Friday, September 29, 2006

TBV Two Month Review

It's been two months for TBV today and time for another monthly review. Below, some mixed fact, interpretation, and opinion. You decide which is which! [more]

  1. The case is going to hearing, probably in January.
  2. He's still officially the Tour de France Champion, and will be until a hearing finds otherwise.
  3. Floyd's hip was resurfaced on Wednesday Sep 27th. It went well, and he'll be on a trainer in two weeks, and walking without crutches in six weeks. Everyone thinks he can be in shape to compete at a high level by the time of the next Tour.
  4. The defense argument is that the LNDD botched the tests, and that none of them should be evaluated as having had a positive result. This is due to incompetency, not a conspiracy, and is shown in their own Laboratory Documentation Package.
  5. The ADRB probably didn't consider the merits of the defense submission, and appears to have just punted.
  6. The defense arguments sound plausible, but have not been demonstrated with any specifics, so a reasonable person can still say he is presumed guilty.
  7. Rumour says the Lab report has improper corrections done over whiteout, in violation of protocol.
  8. Dugard says he "knows more" than he did before, and thinks Landis will be exonerated.
  9. Mr. Pound, the WADA Chairman, has backpedalled in his public statements, and is no longer berating Landis' idiotic excuses. He may have seen both the evidence and the initial defense reply and decided to pull his neck back in.
  10. M. Clerc of the ASO has probably not seen anything new, and continues to throw bombs at Landis. It is not clear if this is out of malice, true belief, or ignorance. ASO is one party that needs to be convinced of his total innocence -- they could refuse to allow him to race even if he's not sanctioned.
  11. The public at large hasn't a clue there's been any shift, and still assumes he's a dirty cheat. This is a problem the theater of an open hearing is meant to help address.
  12. Cycling fans seem largely divided geographically. Those in the US are far more likely to believe there is truth to the defense arguments, while those elsewhere are more likely to think that all cyclists are dopers, and that he's guilty as charged. There are still a lot of people in the USA that think he's guilty. Traffic to TBV is 91% North American, 87% from the USA.
In addition, there are a few curious items I've been tracking.
  • The discrepancy between the 538 AAFs reported by the UCLA lab in 2005, and the 31 cases reported by USADA for the same year.
  • The rumour that the ADRB couldn't get the 370 page lab report translated from the French to consider the merits raises additional questions about USADA's competence and credibility.
TBV has only this to say about UCI rethink and ProTour "ethics" changes. They allow various parties to be Seen to be Doing Something. The sanctions are too harsh, making them difficult to impose, and likely to be ineffective and counter-productive. Complete team bans are absurd. It would be more effective for a team to lose an entry slot for each rider involved in an issue, similar to what happened at the 2006 tour. If the team lose too many, as Astana (unfairly) found themselves, then they don't meet the minimum and are effectively banned. Similarly, team management and other personnel can/should be banned along with an athlete for an in-competition infraction. It will affect them personally, so they'll be less likely to put up with it. The 'slot' and team personnel bans should be for the smaller of the athletes ban or one calendar year. This addresses two problems: disconnecting the team impact from the rider's employment by the team, and to make end-of-season infractions as meaningful as those in February. You don't want the system to structurally encourage single year contracts.

Of the existing policies, the ProTour doubled ban is stupid and unfair to the riders. It's a "be seen to be doing something" approach that lets the system claim to be "ethical" while doing nothing to change the systemic imperatives. Sadly, there is never a good time to be seen as being "soft on crime", so we end up with systems that do not really work, but give emotional satisfaction to some target audience. It's kind of like airport security. Also see the analysis by Bruce Schneier of The Prisoner's Dilemma as applied to cycling.

So called "ethics" that require a team to suspend a rider on an A sample AAF make a disgusting lie of the "confidential" results management process.

Unless Landis gets around to releasing the ADRB filing and/or the Lab Reports, I expect a quiet month. I've also made lots of wrong predictions like that, so believe it when it happens.

A lot of people wonder where I find the time to do this. The simple answer is that it comes out of my sleep in one way or another. For a while it was run on pure obsession, but it's taking less and less time as I get better at using RSS feeds of likely sources, build up a base of reference, and the activity dies down. The encouragement from you all and the tolerance of my wife and family help a great deal. If there were only a handful of readers, I'd have given up, but the quality and quantity of the audience makes it worth while. I hope the collection of facts balances out the fatuousness of my injected opinion. Special thanks to all those who have contributed leads and comments, even the anonymous bombs. It would be disingenuous to not hear or ignore those opinions.

Thanks for reading.

TBV -- trust, but verify.


Anonymous said...

Just want to let you know I am an avid reader and follower of TBV. You provide a very balanced, thorough, and enthusiastic summary of Floyds' situation. Thank you very much!!!

jakalof said...

I also frequently visit TBV -- but I am more skeptical that Floyd is telling the truth.

From your enumeration above you stated:
"The public at large hasn't a clue there's been any shift, and still assumes he's a dirty cheat. ..."

I disagree that there has been a shift -- I think its all wishful thinking. Just because Floyd's expensive lawyer says that Floyd didn't take testosterone doesn't make a shift! Just because Floyd's lawyer says that the certified lab made mistakes in their tests doesn't make a shift!

DBrower said...

Jakalof, if nothing else suggests a shift, the change in Mr. Pound's comments over time should be revealing. I'm not aware of any previous instance of his toning down rhetoric as a case proceeded.

You may indeed be correct, and we'll know more when stuff comes out. It will eventually, and everyone will get a reality check on their predilections.


Cheryl from Maryland said...

As an enthusiastic follower of your site, thanks for the daily updates and your hard work.

A thought on the white-out: while the FDA has high standards for testing results related to new drug applications, the USADA may be able to accept values that don’t follow the error correction protocol if they are not considered critical or important areas (don't ask me considered by whom). So, if the white-out was for the lab’s centrifuge serial #, it might not be an issue except for those of us who feel it speaks to the competence of the LNDD.

More fuel for the desire to actually see the reports, not that I could make neither heads nor tails of them. Of course, I bet this site could come up with an explanation very quickly (not to mention a translation from Science French into English).

daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...


I have to say, following your blog is one of the highlights of my day. And it helps me keep up to date so that I can find "new and better" things to rant on and on about.

Thanks for all the hard work. It makes it much easier for me to Rant My Head Off and it's most appreciated.

Here's to hoping this situation gets resolved in the not too distant future.

- Rant

Anonymous said...

I appreciate all the work that you are doing here. IMHO, this is the best and most balanced site to find out what is going on in the Landis case.

Anonymous said...

As the others have said, thank you for you balanced look at what is happening with floyd. I check in daily to get a quick overview of the highlights. It is great that you take the time to compile such a varied and huge amount of data. I of course am 100% positive of his innocence, and his ability to prove it. Thanks again. Michael Farrington. Green Mountain Cyclery, Ephata, PA.

Unknown said...

I read TBV every day, keep up the fantastic work! --Steve