at the expense of rights and predictability.

Racejunkie notes the "trouble" Andreas Kloden may be finding himself in today, and thinks that Floyd Landis may just fossilize while waiting for his appeal decision. RJ we may all be "fossils" before this is over:
What is so Rare as a Day in June?: for one thing, the odds that Floyd Landis gets to ride the Tour de France again before he fossilizes even if he wins his freakin' appeal, as CAS closes up shop on his hearing but promises, in the interests of careful study of the evidence which at least earns them some points, to issue a verdict just in time to ensure poor Floyd has absolutely zero chance of coming up with a squad in time for the (hell, any) race. Apropos of absolutely nothing, I see that Free-Iban-Mayo's verdict is currently running about 3 weeks late, but I'm sure there's nothing to worry about there, either. Ummm...anyone....anyone.

Absolute Goose thinks that since it's going to be at least June before Floyd Landis hears the results of his CAS appeal he should just move on and find a way to shorten his suspension, or perhaps find something else to do. AG also advises Floyd to stay away from Rock Racing.

Swap Blog
feels that even though Floyd Landis has been through a long protracted process it's still unlikely he will ever get his Tour de France title back. Not really sure that was even the point anymore.

Michael Gacki
was surprised by his sudden popularity the other day. He still feels Floyd Landis is innocent, and hopes Matt DiCanio doesn't come after him as he does not support dopers.

Potholes and Road Apples
mentions Farmersville native Floyd Landis' CAS hearing and notes that it will be awhile before the results are known.

mind hasn't changed about Floyd Landis, he still thinks Landis cheated, and also that Floyd hired good lawyers who "dredged up " scientists who supported his contention that he is innocent. Mr. Ow also headlines another post "Hillary Clinton lies."

Sara Best
writes about a few things she has had on her mind of late, one of which is the seemingly endless Floyd Landis' saga. Sara may not be the only one gloating just a bit over the UCI lawsuit filed against former WADA head Dick Pound.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Notes from the Present, and Future

In a comment, Tom Fine made an interesting observation, which we've taken as a starting point:

Once upon a time, there was a test used to convict dopers, based on what was believed to be the best science and validated by some studies. This was the T/E ratio test. We hoped and believed it was subject to rigorous scientific review. By WADA criteria, it was "deemed" suitable for catching dopers, and reliable.

Over time, we've learned that individual variation is much wider than originally thought in those "rigorous" validation studies demonstrated. There are genetic influences, and external influences (such as alcohol consumption) that were not known or understood originally, and that no one predicted.

It's now difficult to get a conviction on a T/E test without a lot more work, including a "longitudinal study" to determine what is really going on with the subject.

Why then, is the new and improved IRMS testosterone test automatically conferred the status of "gold standard?" The underlying issues are the same, and even more complicated. The science behind the test is believed to be solid, but is basic. It doesn't look for subtlety of variation across a broad group of subjects. It doesn't look for potential outside influences that could skew the test.

And it is very sensitive to the particular and non-standard chemistry and measurement done at specific laboratories.

Yet WADA has adopted some curious standards ("metabolite(s)") that are not clearly supported by validation studies relevant to the procedure in place at individual laboratories with their non-standard methods. By rule, these methods are "deemed" to be as reliable as the T/E test was a decade ago.

In another five years, will we be shaking our heads again at the state of the IRMS test in 2008, because we've learned more? Too bad for those who may have been innocent?

How lucky we'll be to have a NEW new test, which has these brief studies that show it seems to find things that we can use to indicate doping. Let's "deem" that to be reliable.

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Monday Roundup

Today is scheduled to be the last day in Floyd Landis' appeal to the CAS which has been taking place in New York City since March 19. News from the proceeding has been hen's teeth scarce. Perhaps after it has ended some word will come out on what has transpired.

AFP/Google (same thing at Velonews) reports the Landis v. USADA appeal hearing is closed, with final submissions due by April 18. A decision is due/expected in June. If the first hearing is typical, the submissions will be proposed findings of fact and law; we would not anticipate new evidence or arguments not presented before in the briefs or raised at the hearing.

The AP report adds,
Floyd Landis’ hearing in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport ended Monday after 35 hours of testimony spanning five days that included 14 witnesses and written testimony from 10 others.

That's a hard slog, so there must not have been many breaks. There's probably a lot of people just starting to sleep again after a long period of preparation.

Also this hint we won't be getting much public information until the award is made:
Landis' attorney, Maurice Suh, said he would not have any comment on the hearing until after the decision was released.

Rats, but probably a sensible choice. We may go sporadic in the interim, riding more and typing less. Don't say you weren't warned.

CAS press release is also available, saying very little.

ESPN's Bonnie Ford has a long piece on Slipstream at the Tour of California, with a sidebar about the ACE divorce. First the Slipstream:
"When I first started riding bikes I could climb fairly well," [Zabriskie] says that night. "Then somewhere along the way, something happened, and I lost it a little bit. Last off-season in '07, I kind of asked myself the question, what happened, what's wrong. I changed my position quite a bit, moved the seat back. I went to a bike shop, got all measured up. I think that helped get some of what I used to have back."

OK, that gives TBV an idea, move the seat back. Check. Let's hope it's good for 20 watts. On the ACE Split:

ACE co-founders Strauss and Paul Scott parted ways earlier this month after ACE's management decided that Scott's involvement in the legal defense of dethroned 2006 Tour de France champion Floyd Landis, whose appeal is being heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport this week, posed a professional conflict and public relations problem.


Scott has founded his own company, Scott Analytics, and is developing a program similar to ACE's for the Rock Racing team. Maurice Suh, Landis' chief defense lawyer, is also a legal adviser for Rock Racing.

Strauss developed the network of labs and independent contractors who do the blood and urine collections wherever the team is racing. Scott, a research chemist who formerly worked at the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited lab at UCLA, designed the templates used for analyzing the samples. Both are amateur competitive cyclists and devised the idea for ACE on the way to a race together in 2006.

Slipstream owner Doug Ellis and High Road owner Bob Stapleton said they did not pressure Scott to leave and found nothing improper about his role in the Landis case. Both expressed hope that ACE would hire someone with proven credentials in the field. "Part of our agreement with ACE was that they would beef up their scientific side,'' Stapleton said.

With the Landis appeal basically over, Scott can focus on running new test programs. We remain perplexed about the imagined conflict of interest, unless having a view that differs from USADA, WADA and/or the UCI is perceived as prima-facially conflicted with The Program. It's pretty hard to say that Scott, who has spent most of his professional career in anti-doping, is pro-doper. Evidentally being pro-good science and pro-good lab practice makes enemies, and ACE didn't want any enemies right now. They'll get in trouble soon enough should one of their monitored athletes turn up a positive, and there was no need to start early.

The Spokesman speak of the Landis appeal, Van Impe's drug test, and the Rock/Cipo affaire.

Rant relates an old article written in 2000 on t/e ratio testing to a new one posted here on Friday. He feels that those in charge should note the genetic variants cited in the piece and act accordingly.

Michael Gacki
was wide awake and decided to do some writing, most of which concerned what are to him meaningful song lyrics. He also made note of an old friend who just happens to be Michael Henson, Floyd Landis' spokesman from 2006-2007. Henson, and another friend, apparently wanted to write a book of people's stories detailing what they experienced as a result of the tragic events of 9/11/01. Sounds like a good idea.

Epic Carnival has a roundup by Gary Gaffney in the "'Roid Report". He points to a study that suggests HGH has synergestic affects with other things for athletic performance; this extends the "nothing seen by itself" report of a few weeks back.

He goes on to "cops on roids" to keep up with the thugs on the streets, and hopes for good testing. We wonder about $500 a test cost. On the other hand, it might result in industrialized cost scaling, and uniform standards, and a much larger sample base for statistical analysis.

Then, there's a throw-away that 95% of NFL players are on PEDs, and a riff on the Billiards player who was found positive for an EPO masking agent, with the typical talk of EPO, but nothing about the masking agent. That is, we don't know if there was any EPO involved at all, really.

(A comment says: "The truth about the Billiard guy is: He was tested positive for Hydrochlorothiazid, a diuretic which was included in his anti hypertensive medication which he has for medical reasons. His faul was that he missed to get an therapeutic use exemption which would have been no problem. That's all. There is nothing coming close to EPO doping. " Shock: overreaction by the to sensationalized selective release of information by the Alphabets involved. We haven't seen a quotable cite for this detail yet.)

He offers a new take on the bills for the Landis case, now in appeal, saying the French should be thanking the US taxpayers for footing the freight to prosecute the case .

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday Roundup

Happy Easter

It is not only Easter, but also a day of rest in the Landis/CAS hearings in New York City. Tomorrow will likely be the last day in which testimony is heard. Thus far this morning is a quiet one, on all fronts.

Not a peep. And more.

Racejunkie's tabloid addiction is regretting the lack of news on the Landis appeal, and says too nice things about us.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Quotes from the Past, Part V

Let me elaborate on some things that indicate that the UCI is the union. You, and probably the other professional cyclists, are not aware that the UCI has a standard contract between the riders and the teams. Any dispute which arises between the two is automaticaly governed by the standard contract and at the same time must be disputed in front of the UCI as they have control over a three month sallary insurance. Since the Pro Tour was created, the UCI has even more power due to the new contract stipulations involving doping investigation clauses. If you don't want to sign away all of your rights to the UCI, then you don't race as a professional. Those are your options, and as I read other discussions here I am surprised at how poorly informed most are in regards to the complexity of the situation.

Having read what I wrote I must restate what position I believe the UCI to be taking. A union, generally, is an organization in which it is optional to participate and serves as a median between the employer and the employee. However, in this case the UCI is more like a monopoly run as a dictatorship. It is not optional weather or not to join the UCI, and in contract negotiation and dispute resolution, they serve as the union and the court respectively.

For example, I was employed by the Mercury team in 2001 when there were problems with money starting in May. According to the rules, after 30 days of non payment one could request a payment from the UCI bank guarantee and follow some administrative process to be paid. I learned quickly that the UCI has no regard whatsoever for the riders when it took more than two years to get the money. Of note was one particular incident where after several months of following the procedure to be paid, a letter was sent to the UCI informing them that if they didn't respond to our requests we would look into other processes for getting the money.

We promptly recieved a fax, signed by Hein Verbrugen, telling us that those tactics may work in the USA, but that they are in Switzerland, and that he was going to inform his colleagues to deal with us accordingly in the future.

Clearly his "colleagues" understood, and then, more than a year went by when I was asked by a Cycling News reporter if I or the others had been paid. I explained to him that we had been following the procedures and were still waiting for some kind of response, and then I noted that the UCI had not followed its own rules or the dispute would have ended a year ago. Within a few hours of the article being posted I received an email from the council at the UCI (copied to Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, Jim Ochowitz, and Tim Maloney the journalist) informing me that if I didn't retract my statements within 48 hours they would use their right to suspend me until some resolution could be agreed upon. Of course, the pressure from the other recipients left me no option but to call Verbrugen himself and to retract the statement. So, I guess, "union" is not the right word, but no one would risk a fight with the UCI by starting a union, or for that matter even joining one.

Landis, 22-Dec-2006; the UCI had no love of Landis for public complaints about failures of the UCI to protect rider interests.

In 2008, the UCI is claiming to be the protector of those interests from the nefarious ASO.

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Saturday Roundup

Day four of the CAS Landis appeal dawns in New York City with nary a word from either side on the proceedings. Easter Sunday is a day off, and as far as we know the final day of the hearing is scheduled to be Monday.

STLtoday posts an AP piece on the UCI lawsuit against Dick Pound with some extra comment:

Good thing Floyd Landis’ case is being appealed now, considering what Pound said about the thoroughly botched 11-to-1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone finding by the French lab that prompted the loss of Landis’ 2006 Tour de France title and his suspension but that was subsequently tossed out as unreliable by both the majority and minority opinions in Landis’ first appeal.

The CyclingNews
provides more information from the interim report released by the Freiburg University Clinic which reveals the widespread doping practices of the then T-Mobile team in 2006. Not only were additional doctors accused of assisting in the doping, but more riders who took part are named as well.

The VeloNews
posts an interview with Jim Birrell, of Medalist, and Michael Ball explaining exactly why Rock Racing was snubbed by the Tour of Georgia. Seems like RR may need more than flashy cars and team kits, and outrageous comments by Mr. Ball to be considered for the big US races:

“I like all the riders he has on his team — it’s just that renegade approach and his desire to steal the limelight away from the platform that has been created for everybody else is what troubles me,” Birrell told VeloNews in California. “Right now, for Georgia, Colorado and Missouri, I just don’t know if there is a fit for that team at those stage races. We still haven’t finalized those rosters, but I don’t know if they are under consideration or not.”

In more VeloNews Tammy Thomas' perjury trail starts Monday. US District Court prosecutors have issued five perjury charges against Thomas for lying in October of 2003 to a federal grand jury looking into the BALCO steroid scandal. Thomas continues to proclaim her innocence.

The VeloNews Mailbag is full of reader response from what seems to be an increasing number of disillusioned cycling fans.

GolfWeek has an article about Shaun Micheel, who has been taking Testosterone medically for years, and is likely to get forced off by the new Tour drug policy. The ubiquitous Richard Young puts in an appearance as the gloved iron fist:
“If people are sick, they deserve to get the medications they need,” said Richard Young, the Colorado-based lawyer who helped create the Tour’s anti-doping program. “You don’t get in the door unless you need something. But if a doctor says this is good for you, you don’t necessarily get a (therapeutic-use exemption).”

The Steroid Report read the doping tests genetics study here and found it intriguing reading. Thanks for the blurb.

Velo Vortmax posts the "cycling news of the weird" as he points out the exclusion of Astana from the TdF, the continuing war between the UCI and ASO, Floyd Landis' "silent" CAS hearing, and the funding of the Landis case which turns out may not have been paid for entirely by US Taxpayer after all. Stay tuned, there is likely much more "weirdness" to come.

The Oz Report on Hang-gliding and Parasailing is happy they are not a WADA regulated sport, and quote Landis' observations from Quotes from the Past Part II to make the point. Glad we could help.

Steroid Nation notes the recent news about the former T-Mobile squad's "alleged" extensive involvement in doping.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Breaking Science: The T/E test isn't very good

An emailer sends along a press release with this summary:

This recent study shows how individual genetics strongly influences the outcome of the testosterone/epitestosterone (T/E) ratio that is widely used as a first level screening test to detect athletes who are taking a banned testosterone supplement. Three genetic variants (say A, B and C) were present in test subjects in percentages respectively of 15%, 52% and 33%.
When a 360 mg dose of testosterone was administered to a subset of the screened subjects, 40% of those having genetic type A never reached the detection ratio of 4.0. In other words this amounts to a 40% false negative rate for those having type A.
Conversely 14% of subjects having type C who were NOT given a dose of testosterone still tested above the threshold T/E ratio. In other words this amounts to a 14% false positive rate for those having type C.
The follow up carbon isotope test that was used to implicate Floyd Landis should rescue those innocent 14% false positives but generally this shows what a poor screening test the T/E ratio is.

We think this means that, uh, 100 - 14, only 86% of the virgins, or those in an 86 mile radius need to be worried, or something like that.

The official response is likely to be, "that's why T/E positives now need to be justified with longitudinal studies."

This will be marvelous consolation to Mary Decker-Slaney, just 12 years late.

UPDATE: the full paper is now published and available.


Source: Endocrine Society Released: Thu 20-Mar-2008, 16:35 ET
Embargo expired: Fri 21-Mar-2008, 08:00 ET

Doping Test in Sports Confounded by Common Genetic Trait

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The tests for testosterone doping used in professional and amateur sports may routinely be confounded by a common genetic variation, according to a new study accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). Unless this variation is accounted for, current testing methods could implicate innocent athletes and allow cheaters to go undetected.

Newswise — The tests for testosterone doping used in professional and amateur sports may routinely be confounded by a common genetic variation, according to a new study accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). Unless this variation is accounted for, current testing methods could implicate innocent athletes and allow cheaters to go undetected.

“Genetic factors may play an important role in the accuracy and sensitivity of testosterone doping tests,” said Jenny J. Schulze, Ph.D, of the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, and lead author of the JCEM study. “This is of interest not only for combating androgen doping in sports, but also for detecting and preventing androgen abuse in society.”

The current first-line defense for detecting testosterone abuse in sports is to measure the ratio of two chemicals in a spot urine test: testosterone glucuronide (TG) and epitestosterone glucuronide (EG). TG is a by-product of testosterone in the body; it increases as the amount of testosterone increases. EG is unrelated to testosterone metabolism, and serves as a reference point in testing.

In doping tests, any ratio above four, according to the International Olympic Committee, should be considered suspicious and lead to further testing.

The production of TG from testosterone, however, is primarily controlled by an enzyme (UGT2B17), which is produced by a specific gene. Common variations to this gene may give rise to wildly different testing results, even when the same dose of testosterone has been taken.

For their study, the researchers screened 145 men for the insertion (ins) or deletion (del) of this gene. Among the participants, 15 percent had no copies of the gene (del/del), 52 percent had one copy (ins/del), and 33 percent carried two copies (ins/ins).

From this group, the researchers selected 55 men (17 del/del, 24 ins/del, and 14 ins/ins) to receive a single 360 mg dose of testosterone. The men were then routinely tested over a 15-day period for the telltale signs of doping.

A full 40 percent of the del/del subjects never reached the detection threshold in a standard doping test. “Nearly half of the individuals in our study who carried this genetic variation would go undetected in a regular doping test after a single 360 mg dose of testosterone,” said Dr. Schulze.

Of equal interest, 14 percent of the ins/ins subjects were naturally over the detection threshold even without receiving a testosterone injection. Based on an earlier study, the researchers estimate that this would give a false-positive rate of 9 percent in a random population of young men. “False positive results are not only of concern for the legal rights of the sportsman,” said Dr. Schulze, “they also yield extra workload for the doping laboratories.”

Ideally, the researchers suggest that, depending on the athlete’s genotype, there should be different cut-off levels for doping tests.

According to Schulze and her colleagues, although this variant can appear in any population, it is considerably more common in East Asians (approximately 65 percent) than in Swedish Caucasians (10 percent).

Other researchers from the Karolinska University Hospital involved in the study include Jonas Lundmark, Mats Garle, Ilona Skilving, Lena Ekstrom, and Anders Rane, who is the principal investigator.

The paper “Doping Test Results Dependent on Genotype of UGT2B17, the Major Enzyme for Testosterone Glucuronidation” will appear in the June issue of JCEM, a publication of The Endocrine Society.

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Quotes from the Past Part IV

From a 2003 interview of Hein Verbruggen, at The Daily Peloton by Janna Trevisanut

The UCI submitted a nearly 80 page annotated document to WADA, proposing code language and including 30 pages of practical and philosophic comments. Among these UCI comments are a few very significant disagreements with the wording and/or spirit of the Anti-Doping Code, specifically on ensuring that the code is evenly enforced across all sporting disciplines, redundancy of testing (harmonization), and the sanctions for athletes who test positive in a doping test (called a "control"). The Daily Peloton contacted UCI President Mr. Hein Verbruggen for his comments on these and other points.


"This code is written by mainly by USADA people [the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency], by Mr. Richard Young, and this code is made extremely detailed, extremely detailed – it is done as you do it in America. In America, if you arrest somebody, for instance, you have to say, ‘These are your rights, you’re entitled to have your lawyer, this is the Constitution.’" [Mr. Young is a member of the WADA Anti-Doping Code Project Team]


I am not against sanctions. I’m surely not. But these sanctions are unfair for our athletes. It is because they made a mistake, but the WADA have put in two years minimum [as a sanction]. And the two years minimum – I’m not against a minimum, but if you take a minimum sanction of two years, that sanction, for certain sports, means not only a minimum, it’s immediately a maximum because the athlete can’t make it back to the sport.


"And at the same time, if there is a shooter, a shooter doesn’t lose a job because it’s not a professional sport. He can continue to practice. If he’s been found positive, he’s out for two years, he can continue to practice – he might even be a police agent who practices shooting anyhow – and after two years he can take up his sport again and become a world champion again. He hasn’t lost any income. And he can continue because he has a sports career of thirty years, perhaps. Whereas a cyclist, he has a sports career of ten years. If you give him two years, if ever he can make it back, and that’s questionable, it’s 20% of his sporting career."


In Athens we have two athletes that test positive, an American professional cyclist, and an American professional basketball player. The American cyclist is two years out of his job - in the same games – he is positive, two years out of his job. And the American basketball player just goes home and continues to play.


"I haven’t received any answer from WADA. But I’m very curious, because Mr. Richard Young, who wrote the code – as a matter of fact I discussed it with him – this was no surprise [to him]. I discussed it with him. I said, ‘Richard, are you really, really proposing that kind of discrimination between an American cyclist and an American basketball player?’ And he looked at me and he said, ‘Ah well, yeah, that’s the consequences.’ And I said, ‘Then you’re going to have a letter from me,’ and he said, ‘I can understand.’ This is what has happened."


Until now, it often is the case that when I talk with colleagues from other federations, I have had comments like, ‘Jesus, Hein, you have serious problems with this doping,’ and I would say to them, ‘What about you?’

"And they would say, ‘Well, fortunately we don’t have the problem.’ And then I would say, ‘Do you control?’ And they would say, ‘We don’t control because we don’t have the problem.’


If cycling has a doping problem, it also has an anti-doping policy. And this was set already, six, seven, eight years ago. And the thing is, if you test, you find. If you don’t test, you don’t find. And this is not something I’m just saying – many people have said, ‘At least they test in cycling,’ and also the riders want to test, you know; so this is positive.


However, the UCI made its first appeal to governments to face the challenge of doping in sport, not in the 90’s, not in the 80’s, but in 1967 in the Le Monde Cicliste cycling journal. And they have not stopped since. So regardless of your own opinion about doping in this sport, it is clear that pro cycling will continue to be at the forefront of the fight.

A comprehensive history of the UCI’s forty years of anti-doping activities can be found in Acrobat format here.

We remind readers the UCI and Verbruggen are reported to be suing Mr. Pound in 2008 over claims that Pound has defamed the historical anti-doping efforts of the UCI.

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In Praise of Richard Young

In a comment over at Rant, Bill Hue wrote:

USADA got the consummate insider when it hired Richard Young. Whether he serves on an athlete disciplinary Panel (He is a WADA designee on Arbitration Panels), represents USADA or jets to conferences on behalf of the US Olympic Committee, he swings with the movers and shakers in the Olympic Movement.

Young is often mentioned as the father of the WADA Code and is a friend of Dicks Pound and McLaren. It was no coincidence that he ran circles around Patrice Brunet, literally testified as to lab procedures himself during leading direct examination and successfully convinced two other insiders, McLaren and Brunet, what the WADA Code did NOT require (discovery, chain of custody, duplication of test results, retaining of records and any standard other than “It looks like it” in chromatography, just as examples) in the first Landis Appeal.

Travis Tygart knows that is the best “his” money can buy. It is no surprise that there is then little money left to “celebrate” clean athletes. However, maybe we can all chip in a few more dollars to our taxes buy clean athletes a little plaque or a Happy Meal at McD’s. We could do that because if you listen to some people, there are not all that many clean athletes to “celebrate”.

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Friday Roundup

Still no news from the CAS hearing of Floyd Landis which enters day three in New York City. The hearing is scheduled to end Monday with a day off on Sunday for Easter. The silence is maddening, stay tuned.

ESPN posts a Bonnie Ford piece on cycling's "selection Thursday" as the ASO send out its invitations to their version of "the big dance". A majority of the article concerns Slipstream's reaction to the invite, wonder if "bracket madness" can be applied to the Tour de France?

In another story from ESPN the AP reports that though systematic doping has been determined to have been present during the 2006 season on T-Mobile, there is thus far no evidence that Jan Ullrich partook, though suspicions still run high that he did.

The CyclingNews quotes TdF director Christian Prudhomme as saying the exclusion of Astana from the Tour this year was aimed at the team and not defending champ Alberto Contador, this is likely of no comfort to Contador:

The ASO has given Astana's past doping offenses as a reason for excluding the team from this year's event, but the team's spokesman Philippe Maertens decried the hypocrisy of the decision. "Where is the logic? There are other teams who have doping records. Rabobank and Cofidis were faulted in last year's Tour," he said.

In other CyclingNews it's rumored that former Landis Phonak teammate Axel Merckx may be named manager of troubled Rock Racing. And Danilo DiLuca is impatient to have his CAS decision announced next week as he has suffered enough.

The CyclingNews mailbag is full of discussion about Astana, the UCI, the ASO, Cadel Evans, and the Kevin Van Impe story.

In the world of real law, the SF Chronicle reports the Barry Bonds case is being pushed back until at least June for the prosecutors to fix the deficient indictment.

Racejunkie takes a turn around the latest news in cycling from the past few days, including some comment on the former T-Mobile's medical staff, and the fact that to no one's surprise Astana has been left out of the TdF.

Rant writes about irony today: the irony, or is it really an early April Fools, of Dick Pound being sued by the UCI, and the irony of silence from a Landis hearing. As to paying for the Landis/CAS hearing Rant has a few comments as well.

Tour Squad wishes Floyd Landis lots of luck in his CAS hearings this week in NYC, and thinks Floyd should sue the pants off of anyone who accused him wrongly afterwards, IF he wins of course.

German blog American Arena, machine translated, has a skeptical view of the Landis appeal and a positive view of Dugard's enlightenment.

CFA is in an extra snarky mood as he speculates on Floyd Landis, his friends, and their relationship to Rock Racing.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Video from the Appeal

This just in, from a link provided by Gary O' Brien:

The first witness is sworn in.

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Where to Begin

In a pot-meeting-kettle moment, or an early April Fool's prank, we learn courtesy VeloNews that the UCI is suing Mr. Pound for defamation about its anti-doping efforts.

The case is in Switzerland, which we presume has more plaintiff-friendly defamation laws than the United States, where this wouldn't pass the laugh test.

"I don't make the news, I only report it." - Jean Shepherd, frequently.

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Quotes from the Past, Part III

USADA was formed on behalf of clean athletes to ensure fair play and the integrity of the rules, plain and simple. No case is worth compromising the rules and impugning our integrity and credibility. When USADA is under its legal budget as it was in 2006, the money is allocated to research and education. We would much rather spend money on research and education than fighting over whether a person has committed a doping offense.


What is frustrating from our end is when athletes who know they have been doping waste USADA’s resources looking to escape accountability.


The bottom line is that when bringing a case, USADA’s sole objective is absolutely a search for the truth. No athlete who has not engaged in doping behavior has any reason to fear or otherwise attempt to avoid the USADA process.


First, every athlete accused of a doping violation is innocent until proven guilty. The ADA has the burden to prove the athlete is guilty. Also, every accused athlete has the opportunity to have the facts of their case examined and may receive a reduction in their sanction if exceptional circumstances exist. The system as currently constructed strikes the balance of protecting athletes from truly exceptional circumstances without compromising the integrity of the system by allowing an athlete to simply blame someone else for the substance in their body.

USADA general counsel Travis Tygart said he is barred under confidentiality rules from discussing any specifics of the Landis case, but added, "We're ready to proceed. We want hearings done as soon as possible."

Travis Tygart, January 2007,

before USADA decided it wanted to test all of Landis' other B samples from the 2006 Tour de France,. This was finally completed, at no small expense to all parties, in April 2007, just weeks before the May hearing.

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Quotes from the Past, Part II

Because cycling is an Olympic sport, while the Olympics does very little for cycling, we are subject to WADA. The problem comes from the fact that mutually, cycling and the Olympics do very little for each other. Therefore it is the perfect whipping boy for Dick Pound who makes it clear that he cares very little about the reputation of the sport and because it is big enough to get publicity but not wealthy enough to make him go away, he makes it one of a few which he would destroy for his agenda. Furthermore to that end, he and WADA have no financial interest in the sport progressing, so why be reasonable, since the more positive tests they can produce (at any cost) the more credibility they gain. The sport needs to leave the Olympics if it will ever become self governed and make wise business decisions from every aspect, not doping alone.

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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.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Quotes from the past, Part I.

I received a call from Pat McQuaid, with whom I had never previously spoken on the phone, during which I was told that I should save my money and go home because it will be impossible for me to win. I told him that I had not done it and had to defend myself, to which he said; "Floyd, I think you're not a bad guy and I think you're an honest guy who made an honest mistake. And I am not saying that you did something that everyone else wasn't doing, I'm just saying that you got caught".

Landis, 6-Oct-2006, relating conversations from August, 2006, before we settled on doing round ups.

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Wednesday Roundup

Landis' CAS hearing begins in the New York City law offices of Debevoise & Plimpton, behind closed doors. Information about who will appear to testify, and how long exactly it will last, has been scarce. We have heard both five and six day durations, and it is unknown whether there will be a weekend session and or any break for Easter. Our Q&A can be found here. Don't expect much news to come out any time soon.

ESPN's Bonnie D. Ford writes an excellent preview of the CAS hearing which began today in New York City. She outlines the case and profiles the participants. Some interesting tidbits: no gag order has been placed, but both sides are being tight lipped as to testimony and witnesses, Easter Sunday will be a day off (this implies that there will be a Saturday session), USADA will once again be represented by Mathew Barnett and Richard Young, Landis will be represented by Maurice Suh with no mention of Howard Jacobs who was part of the team in May at the initial USADA hearing. One last thing, the CAS ruling may take from weeks to months to be announced.

Legal groupies will be thrilled to learn that Matt Barnett has gone (nearly) solo, starting his own practice with Vanessa, forming Barnett and Barnett PC. Ford says she's Mrs. B; we'd earlier guessed sister, oops. No CV is online. He's an NYU Law and Dartmouth man. It's a small firm, but there are those who love it.

The NY Times previews the Landis CAS hearing which begins today in New York City. The proceedings are not open to the public, as was last May's Landis/USADA hearings, and may contain new evidence and witness testimony:

Unlike an appeal before a criminal court, which must focus on points of law and procedure, this hearing will allow lawyers for Landis to present new or additional evidence. The appeal is being conducted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the final stage of appeal for doping cases.“It’s like a completely new trial,” said Katy Hogg, a spokeswoman for the court, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Exactly what Landis’s legal team will present to the three-member panel is unknown. A spokeswoman for Landis and his lawyer, Maurice Suh, said that neither was available for interviews.

The CyclingNews also mentions the beginning of Floyd Landis' case before the CAS today, as well as WADA's disappointment in the UCI who has refused to step up and pay some of the expenses. This is particularly strange in light of the fact that the case is being held under UCI rules, perhaps the UCI has strained its coffers in the recent fight with the ASO.

In a special news feature the CyclingNews says Eric Boyer , president of AIGCP, might be the one most in the UCI's cross hairs over the UCI ASO battle for pro cycling control.

The Boulder Report talks about the Mario Cipollini/Rock Racing "break up" , and in the discussion Lindsey revisits the controversy that had Paul Scott leaving A.C.E. Lindsey asks if any of this really matters, and gives his own response, who knows.

Monetize This provides a gratuitous snark that frankly seems to be just the kind of thing posted merely to get hits. He reports it worked. Glad to help. "We'll always have Paris."

WADAwatch begins with the intriguing title,"WADA trial, de novo with a twist: WADA sandbags Landis" and in his own inimitable way he summarizes what we will ultimately see in a few weeks time:

On trial today, is a defendant, yet an entire system is also at risk. When the decision falls, we will voraciously read the logic of a reversal*, in which Floyd is exonerated due to 'errors of procedure', or 'incapability of staff in a lab to follow clear rules, and use precision tools' (up to more than 500 thousand Swiss francs, or similarly in dollars).

OR, we will read an affirmation* that the substantive evidence, in spite of the known, acknowledged, and minimized errors found therein, are still sufficient proof of a digression from purity in sport.

WADAWatch is also not impressed by WADA's now financial investment in the prosecution, thinking it calls into question neutrality, objectivity, and commitment to justice. We think it is magnanimous to suggest WADA was ever interested in those things.

Gene Bisbee writes about the start of Floyd Landis' CAS hearing which began today. Gene then posts a summary of the Landis case contained in ten points from the past 20 months. It just goes to show how one can change one's mind, many times.

Chris @Podium Cafe says he hasn't the heart to cover this Landis hearing, he'll let us do the scrounge work of digging up any details we can. Thanks for the confidence. has a piece with a picture of Landis that we haven't translated, but the headline got our attention: "Dumm und dümmer". We think they aren't talking about Armstrong's phrase for the pair of Landis and Zabriskie.

Indiana Daily Student
posts an opinion by a runner who is tired of cyclists training for the Little 500 blowing by him and not sharing the road nicely:
[R]ight when I hit perfect stride, some Floyd Landis comes up next to me, signals his next move and totally throws me off the road while jetting by in his Schwinn.

"Share the road" works more than one way, fellow bikers.

Cutting Edge Muscle has a thread of dubious veracity and fascinating detail about how some people think doping in cycling has worked. The "scoop" here is that Landis was doing T and Epi-T, that he owed his blood doping doctor money so the Doc messed him up. And people accuse us of conspiracy theories.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Eve of the Appeal Q and A

Q: You've been on this forever, and I can't make heads or tails. What gives?

All of our appeal specific coverage can be found here, which will identify many of the issues that will be discussed. We hope. Alternately, we have a bunch of gas-bag articles talking about legal aspects and scientific issues.

For a general rundown, we refer to Bill Hue's CAS Overview from October.

Q: Who are the parties?

Landis and USADA. Landis is being represented by Maurice Suh, and we don't know if Howard Jacobs is going to be directly involved. USADA is being represented by, we think, the same Holmes-Roberts-Owen group of Richard Young, Dan Dunn, and Matt Barnett, plus others.

Q: Is this an appeal or a new hearing?

Both. It's an appeal procedurally, but is de novo, which means the Panel can evaluate everything from scratch without being held to any findings of fact by the previous panel, and the parties are free to bring in new evidence and arguments.

In an "appeal" as most folks think about it, the parties only get to argue about mistakes in legal interpretation made by the panel of first instance, and not about the facts at all. They don't get to bring in any new evidence, or change the basic arguments made initially.

Not so limited here. If someone wants to bring in the Nazi Frogmen, or argue the blood-test results prove something, it would be allowed. If new arguments are inconsistent with those made earlier, there might be some explaining to do about why the previous claims are now inoperative, but you get to do it.

Q: Who are the arbiters?

We ran over this in November. The chair was selected by CAS, not the parties, and is David Williams QC from New Zealand. The USADA pick is David Rivkin, and the hearing will be held at his firm's offices in NYC. The Landis pick is Jan Paulsson, who was the chair of the Landaluce panel.

Q: Who is paying?

We don't know where Landis is getting his money, and this looks to be a low-budget expedition for him. Eddie Pells says that WADA is picking up most if not all of USADA's costs, and that WADA is not happy that the UCI is not chipping in.

CAS is apparently paying for the Arbs.

At the first hearing in Malibu, the Panel and facilities were paid for by the USOC, who is now out of the loop.

Bean counters or taxpayer rights advocates might wonder why USADA uses outside counsel instead of doing things in-house. USADA may be happier with the end-result compared to what might happen with in-house legal staff, but it has got to be a budget-busting practice. If USADA were less concerned about winning! then they could use less costly in-house prosecution, like a district attorney does. It's a rare prosecution (i.e., Boies in US v. Microsoft, also this.) where outside litigators are brought in by the charging side.

Q: Where is it being held?

The NY Offices of Baker Hostetler, on the 11th floor of 45 Rockefeller Plaza; [oops wrong David Rivkin!] NY Offices of Debevoise & Plimpton, 919 Third Ave, according to the CAS press release. Suh's Gibson-Dunn is at 200 Park Avenue, 11 short and 2 long blocks away. HRO doesn't have a NY office.

If USADA/HRO has been set up in the Debevoise & Plimpton offices in the run-up, one might raise an eyebrow, but it is probably reasonably expedient.

Q: What idiots scheduled it over Easter weekend in New York?

Not us! (We're not going.)

Q: Who is testifying?

Nobody is saying, publicly, yet. We expect most direct testimony to be done by declarations and/or affidavits, with cross examination during the hearing. Whether witnesses will be in NY is unclear; we expect many will be done via phone-call. Doing direct by declaration is fast, but cross-by-phone isn't.

Q: What is the scuttlebutt?

Very tight lipped. Suh is professing optimism according to Pells, but then again, he would. USADA has been following equally predictable posturing. That's why they hold the hearing.

Q: What are the changes in the case?

We don't expect too many Papp/LeMond like issues to be discussed. It'll probably be the dry science and procedure, the kind of stuff we've been discussing here. Probably also more chain of custody technicalities as well.

The main new issue is the "different columns" discovery, and how USADA will attempt to rebut it. USADA seems to face a dilemma with that one:

They can either admit the columns were different, and deal with scientific fallout; or claim they were the same columns and the documentation is "in error", but that "error" has nothing to do with the reported results.

The latter seems to say, "We can lie in the document packages and our other filings as much as we like with no consequences, as long as we claim it doesn't affect the test result. And it is too late, expensive, and otherwise impossible to find out the truth by the time these things are noticed, so we win by having lied. That's the WADA code in action. We know, we wrote it to be that way."

And,"Crikey!", USADA might be right about that, if the Panel accepts it as the way the rules should work.

Q: Where is the video feed?

Um, sorry, not this time.

With luck, we hope to eventually get the transcripts and the rulings. If Landis holds good on his "openness" pledge, we'll have plenty to catalog and archive later.

Q: Is there a confidentiality/gag order in place?

We don't know.

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