Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Roundup

Floyd Landis started the Mohican 100 at 7AM this morning...

The good news is that Landis will have no trouble making his flight from Ohio to appear at the Dana Point race tomorrow. The bad news is that his race bike fell off someone else's car bringing it up on the way, and now a lucky soul has a high grade souvenir (if it isn't bent up too much). He started the Mohican on a borrowed bike, and managed to crash 10 miles in. This left him with a smashed helmet (there's a safety tip there, kids), bruised ribs, and an early departure for the airport.

Team Dicky took 2nd, single speed, and doesn't seem to have seen Landis. Given the general confusion, and Floyd's early exit, not surprising. No other results yet.

The Mount Vernon News previews this morning's Mohican 100.

The Ashland Times Gazette also previews the race. Check out the prize money to be given-- these guys do it for the love of it, pure and simple.

The Morning Call gives "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" a positive review.

Mieappolis Star Tribune/Imsande isn't happy with the Pistorius decision, and think it bodes on the upcoming Landis award. If only.

WADAwatch has dire warnings for any cyclists who participate in the ASO/FFC controlled Tour de France this year. Just look at how Floyd Landis was treated in their process:

In the Decision that emerged from this extraordinary second French case against Landis, no judges are named, no expert's testimony appears to have been cross–examined, and the sum total of damning evidence that is contained in that record, was that the Agency published its 'Decision' (Derision?), miraculously on the same calendar day as it received the bulk of Landis' Attorneys' legal filings.

Unclear as these legally damning items were, even more so is the questionable legitimacy of the legal regulation under which Landis was prosecuted in France. The one clear part of this ultralight decision, is that it states categorically that France holds jurisdiction over this man as an 'unlicensed cyclist'.

But, you, as a peer of Floyd, know that he has always held a license from USACycling. He has been a 'licensed American pro cyclist' every year his foot touched a pedal in the Tour. How then, can the French Agence française du lutte du dopage, or AFLD, prosecute him as unlicensed? How could any French Appellate Court, whether administrative or otherwise, not overturn such a blatantly unreal reality?

Ww then takes us into the LNDD time tunnel to things which should be remembered and noted. "Riders on the Storm" indeed.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Roundup

Landis and Joe Biker at the site of tomorrow's Mohican 100

Joe Biker sends a picture from his phone, above. Landis looks to be in decent shape. Joe earlier gave us his training tips for the Mohican on the wise use of a ball-peen hammer.

Racejunkie comments on the latest happenings at the Giro, and also finds the time to wonder if Iban Mayo, and Floyd Landis will be old, gray, and rocker-bound by the time they hear their CAS results.

Rant notes the brisk business that the CAS seems to be doing of late what with the D'Arcy, Gatlin, and Landis cases, among others, making news. Speaking of the Landis case decision announcement, it may have been set back to late June or even later. Rant also comments on a Post article about cycling with everyone's "favorite" reformed cyclist David Millar once again speaking for the sport. But, when the riders themselves are thrown under the bus Rant wonders where the sponsors, who demand their monies worth with good results, are?

BoxOffice gives "Bigger, Stronger, Faster", a documentary on steroid use with an interview of Landis, a mostly positive review. The review finds the conclusion weak, it thinks the film provides a nuanced look at the complexity of the subject, and avoids easy answers.

Steelers Fever Forum contains at least one fan who thinks Floyd Landis did not cheat at the 2006 TdF.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday Roundup

The CyclingNews says this morning that Igor Astorloa did not drop out of the Giro from an intestinal disorder as was reported, but left due to "significant problems with his blood values". This was not deemed a positive control, but is now in the hands of his team management nonetheless.

The VeloNews also posts a bit about the Igor Astorloa story adding nothing new of note.

CyclingNews' weekly collection of reader letters is up with the usual mix of topics A-Z. Most interesting may be the note about Lance Armstrong's two positive drug tests, being the '99 cortisone cream with controversial TUE incident, and the problematic non-control EPO testing by LNDD.

In CyclingNews of the MTB
variety, CN wonders if Floyd Landis has gained back any of his racing form since being unable to keep up with the leaders at the Cohutta 100 earlier this spring. We'll know on Saturday.

The Washington Post has an article on cycling, largely centered on St. David Millar of Slipstream. Landis gets mentioned, but not Millar's ownership interest in his team. (tip from a reader)

Reuters reports Trevor Graham was convicted on one count of perjury, and no verdict on two others.

The Capistrano Dispatch causes some confusion with its announcement that Floyd Landis will be an announcer for the Grand Prix crits at Dana Point at 7AM on Sunday June 1. Hard to imagine how even Floyd Landis can be there after just getting done with the Mohican 100, unless of course he can catch the red eye back from Ohio:

Neighborhood celebrations are just one aspect of the Grand Prix, a criterium cycling race in its second year that consists of a 0.8-mile L-shaped course that goes through major streets and residential areas and draws pro teams and racers nationwide, including Olympians, world champs and California’s top masters teams. This year’s Grand Prix was even chosen as the official State Masters Criterium Championship, and Tour de France competitor Floyd Landis is expected to be an announcer.

Press Releases
TAS-CAS announced the Gatlin hearing is over, and a decision (without reasons) will be made on June 6th. If it's in his favor, it gives him time for the US Olympic Trials that start on June 27. If he loses, then the timing doesn't matter, so an expedited announcement like this doesn't hurt. One of the arbiters is the now familiar Richard McLaren.

Tyler Sweeting had a good time meeting the "controversial" Floyd Landis at last year's Univest Grand Prix, and he displays his souvenirs from the event creatively.

WADAwatch points us to a post on Slowtwitch about protecting athletes from tainted supplements, itself based on a comment from Whareagle, who frequents here as well. This is an example of the echo chamber in action, "Testing 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3"

ArchPundit gives a plug for plugging away. Thanks!

Tech Tip O' the Day

From RoadBikeRider:
Monday's uphill time trial was about as difficult as any Giro stage ever (blizzards excepted). Many riders hated it and complained bitterly, saying it was too hard after 2 consecutive mountaintop finishes. The course began with a 7.6-km paved section with pitches of 14%, and then it got really steep (up to 24%) on the 5.3-km dirt road to the line. Giro leader Contador didn't see the climb until early on the day of the stage. He drove in a team car to the end of the pavement, then rode to the top. "I'm glad I did because it made me realize I needed a bigger [cog]," he said. He switched to a 34x30 low gear instead of the planned 34x28 and said afterward, "I think it helped me keep the pink jersey because my back wheel was slipping on the steepest parts of the climb."

TBV will save this and pull it out anytime someone laughs at his long cage derailleur and mountain cluster.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday Roundup

ESPN reports on the CAS/D'Arcy decision which TBV discussed here last night. What with one thing and another the CAS sure has it's hands full lately, at least it would this seem to clearly be a case of the "criminal charge of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm" which obviously violates the ethics clause for Aussie swimmers, there doesn't seem to be a bungled lab test in sight.

The CyclingNews says that Bjorn Leukemans is off the Flemish state doping list which means he can race, but he is still not out of the proverbial woods yet.

The Boulder Report's Joe Lindsey is very suspicious of some of the performances at this year's Giro, and doesn't mind spelling out not only his concerns abut them, but also his disdain for the Giro itself:

RCS director Angelo Zomegnan sniffed in response that if riders didn't like it perhaps they could choose to race elsewhere. It was the kind of arrogance that can come only from a guy who knows the riders really don't have a choice, or at least won't organize themselves long enough to actually make their voices heard and force authorities to offer one to them. It was the kind of statement that only a person in total power would dare to make, presenting the illusion of a choice that doesn't exist to cover his own failings. In it is the implicit message: "I don't care how you survive the spectacle, just make sure it is a spectacle. Draw the crowds."


What do I want to see?

I want to see race organizers who don't imperiously flex their muscle to keep the rank-and-file riders in line. I want a riders' union that's not a puppet of the UCI, that actually represents riders' interests. I want to see riders not succumbing to the "So and so was a shitty rider and had to dope just to keep up" routine - just because that's true doesn't mean he's lying about the sport's problems. It's not like the stuff is hard to get.

I want to see results from the UCI - if there are 23 riders whose results need more scrutiny, what's the timeline for that? How do we ensure that these guys aren't allowed to continue racing and maybe cheating while we form a sub-committee to investigate...what to order for lunch?

I want to see results from the teams and independent agencies doing testing. I want to know more about USADA's new "Un-Dirty Dozen" program - like how the 12 athletes were selected and why only 12?

I'm going to start asking these questions and requesting - politely, but firmly - that they be answered.

Good luck on that last part.

New York Magazine interviews Christopher Bell, director of the documentary film, "Bigger, Stronger, Faster", which has an interview with Landis:

And then there’s Floyd Landis.
Floyd sleeps in an altitude chamber. There are four different ways you can increase your red-blood-cell count: You can sleep in an altitude chamber; you can train at altitude; you can inject EPO, a hormone that makes your blood produce more blood cells; or you can blood dope, which is just reinjecting your own blood a day before the race. The two latter ways are cheating; the two former ways are totally allowed. You ask, what’s the difference? They’ll say, “Well, one actually increases it a lot more than the other one.” Which is just another way of saying: “An altitude chamber doesn’t work as well as the drugs or the blood doping.”

What do you think of his story?
I don’t know whether to believe him or not. I wasn’t there when everything went down, but I did see the lab results, and they were very shady. The way they went about the testing was a mess.

This is the first public mention we've seen of Landis seriously using an altitude chamber. Could that have affected the hematocrits during the Tour? It he'd been doing EPO or blood doping, would he have also been using an altitude tent?

Joe Biker is going to ride the Mohican, but he's going for TV time, not the win. We hope he has friends bringing video cameras, because the network coverage may be light. The horns on the helmet may scare people into giving him room, for fear of an altercation. He has a good earlier post telling you about the kinds of guys who run these events:
[T]here’s only one other thing that can give you 100% confidence for the last 2 1/2 hours of the Mohican 100. Get out a ball peen hammer and whack your quads ten times each and go out for a two and a half hour ride.

Peloton Jim
is still waiting patiently in the square, waiting for the CAS decision in the Landis case while others sneak off to watch the Giro. How 'bout that Contador and Astana?

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday Roundup

Where's Floyd?
People have been asking what is up with, which seems to have been down for about a week. We haven't heard anything. If we're not mistaken, he'd better renew his domain before the end of June or some skank is likely to swipe the name.

We think he's laying low at home, waiting for a decision, and training for the rest of the NUE calendar, of which the next event is the Mohican 100 on Saturday.

Press Releases
TAS-CAS had a busy day, announcing

As we were getting ready for bed, TAS-CAS announced how the D'Arcy baby would be split: They ruled the proper procedure had not been followed, because the AOC President can't unilaterally make a decision to ban. They are allowing the Australian Olympic Committee to convene its own properly formed group to ban D'Arcy, or to petition CAS itself to render judgement. Unless AOC caves now, we don't really see this as a win for D'Arcy. The Press Release and the Full text of award are available online. (Save a copy of the award, as they vanish in a few months from the CAS website. )

And, in a Football (Soccer) contract dispute, we see more tortured history in the sort of dispute that CAS is supposed to do well, and in timely fashion -- and 147 paragraphs later, still seems to have bodged up, granting itself extra leave of time. I suppose we could look up if the player is worth the fight, but it is one of those stick and ball sports, so why bother?

Rant covers a lot of ground today including what may or may not be in the afterward of his new book "Dope". He asks his loyal readers about that, and more.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday Roundup

ESPN posts a short AP piece about Jan Ullrich's case against former employer Coast from whom he is seeking compensation for services. Coast refuses to pay him on the assumption that he was doping, and thus deceiving them, when he rode. Lawyers plan to pursue the doping allegations in the questioning of Ullrich this week.

Tuttobici (It) [google translation] says Le Tour is going to fine teams 100,000 Euros for a doping positive, and the teams had better agree to this "pledge" Or Else.

We're in favor of punishing teams -- our standing proposal is to cost the team a starting slot for each suspended/banned racer for the length of the suspension. We're not sure a fine is adequate, but it is a start. Except for the unilateral nature of ASO's imposition, this doesn't seem like a bad idea to us.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Roundup

SF Chronicle/Crumpacker touts USADA's "undirty dozen" program.


Racejunkie writes mostly about the Giro and "Gibo's" competition, but slips in a reference to the denials of wrongdoing from Andrea Moletta's dad, oh those little blue pills.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Roundup

The CyclingNews posts more about the "little blue pills" allegedly belonging to cyclist Andrea Moletta's father, and ostensibly due for use by him as a PED. There are also now denials by the UCI that Andrey Kashechkin has been cleared to race, and even if the Kazakh rider were cleared by his national federation it seems likely that the UCI would appeal the case to the CAS.

The Bemidji Pioneer passes along a piece about Greg LeMond's ongoing feud with Trek and Lance Armstrong in which LeMond states that he said nothing disparaging about Armstrong and doping, he was only "stating fact and telling the truth." LeMond also asserts that Trek, with whom he is also battling, has refused to publish any positive comments about LeMond bikes scheming to only post the negative.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Roundup

The CyclingNews notes the confiscation of large amounts of Viagra from Andrea Moletta's father at the Giro and while it's not banned by WADA it has been shown to provide performance enhancement benefits outside the bedroom:

WADA's spokesman Frédéric Donzé confirmed that Viagra is not banned in competition, but said that the agency is looking into the matter. "WADA is aware of the high altitude study presented in Science Daily. WADA monitors this substance, as it does with many other substances, and is currently funding a research project on the performance-enhancing potential of Sildenafil at various altitudes."

One wonders just how "comfortable" riding a bike would be for anyone using the drug.

In CyclingNews' Letter column this week the topics of discussion range from Australian road rage directed at cyclists to Alessandro Petacchi's "suspension".

ESPN reports on the anti-doping rules established for this summer's Olympics.

Rant posted a "two-fer" yesterday with comments on the Festina-like Andrea Moletta "doping" brouhaha at the Giro, and Jeff Adams exoneration and highly motived training for this summer's Paralympics.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stolen from Fatty: the Triathalon

Shamelessly inspired by Fatty, we're considering holding our own Triathalon over the weekend of October 5th.

The events would be (1) walking up the long driveway; (2) doggy paddling in circles hanging onto Fun Noodles while holding adult beverages out of the water; and (3) riding to and up the Mt. Diablo Challenge. The first two may be less demanding than Fatty's troika, but we guarantee (3) will be as hard as you like.

Mix in reconnoiter/training rides on Friday and Saturday, and perhaps some Winery touring the week before or after for a richer experience.

Let's try to all hang together at least this once.

Except for dates, this is pretty vague. Interested folks can let us know and we'll work out real plans.


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Thursday Roundup

WADAwatch notes how little fight by charged athletes it would take to put the WADA system deeply into the red, Mr Young's seeming conflicts of interest, and connects the late Dr. Hoffman with Landis' long strange trip. He also argues what it will take to really fix the WADA system, promising future revisions.

It remains scary to know how far one can get in the law, with a 'wink' between friends.

Stars and Stripes provides a bit more on some of the participants on the "Ride 2 Recovery", an event meant to bring more awareness to the healing process of disabled soldiers who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq. Floyd Landis is taking part in the ride which began at Walter Reed in Washington, DC and will end at Lowe's Motor Speedway before the Coca Cola 600 Sunday.

Racejunkie thinks Landis should do even more charity work, since it paid off for Basso:
Floyd Landis has been out and about on the roads supporting charity, and that the boy can feel charitable towards anyone (except perhaps charitably like running over Pat "Dick" McQuaid with his bike at 35 miles an hour) is testament to his generosity and self-restraint. If he gathers eight thousand cameras around starts bawling and hugs every forlorn big-eyed tot in sight, Pat, can he get a new ProTour contract and a nice spokesman gig with UCI too?

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday Roundup

The CyclingNews reports on a raid at the headquarters of the Portuguese cycling team LA MSS. The Portuguese police confiscated doping substances, medications, equipment to conduct blood transfusions, and instruments for clinical use. The raid was undertaken with the help of the Portuguese National Anti-doping Council, according to a police report. The team has been in the news of late due to the death of rider Bruno Neves. The 26 year-old died while riding the Grande Prémio de Amarante earlier this month. He is reported to have suffered a heart related incident which caused his crash. This will obviously now come under greater scrutiny.

Racejunkie indeed reacts to the news that Iban Mayo's CAS ruling is due sometime in June, aiigggghhhhh indeed. And in Astana news, Klodi for president, well team leader for the Vuelta at any rate.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday Roundup

USAToday says Landis is riding a multi-day awareness event for wounded soldiers.

Pro cyclist Floyd Landis will bike to Charlotte along with the service members. The journey ends at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Looks like Teva Mountain Games last year. (Photo: Doug Pensinger, Getty Images)

ESPN posts the AP report on Canadian wheelchair athlete Jeff Adams' CAS decision:
"In what can only be characterized as a total vindication," Adams' lawyer Tim Danson said the three-judge panel concluded that there was no prohibited substance in Adams' system at the time of the competition or at the time he was drug tested.

ESPN files more CAS news with a Reuters report covering the case of Justin Gatlin. Lawyer Maurice Suh has asked the CAS to ignore a previous positive for ADD medication when it deliberates Gatlin's case in the run up to the Olympics. The split baby for him would be to win his case, but have it be announced after it is too late for his attempt at the Games. Gatlin is a witness in the BALCO case, and has not been implicated in any of those shenanigans except as a cooperative athlete.

says Mayo finally got his hearing, with a ruling "expected in June". Racejunkie will be all over this.

TAS-CAS has its press release on Jeff Adams, spinning the hard-line way:
Lausanne, 20 May 2008 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has partially upheld the appeal filed by the Canadian Paralympic track and field athlete, Jeffrey Adams, against a decision rendered by the Sports Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada dated 11 June 2007. In agreement with the challenged decision, Mr Adams is found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation; however, the CAS Panel has determined that in the unique circumstances of this case, Mr Adams’ ineligibility period shall be eliminated because he was not at fault.

Rant comments on the Adams decision noting that the CAS panel ruling on his case disagreed with testimony from a few familiar Landis case characters. Rant notes the concept of "strict liability" has raised its rather ugly head, again.

Potholes and Roadapples has more on the six-day wounded veteren support ride Landis is starting, with the Official Site link -- from which we learn that USA Today writer Sal Ruibal has a blog and some cycling stories of his own.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

By the way

A year ago, we were in the middle of the public AAA hearing on the Landis case. Our contemporaneous coverage is here.

May 14, 2007. Press room; TBV is set up, but the circus has not yet arrived.

Mongongu, De Ceaurizz and Frelat arrive on the morning of Mongongu's cross-examination.

"The Race to the Bottom"

Brenna looked pained.

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Monday Roundup

This Roundup is started late, because there was no news. Y'all should get used to that happening here in the doldrums. But something did come up, so here is is.


Sometime Friday, CAS made a ruling in the case of Jeff Adams that seems to us tilted towards sanity. There has been no press release (yet), and the award seems incomplete despite "final" designation. No major media has yet noticed, and we found out by email from Rant

Adams is a disabled Canadian athlete charged with cocaine use at an event, and he claimed a contaminated catheter from an earlier incident was responsible, and that there was no cocaine in his system at the time of the event. Richard McLaren was the sole arbiter at the original hearing, and there was supporting testimonly from Christiane Ayotte, both familar parties to followers of the Landis case. McLaren accepted the charge, gave a two year ban, and permanent disqualification of Canadian Government support. Adams appealed.

Adams presented first hand testimony supporting his claim that he was dosed with cocaine outside competition, and that he later urinated using a catheter that he inadvisedly saved for possible emergency use. After winning the event in question, at doping control he used this unwrapped, unsterile catheter, as there was no clean one available or provided by doping control.

Ayotte testified she thought he was doping, and the contaminated catheter couldn't have done it. Adams experts said it could.

In the original hearing, McLaren did not believe the story of the bar incident. The CAS panel "respectfully disagreed", finding the version not contradicted and fully corroborated by two reputable witnesses, and the lack of physical evidence and police report did not weigh against the testimony. The CAS panel found the contaminated catheter to be the source of the positive test result.

Out-of-competition cocaine use is not a violation, and the CAS panel corrected arguments by the ADA on that point.

Splitting the baby, the panel concluded that his results at the event should be DQ'd, but no further sanction is warranted. There was no cocaine in his body, only in the catheter. He was not "at fault" for cocaine in his body.

Paragraph 164 on costs is a unfilled ellipsis "(...)", so we don't know what the findings there may be. Bill Hue commented in mail,

Whenever someone "with all due respect"s you, the boom is going to fall. That is what the Panel did to Ayotte and McLaren.

WADAwatch is a tad skeptical of the decision in the Pistorius case. It's probably a sign of healthy diversity of opinion that we don't seem to agree. WW thinks it's a decision in favor of the "show", and is probably dreaming of the "Up Close and Personal" features on him at The Cash Machine Games.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Roundup

The CyclingNews says that the UCI has placed Bjorn Leukemans back into its "whereabouts" system thus indicating that at least for now he can ride, IF he can find a team that will take him.

The NY Times
writes about the distinct possibility that over 100 major league ball players could be prosecuted for steroid usage linked to tests from 2003:

According to a lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity because the government’s plans are supposed to remain confidential, federal authorities will seek to question each of the 104 players about where and how they obtained the substance detected in their urine samples. The authorities then intend to distribute the information they receive to federal prosecutors around the country

If this precedent is set, it is unclear how this could effect anyone who has ever tested positive for any PED in any sport.


Rant notes that even the "high and mighty", like the IHT, can make mistakes. Oops indeed.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday Roundup

The CyclingNews reports that even though the CAS said he didn't cheat, UCI rule breaker Alessandro Petacchi has been fired by Milram. Michael Ball is salivating at the thought no doubt since Petacchi will be able to ride as of the end of August. Petacchi's case is just another stunning example of the ineptitudes of the "zero tolerance" principle. Off with his head!

Racejunkie covers lots of ground with mentions about the toughness of the "bloody" Giro, Tyler Hamilton's now seemingly plausible "twin defense", and Bjorn Leukeman's "good fortune".

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Roundup

The CyclingNews posts the advice of Victor Conte to the world's anti-doping agencies. USADA's Travis Tygart responds with typical posturing towards (clean) athlete's rights, while he defends targeted testing:

USADA CEO Travis Tygart responded, "Since our creation in late 2000 and before we disciplined 16 people associated with the BALCO doping conspiracy, USADA had incorporated and continues to incorporate all appropriate intelligence into our testing program. Our efforts to protect the rights of clean athletes has always has been focused on intelligent target testing and not simply on the number of tests."

This ignores completely the statistical point that even if you are targeting your testing, you'd want to do more of it in the 4th quarter, not earlier in the year.

Also translating, if you aren't targeted, you're unlikely to get tested, and once you are on the USADA list, they'll test the heck out of you until they have a case. It also suggests to us the best way to get on the list is to have notable performances or have someone rat you out. This leads to the targeting of the biggest (and disliked) fish, and relative immunity for low and middle-ranked athletes. It also makes those targeted more likely to get caught in false positives because of greater exposure to the tests. And, it does nothing to chase the guilty during the off-season when they are most likely to be "enhancing" their training regimens.

The IHT/George Vecsey posts an awkwardly timed piece that congratulates the IAAF on its decision against Pistorius, titled, "Admirable spirit, but rules are rules." Vecsey seems to have missed the award (below) on Pistorius' appeal, and the CAS was less impressed with the IAAF decision and argument, which seemed more like "rules are weapons" than "rules are rules."

CAS has upheld Oscar Pistorius' appeal against the IAAF. He is now allowed to compete for an Olympic spot on his carbon fiber prosthetic lower legs. One of the arbiters was David Rivkin, who is on the Landis appeal panel.

The 18-page full award is here. Save it, because they vanish after a while. Some highlights:

60. At this stage, in the Panel's view, the process began to go "off the rails". The correspondence between the IAAF nad Prof. Bruggemann shos that his instructions were to carry out the testing only when Mr Pistorius was running in a straight line after the acceleration phase. By the time that the IAAF commissioned the Cologne tests it was known that this was the part of the race in which Mr Pistorius usually ran at his fastest.

61. [...] IAAF's officials must have known that, by excluding the start and the acceleration phase, the results would create a distorted view of Mr Pistorius' advantages and/or disadvantages. [...]

62. The stori is not enhances by the fact that Dr. Robert Gailey, the scientist nominated by Mr Pistorius [...] was effectively "frozen out" to such an extent that he declined to attend the Cologne tests. He was informed that he would be allowed to attend only as an observer, with no input on the testing protocol or on the analysis.

68. The impression of prejudgment is also enhanced by the fact that Dr. Locatelli and other IAAF officials told the press before the vote was taken that Mr Pistorius would be banned from IAAF sanctioned events.

70. In the Panel's view, the manned in which the IAAF handled the situation of MR Pistorius in the period from July 2007 to January 2008 fell short of the high standards that the international sporting community is entiteld to expect from a federation such as the IAAF.

80. without implying any criticism of the draftsman, who faces an extraordinarily difficult task, the Panel considers that this provision is a masterpiece of ambiguity. What constitutes a technical device? [...]

81. What constitutes a device that incorporates springs? Technically, almost every non-brittle material object is a "spring" in the sense that is has elasticity. [...] A natural human leg is itself a "spring".

82. [...] It was urged on the Panel by the IAAF's counsel that the ordinary and natural meaning of the word advantage is absolute. [...]

83. The Panel does not accept this proposition. [...] To propose that a passive device [...] should be classified as contravening that Rule without [...] proof tha tit provides him with an overall net advantage over other athletes flies in the face of both legal principle and commonsense.

Under the burden of proof involved, faced with conflicting experts, the Panel did not feel the IAAF had met the requirement to show an overall net advantage. No one asked for costs, and the CAS pocketed Pistorius' CHF 500 filing fee.

Analysis: For students of the Landis case, there are some interesting points. The Panel took an interesting interest in the process by which the original decision was made. One wonders what examination of communication between USADA, HRO, and LNDD would reveal about not looking for errors, but only that which supported the conclusions that had already been made. Second, the appearance of prejudgement by parties is problematic and noted. Comments by the President of WADA in the Landis matter would seem to imply marching orders to the troops. Third, there's no reason to assume the legal theories of interpretation made by counsel from one side are correct, or binding in any way.

In an earlier case, FINA vs. CBDA and Gusmao, the CAS effectively accepted CBDAs decision not to prosecute a T/E case CBDA had decided was inconclusive. It hinges more on procedural history than facts in question.

Rant thinks that USADA/WADA should listen to BALCO's Victor Conte when he stresses the need for more out of competition testing during the fourth quarter of the track season, he might just know what he's talking about.

WADAwatch plays a comment about supplements, and wonders if the reason we haven't heard the name of the rider in the profile rumours is that the alleged perp is, perhaps, French, and L'Equipe isn't as motivated to spill the beans.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday Roundup

CyclingNews reports on a reversal, perhaps only temporary, of a ban given Bjorn Leukemans for testosterone use (given by the team doctor, unknown to Bjorn):

[T]he Belgian appealed the ban and now, the Belgian Council of State ruled that the disciplinary commission's procedure was flawed, and ordered a new procedure to take place, with different judges.

On Tuesday, the Council of State ruled that Leukemans' ban was no longer in place. "There is no ban, because the punishment is in no relation to the faults committed by the accused person," said magistrate Luc Hellin according to Belgian media.

The Leukemans doping case will thus start from scratch, with the rider theoretically free to race, if he had a team and a license. "The court's intention is that the matter should be fully treated within one year," added Hellin.

... "I'm glad that there is someone who follows my position," he said to Sporza. "I know that there was something in my urine, but the way in which it got there also plays a role. It was certainly not intentional. hopefully, this is the light at the end of the tunnel.

We don't understand a lot about this. Why is this in court and not ADA jurisdiction? Under what rules is it being adjudicated? Under the WADA Code, the way it got there doesn't matter, strict liability, and all.

ESPN reports that American sprinter Michelle Collins, who had been caught up in the BALCO dragnet, has been reinstated early by the IAAF ostensibly for cooperating with USADA:

Originally suspended for eight years, Collins appealed and wound up with a four-year ban through July 17, 2008.

"We certainly support and have supported Michelle Collins' reinstatement once she came forward and rightfully assisted USADA in our efforts to rid the sport of doping," USADA's CEO, Travis Tygart, said in a telephone interview.

The CyclingNews Letters column contains a few interesting comments on the mysteries of the CAS and "St." David Millar, among myriad other topics.

Outside Magazine's June print edition will have an article:
Ex–pro cyclist Joe Papp got away with doping for years, but then he spilled the beans at the Floyd Landis hearing. What did he get for it? About 10,000cc of grief.

has a copy of a letter written by Victor "BALCO" Conte sharing information about doping and anti-doping practice. He isn't impressed with USADA:

In late 2003 I advised USADA about the importance of random testing during the fourth quarter of the year. They did initially seem to follow my advice because they increased the number of fourth-quarter tests in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

However, they failed to continue this practice in 2007. Why would USADA decide to perform only 15% of their annual out-of-competition tests during the fourth quarter? Let's not forget that this is the off season before the upcoming summer Olympic Games. This is equivalent to a fisherman knowing that the fish are ready to bite and then consciously deciding that it is time to reel in his line and hook, lean his fishing pole up against a tree and take a nap.

Given the chance, USADA will likely blame Landis for having drained their budget at that critical period in 2007. Therefore, if there is a big medal count for the US, Landis should surely receive credit for it.

WADAwatch looks at supplements, and a recent win in a civil action by Jacobs.

TripleCrankset notes some softening by Mr. Pound now that he is officially out of the loop. Or this might have dated back to when he was burnishing his image for the CAS chair.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday Roundup

The NY Times reports that federal prosecutors "cured" their original indictments against Barry Bond and refiled the case yesterday charging him with 14 counts of making false statements under oath that he did not use PEDS.

ESPN says that former Olympics skier Hans Knauss sued and then recieved a settlement from Ultimate Nutrition Inc for selling supplements tainted with illegal steroids which ultimately caused him to miss the 2006 Olympics. At the time the International Ski Federation had reduced his suspension, but the CAS had turned down his appeal. He was represented by former Landis lawyer Howard Jacobs.

At Rant, Bill Hue points out the CAS rule relevant to expenses:

WADA’s request for “contribution”, should it prevail, derives from the CAS Code as follows:
“R64.5 The arbitral award shall determine which party shall bear the arbitration costs or in which proportion the parties shall share them. As a general rule, the award shall grant the prevailing party a contribution towards its legal fees and other expenses incurred in connection with the proceedings and, in particular, the costs of witnesses and interpreters. When granting such contribution, the Panel shall take into account the outcome of the proceedings, as well as the conduct and the financial resources of the parties.”

Outcome: we'll see, maybe a foregone conclusion; Conduct: Misstatements and changing story by USADA over the entire course vs. bombast by Landis. No clear winner there. Financial resources: International agencies vs. near bankrupt individual. We unconfidently predict parties to bear their own costs.

Just a couple of additional notes from Bill Hue, in case anyone is interested. Here is a link (you can cut and paste or click on) to a case where a CAS arbitrator went through CAS Rule 64.5 and awarded an athlete prevailing in a CAS Appeal $9500 in attorney fees from the Guam Olympic Committee. This opinion is an outstanding example of the method a judicial officer utilizes in analyzing a rule, researching/citing precedent and applying a specific fact set to the rule resulting in a reasoned conclusion concerning application of "law" to "fact" explaining his reasoning and decision in a way any reader can understand. It is quite elegant, in my opinion.

Here is CAS R59 as it relates to awards not being subject to further appeal absent domicile in Switzerland, the methodology of "announcing" and "publishing" the award and an articulated 4 month limitation from the date of Appeal filing for the Panel to render its award. Landis filed his appeal on or about November 21, 2007.

"R59 Award The award shall be rendered by a majority decision, or in the absence of a majority, by the President alone. It shall be written, dated and signed. The award shall state brief reasons. The signature of the President shall suffice. Before the award is signed, it shall be transmitted to the CAS Secretary General who may make rectifications of pure form and may also draw the attention of the Panel to fundamental issues of principle.The Panel may decide to communicate the operative part of the award to the parties, prior to the reasons. The award shall be enforceable from such written communication.

The award, notified by the CAS Court Office, shall be final and binding upon the parties. It may not be challenged by way of an action for setting aside to the extent that the parties have no domicile, habitual residence, or business establishment in Switzerland and that they have expressly excluded all setting aside proceedings in the arbitration agreement or in an agreement entered into subsequently, in particular at the outset of the arbitration.

The operative part of the award shall be communicated to the parties within four months after the filing of the statement of appeal. Such time limit may be extended by the President of the Appeals Arbitration Division upon a reasoned request from the President of the Panel.The award, a summary and/or a press release setting forth the results of the proceedings shall be made public by the CAS, unless both parties agree that they should remain confidential."

WADAwatch argues

WADA is bankrupting (In our opinion, at least morally, if not financially) itself, NOT to prove Landis doped.

It is draining its litigation account (the legality of which remains to be determined, as WADAwatch argued in its Revised Amicus Brief from early April) for one simple reason:

WADA is fighting to prove itself NOT GUILTY - in our neutral opinion, of permitting tortious laboratory malfeasance, of committing gross ethics violations by itself (through former president Dick Pound) and its French laboratory, and of submitting and enforcing: incredibly, poorly, Machiavellianly, its biased drafting (not once but twice) of the WADA CODE.

WW goes on:

WADA has, through its CODE redrafting exercise, offered NO legitimate assurance (as of yet) to these Athletes, OVER NINETY-FIVE (95) per cent of which have never failed a doping control (when the evidence is sourced from a WADA-accredited laboratory), that the proper test was properly performed at EVERY WADA lab, with a standardized methodology, harmonized criteria, and, penultimately: uniform and ETHICAL results management.

And goes back to the "Quigly Rule", which appears to be getting lost:

Time and again, WADA expounds its preferences for 'judicial interpretation' (this means that any private Arbitration panel can 'add' to what a WADA CODE Article stands for; it betrays the faith in its Signatory IFs who pay WADA their contributions in the belief that WADA stands for the words in its FUNDAMENTAL RATIONALE) rather than proper, strict and FAIR drafting of an Universal CODE that provides a basis to stop bad Science from distortions of the truth regarding the infinite variables found in the physiologies of extremely hard-pushing Athletes.

"Athletes and officials should not be confronted with a thicket of mutually qualifying or even contradictory rules that can be understood only on the basis of the de facto practice over the course of many years by a small group of insiders." [Ww: emphasis added] (CAS: USA Shooting & Quigley v. UIT, 1995 (CAS 94/129))


This is exactly what WADA HAS ACHIEVED.

In conclusion, WW prays for relief:

CAS, one hopes, will rise to this occasion and return a verdict of not-guilty against Landis, castigate WADA severely for its financial intervention of the USADA appeal, introduce a ruling that forces WADA to redraft its CODE in an emergency session prior to July 31st, and suspend the French Laboratory LNDD prior to the running of this year's Tour de France.

We will not hold our breath. There is too much invested in preserving the status-quo through The Games in August.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday Roundup

No Landis comment, but for some reason amusing. A commenter points us to a WRCB report that references the Tennesean. It seems a truck with a million dollars worth of pharmaceuticals was hijacked in Nashville. Within the now-missing cargo: Procrit, being Ortho-distributed, Amgen manufactured EPO. If a bunch of South Eastern masters riders start tearing up the place later this year, here's a clue.


Racejunkie is all about saints and sinners today. In the "saints" column goes the peloton's "favorite" anti-doping czar David Millar and not Ivan Basso? In the definite sinner column goes poor Floyd Landis, literally poor Floyd, who is being demonized yet again by WADA. This time for the legal costs that the procedures that were within his rights cost them. Keep trying WADA, one of these days you might hit on something that actually makes some sense.

Rock Racing's Rashaan Bahati
is having joint problems, and has talked with Landis, among others, about what to do. He needs to decide on surgery now, or later sometime. He's sucked it up, and won a recent race, but can't go on like that.

Velo Vortmax spins the report about WADA wanting Landis to pay their expenses, but takes it a bit further than the current information suggests. As far as we know, WADA isn't planning on suing Landis, but probably made the standerd request in the arbitration for costs. Good luck with that: It requires a finding that Landis' appeal was unfounded, for him to have the money, and for there to be some leverage on him to pay it. To anyone's knowledge, has Hamilton paid the costs awarded in his appeal?

Anyway, VVmax fantasizes about some of the people who might be brought to the stand should there be procedings in a real court -- and dreams that WADA might throw Landis into that briar patch:

John Fahey please sue Floyd Landis. There are so many unanswered questions about this case. Inquiring minds want to know. But don't be surprised if the real world does not work like the WADA world. WADA stands to lose a lot more than money.

Rant skewers the one-sided WADA idea of "loser (athlete) pays", and wants them to consider "WADA pays lost earnings" in the event an athlete wins. He wonders what the disincentive is now to halt prosecution of shaky cases.

That's a trick question, obviously: If you ask WADA, there has never been a shaky case, and never will be. The accredited-under-rules-that-mean-whatever-we-want-them-to labs never make mistakes (that matter, by our definitions) or use unsupported (by our standards) procedures.

And the athletes are all guilty anyway, so what is your problem, you doping apologist?

We're doing this for the kids, after all!

It has nothing to do with our Olympic cash-cow barn and the attached pork feeding trough.


At All.


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Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Roundup

The CyclingNews gets hold of the "Landis case cost to WADA story" and at least reports that Landis himself outspent WADA in his own defense. Good thing for WADA that they have to ability to acquire more working capital with the establishment of a "special fund" for cases just such as this, the same cannot likely be said for the athletes vainly attempting to find some "justice" within a system that seems more stacked against them every day. Due process, equal standards for all parties? Apparently WADA is not required to follow such arcane rules.

The Reuters
version of the story is being presented as WADA trying to charge Landis for the $1.3 million they spent on the appeal. The headlines are, as often the case, more inflammatory than the story, which says the usual rules of costs during arbitration will apply:

"The normal process for costs and proceedings will be followed," said Fahey, a former Australian finance minister who took over as WADA chairman from Pound in January.

So there isn't really news there, despite the sensationalism. For the CAS panel to rule that Landis needs to pay costs, it would have to determine the appeal was frivolous and without grounds. We think that is unlikely, as the AAA panel made a number of dubious decisions whose appeal would have to be considered grounded. So WADA is probably going to have to pound salt, or the table on getting any money back. Not that it will matter if Landis goes bust as a consequence of the result anyway.

Bloomberg says the same thing, and tried to get Suh to ballpark Landis' costs, unsuccessfully. It does offer that it has cost Landis at least $1M personally, plus donations, and that bankruptcy is a possibility. We guess the original case and the appeal has run the Landis side $2-$3 million, and a lot of it came from Landis' pocket.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Roundup

AFP reports in French, (machine translation) that funding the Landis appeal has cost WADA $840,000 Euros, according to a report to the WADA trustees. WADA thinks the UCI should have coughed up:

Before the board of trustees, Sir Craig Reedie recalled that WADA had asked in vain the financial assistance of the International Cycling Union (UCI). "WADA could not fail to get involved in penalty save by Landis default, "he says.

One result is that,
At its Executive Committee, Saturday, WADA had decided to establish a reserve fund of 1, 5 million dollars to finance the proceedings against those convinced of sports doping.

The Canadian Press has an article on the WADA foundation board meeting. WADA is irked at the cost of the Landis case, and has a solution -- charge athletes for their prosecution when "if" they lose:

WADA director general David Howman said that he and Fahey intend to discuss the ultimate responsibility for the legal costs when they meet with CAS representatives in June.

"That's a matter that we wish to take up with CAS so that the issue of costs in very expensive cases is viewed seriously by the panels because there can be very good examples in civil law where the costs fall with the party who has been determined to be at fault," Howman said.

This means WADA (a) writes the rules; (b) stacks the arbitration by design, 2-1 against charged athletes; (c) defines "ethics" like Scientology -- "if it furthers our agenda, it is ethical"; (d) uses a "no-liability" system for labs, and strict liability for athletes; and now, (e) wants to charge athletes for the privilege of being convicted.

Does this remind anyone else of the quaint example of debtor's prison? Well, there are those who want to bring them back, so perhaps Brazil isn't far off:

The interviewer asks the Deputy Prime Minister about the economics of the [...] situation, and the Deputy Prime Minister replies:

"I understand this concern on behalf of the taxpayers. People want value for money. That's why we always insist on the principal of Information Retrieval charges. It's absolutely right and fair that those found guilty should pay for their periods of detention and the Information Retrieval procedures used in their interrogations."

If Mr. Howman is going to bring up examples from civil law, perhaps he like also to bring in the discovery rules and burden of proof from civil law? And an independant judiciary? He also ignores the argument made by Straubel that doping adjudication is quasi-criminal law in nature, not like civil law in the first place.

Unfortunately, the athlete "stakeholders" are outnumbered organizationally about 4-1 in WADA machinations, and will have little or no say in what is procedurally imposed upon them by the others.

Who cares? They are all dirty dopers anyway.

Meanwhile, in the real world, reports

Roundly denouncing a Las Vegas federal prosecutor for withholding 650 pages of evidence potentially helpful to two lawyers charged in a stock fraud case, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld dismissal of all 64 charges and refused to allow a retrial.

"This is prosecutorial misconduct in its highest form; conduct in flagrant disregard of the United States Constitution; and conduct which should be deterred by the strongest sanction available," wrote Judge Kim Wardlaw.

There are no sanctions under the WADA code for prosecutorial misconduct. The pilot light is a vacuum gauge, and you will be billed for your conviction. Good day, sir!

Rant writes the real "idiots guide to anti-doping" in anticipation of St. David Millar's upcoming and highly anticipated version. Based on the Canadian News article above, it looks to be need of some updating already.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Roundup

The VeloNews reports on the positive doping control for Ariel Richeze, who had naturally been withdrawn from the Giro. He has been accused of using stanozolol.

ESPN says that Italian pole vaulter Giuseppe Gibilisco has had his doping ban overturned by the CAS:

The investigation focused on the relationship between athletes and Carlo Santuccione, a doctor who is alleged to have supplied athletes with banned substances. Gibilisco was initially banned last July by the Italian Athletics Federation (FIDAL) after a request from the country's anti-doping prosecutor.

However, he won an appeal in September; a FIDAL spokesman saying the ban had been lifted because Gibilisco had never failed a doping test.

The CAS did not comment on the ruling, but issued a press release. It has not apparently publicly issued the ruling. This is typically the case when the parties decide to keep things quiet. The release says:
The CAS Panel found that there was no conclusive evidence to determine that Gibilisco attempted to use prohibited substances. Contrary to what has happened in the case Danilo di Luca, the UPA-CONI did not sanction Gibilisco for his medical encounters with Dr. Santuccione. The appeal to CAS was therefore limited to the issue of attempt of doping.

The Boulder Report reveals more of the unsavory side of cycling today with his column about Kayle Leogrande's civil lawsuit against Matt DeCanio and Suzanne Sonye:
Leogrande’s second case is a civil slander suit in Los Angeles County Court against former Rock soigneur Suzanne Sonye and former pro racer turned anti-doping advocate Matt DeCanio. The seven-page filing alleges that Sonye and DeCanio worked in concert to defame Leogrande last February when DeCanio recorded a conversation between them and later posted it on his anti-doping web site, Stolen Underground. In the conversation, alleges the lawsuit, Sonye told DeCanio that Leogrande had admitted to her that he doped and was worried he had failed an anti-doping test. The post was taken down a short time later when Sonye’s attorney, Jean-Jacques Cabou, sent a cease-and-desist letter to DeCanio.

But beyond that, said Cabou, the timing is questionable because Sonye has filed an affidavit in the USADA arbitration and is a witness in that case. “It’s fair to say the timing of the suit and the target certainly bring to mind the possibility that there were strategic reasons for bringing it that might apply to proceedings other than this lawsuit,” he said. Cabou declined to speculate on whether he considered the suit a form of tampering or intimidation.

Howard Jacobs, Leogrande’s attorney, said that the timing and nature of the lawsuit have “nothing to do with any affidavit that Suzanne may or may not have filed.” Jacobs declined to comment on the status of the USADA arbitration or even concede that one was taking place and also declined to confirm that the John Doe filing was Leogrande’s (although the plaintiff is a Jacobs client). He said that the basis for including Sonye in the new lawsuit is that because of DeCanio’s reputation, Sonye had to know what would happen if she talked with him.

Considering what happened in the Landis case with Jacobs attempts to cross-examine LeMond about the allegations he made there, it might be good tactics to have a case in real court with the same parties, allowing depositions and testimony prior to any arbitration with USADA -- if there is one pending. At least a full examination can happen without time-pressure and procedure fouled up by a supervising authority that does not understand the law.

At the same time, opening up another legal front will present Leogrande to discovery and unfriendly deposition, so it is a knife that cuts all ways, and ought to be handled with care and respect for the risk.

As we've seen in several cases lately, one can have perjury problems testifying about PED use. It would be a major foot-bullet for it to be from a case you brought yourself. If Leogrande was using the stuff that is alleged, and did have a positive AAF, then you'd have to wonder whether this is smart. If he wasn't using anything, then it makes more sense.

Kadisco talks about how Chamillionaire did clever business with his rap single "Ridin Dirty", and links to the Landis-themed parody.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Roundup

The CyclingNews reports some confusion over possible team notifications of the 23 riders alleged to have been found "suspicious" under the UCI's bio passport program. Pat McQuaid is seemingly back pedaling on not only the notifications, but also the reasons for it:

McQuaid continued, "Several tests have been done on all riders since the biological passport was set up. For these 23 riders, we found results which deviated from the normal results. That does not mean that they are suspicious. It is possible that there is a natural cause. That is why we have the biological passport, so that such things can be cleared up."

Sounds like it's time for the UCI to get its "ducks in a row".

In more CyclingNews it appears that the "blame" for the bungling of the Alessandro Petacchi case will go to CONI for pursuing it when other riders under other sanctioning bodies with exactly the same infraction have gone with no penalties. Does this let the CAS off the hook for its paradoxical decision? And there is yet more fallout from the "non-announcement announcement" of the 23 riders who may or may not be under suspicion for doping under the UCI's bio passport program.

WADAWatch looks at the new French Criminal Doping Law, and turns up some unsurprising political and financial motivations.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thursday Roundup

The VeloNews brief report on Patxi Vila starts to make sense of the case:

Vila has asked for a "B" sample to be analyzed since his testosterone/epitestosterone ratio was close to the four-to-one limit, the paper said, citing sources close to the cyclist.

Still no word if there was a CIR result.

The Boulder Report's Joe Lindsey is sorry all over the place today. After all it is the hardest word, ask Astana, ask WADA.

CyclingNews' Letters column features a few notes expressing outrage at the "confusing" CAS Alessandro Petacchi decision.

The VeloNews
has letters too, lots of them about the absurdity of the CAS decision that went against Alessandro Petacchi.

Rant notes that "strange" things are brewing over at the UCI where the names of cyclists caught by "bio passport" irregularities are still unknown, strange indeed. But, even stranger may by the positive for testosterone found in an out of competition sample from Patxi Vila, at this point the questions about the test far outnumber the answers. And how about Ivan Basso becoming the UCI's newest anti-doping poster boy? Well, a least he has the face for it.

Racjunkie agrees that Basso has a face fit for a "poster boy"/UCI shill too, as well as the brown nose. Aw shucks, geniuses, us? Naaaah.

Velo Vortmax
in an earlier post which inexplicably missed our attention, wonders how WADA can continue to ignore the research that shows the definite possibility of false positives in testosterone detection from anti-doping controls:

Are we expecting too much for WADA to admit to the reality that scientific research is proceeding at such a fast pace that it is almost impossible to keep pace with the new discoveries in PEDs and the methods to detect them? Yes WADA does recognize the threat of Victor Conte and BALCO, designer steroids, masking agents, techniques of blood doping, and the possibility of genetic engineering of future athletes to enhance performance. But what WADA refuses to adknowledge is that they make mistakes too, based on outdated information and outdated criteria for testing. If one athletic career is destroyed because of a WADA mistake which results in a "false positive" test result whether based on incompetent lab testing or by ignorance; then the whole system is failing. Pretending that the problem does not exist will not make it go away. Better is to address the issue with an open mind and formulate a plan to deal with the problem. Only then will the anti-doping crusade work ensuring fairness for everyon

He also points a skeptical eye at one of St. Millar's claims:

Millar expects us to believe that WADA has simplified the approach to doping and he blames the athletic federations for complicating the issues. Right. WADA has simplified the process of banning athletes from competition by writing an incoherent code which denies athletes' due process rights and by using antiquated science expressed in vague WADA Technical Documents.

Andy G writes his Cohutta report, albeit a little late, for good reason. Landis gets cursory mention, being at the other end of the pack.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wednesday Roundup

Yahoo Sports reports something that might go into the "incredible irony folder"as it seems Ivan Basso will be the new anti-doping spokesman for the UCI. Pat McQuaid speaks:

"He has made a mistake," McQuaid said. "He has paid. I believe he will interpret this role to the best of his ability, for us and for the Italian cycling federation."


Racejunkie comments on Lampre's practically unprecedented support for positive testosterone tested rider Paxti Vila, while poor "non-cheat" cheat Alessandro Petacchi, who should be depressed, gets the fuzzy end of the "team support stick". And, Andreas Kloden for Astana captian? Andreas who?

The noise from Vila is so far unintelligible to us. He's claiming a "mild variation", but doesn't say variation of what, and he certainly got the information in his A sample report. Is this a T/E violation, or a CIR violation? He's not saying, and what he is saying suggests he's as clueless as Landis was the day of his first press conference -- and that is hard to fathom now that there is so much information about testosterone testing and sample reports available.

He says, "some parameter related to testosterone did not correspond to the levels defined by the UCI", but doesn't say what parameter, and the UCI doesn't define any of the limits, it is WADA, so he's 0-for-2 there.

If it's a claimed T/E violation, and no positive CIR, and the ratio is 6:1, with no longitudinal study support, then this is another travesty.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Passports: Your Control Group Please?

Over at Rant, Tom Fine made the following comment that deserves wider attention:

So what would happen if you found 850 non-athletes with no reason to dope, and tested them 2100 times? Statistically speaking, are you likely to find zero anomalous measurements? That would be almost impossible. So how many anomalous readings to you expect to find? I suppose it depends on how you define anomalous.

And that’s been a big problem so far in cycling. A lot of the tests I’ve looked at define anomalous as just slightly outside of normal.

In a perfect world, the dopers would be strongly statistically isolated from the honest athletes. The honest athletes would for example get results between one and two, and the cheaters would measure at 100. Wouldn’t that be nice. Instead, we have tests where the honest athletes measure from one to two, more or less, and the cheaters have measurements of 2.5 (or so).

That’s little picture stuff though. Let’s look at the big picture.

1. Maybe nobody dopes, and these are all false positives.
2. Maybe doping is widespread, and most dopers are getting away with it.
3. Maybe the tests are perfect, and they’re finding exactly who’s doping.
4. Maybe there’s a lot of dopers, but they’re really good at cheating, and the tests suck, and the people getting caught are still all innocent.

Statistically, these cover the four corner cases of what these results mean. And sociologically, these are the corner cases of our current culture’s mythology. Item number 1 doesn’t really represent anyone’s mythology. Item 2 is the most popular mythology about the current state of the world. Item 3 is a mythology that seems to be held by many supporters of anti-doping.l And 4 is the mythology of cynics like me, that think anti-doping is doing more harm than good.

In sociology, “myth” doesn’t mean something is false. It’s a widely held belief that influences society, regardless of whether or not it is true. But in this case I think that none of these myths can be purely true. The real truth must lie in the middle of all of these myths. Statistically, it’s the most likely answer.

The biggest problem of anti-doping is it’s failure to try to predict false positive rates. We can’t rule out the possibility that the positive rates are similar to, or only two or three times higher than, whatever this false positive rate might be. In fact, a number of people have looked at some of these tests, and concluded that false positive rates could easily be one in a few hundred.

And so we get the the statistical heart of the problem. When positive rates are fairly low, and are not drastically different from best guess false positive rates, then we could easily be at the intersection of all of these myths:

1. A lot more people dope than are being caught.


2. A significant portion of those who are caught are innocent.

Not only does statistics allow both of these to be true at the same time, all the numbers I’ve seen, including these new numbers, suggest to me that this is the most likely description of the world we live in.


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Tuesday Roundup

The VeloNews reports that the CAS decision against Alessandro Petacchi has been announced, and he's effectively suspended until August 31:

CAS has ruled that Alessandro Petacchi is ineligble to compete for a period of one year, less two months already served," the court noted in its decision. "Therefore, the period of ineligibilty will run from 1 November, 2007, to 31 August, 2008."
All competitive results obtained by Alessandro Petacchi during the 2007 Giro d'Italia shall be disqualified with all of the resulting consequences including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes," the court ruled. "Alessandro Petacchi can retain all other competitive results between 23 May 2007 and 31 October 2007, but all competitive results obtained after 31 October 2007, and during the period of ineligibility will be disqualified."

The CyclingNews also cover the Petacchi suspension, plus the positive out of competition doping control for testosterone of Patxi Vila. As CN so eloquently understates:
Testosterone analyses are always problematic, because the parameters for its measurement are difficult to handle, as seen in the cases of Spain's Iban Mayo and USA's Floyd Landis.

The TAS-CAS press release is here, and the full award is here. If you care, save the award -- they vanish off the CAS site after a while.

The Boulder Report discusses Astana's "non-invite" to the Giro. Joe Lindsey also has some questions about Astana's internal anti-doping program.

The Dallas Morning News
writes about younger and younger people seeking hip replacement, some of whom have read about Floyd Landis' successful hip resurfacing surgery and thus have chosen to go that route.

Our old "friend" Strider is back at it again impugning Floyd Landis' character, along with that of anyone else on a bike.

Racejunkie has some succinct advice for the Tour de France as she writes about the Giro "seeing the light". The TdF should just listen already. And she pulls up the Phil Ligget O' the Week:

[W]e love Phil Liggett during Sunday's Tour of Romandie coverage, discussing Oscar Pereiro's performance: "Of course, he's going to have to do a lot better than that, if he hopes to win another Tour de France, if indeed he won one in the first place."

OwnMyTeam ranks Landis #7 of 10 on a list of biggest liars in sports history. He forgets the Black Sox.


PBS's "Secrets of the Dead" recently presented "Doping for Gold" a documentary about the East German women athletes who suffered tragedy after taking part in state sponsored steroid doping. It may be viewed on the PBS web site, or it may be broadcast on some stations this week, check your local listings.

Snark O' the Day
An emailer points to this Youtube video of the Petacchi arbs developing their award.

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