Wednesday, February 21, 2007

FFF in SJ Piles on LNDD; Arbs in action?

At the FFF town hall in San Jose, TBV got a second chance to see the current slide show, and consider the new material more closely, with a camera to substantiate a faulty memory.

The vibe was very different than in SF on Sunday -- not many more people, perhaps 120, but much smaller space, and not competing with the NBA All-Star game on monitors on the wall. There was also quite a bit of local TV media, absent the other day. After a little introduction from Michael Henson, we got an Entrance:

Landis brandishes his new suited persona, accompanied by a large, muscular gentleman in the roll of domestique.

As usual, the evening had introductions, the slide show, some Q&A, an auction of memorabilia, and an autograph session.

The slides were narrated by Michael Henson, as Arnie Baker was unable to attend. Arnie's version is heavier on technical detail, and Henson's was more driven by narrative and talking points. This worked well enough for the crowd, but are less immediately interesting to TBV readers than the substance of the slides we'd been unable to consider closely on Sunday.


Let's first review some things that have come out.
  1. The other stage A Sample reports were delivered to Landis.
  2. Landis had gotten another version of the LDP from AFLD.
  3. The two LDPs do not agree.
  4. The AFLD provided LDP has additional material revealed in the slide show.
We'll review the slides in a bit, but let's go back to the first point. Sources tell us the A sample reports turned up within the last two weeks as a result of a discovery order by the arbitrators. This means, one, that the arbitrators are entertaining motions, and two, that they are granting discovery to Landis. The logjam has been broken. The first result is also that the ADAs have not succeeded in their stonewall.

The other A sample reports are thousands of pages, in untranslated French, so part of the result may be getting buried alive in paper. The provided A results are, as expected, negative, and do not contain any CIR results. It is unknown if CIRs were done, but results not provided.

We also learned that Landis has had the second LDP from the AFLD, and USADA didn't know about it, and asked Landis to produce it for them, probably delivered today.

A slide presented Sunday, but missing today gave an example of a discrepancy between the two LDPs. In the USADA version, there was an incorrect sample number. In the one provided by AFLD, there was a handwritten "correction", but without the strike through, date and identification required. Yet both were certified to the recipients (USADA and AFLD) as "originals". Which one should be believed? We're told the AFLD version has corrections that appear to address problems identified by Landis in the USADA version, yet it was presented to AFLD as undoctored, unvarnished truth.

Now, into the interesting new slides.

This is an example of a form, apparently from the AFLD pack, that is sprinkled with improperly corrected errors.

This chart, when presented by both Arnie and Henson, goes for the cheap laugh with the dinosaur on the operating system version issues. What may turn out to be more meaningful is the second column, which identifies the application software for the spectrometer.

Evidently, LNDD is using an ancient version 1.67-2 of the software, where the current version is 4 generations and at least 6 patches behind. It's claimed that ISO lab certification requires updates to such software within months, but this is years out of date. Why bring up the operating system? Because the old versions only run on OS/2, not on XP or NT, and the new versions only run on the new operating systems.

We also hear that the machines are running firmware that is years out of date, which contains flaws that turn up as analytical errors. We've seen no documentation of this claim, but it is plausible and possible to verify.

This slide speaks to the inlet pressure we've mentioned, and which Rant has run on about. This looks like all new data.

The top box appears to be an answer to a discovery request that says that LNDD was given the wrong manual by the manufacturer, and never bothered to get the right one, so they can't possibly produce it.

The lower box appears to be from the manual that Baker said he downloaded after a web search, and describes the proper operating pressure of the Penning gauge as between 2 and 4 E-6 mbar.

The inset box appears to be from the AFLD LDP, and shows that LNDD ran some test at 5.2E-6 mbar, outside the recommended range. If we read the directions carefully, we see that it is where some bleed down is supposed to start from, not a value to be used in operation.

The implications of this remain unclear, as do the details of what tests may be affected, and how.

This slide was described by Henson as showing results of a test with values similar to those of Landis that was declared a negative at UCLA. If true, this would document inconsistent, non-harmonized positivity criteria between labs.

As always, we've asked for copies of everything, but we've been told to cool our jets. Landis has decided not to release everything, at this time. We heard an explanation that said they did not want to turn up the pressure on anyone by premature revelation of data that had unclear implications and importance.

It doesn't take a very advanced degree to see the irony in that -- if the ADAs had taken that position in the first place, we might be in a very different situation now.

There is behind the scenes activity going on, to which we have not been admitted. Should the case get to hearing, it all needs to come out. We'll keep asking, expecting eventual release of everything.

I'm not going to go into the Q&A right now, because it's late, but will write up the interesting parts tomorrow when time permits.

Let's close with a story about the B sample flap.

In December, USADA informed Landis that they had scheduled tests of the B samples at LNDD, and that he could, if he liked, provide an observer for three weeks of testing. They had already shipped the out-of-competition samples from UCLA to LNDD. This was not a request for permission -- USADA was just going to go ahead and do it. There was no explanation why this was being done, or statement about the authority under which it had been planned.

Landis responded by reminding USADA it was only allowed to test B's if there was a positive A, for which he had not received any notification or documentation, and wondering, was it going to require an injunction to get USADA to follow the rules? With
the spectre of escalation into court litigation raised, USADA backed down.

Once again, your tax dollars at work.


Anonymous said...

Oh, WOW!!! Maybe things are going to start sounds really good! I say him on Vs talking to Bob Roll about the race, That's GOOD! Versus should not consider him a persona non grata! I hope the auction went better than SF.
And Floyd's got a bodyguard, now???

Anonymous said...

Well done TBV. Again!

whareagle said...

DB, Jim, ORG, Theresa, et al. - Whareagle here...

Don't know how appropriate this forum is, but.

I'll be in Solvang, SLO, SB and Long Beach to watch the show. May I beg a ride from Long Beach back to LAX-area on Sunday? I want to attend the FFF function, but my wife has another thing to attend that night, and needs the rental car. If anyone's going to be down there for the race, can I beg a ride? e-mail And thank you in advance.

Anonymous said...

Great summary TBV! I never cease to be amazed by LNDD shenanigans. Come on OS2, 1987 software?!!!

So in a cycling comparison while everyone else is running around on the latest ultralight bike frame with Shimano or Campi 10's, sealed and polished berings in the hubs, LNDD is squeaking around on a 1987 LOOK frame with a 6 speed, down tube shifters and bearings that have not been greased since 1987.

You mean you can be an "esteemed accredited WADA lab" with this kind of equipment, errr antiques? what are the equipment reuqirments to be so called "accredited WADA lab." I'm no scientist, and maybe thats the norm in that field but 20 yr old equipment and software? surely that can't be good. Has anyone uncovered their stockpile of vacume tubes and punch cards yet?

And I've got coworkers that whine because they don't have a Quad core duo yet! I can't wait to tell them when I here them whine, "Hey shut up you could be on 1987 os2 if we were a 'WADA accredited lab.'" Just to see their jaws drop will be worth it.


Atown, Tx.

Anonymous said...

Its official, the proverbial curtain has fallen and the Wizard of Oz is nothing but a wee little man with a big microphone an sound equipment!

Unknown said...

I know people that read this will not like it....but what if Tyler had not played along with the USADA and UCI by keeping his case predominately behind closed doors and gone public like Floyd has, would we even be having this conversation?

Amazing what the USADA is pulling sending the B samples back to France for testing (which I wonder why and how the B Samples got to the US)

And if Landaluze got off for the simple reason of the same guy testing the A and B samples, why are we - REALLY FLOYD - in this mess? I think RANTS 'story' is going to prove very accurate.

Anonymous said...


The B samples in question were from urine collected in US after the Tour. The A's were tested at UCLA.

My question is, "Why did UCLA agree to release the B samples, when they knew it was against rules and protocol?" Does Catlin have no backbone?

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

Excellent summary, as always. LNDD is using OS2 from 1987? Does that even work anymore? How do they manage to maintain their ISO and other accreditations? Lots of good stuff to chew on here for upcoming rants.

- Rant

And, thanks Michael. I'm sure in time, we'll see just close to the truth yesterday's "story" turns out to be.

Anonymous said...

Another way to think about the whole OS2/ 1987 thing, That particular computer system was set up the year AFTER Greg LeMond won his FIRST Tour '86 and 2 years after the last French man one the TDF Bernard Hinault in '85.

I just cant get over that. How are you going to catch dopers on the cutting edge with tools from the stone age?

Atown, Tx.

Anonymous said...

The IRMS criteria issue is pretty complicated, especially when it comes to the correlation between the UCLA and LNDD labs. It seems Floyd is basing his strategy on the 5ß Adiol - 5ß Pdiol and 5α Adiol - 5ß Pdiol differences. The UCLA criteria states that both metabolites need to be above the threshold in order to trigger a positive. Floyd only had one, so it would seem that Floyd is okay.

The problem with his sample is that his 5α Adiol - 5ß Pdiol difference is way over the threshold. Couple this with his "positive" Andro - 11 Ketio difference (this metabolite is not spoken to in the UCLA criteria) and it may be logical that the LNDD considered his IRMS results to indicate the presence of exogenous testosterone. However...

I put the "positive" as related to the Andro - 11 Ketio result in quotations because Floyd will use the measurement error to attempt show this result is not actually positive. But, the measurement error may not be such a simple calculation as Floyd may argue.

Anyway, my point in all this is that the positivity criteria as presented by Arnie in the slideshows may not be quite as simple as he presents it. I have no idea how this issue will play out in the hearing but it surely seems like it will be a critical part of his defense. I recently posed a question about this issue to Paul Scott of the Agency for Cycling Ethics, he worked at the UCLA lab as a chemist and a director. Unfortunately he wouldn't comment on this matter.


Anonymous said...

Next thing you'll be telling us they back everything up on 5 1/2 inch floppy disks.

Anonymous said...

Back everyzing up? What eez the "back-up??" Je ne pas comprende zees computards...