Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunday Roundup

The Californian writes of short lived glory and suspicion. Landis says:

"Whether you think I'm innocent or guilty you have to agree that taking an entire year out of someone's life to find out is absurd."

Sister article from the North County Times (same web site as the Californian) makes it the top sports story of the area for the year.

Orange County Register
ties it into a roundup of the "Red, White, and Blues"

Salt Lake Tribune offers this snarky resolution:
For Tour de France winner Floyd Landis: Write a book of 101 excuses for athletes to use when they fail drug tests and market your own brand of whiskey to go with it.

The Morning Star reprises the Landis scandal, but makes no wishes for FL in the New Year:
At least Roethlisberger admitted he was a fool. Cyclist Floyd Landis, after found to have unusual testosterone ratios in his blood after winning the Tour de France, claimed he was innocent. His set of excuses included a suggestion that a bottle of whisky somehow might have been the culprit.

Reuters UK
notes that big name drug positives in 2006 test the credibility of sports:
Even though their events have long been associated with performance-enhancing drugs, the shock and disappointment at the downfall of Justin Gatlin and Floyd Landis reverberated around the sporting world, not least because both had appeared to herald a new era.

The Chicago places Landis as the number 4 sports story of the year:
4. Landis' Tour win disputed On July 23, Floyd Landis, raised in a rural Mennonite community in Pennsylvania, won the Tour de France.

Within two weeks, his second doping sample tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone, confirming the positive result that arrived after a Stage 17 performance in the Alps that essentially put Landis in prime position to win.

Landis has yet to be stripped officially of the Tour title, but the controversy itself has eroded even more of the sport's credibility--nine riders were booted from the Tour just before it started for being involved in a doping scandal in Spain. They included high-profile Tour favorites Jan Ullrich of Germany and Ivan Basso of Italy.

Toronto Sun rates doping #8 story of the year.

New York Times has Landis the #2 search, after Duke Lacrosse (it says Dec 5, but it was in my Dec 31 Sunday Times paper copy):

The Chicago Sun-Times visits the Jack Daniels plant in Lynchburg, TN:
At the time of my visit, bicyclist Floyd Landis had lost his Tour de France title for testing for abnormally high levels of testosterone. He blamed the results on drinking Jack Daniel's the night before the race.

So I asked Goose if Jack Daniel's can increase your testosterone level.

It was clear he'd never been asked this question before. "It will if you drink just enough of it," he quipped. "If you drink too much of it, you'll go south. But I ain't no doctor."

Philly Inquirer bemoans a bad year for local sports, slipping in:
We embraced Lancaster's Floyd Landis as a local hero, and he miraculously won the Tour de France. Never mind his not being really local - we needed a winner. Then he tested positive for a banned substance, and our hands were slapped again for having the nerve to raise them in triumph.

Detroit Free Press goes ironic:
Hero or villain?
On July 23, American Floyd Landis -- suffering from an arthritic hip that was later replaced -- became a storybook successor to Lance Armstrong as he won the Tour de France after staging a tremendous comeback in the Alps.

But wait, there's more ...

Four days later, it was revealed Landis had tested positive for high levels of testosterone after Stage 17, when he began that big comeback. He claimed innocence and began coming up with multiple reasons for the positive result.

Landis begins his defense against the charges next month, and it is notable that a Spanish cyclist recently won a similar appeal against the same lab.

Kansas City Star
includes this in a yearend review of truthiness in action:
Tour de farce
After two urine samples showed synthetic testosterone in cyclist Floyd Landis’ system, the Tour de France winner insisted that high levels of the chemical — nearly triple the norm — were “produced by my own organism” or perhaps concocted by conspirators.

Of course, David Letterman weighed in with his Top 10 Floyd Landis Excuses, including: “Frankly, I’d rather be a disgrace than a loser.”

Landis’ championship ride into Paris on July 23 is now up to courts to decide.

Washington Post
humourous review of the year notes in August:
In sports, a French medical laboratory burns to the ground after the catastrophic explosion of Floyd Landis's urine sample

Now that would have solved everything!

Little Acorns looks at the 2006 Tour, and finds no one has won.

PuddinPrp notes Landis was top Yahoo search in July.

Neurophilosophy notes PurePedantry's coverage of Landis as candidate for top science blogging of the year. Unfortunately, PP's post has not been updated at all in the months that have followed, particularly once the lab pack was released and other analysis done of the testing. Just about the last comment is from someone who was drug tested at work, and wondering about his 16:1 ratio.


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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saturday Roundup

'Tis the season of Year-End Reviews,

St Louis Post Dispatch columnist Kathleen Nelson writes a column about doping under the headline, "No cheaters should escape punishment they deserve", but it's a more nuanced piece than that. She writes of cycling,
The equal protection clause also applies to my own blind spot. I've been tempted to convict Bonds, Marion Jones and Mark McGwire. But bring up my beloved cyclists and I sound like Merriman: "It can't be." "Somebody screwed up at the lab." "They're such good guys." "The body can't use steroids so quickly, so why would he do it?"

I've found myself thinking all of those thoughts regarding Landis. His story is so compelling: rebellious Mennonite rides away from home, becomes one of Lance Armstrong's trusted lieutenants, strikes out on his own and continues the American dominance of the Tour de France despite a degenerative hip condition. I want to believe him because he looks and sounds sincere in his denials.

Then, I analyze his defense, built on evidence that other people screwed up so badly that the results can't be trusted. He and his lawyers are playing the high-percentage shot.

Which leads me to wonder what the "high percentage shot" in a doping defense may be. The best one I can think of is to not participate in something that does drug testing.

Dave Barry's year review says of Landis:
. . . the Tour de France bicycle race is once again tainted by suspicions of doping when the winner, American Floyd Landis, is clocked ascending the Alps at over 200 mph. Landis denies that he uses illegal drugs, attributing his performance to, quote, "gears."

OutSports does a 2006 review, and does a pretty good job with the cycling problems. Pre-tour, he writes:
As a friend said to me the other day, "They should just give up. Almost everyone dopes, just accept it that doping *is* the level playing field". While I admire my friends combination of resignation and cynicism and generally approve of a "better living through chemistry" aesthetic, I can't see that happening any time soon. The fragile credibility of the sport would nosedive if the authorities gave up prosecuting dopers, but it's hard to see anything substantial being done.

And after it hit the fan,
It seems that every cycling story has a drug angle; the now-retired Lance Armstrong has been lucky to have never tested positive, meaning he was either the only clean rider out there among the elite riders, or has doctors that know how to beat the test. These days, everyone is under suspicion.

The Newindpress publishes its "Head-Butt Heads" list and FL makes the cut:
Dope In and Out
Floyd Landis wins Tour de France in a sensational surge. The world marvels at his achievement, for here’s a guy whose hip joints have awful structural damage and yet… Another American icon from the Lance Armstrong school of the indomitable, the world concludes. Then the unspeakable hits the fan. Landis flunks dope test. Verdict: high on Big T, male testosterone. Disqualified. Shakira is wrong. Hips do lie. At times.

The St. Petersburg Times Tom Jones rates the Landis saga as the number 3 sports story of 2006 behind the breakdown of Barbaro and the Florida vs Michigan college football debate:

3. Winner or cheater?
When American Lance Armstrong retired from cycling, it seemed as if America's days of dominating the Tour de France were over, at least for now. Then along came Floyd Landis, born and raised by a conservative Pennsylvania family in a Mennonite community. Suffering from a career-threatening hip injury, Landis staged one of the greatest comebacks in Tour de France history and won the event. But then a drug test showed suspicious levels of testosterone. His appeal is pending.

Smithers, who laughed at handwriting errors previously, is aghast at VeloNews selecting Landis as North American Cyclist of the Year.

Lij's mom reviews her busy year, including a trip to the TdF (w/pic of Landis), one wedding and another in planning. Lij was an early open Floyd supporter.

Ithaca College blog for budding sportswriters asks, "What is the fate of Floyd Landis?", and does a fact-based review including outline of the public defense. Not much analysis or opinion.

Binza ran over things on Dec 22; he'd like him to be innocent, but doesn't know.


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Friday, December 29, 2006

TBV December Monthly Report

It's the 29th and time for another monthly report.

Since November's summary, we've had the following significant news.

  • Duckstrap came out with his not-guilty analysis of the CIR.
  • Landis continues recovery from hip, and is able to do serious power.
  • For the month, muck-rakers at Topix have been trying to make something out of IV use, with no visible effect.
  • Nothing seems to have come from the "whistleblower" documents, though their substance may be genuine.
  • A detailed look at T/E tests revealed discrepencies, but there has been little followup
  • Dugard passed on the Landis book, citing too many other commitments to do it justice.
  • Mr. Pound flakked his book.
  • Unsupported claim that USADA offered an 8 month suspension and other bombs.
  • LA Times ran a two part series by Michael Hiltzik about unfairness in doping enforcement, followed later by one specific to the Landis case.
  • LeMond and Landis traded shots, then called a truce.
  • USADA got funding another year, courtesy Senators Stevens and McCain.
  • LNDD turned their presumed hack into more funding for security.
  • An interview with Landis in Dutch press had some funny translation and interpretation that he considered himself finished as a cyclist. This was widely picked up, leading to a clarification that didn't get as far.
  • NY Daily News did an in-depth piece that was reasonably fair, but picked up some inflammatory readings on the ADA side, including another whopper by Mr. Pound.
  • "Floyd Fairness Fund" and "Athlete Fairness Organization" pre-announced, leading to a lot of discussion.
  • David Witt Memorial Cycling Classic in San Diego, featuring Landis, Zabriskie, Sarah Hammer, Bob Roll and Robbie Ventura raised money for firefighter's families.
  • Landis announces doing Leadville 100 in August, assuming he can't get a Road Pro ride this year.
  • Inigo Landaluze wins a CAS decision based on lab procedural errors. This is seen by Landis as a win, and widely reported as such.
  • Landis controversially picked as North American Cyclist of the year by VeloNews.
  • NPR runs "Cycling Ends an Ugly Year"
  • Lance backs out of Leadville, citing "scheduling conflicts"
  • Wired runs an article about Mr. Pound praising creation of WADA, but critical of his current stewardship.
What didn't happen: The AAA arbitration panel was not opened for business, with no word why. This suggests the hearing will be pushed back maybe into March.

It also suggests there is some backroom negotiation going on that no one is talking about. TBV can't see Landis accepting any suspension, and if he could convince USADA to give up, he'd need to get assurance that WADA and UCI wouldn't take it to CAS. It would be bad for him to have the only hearing be a closed one with CAS. Maybe the "single CAS hearing" is back on the table, as an open hearing?

Rather than speculate more, TBV looks out the window at Mt. Diablo and thinks it's time to go riding.


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Friday Roundup

Lancaster (FL's hometown newspaper site) revisits 2006 in all its complexity with a short note about Landis on the "tumultuous" side of things:

And who can forget Floyd Landis? The Farmersville native won the Tour de France, the most storied and demanding bicycling race in the world, after a heroic comeback — only to fail a drug test and become the butt of late-night TV jokes. leads with Lance Armstrong's withdrawl from the Leadville 100 next summer. They note that Landis still "plans" on participating.

CyclingNews gets Lance's back-down too, still thinks Landis might have problem entering, despite what they wrote themselves last week.

VeloNews mailbag runs dead even on Landis' selection as North American cyclist of the year.

Mark McClusky follows up the Wired story of yesterday with a blog entry with some other thoughts and comments on the reaction here and elsewhere. First, he apologizes for the error about the "elevated testosterone", saying it should have said ratio, so unbunch your undies about that. He's surprised to hear folks thought of it as a puff piece on Mr. Pound, and in general thinks TBV, Spinopsys and Rant "got it". He was particularly amazed at Pounds ability to insert his foot into his mouth.

Go Clipless writes an open letter to Floyd, accusing him of "scaring Lance":
Dear Floyd, Now you've gone and done it. Why did you have to go and choose to race in the very same mountain bike race as Lance Armstrong? Don't you have an original bone in your body...

There's a companion letter to Lance along the lines of, "cluck, cluck."

MacKay's Random Thots reprises a controversial FL cartoon that illustrates the most "creative use of socks" during the TdF this year!

Racejunkie, "Truth or Dare" discusses the "Three Faces of Floyd", multiple personalities would explain a lot:
The Three Faces of Floyd: speaking of legal teams, the alternately depressed, determined, and optimistic Landis (lately bouyed by Inigo Landaluze's CAS overthrow of a legit 2-year doping ban on purely technical errors by the endlessly incompetent Landis lab monkeys) is apparently accepting contributions for his legal defense in a new fund for which he hopes to raise $2 mil, so if any unheralded cyclist who'd have to sell his or her firstborn child for new SRAM components would like to contribute to his lawyers' ongoing inability to clear him, and as an added incentive their Tiffany cufflink budgets, by all means, pony up! Whatever happened to the pocket-change $500k we were talking, Floyd? Anyhow, for $2 mil, these guys *better* not choke.

Triple Crankset takes notice of "now you see him now you don't" Armstrong's turnaround on Leadville and also notes that Landis may not be able to take part as well.

Gene Bisbee at BikingBis remarks that the Lance vs Landis showdown at Leadville was a good idea, while it lasted!

Powertap geek talks about Landis's training camp, and is both skeptical and willing to think it's a good deal. He volunteers to go. His site also points to Hunter Allen's Threshold Power, whose camp in February is less expensive, but has no Floyd.

Rant takes an aside we made yesterday about his article on the Aitor Gonzales ruling and turns it into a whole piece about the "strict liability" policy. So that's how columnists generate material!

DPF is back up, for now anyway. There's discussion of the Wired article.


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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday Roundup

VeloNews reports that Lance is chickening out of Leadville citing "scheduling conflict", and that Landis won't be allowed to race if suspended. The latter point contradicts what the Leadville organizer said last week:

If the positive test is upheld, Landis will be suspended from competing in sanctioned races, but Chlouber said Landis will be welcome in Leadville.

"Without question, Landis will still be able to compete in our race. We are more than grateful for him to accept our invitation to race.

Wired runs a long story by Mark McClusky about Mr. Pound, including Landis. It's a double edged article. Email to us about it splits between views that it puffs Pound, vs. it being reasonably fair. It appears to us that it accepts the idea of WADA, but is skeptical of Pound's ability to lead with credibility, highlighting many of his ethically challenged utterances.
Pound has said there's evidence that Lance Armstrong used drugs in the 1999 Tour de France. He mockingly suggested that Landis and US sprinter Justin Gatlin could blame "Nazi frogmen" who injected them with testosterone against their will. When US sprinter Marion Jones tested positive last summer for an artificial form of erythropoietin (known as EPO), a hormone that boosts red blood cells, Pound wasted little time reminding people of Jones' long-rumored involvement with Balco, saying, "People have a tendency to judge you by the company you keep."

There's one problem with these statements. The World Anti-Doping Code requires that results of a positive drug test stay confidential until confirmed by a backup test – which in Jones' case came back negative. And following that, there's an arbitration and appeals process before an athlete is formally found guilty – a process that's still in progress with Landis. Pound himself oversees the entire system by which these allegations against athletes are adjudicated, but he can't seem to stay silent and impartial. By speaking out, Pound violates his own rules.

Pound dismisses these complaints. "I'm not getting much criticism from athletes who aren't using drugs. I'm getting it from the folks who either have been caught, are representing those who have been caught, or are representing organizations who don't want to admit that there's a problem."

Landis gets his money quote:
"Do I expect to get a fair hearing?" he says. "No. I expect them to do everything they can to make it complicated for me. If your goal is to enforce the ethics and not just to promote yourself, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose. You're just trying to find the truth. If your goal is to make yourself look good, and you like to read your name in the paper like Dick Pound does, then it's important that you win. So you do whatever you have to do to win."

The article concludes with an example of Mr. Pound taking a cheap hot, which is framed as an unfair slam:
I tell Pound that I'm going to talk to Landis.

"'Roid Floyd?" he says. "His nickname on the circuit was 'Roid Floyd. But I repeat it as hearsay only."

TBV would like a citation that "Roid Floyd" had been heard by anyone before July 26th 2006. One search we've done shows the first occurrence being July 27th, which does not confirm Mr. Pound's swipe.

Joe Lindsey of Bicycling Mag, quoted by NPR emails a correction to our summary of the story yesterday, where we had misheard $15 million in lost sponsorship as $50 million. If it's only 15, that's more evidence of the business weakness of Pro Cycling even before the fiascoes of the year. Apparently it only cost Skoda $3 million for their portion of the Club; compare their air time and audience reach in Europe to that of a Super Bowl commercial -- cycling is cheap. Lindsey's email also politely didn't make a point of my misspelling his name, the worst of all sins in attribution.

Cyclingpost just catches up with the Lance vs.Landis story at next summer's Leadville 100. Guess they'll correct that tomorrow, given the VeloNews report above.

CyclingNews comes up with another version of the Oscar Peirero interview, which sounds less whimpering than some other tellings:
His honourable ride in the Tour's final time trial gave him second overall, which could result in an overall win if American Floyd Landis is disqualified for his positive testosterone test. "I am not able to do more. I would like that this story is finally resolved. It possibly appears to you that the world's most important race, with the biggest organization, still does not have a certain winner?" Pereiro remarked.

"Besides me, the team is damned because it is not able to promote a victory image. We would like this respect."

Toronto Sun columnist does a year-end review and says,
In France, where they haven't liked anything American since Jerry Lewis, noses are tweaked when Landis wins the Tour -- pending chemical analysis and a court case to be heard later. Where once the scoreboard told the story, it is now evident that nobody knows who has really won until the last drug test is in.

yearly sports roundup has a piece on Landis at the tour. Snips:
In the morning, nobody who was covering the race gave Landis any chance of regaining the lead, which would require an unprecedented feat over five more big climbs. On the first, Landis attacked, helped by his Phonak team, dropping one after another of the contenders. He did it again on the Col de la Colombiere, putting so much time between him and his rivals that suddenly and almost incredulously we realised that he had for the moment reclaimed the general classification lead.

Such has been the Tour's recent history - this year's event began with several of the favourites kicked out following a doping scandal in Spain - that only the most starry-eyed optimist can any longer make a presumption of innocence. Nor can anyone who knows the longer history of cycling be surprised.

Is Floyd Landis a hero or a villain? The only answer must be that he is both. Anyone who could have ridden as he did that Thursday, whether on Perrier or all the drugs in all the labs, is by any standard an astonishingly brave and tough athlete. But there stands the ineluctable evidence that he is also a cheat, along with so many others. I wonder how many more years of how many more such stories we who love the sport can take before we give up.

Spinopsys covers Mr. Pound in Wired, with much the same take we have: What was good for starting up is not helpful for an effort that should be maturing, and it's time to move on.

Rant covers Mr. Pound as well as letter writing to Congress, and what he takes to have been a bad CAS result for Aitor Gonzalez. Unfortunately, the Gonzalez ruling is completely consistent with all the "strict liability" precedents. has published an interesting photo from the photo shoot after the Witt Memorial. So who is the target of the gesture?

The Bullwinkle Blog "Knucklehead of the Year Awards" (sports and entertainment division) gives FL some consideration, but alas no award. Says one judge who placed him second:
Floyd Landis tests negative for intelligence

Vegetables OfTheMind was inspired by Landis to start cycling, and lost 15 pounds and a beer belly. Rats, it hasn't worked for TBV, sigh.

Sean Kelly's The YouTube Review of 2006(part2) links to video of the finale of FL's stage 17 win, along with a link to a video of the playing of The Star Spangled Banner on the Champs-Elysees .

At Toxic, the usual pitbulls are still going on about IV usage, and encouraging people to send email to UCI, USADA and WADA to "express their opinions".

The Daily Peloton Forums are sick, with what appears to be a corrupted database. That's what happens when you use a toy like mySQL, tsk, tsk:
mySQL query error: DELETE FROM ibf_sessions WHERE member_id=499

SQL error: Can't open file: 'ibf_sessions.MYI' (errno: 145)
SQL error code:
Date: Friday 29th of December 2006 03:51:53 AM

At, a long thread starts with the Floyd Fairness Fund, and rapidly devolves into a defense of WADA and CAS as fair and objective organizations that don't lose cases because everyone is guilty, guilty, guilty. At present, it terminates near a slam on Hillary Clinton for changing her mind on Iraq.

Another thread considers how bad it might be.
Over in the "US Cross National Champions" thread, Bob Schwartz and Les Earnest are arguing about whether guys who won races between 1963 and 1969 should count as national champions, contemporaneously, retroactively, yes for a year in 1990-1 but not after that, or only in months with a letter "r" in their name.

Bob and Les may be tenacious like a Wolverine, but compared to WADA and the UCI they are both models of not only rational decsion making but catlike quickness. Retroactive testing and retroactive results and record jiggering are Dick Pound's Time Machine. So, I wouldn't count on a mere trifle like the passage of time, global climate catastrophe, or the heat death of the universe settling what race Floyd Landis did or did not win and whose lunch money Floyd did or did not steal last year.


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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wednesday Roundup

Wednesday's VeloNews mailbag is full of opinions about FL being named cyclist of the year. Depending on how you count, it's 2:2 about the decision, or 3:1 against Landis.

NPR ran a story, "Cycling Ends an Ugly Year", interviewing McQuaid, Andreu, and Bicycling Mag's Joe Lindsey quoting Kimmage. Lindsey thinks the year's scandals have cost $50 oops, $15 million in sponsorship. The report says a decision about Landis may not come until just before the start of the '07 tour. It's not a Landis-specific piece, and probably reflects a reasonable outside look. Culture of doping, Puerto, '98 Festina scandal, McQuaid's review, teams scrambling to find an approach that works.

Rant bemoans "poor" Oscar Pereiro.

Has he not received his big check for placing second? Did his team not give him the bonus due for placing so well? Does he forget who put him into that position in the first place? I think it was some guy named Floyd, and some team called Phonak that let him gain so much time on the peloton that he was catapulted into the yellow jersey. Had Landis and Phonak played out their strategy differently, the only people in the world who would’ve heard of Oscar Pereiro Sio would be die-hard cycling fans. Because little old Oscar would’ve been an also-ran finishing way down the list.

A dutch reaction to Velonews, translated by the babelfish:
Stupid, stupid Americans. As a cyclist of the year in their country molars them Floyd Landis. How you can choose this way someone nou if he is caught on doping after winning the tour the France. Those guests get of it really nothing. Respectively as a number two and three George Hincapie and has been chosen Levi Leipheimer, two cyclists who have performed this year zowat nothing. In fact as much as a beetje gives the level of the American cyclists of this year to.


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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tuesday Roundup

From PezCycling News comes the Eurotrash post Christmas edition with news about the Landis arbitration hearing in March, Landis and Pereiro (who apparently feels rather ill about the delays), and Landis and Armstrong in Leadville.

continues its year end review with a look back at July and a cursory look at the tour.

Sam Abt does a yearly review for IHT: "A bad year nears a confusing end"

Coffey's Daily News article makes another appearance in the 26-Dec Tucson Star. passes on VeloNews awards: Landis is named the "Best American Cyclist of the Year":

Former Phonak Hearing Systems rider Floyd Landis is honored as best American cyclist of the year by Velonews.
The 2006 Tour de France winner got no less than 61.59 per cent of the votes, followed by Discovery Channel's George Hincapie with 27.91 per cent and Levi Leipheimer with 10.49 per cent.

Also from Oscar Pereiro expresses disappointment at not being declared the actual TdF winner:
In this year's edition of the French Grand Tour, the Caisse d'Epargne rider finished second after Floyd Landis, who delivered a positive doping test after the seventeenth stage and risks to lose his victory.

Triple Crankset (in a post from yesterday) wants to know why these things take forever?

Dallas/Ft Worth Cyber Cycling talks about hip and recovery, briefly.

Steroid Nation talks about Henry Skibby's book, and concludes:
All the Floyd Landis defenses in the world are not going to stop the world form looking upon this sports as incredibly tainted.

Steroid Nation is not saying all cyclists are dopers. However, cyclists must recognize the outside world's opinions, and to regain and maintain any credibility, cyclists need to take action, other than invest incredulous excuses, and blame others.


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Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Hopes

On this Christmas night, we at TBV wish for Peace on Earth, and Good Will towards men.

May you and yours have a happy and safe holiday.

Peace on Earth
Can it be?

Years from now
Perhaps we'll see.
See the day of Glory
See the day when men of Good Will
Live in Peace
Live in Peace again.

Peace on Earth
Can it be?

Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can.

I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He'll see the day of Glory
He'll see the day when men of good will
Live in Peace again.

Peace on Earth.
Can it Be?

Can it Be?

Peace on Earth Good Will Towards Men?

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."

Albert Einstein

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Holiday Roundup

(mostly) Silent night...

VeloNews monday mail runs 2:1 in favor of Landis as North American cyclist of the year.

CyclingPost pulls more from
Belgian sportspaper Sportwereld interview, and thinks a decision will come in March. Sounds optimistic to us -- hearing maybe, but decision? Landis is quoted:
"I want to be a cycling pro again. I don't know if this will be the case next season, or the year after. But in March I'll show to the world that nothing happened," said the Tour de France winner.

"And after that, I'll do anything in order to win the Tour a second time," he concluded.

AP via ESPN hasLandis in a distant tie for 7th in their athlete of the year polling.

In a piece originally published a while back, PhilFactor makes a correlation many have wondered about in his Christmas wish list:
7. Another shot at the Tour De France for Floyd Landis. He doesn’t have enough testosterone to grow a decent goatee much less cheat at a bicycle race.


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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sunday Roundup

VeloNews passes on AP report that Gatlin and Landis were the top sport scandals of the year. has insight into the Landises' Christmas at home 2006:

"Amber and I live from day to day now," said Landis in an interview with Sportworld, published on Sunday. "We make the best of it. It's never going to be as it was before; the last few months have been a turning point in my life. The holidays will serve as a mental rest."

Sam Abt in the IHT wrote a story on Dec 21 we missed about the Landaluze decision. As usual, Abt concisely summarizes the import in short paragraphs without a wasted word.

The Idiotarian Savant approves of not only yesterday's LAT piece by Michael Hiltzik but also of last week's series and thinks they deserve a Pulitzer.

Gene Bisbee at Biking Bis recounts the story from LancasterOnLine of FL's parents' short lecture tour (with a few added details).

Steroid Nation tells a story of the early use of PEDs.

TheBestEdu has the answer for doping: Hypnosis.

Amphichon is a bit behind his Landis news details, but the outline is sadly still correct:
Floyd Landis is still working to clear his name, having requested on 11 September that the US Anti-Doping Agency review and dismiss his case. (See his arguments here at, if you’re curious.) Seems unlikely that there will be any definitive answer to the question of his innocence or guilt anytime soon, which is a shame, because it casts a shadow over the entire sport in the meantime.


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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday Roundup

The Los Angeles Times' Michael Hiltzik writes an extensive story on the Landis defense, centering on the LNDD lab:

Douwe de Boer, former science director of WADA's laboratory in Lisbon, Portugal, wrote that the Paris lab had failed to verify "according to the minimal WADA requirements" that its measurements of testosterone and epitestosterone were not skewed by the presence of other compounds in the urine sample.

"Therefore, any official conclusion regarding to the T/E ratio…. is and will be premature," he wrote in notes he provided to Landis and the lab.

CyclingNews talks to Leadville organizer Ken Chlouber. Doesn't sound like there's much reason to doubt Landis will be able to run:
If the positive test is upheld, Landis will be suspended from competing in sanctioned races, but Chlouber said Landis will be welcome in Leadville.

"Without question, Landis will still be able to compete in our race. We are more than grateful for him to accept our invitation to race.

Palatka Daily News columnist picks "Elite Eight" sport stories, puts Landis as #3 under the title, "An American (Scorned) in Paris", behind #2 Steelers Super Bowl and #1 Texas Rose Bowl.

Jim Litke of the News Sun is nicer about Landis than he was a while back. (For some reason, the TBV post with his earlier piece still draws huge traffic. Go figure.) In his "Somebody Has to be Best" column, he says,
Not Floyd Landis, whose too-good-to-be true comeback win at the Tour de France apparently was.

He takes the Rose and Super Bowls too.

CyclingPost has a brief quoting Armstrong as supporting Landis, and even briefer allusion to Eddy Merckx doing the same.

Last week's Daily News story by Pete Coffey is now hitting the wires, picked up for example by the Barre Montpelier Times Argus.

Blogs has a post with the press release for Leadville, dated Dec 19th. I think it's been stuck in some bizarre purgatory for a few days. Oops.

Team Swap is happy to correct their version of the "Landis is Retiring" story.

Matt Jones at Sports Talk on KentuckySportsRadio has a Christmas shopping list that includes a book about Lance with a reference to FL's TdF.

ConcurringOpinions, a legal blog, looks at the LAT article and considers Wiki Defense in general; thinks it may get oversold and pollute jury pools.

Apple Project
excitedly reveals Landis uses a Mac.

DerailedUK snarks with the Tour as done by Gilbert and Sullivan. Ho. Ho.

Dutch Mamie-cartoon snarks with, duh, a cartoon. Ha, ha ha.

Stay Free says of the Floyd Fairness Fund,
And I'm thinking of starting a charity to raise money for my property investments, and I wouldn't mind a new TV too! The stupid thing is that people will actually donate to his fund.

At Fat Cyclist, they'll let Landis into the Banjo Brothers’ Big Bad Bulky Biker Bodyfat Challenge, with qualification:
Floyd, yes, you can compete, but you’re going to have to FedEx a urine sample to Botched at least once a month, more often if Botched decides he likes that kind of thing.

At DPF, there is sniffing that there's nothing new in today's LA Times article, and quibbling about various attributions. There may be some Aspies there. What kind of idiot would follow something that obsessively?


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Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday Roundup

H.L. Mencken of the Day

It doesn't take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause.

ESPN Top 100 sports moments puts Landis at #3, gives an elegiac telling leaning towards guilty.

The San Diego Union-Tribune's Mark Zeigler rewrites this week's Landaluze story with analysis of implications for Landis.

BicycleRetailer talks about VeloNew's rider of the year, and the 15 lb weight regulation resulting in things like Landis being able to use a power meter.

Velonews letters run 2:1 against Landis as North American cyclist of the year.

HealthDay has an article referred by an emailer about research into alcohol and arthritis -- the possibly relevant, but probably too-speculative-to-be-interesting quote:
Tarkowski is interested in the mechanism by which alcohol might help prevent rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks its own joint tissue.

"We have shown that it goes through the up-regulation [increase] of testosterone," he said. "That down-regulates inflammation, which is part of the arthritic process."

Landis returns to DPF, commenting on the UCI and rider organization.

Boulder Report talks about Leadville, Lance Armstrong hizzownLiveStrong™self and Floyd! Freaking! Landis!. He also explains why it's confusing to buy a MTB.

PeakMan talks about the Floyd and Lance show, and is worried about hotels for Leadville.

Binza notes the Landaluze case outcome, and thinks FL may have had some good luck this week.

Vemos, way back on Dec 13, talked about the LAT articles, some interesting old talk from Catlin, and the thought that winning the tour was the worst thing that has ever happened to Landis. Also some kind words for TBV, with this credit-card "priceless" snip:
an informational effort that I think rivals the physical effort of a long distance ride, without the fun and exhilaration.

Can't stop the bleeding offers a strong candidate for Snark O' the Day in it's year end wrap up:
It’s difficult to think of Floyd Landis’s triumphant comeback in stage seventeen of the Tour de France without pondering some of his excuses for his positive doping result. When he first blamed his surgically implanted bat wings, I thought, “You know? I believe you, buddy. That’s why the Frogs can’t participate.” But then he continued naming culprits, blaming the nation’s methamphetamine epidemic, the role of Jews in Hollywood, and Randy Moss’s personal smoothie chain. That’s when I realized that maybe he did cheat after all.

Sammy offers this competitor for SoD:
Iraq's Cycling Coach was kidnapped and killed a few days ago by Iraqi insurgents. Floyd Landis said he was positive there will be a perfectly good explanation for it.

Just Call Me Juice ranks Landis as the #4 D-Bag of the year, but no SoD nomination because it's not funny:
What a jackass. Blamed his high testosterone on everything from Jack Daniels to just having naturally high testosterone. Did he really think he would get away with this?

Friggin' Burt at Doucheblog talks about Landaluze, tells some stories, and gives us a plug.

Rant wishes everyone happy holidays before going dark for a few days, digs into Landaluze and our rant of yesterday, and riffs on the "no miscreants welcome" message by British Cycling.

Fat Cyclist contemplates running into Armstrong at Leadville. Best of the comments:
[Fatty,] If he had been reading your stuff….he’d have hacked your computer by now

Comment least likely to be real:
Lance Says:
Prepare to be dominated at Leadville! You better wear 300 livestrong bracelets!

Fatty gets to Landis yesterday, and issues a challenge. I'm sure the comment by "Floyd" is fake :-), but I think Floyd should enter the contest. Instead of the 40 lbs TBV would need to lose, FL may need to drop, oh, 5-10 after next week is done -- Strbuk's baked goodies will do that.


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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Landaluze Decision, a Rare TBV Rant

I don't do this often...

An emailer sent the following thought, which crystallized ideas I had but didn't write when I looked at the Landaluze decision:

The basis for that decision sounds lame, like they didn't want to let him off because the science was bad, so they picked some minor technicality. We may well see this with Floyd and the sample custody issues.

The refusal to evaluate the technical arguments, throwing up hands at "disputes between experts" is absurd. It means there can be no actual challenge to the execution of the process or the interpretation of the resultant data.


If this is true, it demonstrates the enforcement process is absolutely broken.

Let's pretend it isn't -- that the refusal was just to provide cover for an acquittal that would not be seen as really condemning the lab and exonerating the athlete, as suggested by the emailer.

If that is true, it demonstrates the enforcement system is absolutely corrupt.

Finally, it is ethically bankrupt for the panel to have washed its hands of the substantive technical arguments made, and then insert opinion about the rider's culpability.

There was no need or justification for the comments made that it was an acquittal on a "technicality." Given the literalist reading adopted of other points, that section can only be seen as a "late hit, out of bounds."

But, of course, CAS answers to no one, and there is no remedy.



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Thursday Roundup

Quote of the Day

A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
HL Mencken

Last Minute Shopping
There may be some openings for the Jan 20-27 Floyd Landis Power Camp. Have you been good or bad this year?

CyclingNews carries announcement of the immanent Floyd Fairness Fund; also covered by by flahute blog, skeptically.

After all is said, VeloNews picks Landis as top North America cyclist of the year.

LancasterOnline cover Paul and Arlene Landis (the parents) talking to the Rotary Club about their experience, but not about the case. In another story, Arlene says she's "never felt so prayed for."

Philly.Com is representative of many outlets picking up the Landaluze story and its possible implications for FL's case.

AP via IHT has Bordry dropping the separate French case against Landaluce, and Landis getting the last word.

Different AP/IHT story quotes British Cycling head Brian Cookson, warning those involved in current doping scandals to stay away from the 2007 TdF.
"This will be a historic event, in the heart of one of the world's great cities, a fantastic opportunity for our sport," British Cycling president Brian Cookson said. "We really do not want to see this tarnished by a repeat of the doping scandals of 2006, so, frankly, we urge all those with involvement in various investigations to stay away."

The story of "Lance vs. Landis" in the Leadville 100 hits the big time with a short Sal Ruibal piece in USA Today.

Eurotrash Thursday at PezCycling has two mentions of Landis. One concerns yesterday's annoucement of the Landaluze descision, the other is regarding former Phonak director John Lelangue and his new gig behind the mike.

CyclingNews Letters, late in the day, think Landaluze doesn't help as he's branded a doper who got off on a technicality; and it takes gall to ask people to pay for getting a doper off on a technicality. And a long string debating Armstrong and the Basso signing.

Over at the DP Forums spirited debate continues over the FFF and athletes' rights. Will weighs in with his opinion in response to the following from the always vocal chris t.
Athletes rights for due process is important, but less important than athletes rights to compete on their natural abilities and accept their rewards according to achievements.

To which Will replies:
You are dead wrong on this. Why can't they be equally considered? Take due proces a step further. Athletes have a right to a fair forum, accountability of those who they trust to test and discipline them as well as harmonized programs that oversee the whole process independant of where a problem springs up.

Also at DPF, we get some numbers and a the start of a discussion about economics of testing.

Puppies of the Day
In a DPF thread about Jeanson, Steve in ATL comes up with a new image:
"as Dear and Fluffy as Floyd"

No response to my suggestion for T shirt motto: "Daily Peloton Forums: Fluffy as Floyd!"

CyclingForums has the following endorsement of the USPS, non-cycling division:
> Eric Hollenbeck wrote:
> > Floyd Landis
> > Murietta CA 92562

> > Trust USPS to take care of the rest ;-)
> > Bill Bryson in one of his books talks about oddly (incompletely)

> > addressed mail still reaching him.
> I'd address it as:
> Floyd Landis, Winner of the Tour de France
> Murietta CA 92562

Strangely enough, that would probably work. I had a friend in Utah
that would receive mail with nothing more for an address than the zip
code and his nickname! Small town = famous person

Steroid Nation looks at Landaluce, and says:
Sport has moved not only into the business realm, but inevitably into the forensic (or legal) arena.

Gone are the says when the fellow who hit the tape first won the race. As with the 2006 Tour de France, winners may not be declared for months after an event.

One can expect the same forensic issues to pop up now in sports: lengthy docket, political influence, twisted logic, decision based on trivia. There is no going back. Sport has entered into the forensic, bureaucratic era, never to return.

Steroid Nation also looks at the British Cycling pronouncement that dopers should not come to next years TdF, and says,
Two thoughts:

1. If only 'clean' cyclists need apply for the 2007 Tour de France (starting in London) who will show up? Two kids with training wheels, a guy on a tricycle, and a clown on a unicycle?

2. Or any number of cyclists will show up, on bicycles built for 2. One seat for the rider, and one seat for his lawyer.

Podium Cafe looks at Landaluze and Landis, and isn't thrilled at the technical outcome, while still thinking it helps Floyd.

Sports Publications
ponders the fate of Floyd Landis.

TdfBlog looks at Landaluze too.

YardBarker looks at Landaluze andLandis' comments with a jaundiced eye:
Apparently a lab was not up to UCI standards, and a fellow cyclist, Landaluze was cleared after 18 months because of this. The type of mix up is still unclear.

Floyd had this to say,

"Going through what I am now, I feel personally for Landaluze and hope that everyone recognizes that it has taken him 18 difficult months to clear his name from what was revealed to be a grievous error by the LNDD ... The track record of scientific misconduct at Chatenay-Malabry seems to grow by the day."

What exactly is scientific misconduct anyway? One of the technicians forgot to take off his goggles? Too bad for Floyd that nobody trusts him, and we all stopped listening months ago.

Dugard reminisces about his top 5 tour moments of 2006, and plugs his books in time for last minute shopping.

Neil@Road has some more pix of the Witt Memorial.

Snark O' The Day
MKiecker snarks about the non-attempt and Landis trying a fixie:
As the track is getting cleared Zabriskie and Landis walk down to talk to Roger Young, etc. Roger pulls out one of his pace lining track bikes and the two of them take a look. With his jeans cuffed up, sweatshirt and tennis shoes still on Landis tosses a leg over and begins to ride. He quickly made his way off the apron to the banks and ramped it up. As he came around it was evident that Landis has no idea what a fixed gear bicycle is or how to ride on the track. He looked like he tried to coast but luckily because he wasn't clipped-in dropped his legs and just let the cranks spin round-de-round down on the apron at speed. After many people were gasping at the thought of being able to watch the doper break his other hip he moved back up on the banks and got his feet on the pedals. However now he's pedaling so god damn slow he's about to pedal strike and crash. Coming off the banks back to the apron he made it back unharmed. Stick to your patches Landis; you seem to know those much better then riding the track.

And in Conclusion
C (lee) Z has a friend who came around for a while yesterday.

Warning: the red pants look like they could be loaded.


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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Some details in decision, bad for Landis

We made an Engrish version of the decision, and the continuation of this post discusses some of the points made that seem important to TBV.

The things we've noted so far are negative, because we look for trouble first. I'm kinda out of time to look further. If folks note other points and post comments, we'll try to update later tonight.


Let's begin with the good news. We now have a precedent where clear, admitted violation of the lab standard (SIL/ISL) can be used to invalidate test results and get an athlete off. If there are clear violations in Landis' case that De Ceurriz and Saugy will admit, then it could be a short process.
We're not sure if any of the discrepencies noted so far are of that clarity and level of importance, but it's possible.

On to the troubling stuff. Apologies if this reading seems excessively bleak, but momma taught me to look for cars before crossing the street.

Paragraphs 70-71 say there are duelling experts, De Boer and De Ceurriz, and they'll believe De Ceurriz. None of De Boers's LDP complaints are considered.
70. The Formation notes the existence of a dissension between the experts. While it Dr. Saugy estimates that the file made it possible to identify the implied steroids, Dr. of Boer considers as for him that the elements of which it laid out were insufficient. referees consider that the testimony of Dr. Saugy is plausible and that the demonstration made by Dr. de Boer does not arrive by invalidating its analysis.

71. Consequently, the Formation estimates that Mr Landaluce did not show the existence of a violation of the point of the SIL and which it thus did not arrive to to reverse the presumption according to which the analysis of the LNDD had been carried out in code of practice, such that they result from the point of the SIL.

Paragraph 72-76 dismiss De Boer's arguments about a 0.8 tolerance, and says that is already factored in, and not relevant when it's not a threshold test.
72. Under the point .3 of the SIL: ´The Laboratory will be held to reach, both for the Substances without threshold substances with threshold, Minimal Limit of definite Performance Necessary for detection and identification of the substance or for the demonstration of its presence beyond the tolerated threshold (if necessary)¡.

73. Dr. de Boer estimates that the value of the uncertainty of 0,8 presented by the LNDD would be insufficient and should be 1,35. It states in addition that the fact that an index of uncertainty was given would show that the LNDD would have considered to be in presence of a substance with threshold insofar as uncertainty would be taken into account only for the substances with threshold. Dr. de Boer shows the existence from a variation compared to not .3 of the SIL.

74. Prof de Ceaurriz and Dr. Saugy estimate as for them that this value, used by many laboratories, would be in conformity with the point .3 of the SIL. In its declaration of July 14, 2006, Dr. Saugy considers that it is not a question of a measurement of a substance with threshold but of a method of confirmation based to quantitative measures, of which it goal is to show the qualitative origin of the introduced product.
The UCI makes the point that it is not a question of a substance with threshold insofar as the simple one exogenic presence of testosterone is enough. The isotopic analysis would aim only to to show the exogenic nature of the product, without being concerned with its quantity.

Paragraph 76 seems to be addressing the "Metabolite(s)" question in a way Landis won't like.
76. To the support of its allegation, the UCI refers at the point of the SIL which indicates that:

´In the majority of the cases, the identification of a prohibited substance or metabolite (S) or marker (S) associated is enough so that a result is declared of analysis abnormal. Concept of quantitative uncertainty defined in the ISA/CEI 17025 is thus not applicable here. […]

In the case of the substances with threshold, it is necessary to consider at the same time uncertainty on identification and uncertainty on the demonstration of the presence of the substance with concentration higher than the threshold¡.

Paragraph 78 again says that the panel can't judge the science, so they accept the status quo that it is presumed correct.
78. The Formation notes that there is not on the matter any precise method and that them experts present at the time of the Audience did not agree on a value of uncertainty with to take into account for the isotopic analysis.
79. The Formation estimates that Mr Landaluce did not reverse the presumption according to which the LNDD conformed to the code of practice. Indeed, experts quoted by Mr Landaluce, if they showed their dissension with the method of calculation adopted by the LNDD, therefore did not reverse the presumption according to which analyses conformed to the point .3 of the SIL. The Formation thus estimates that Mr Landaluce did not report the proof of a variation compared to the point .3 SIL.

Paragraph 82-83 again takes De Ceurriz word over De Boer on retention times and spectrographic analysis.
82. In addition, Dr. de Boer indicates to have received on August 29, 2006 a document containing the evaluation of times of retention concerning the identification of the implied steroids in the analysis of the sample B. It observes however that no information him would have been transmitted being the data of spectral mass and identification of steroids implied in the analysis of sample A. Dr. de Boer estimates in consequence which there would be a variation compared to the point of the SIL and with technical documents TD2004EAAS and TD2003IDCR.

83. The Formation notes once again the existence of a divergence of opinion between experts present at the time of the Audience. Dr. Saugy states indeed that information necessary to the identification of these products would have been provided by the LNDD. This analyze which emanates from an expert enjoying a considerable experiment in it field is completely plausible. Consequently, the Formation considers that Mister Landaluce did not reverse the presumption according to which the LNDD would have conformed at the point of the SIL and the document techniques TD2004EAAS and TD2003IDCR.

Paragraph 85-87 does the same thing on delta units:
85. According to Dr. de Boer, this technical document would impose that the values differ from significant manner of three units delta or more. In addition, being a value threshold, the SIL would impose the analysis of three aliquot or, on the assumption that, as with particular, only one case aliquot would be available, triple analyzes this one.

86. Prof de Ceaurriz and Dr. Saugy estimate for their part that a measurement in triplicat of the sample is not necessary and only one such requirement, which would not exist with remaining, would be on the contrary problematic insofar as the volume of urine necessary would not be available. They indicate in addition, that it would not be about one measure with threshold requiring the analysis of several samples.

87. The Formation notes, here also, the existence of a divergence of appreciation between experts and considers that Mr Landaluce did not reverse the presumption according to which the LNDD conformed to technical document TD2004EAAS.

All told, it appears that unless De Ceurriz is willing to recant his position, the panel dismissed any scientific arguments. That is, no scientific argument about the correctness of the test methodology or interpretation is really entertained, and there is no way to impeach a laboratory that won't confess.

The bright side remains that the LNDD seems to have made a lot of the silly mistakes that could be easy enough to use to grant a "acquittal by technicality". The bad news is that the system is paradoxically unable to address substantive scientific questions that would actually get at the truth value of the accusations. Thus, a truly innocent athlete might be better off trying to find the whiteout rather than attempting to actually prove he didn't do anything.


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