Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Roundup

LA Times' Michael Hiltzik continues his series about Landis, finding the same technicians working on the A and B samples, which is not supposed to happen. This is the sort of thing that resulted in Landaluze's case being dismissed. He also points out a number of other things familiar to TBV readers:

The lab might have altered a document in the case after Landis raised questions about its accuracy. It apparently certified the altered version as "original."

The document, which was altered anonymously after Landis identified errors, was in the files of French anti-doping authorities. They have brought a separate case against the cyclist. It is unclear whether lab employees or anti-doping officials made the changes.

-- The lab might have operated a crucial piece of testing equipment under conditions that violated its manufacturers' specifications, possibly because it did not own a copy of the operating manual. Furthermore, the software installed in the machine was 10 years old, based on an operating system no longer in use and was designed for a different piece of equipment. Landis contends improper operation could produce erroneous readings.

On the B sample flap, he says,
Filings in the arbitration case also shed light on USADA's rationale for seeking to have the French lab also retest nine of Landis' urine samples taken during and after the 2006 Tour de France. The samples at issue are B samples corresponding to A samples that previously have been tested and found to be clean of prohibited substances.

USADA contends that the previous screening tests did not "definitively establish" that the samples were clean, and the agency wants to subject them to the more sophisticated carbon isotope test.

USADA acknowledged in papers filed with the arbitrators that it would expect to use any positive results from the retests as evidence against Landis. The cyclist's lawyers maintain that this would violate USADA and World Anti-Doping Agency regulations, which state that an analytical sample can be deemed positive only if the A and B results match. Because the A samples already have been ruled negative, and in most cases no longer exist, the required match between A and B could not be present, Landis argues.

The arbitration panel held a closed-door session Thursday to consider Landis' request for documents and for testimony from lab employees. At the session, the panel also considered USADA's unusual request to retest the nine samples. An immediate ruling is not expected.

These filings will make interesting reading.

Shorter version of the story in the Hamilton Spectator. Expect this story to be re-run lots of places tomorrow.

VeloNews contributor Andrew Hood writes an interesting piece about the "civil war" within cycling right now. Citing the Landis case, OP, and the UCI vs The Grand Tour organizers turf battle it appears that cycling has a long way to go before it finds itself under one harmonious roof
The Landis debacle shows how far the fight against doping still needs to go, in terms of protecting riders' rights as well as the integrity of the events. With the veracity of doping controls under attack and a winner of the 2006 Tour likely to be unknown until well past the start of the 2007 Tour, it's no wonder that fans and media are tuning out.

Maybe from Mr Hood's viewpoint the media and fans are tuning out, but from the point of view of the ToC it would seem that fans are still tuning in (not to mention the media).

CounterPunch compares the alleged doping corruption in Pro Cycling to cheating in NASCAR.

The Monterey County Herald and the San Jose Mercury News note that the Landis "tour of innocence" continues along side the ToC, with a report on the Tied House event from last night. It doesn't go into the kind of technical detail that other reports have, but does discuss the feeling of general support for Landis that prevailed there. A heavily edited version of the same piece with the word "Tainted" in the title appears in the Contra Costa Times.

NBC11 talks about the ToC, and went to the Town Hall in SJ, quoting Landis as saying:
"I don't think it's a reasonable system. I mean, I won Tour de France and I can't afford to fight. I can only imagine what other Olympic athletes have to go through as they try to defend themselves,"

CBS5's Mike Sugarman got an interview with Landis yesterday, but includes some skepticism from a Mercury News reporter, and Steven Farrand of Cycle Sport.

Peloton Jim is thankful that Landis can actually use some of his racing experience to provide insight into the ToC (on the Amgen web cast as well as on VS). But he does wish that the ToC was a little less like a mini version of the TdF.
Spinnin' Wheel was gratified to see Floyd Landis look so happy to be discussing the actual racing at the ToC on VS.

VeloGal went to the town hall, and departed even more outraged. She also saw him the day before in Sacramento, and digs the new look.

Rant looks at our report from last night, and re-interprets the pressure discrepancies. He doesn't think it's good for the test credibility.

Steroid Nation repackages a number of our recent pieces with additional comment.

Mark McClusky
picks up Dugard's conspiracy theory of yesterday, and is scared to think it's possible

Pommi noticed the following sign in front of Piedmont Hills High School near Milpitas, CA on his way to San Jose yesterday:

(photo courtesy Pommi) notes that doping scandals may not be Floyd Landis's only legacy to cycling, there is also the "praying Landis" TT position that many in the peloton seem to be adopting.

Dr. John C Maxwell uses Landis as an example in what appears to be a sermon that "Character Counts." It's a predictable bit of, well, sermonizing. Someone might want to drop him a nice comment suggesting his facts are in need of an update.

Bleacher Report snarks on Landis, getting many facts wrong.

Meta: there are a lot of french language posts mentioning Landis turning up in my RSS feeds, but when I go to look, they are 404-ed. I'm not sure what this means.

You3 continues his technical investigation of the T/E test at DPF, with a summary that offers an intriguing and simple explanation of what may account for the 2-to-1 difference between the screening test and the IRMS confirmation result: the IRMS may not have measured half of what it needed to, but the screening test did. And this is complicated by the posibility of mixed up samples from another rider. talks about the FFF/SJ appearance, and coverage on KTVU TV.

Thought for the Day

"The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do without thought of fame. If it comes at all it will come because it is deserved, not because it is sought after." -hwl-


Anonymous said...

" the 2-to-1 difference between the screening test and the IRMS result"

I think that you meant "confirmation test" and not "IRMS".

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that we get to see Floyd at the tour, even with his defense as a reason! And I'm glad the ToC is not acting like he's some kind of criminal! And I'm proud of Vs for accepting him, interviewing him, and talking about his situation. That's good for all cyclists!

DBrower said...

Clarified to say "irms confirmation". I always use CIR when I mean the exogenous test.


Anonymous said...

Can somebody please answer whether Landis' defense team presented evidence during "stage 3" of the review process to the Independent Review Board/Independent Review hearing?