Monday, April 30, 2007


Footbullet, (fuut-buul-it) n. a small cylindrical missile that, when launched, penetrates the shooter's foot rather than an intended target due to poor situational awareness.

- TBV's Dictionary of Schadenfreude

We've all originally looked at the new B sample testing at the LNDD as a loss of sorts for Landis. Perhaps we should, instead, look at it as a golden opportunity.

Assume going in that there is something wrong going on at the LNDD, but all we have are incomplete documents that don't show everything.

Now, while keeping them at arm's length, you invite Landis' experts in to observe your execution of tests. They can't see all the details of particular tests, but they are able to observe the environment and the Standard Operating Procedure, taking notes all the while. They see how the samples are prepared, machines are setup, calibrated, and zeroed, and used; and they see how they are analyzed, if not in actual detail for a particular test.

And there's lots that looks very wrong.

Imagine they've discovered and observed systematic mistakes that call into question all results reported by LNDD on IRMS tests, and that the mixed results (some "positive", some not) obtained on these new tests, more than anything else, confirm the unreliability of the process.

Was doing additional B sample testing as good an idea as USADA thought it was?

Maybe not.

Full Post with Comments...

Monday Roundup


Operation Puerto has burst into open flame again, with 49 new riders implicated, 6000 pages of documents, and Hamilton and Jasche suspended by Tinkoff - or maybe not. We're not going to cover OP in any detail, but this expanded scandal will affect public perception of Landis, as TAF notes in a comment.

ESPN's Bonnie DeSimone reports the request for postponement was denied by the Arbs, so May 14 is on.

The IHT reports an AP piece this AM that the AFLD has requested outside experts to look at the LNDD's handling of the Landis case:

France's anti-doping agency has asked outside experts to verify that its lab correctly handled tests that pointed to suspected cheating by Tour de France champion Floyd Landis, the agency's chief said Monday.

Landis' camp launched new accusations of wrongdoing against the French lab on Sunday, saying it had mishandled and erased computer files involving doping tests during a crucial stage in Landis' 2006 Tour win.

Pierre Bordry, director of the French Anti-Doping Agency, did not respond to the accusations. Speaking to The Associated Press, he said he was awaiting a regular review, conducted every six months by an independent French agency, on the lab's software and analysis procedures.

He also said that even before Landis' latest criticism, the lab had asked for a separate outside review of how the lab handled Landis' case.

"What interests me is the positive B sample from August," Bordry said. "I have asked experts outside the affair to tell me if the analyses of this sample were conducted correctly."

The "outside" experts were not immediately known, but Bordry has stated that any results will be forwarded to the Landis camp. It is not known now if this will affect the May 14th USADA arbitration date that has been set for the Landis case.

The Sunday Times of South Africa, among many foreign media outlets, repeats the same AFP story which came out late yesterday in the form of a Landis press release. In the release Simon Davis, a Team Landis expert, claims that key information concerning the disputed testing done last summer after Stage 17 of the Tour de France had been erased from the hard drive of an LNDD computer. The VeloNews also prints an AFP piece.

The CyclingNews mentions the LNDD computer tampering accusation by Team Landis echoing the AFP story as well, but with the caption below a picture of Landis reading: "Landis believes he is the victim of a conspiracy".

The Telegraph (UK) has a correspondent bemoan his love of cycling in a piece mostly on the historic Telekom issues now in the spotlight. Brief Landis aside.

The Daily Peloton has hosted a commentary by Judge Bill Hue, under the title, "At Long Last, Is There No Sense Of Decency?" harkening to Joseph Welch's exchange with Joe McCarthy. Hue outlines the basic problems associated with the current anti doping system. He then makes eight suggestion on how this system can be amended to be fair to all involved:

The system is not fair.
• The science it employs is not transparent or accountable.
• Its science is not objective and is, in fact, part of the prosecution process.
• While the adjudicative process acknowledges the athlete’s privacy, its leaders engage in public relations acts contrary to an athlete’s privacy.
• The system lacks checks and balances.
• Its results are often draconian and arbitrary, anecdotally.
• Anti-doping agencies act as judge, jury, prosecutor, castigator and press agent, all in one.

This kind of system has correctly been rejected by the public in the past and should not derive support from the public today.

The System Can be Fixed
While the system as currently enforced is not fair, there are steps that can be taken that will go a long way toward making the system fair to the athletes while continuing to vigorously pursuing elimination of illegal doping in sport. Implementation of the following procedures and protocols would do much to level the playing field and provide a fair and balanced enforcement system.

The Postmen are trying to blame the opposite sex for their rock pitching sins in second grade, and then they try to relate this point to the Floyd Landis affair, either that or Floyd blames the French. It's hard to tell with pretzel logic!

The is disgusted with the latest revelations about computer irregularities at the LNDD and thinks that in a "normal " court of law the Landis case wouldn't stand a chance. The RoadBike is also starting a petition concerning the Landis case.

Tilam v Thew muses that Landis case is a "witch hunt" and a suspicious one at that. Makes one wonder how a witch hunt could be anything other than suspicious! also publishes the information concering the alteration of computer records at the LNDD.

Dugard is convinced that Floyd Landis is taking the right tack when he says that Floyd may petition the Department of Justice to look into how USADA has dealt with his case in the wake of yesterday's announcement that computer hard drives at the LNDD may have been altered.. Ivan Basso, on the other hand, is fading away into what appears to be a cloud of guilt as he departs Discovery "voluntarily". Still Dugard LOVES that Floyd is not backing down.

Rant wonders if the AFLD is building a case to drop the case against Floyd Landis. With the new request for a report on potential improprieties on the part of the LNDD, Pierre Bordry head of the AFLD, has Rant also pondering the implications of such a report:

If the results are available before the beginning of the arbitration hearings on May 14th, and if they show improprieties in how the lab handled the tests (as well as the data from the tests), Bordry may be paving the way for the case against Landis to be dropped. A finding by an independent agency harshly critical of the lab’s procedures would almost certainly undermine the credibility of the lab’s originally-reported results that are being used to prosecute the case

BikeBiz gets on the LNDD computer tampering story this AM with a quote from Judge Bill Hue which states the obvious:

"How can we search for the truth when the truth has been erased?"

Carlton Reid also writes that Simon Davis, a Team Landis expert, stated that the hard drive from the Isoprime OS2 machine had been “wiped” by the LNDD and all of the original files destroyed preventing verification of the authenticity of the EDFs from Landis’ Stage 17 analysis. This might also open the door to further tampering. Long time friend, science adviser, and FFF Trustee Dr Arnie Baker said:

“Protecting and assuring electronic files are required by every certifying laboratory authority, as the International Standards of Laboratories clearly define. With the erasure of original evidence contained on the hard drive, the lab simply cannot document its findings.”

Cycling Zine posts Biker Boy's Open Question asking, "Would you buy a Free Floyd bumper sticker to support the clearing of the poor guy's name ?" runs the countercharge:

The World Anti-deletion Agency has today charged Floyd Landis with the “unlawful erasure of Richard Pound.”

WADA claims their chairman was “wiped” by the American athlete. Landis countered by saying he was “just doing a bit of spring cleaning” when he “accidentally” deleted the Canadian lawyer.

Bicycle.NET is running a "did he dope?" poll.

Steroid Nation
writes "European Cycling crashing hard", and that

Floyd Landis' ship slowly sinks off the coast of France, as new evidence points to his Tour De France derailment."
and later says
No mystery in cynical reaction to Floyd Landis' defense; every athlete claims innocence. In a sport so dirty where a massive numbers of athletes at the pinnacle of achievement cheat, one more excuse dismissed as par for the Tour course.

Spinopsys ,as always, thinks the world of Floyd Landis is "bizzaro".

RaceJunkie, after ranting about Basso and Discover, gets to Landis in a post titled "Cancel the Tour":
Take No Prisoners: meantime, Floyd Landis, beset by a seemingly endless parade of monstrous wrongs by the incompetent French lab chimps, is now on the attack for a whole 'nother reason: he claims the lab electronically destroyed original records of his tests and that the remaining data may well have been tampered with. Can this repulsive farce get any worse? Let's leave aside whether we're burning a totally innocent man at the stake, instead of a guilty one--how the hell would I know? But the great tragedy here is that thanks to the gross mismanagement and malfeasance of almost everyone involved--from WADA to USADA to UCI to the lab itself--no-one else will truly know (aside from Landis himself that is), either. A just process conducted openly engenders, if still perhaps a minor assortment of paranoid conspiracy theories on both sides, at least some reasonable level of trust that the truth has been well and fairly determined. But here? Never. As it is, Landis wins, even if he is graciously given back the Tour victory to which he is entitled, there will still always be doubters who will be convinced that Landis got off on some scumly sort of a technicality and Pereiro got jacked. And if Landis loses, there will always be doubt among anyone with half a conscience as to whether an innocent man's gone down in flames. Either way the sport--let alone the riders, the teams, the tifosi, and Landis--loses. Clean house already, and give us a system and a result we can respect!

At Huffpost, Walter Isaacson, author of the popular Einstein biography, talks about standing up to power.

Over at DPF this morning heated discussion continues in the "Deleted Data Files at the LNDD" thread.

Later, fab, historically a critic, suggests Landis will be implicated in the expanded Puerto, with no supporting data -- admitting it's a rumour. This would seem out-of-bounds in the doping forum, but no moderator has done anything yet.

uk.rec.cycling chews the press release, as does

At Topix, usual suspect and #1 fan Will continues his diatribes against Landis and all supporters, who he dubs "whistling Landistas". Ali suggests USADA is trying to get itself off on a technicality. Also, topix now has a search for forums that makes the past of the trash talk ultra-marathon accessible.

Thought for the Day

All too often arrogance accompanies strength, and we must never assume that justice is on the side of the strong. The use of power must always be accompanied by moral choice.
-Theodore Bikel-

Full Post with Comments...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Deleted/Tampered files at LNDD

Team Landis sent the following release late this afternoon...

Landis Examines Legal Options, Including
Appeal to Department of Justice

New York / Paris., April 29, 2007 – Simon Davis, technical director of Mass Spec Solutions and expert consultant to Floyd Landis, today reported that critical evidence stored as electronic data files (EDF) had been erased from the hard drive and the original data destroyed at the Laboratoire National de Dépistage du Dopage (LNDD). The existing data bears indication of alteration.

The EDFs are electronically preserved records of the Isotope Ratio Mass Spectometry (IRMS) tests conducted on Landis’ Stage 17 samples. Davis was at the LNDD last Thursday along with representatives from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to witness the extraction of the data files by an independent expert tasked with retrieving and analyzing the EDFs.

Originally run by the LNDD on outdated OS2 software, the Landis defense team had first requested access to the original EDFs last December in order to process them on more modern and accurate software.

Prior to the arrival of Davis and the independent expert on April 26, the LNDD, under the authority of USADA, extracted the EDFs from the machinery. The LNDD took the following steps in the absence of oversight by the independent expert or Davis:
  • The hard drive from the Isoprime OS2 machine had been “wiped” by the LNDD and all of the original files destroyed, thereby providing no way to verify the authenticity of the EDFs from Landis’ Stage 17 analysis.
  • Relevant files for Landis’ Stage 17 sample analysis had been opened and re-saved by the LNDD, corrupting the integrity of the files’ time stamp authentication and exposing the files to potential tampering. The data concerning the Stage 17 “A” samples were re-saved on 1/30/2007. Landis’ “B” sample data bore a time stamp of 4/26/07, 9:51 a.m. CET, prior to the scheduled arrival of the independent expert and Davis later that day.
  • The altered EDFs from the Isoprime OS2 hard drive had been removed by the LNDD and transferred to a CD-ROM.
  • Other critical data from Stage 17 were missing from the files copied to disk.

“Protecting and assuring electronic files are required by every certifying laboratory authority, as the International Standards of Laboratories clearly define,” said Arnie Baker, M.D., scientific advisor to Landis’ defense team. “With the erasure of original evidence contained on the hard drive, the lab simply cannot document its findings.”

In light of recent events at the LNDD, including the exclusion of Landis’ experts during the recent re-testing of previously cleared samples and the destruction of critical computer files, Floyd Landis is considering an appeal to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the use of Federal funds in the adjudication of his anti-doping proceedings.

"Since the Federal Government is funding this and other proceedings at USADA, it makes sense for them to be responsible for it," Landis said. "Over the past few months, we have learned of disturbing facts regarding the protection and production of key evidence in my case and I hope to call on the DOJ to investigate the handling of this matter. I have every confidence that they can determine if any misuse of federal funds and any resulting criminal activity has taken place on the part of USADA in my case."

"I find it highly suspicious that of all the files on the LNDD computer equipment, only the data relating to my alleged positive shows signs of potential tampering," Landis added. "It is my impression that USADA's goal is to secure a conviction by any means available whereas the DOJ will be more determined to arrive at the truth."

Landis is also examining a request for the Justice Department to review whether USADA has violated criminal statutes in using Federal funds in relation to the conduct that has occurred in this case. "Make no mistake about it; I support tough anti-doping measures, enforcement and education. But, if the Federal Government is going to fund the adjudication of anti-doping actions, then the defendants in those cases should be afforded the due process protections of anyone accused of a crime in America. No more and certainly no less," Landis said. "Under the USADA process, I have repeatedly been denied critical evidence, I have been denied the opportunity to depose critical witnesses and I have been denied a jury of my peers. Everything they have done, including this continued denial of discovery, the retesting of already cleared samples and the subsequent leak of scientifically unsupported results to L’Equipe, simply reconfirms every contention that my team and I have been making about USADA’s ‘win at all costs’ mentality. Their behavior is nothing short of criminal."

end of Press Release.

Full Post with Comments...

Sunday Roundup

Landis announced data erasure at LNDD
shown above. Expert Simon Davis says the files on the instrument disk have been wiped, and what remains are what are claimed to be copies on CDROM with different dates. Other files are said to be completely missing.

We don't know what this means, really. If there are straight file copies with wrong mod-times, that would be no-harm, but there's no way to know. If other files were only on the drive that got wiped, they probably aren't coming back. It would have been smart to get MD5s or checksums of the files on the instrument,and to have taken a complete backup before wiping its drive.

But doing this wipe just before the experts arrived for testing the other B samples, that takes a special sense of timing.

We can't tell now if this all represents a real problem for USADA, or a hyped reaction by Landis to a wrong timestamp on a copy, reflecting yet another "harmless clerical error" by the LNDD. There's more to both sides we aren't hearing.

ABC Sports (Aus) gets the MSM prize for first story on the alleged data loss, or maybe a tie with Fox Sports (Aus).

The Pensacola News published photos of a recent cycling event with Floyd Landis last Sunday April 22 and with all of Monday's breaking news we somehow missed them...

The Kansas City Star's Greg Moore says Floyd Landis knows exactly how much he is worth, not to mention how much he has lost.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Frank Fitzpatrick answers some of his own "spring questions" and thinks that believing in Floyd Landis' innocence is harder than swallowing Australian coffee.

The Toronto Sun Times in a sports compendium column opines that drugs cheats like Floyd Landis can get away with it because everyone else is guilty of something:

Know this about drug cheats like Floyd Landis: The labs are wrong. The doctors are wrong. The tests are wrong. Everybody's innocent even after being proven guilty

reports on a pro am bike race, the Farmersville Challenge, which took place on the picturesque roads of Lancaster County, PA and went past the former home of Floyd Landis in the hamlet of Farmersville.

Rant seems to anticipate the news of the day, and runs the release as do we. Before bed, he analyzes the lost data under the headline, "The New 18-1/2 Minute Gap", and agrees with us that this isn't (yet) the last straw against the USADA case.

Pommi catches the wave, and gets an "I told you so." Doesn't say if he did Diablo today; I did Pinehurst/Grizzly Peak instead.

The Floyd Fairness Fund has announced two new events for May 5 2007. Both will take place in San Luis Obispo, CA with one to be a social "Ride with Floyd Event", the donation for which will also cover the evening's Town Hall. The FFF Town Hall in San Luis Obispo will be held at the Kennedy Fitness Club and will begin at 6PM. You may register for either or both at the FFF website.

Luna Cycles is tired of ranting about Floyd Landis getting 'screwed" by USADA! but he's even more tired of the way the Landis is being treated by those in power.

Obituary Part One mourns what he considers to be the death of pro cycling, due in part to the Landis affair. He will not be returning until and unless there is a complete change in the pro cycling culture.

Zander blames the French Socialist employee system for allowing incompetents to remain at their jobs, thus explaining the shoddy work and constant leaks coming from the LNDD in the Landis case.

Around the Web On Wheels finds it increasingly difficult to defend the fact that she's a cycling fan.

DPF chews into the file management woes, and Floyd makes a rare appearance to clarify things we didn't understand or catch the first time through:

Floyd: [W]hat good reason could there be, or what loophole could exist that would make it explainable that the hard drive had been physically removed and placed in another computer and parts of the info saved and then the entire hard drive deleted? I guess I am assuming that you read the order that required that it be done by the independant expert who was appointed by the arbitrators. Also, do you not find it strange that it happened just after the damage done by the leaked "alleged" positives? To me it looks like they delayed it just long enough.

and then to make sure we really understand:
"But, Jimmy, if I read the release correctly, they may have done a resave in January, but the disk thing happened within hours of the scheduled arrival of the arb's expert. That's too coincidental for comfort."

Floyd: You read it correctly.

Bill Hue is depressed, because he thinks Brunet and McLaren can still accept everything, first:
Here is the answer you will hear:
"Sure you can confirm the content, just use the Cds. All the content is on there, honestly." Mr. Brunet and Mr McLaren will agree. Mr Campbell will disagree. The vote is thus 2 to 1 and all is well with the world.That decision will probably be upheld by a CAS Appeal Panel, probably by a 3 to 0 vote.
The rules against or for evidence tampering could be determined to fall within the general authority of the Panel but they found themselves without authority to issue an injunction in their Interlocutory Order and for the same reason may find themselves lacking authority to dismiss under these circumstances, even if they are so inclined (They will not be so inclined, by a 2 to 1 vote, probably). But they will not dismiss, again probably by a 2 to 1 vote. This will be upheld by a CAS Appeal Panel, most likely by a 3 to 0 vote.
Whether that makes a laughing stock of the process or the ADA seems not to concern the ADAs,WADA, UCI or any CAS-AAA Panel that has ever issued a published decision.
These arbitrators will continue to find work. Campbell will be chosen by athletes and McLaren and Brunet will be chosen by ADAs.

[T]here isn't really any such thing as lack of foundation in a CAS-AAA arbitration proceeding. There is a non-negative "A" sample and there is a confirming "B" sample, either from Stage 17 or from another stage or confirming "B" samples from other stages under the law this Panel created 1 month before hearing.Then the burden turns for Landis to show that erasing data violates International standards. Then the burden shifts back again tio USADA to show that erasing data didn't cause the adverse analytical finding. Anything else isn't relevant.

The "Floyd is Guilty" folks have not been heard from.

Full Post with Comments...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday Roundup

Yolk of the Day

Yesterday I received my FreeFloyd mugs. They're real and they're fabulous, and most importantly, they don't leak.

(Pommi will be there all week.)

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, in its editorial section, gives the "thumbs down" to the international cycling community, but more specifically to WADA and USADA for having no credible and globally accepted testing system in place.

The Times Argus runs an AP piece, as does the IHT, on the disappearing cycling star, many of whom seem to be fading into the fog of scandal. The piece, by Raf Cassert, was written during the beginning of this year's edition of Fleche-Wallonne and notes that Ivan Basso fans were searching for his bicycle among the Discovery teams entries and of course was not found. Along with Basso he also mentions that Floyd Landis is still an asterisk almost one year after his disputed Tour de France win.

ABD Elite Team Blog's Josh Carter just got around to sharing his experiences up on Brass Town Bald during this year's Tour of Georgia after which he got to have dinner with Floyd Landis. He admits that the Bald is definitely for climbers, not sprinters!

More Mind Food wants us all to know that even though he reported this week about Floyd Landis' "B" sample testing at the LNDD, he rode with Floyd as a teenager and thinks that Floyd is no doper. He just yesterday watched Stage 17 from last summer's Tour de France and after seeing it is convinced even more so that Floyd didn't cheat. And he links TbV to boot!

She Knits by the Seashore
isn't buying the "Floyd Landis is guilty" "B" sample brouhaha that was revealed on Monday. She notes that the "A" portion of the samples tested negative, and that the procedures agreed to by the arbitration panel were not adhered to.

An Across America Cycling Adventure, who is actually riding across the country with several other people, was in Arizona yesterday and one of the group happens to have the last name "Landis", though he has no relation to Floyd. The riders hit a hill and started doing impersonations of Phil Liggett, Bob Roll, and Paul Sherwan commentating on Floyd Landis climbing a hill in the TdF. Not much Landis content I know, but you have to admire a bunch of guys cycling across the country.

Back at Rant, comments dismantle Mr. Wiggan's whinging about Stage 17, pointing out he'd finished 40-50 minutes behind the top 21 riders, not just Landis.

Strider revels in the link we gave him the other day, and expands "his holy quest against the cyclist":

And who is this Floyd Landis anyway? The name sounds as real as Homer Simpson.

Right, "Strider".

Radio Free Newport wants to write about Landis, but gives us a link instead.

Introspection-section dreads mentioning us, because we'll link him and he's afraid he'll get flooded with spam, or beratement, or something, like creationists do to evolutionist blogs, I think he says. Huh, never been called a creationist before! He doesn't much believe Landis. Or Tyler, Lance, Jan or Ivan. But he does believe in the 12-27 cassette. TBV believes in the 12-34, and the 34/50 compact, because he's old, fat and slow.

Pommi covers some interesting ground, pointedly separating Landis' personal fortunes from the inherent (un)fairness of the enforcement system. He also tells of bailing on a Diablo when he felt the 83 degree heat at the base and exercised discretion instead of his dehydration tolerance. Maybe if he gets to the Athenian at about 8:30 he can get some company...

rec.bicycles.misc passes on a Wall Street Journal article about Freds using wind tunnels, just like Floyd and Levi. TBV wishes he could pedal fast enough that aero positioning would make a difference.

Thought for the Day

The pressure of adversity does not affect the mind of the brave man... It is more powerful than external circumstances.
-Lucius Annaeus Seneca-

Full Post with Comments...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Breaking Away

Along with introducing new contributor, John Gilliland, we're trying something new, a fairly detailed look at some specific legal and strategic issues. It's kinda long, and heads towards legal review territory, with footnotes and all, but we think there are some interesting ideas explored. Let us know what you think.

USADA’s options if it decides to drop its case

Copyright © 2007 by David Brower and John E. Gilliland.
All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is allowed when accompanied with a clearly legible attribution before the reproduction using the words, “Courtesy of Trust But Verify,"

If the status quo holds, on 14 May 2007, an American Arbitration Association (AAA) panel will hear the Floyd Landis anti-doping case and will release its decision sometime thereafter. But what if the status quo changes and USADA wants to drop the case? Can it do so at this stage? Further, if USADA drops prosecution1 of the case, could it change sides and take to Landis’ side if WADA or another party wishes to pursue the case anyway?

We consider two lines of thought. The first is what can happen prior to the AAA hearing. The second is whether USADA could turn against the prosecution of the case, either prior to or after the hearing.


Can USADA Change Course

USADA is not obligated to pursue a case after notification of an alleged AAA. Once an alleged adverse analytical finding (AAF) is reported to USADA, the governing directives in the USADA Protocol (Protocol) for Olympic Movement Testing require USADA to refer the evidence to a results management anti-doping review board. This board reviews the written information it receives from the applicable lab (in the Landis case) and any written information the athlete provides to the board. The board then recommends that USADA either pursue or not pursue a case against the accused2.

The Protocol requires USADA to forward that recommendation to USOC, WADA and any applicable national governing body. However, USADA alone decides whether to close the matter or to pursue a formal finding of an AAF through the arbitration panel process3.

Obviously USADA is moving forward with its case against Landis. However, because of the public nature of Landis’ defense, and particularly because of the public inputs from a variety of sources, USADA has access to much more information than is the norm in anti-doping cases. If, either as a result of this information or for other reasons, USADA determines that there is no basis to continue the case, it is procedurally allowed to do so. The USADA Protocol does not explicitly state this, but fundamental fairness, common sense and American jurisprudence in general support this conclusion.

Additionally, Mr. Tygart alluded to doing so in a 19 April 2007 interview in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. We do not know if this can be done unilaterally by those involved in managing the case, or if it would be necessary to reconvene the ADRB to get a revised recommendation. Nor do we know if a reconvened ADRB would need the same membership, or could have different people than the original ADRB that decided to move forward with the case.

Non-Appeal Options if USADA Changes Course

Should USADA choose to alter course and not pursue an alleged AAF, could WADA pursue it instead? The WADA code and USADA Protocol define an Anti-Doping Organization as an organization responsible for adopting, among other things, enforcement rules. These definitions specifically include WADA. Clearly, then, WADA is an enforcement body. Also, the WADA code and USADA Protocol define a national anti-doping organization (NADO) as the primary enforcement body. The reasonable inference here is that NADOs are not the sole enforcement bodies. This seems to leave the door open for WADA to pursue an AAA case without USADA.

However, section 3e of USADA Protocol states that USADA “shall be responsible for results management” for the category of athlete that includes Landis.4 While the USADA Protocol does not explicitly state that USADA is the exclusive enforcement body, a few factors lead to that conclusion. First, USADA puts covered athletes on notice that these are the applicable rules5. Second, the Protocol does not indicate that any other agency may take up a case. Third, USOC and WADA are well aware of the contents of the USADA Protocol. If either entity wanted to clarify that another potential other enforcement agency could pursue a case, either party arguably could have done so. These facts and the “shall be responsible for results management” language strongly suggest that WADA may not pick up – at least in the United States – a case that USADA decides to drop.6 But we’ve already seen curious things happen in anti-doping legal interpretation due, in part, to an absence of explicit rules.

Where is a Forum for a WADA Hearing?

Assuming, however, that WADA could step into the NADO role and pursue an alleged AAF7, we believe it could not do so in the United States. The USADA Protocol mandates the AAA, using its supplementary procedures for doping cases, as USADA’s sole forum.8 The procedures also mandate that USADA (vs another party) initiate these proceedings. Finally, the supplement also lists the only potential parties to the hearing. WADA is not one of those potential parties.9

Perhaps WADA could intervene in the current French AFLD proceedings against Landis, but we don’t think the AFLD has the power to strip him of his 2006 Tour de France title – a limitation that probably wouldn’t satisfy WADA10. Also, this intervention – removing an American case to France – would have negative political consequences. WADA’s options at the pre-hearing level, therefore, seem limited. The most likely result of USADA dropping this case before the hearing would be a WADA appeal to CAS. This brings us to our second topic: whether USADA could go from dropping the case to opposing WADA at an initial hearing and/or on appeal.

USADA’s Role if it Changes Course

NADOs and WADA are independent organizations. Various parts of the WADA code make this clear. For example, the Introduction and Models of Best Practice sections acknowledge this independence. Also, the language of Article 13 makes it clear that several parties (including NADOs and/or WADA) are entitled, but not required, to appeal an adverse hearing decision. No party is obligated to appeal. This means a NADO could chose not to appeal a particularly decision but that WADA could chose to appeal.

While the WADA code is unclear in many instances, here it is not. Also, Section 13.3, which deals with therapeutic use exemptions (TUE), explicitly envisions situations in which the NADO and WADA disagree over an issue and take action against each other to protect their positions.11 Clearly, NADOs are allowed to disagree with WADA and formally oppose WADA in legal proceedings. Our conclusion is that USADA could oppose WADA at the initial AAF hearing and/or appeal level.

Significantly, CAS 2006/A/1153 supports this view. In that case the Disciplinary Committee of the Portuguese Football Federation (PFP) prosecuted a doping case and imposed a suspension on the athlete. The athlete then appealed to the Judicial Board of the PFP, which ruled in his favor. WADA then appealed that decision to CAS, and the PFP opposed WADA before CAS, siding with the athlete.12

USADA’s Intentions

Of course, whether USADA would drop the case, decline to appeal if it “loses,” or oppose another party that wants to pursue the case is doubtful for several reasons.

A rational reason is that USADA continues to honestly believe Landis’ tests were positive, that any lab errors did not adversely affect the validity of the test results, and the arbitrators made an ill-informed and/or poorly reasoned decision against USADA. While the Landis team has provided a wealth of information regarding these results and the testing process, we have not heard USADA’s side yet. Once USADA shows its hand, perhaps we will be better able to evaluate whether USADA can rationally and legitimately pursue an appeal if it loses.

The following reasons for pursuing the case are irrational, but we should not discount the subtle or not-so-subtle influence they may have on the decision to appeal.

One, institutional inertia: the organizational tendency to continue a course of action, in spite of the constituents’ better judgment, simply because that is the course of action originally chosen. USADA will have expended an enormous effort to convince the arbitration panel that Landis should be sanctioned. It will have been knee-deep in this case for months and could easily suffer from tunnel vision.

Two, USADA’s desire to protect its perfect record13. Though the mantra of prosecutors is to seek justice,14 the reality is that various pressures sometimes cause us to lose sight of this philosophy. If I had a perfect record as a prosecutor (I don’t!), it would be easy for my office to focus too much on that fact and less on our obligation to seek justice. To counter that tendency, my office needs a culture that keeps us hyper-aware of the irrelevance of those statistics to individual cases. It is very easy to develop individual and institutional pride over these kinds of statistics, and for that pride to lead us to believe in the rightness of our positions, despite what the facts say.

As a complication, rightly or wrongly, reputations are made over these kinds of statistics. For example, Travis Tygart’s announced impending promotion to CEO of USADA15. If the organizational culture places a disproportionate emphasis on these statistics, you can imagine how important it becomes to maintain that record and how it would feel to lose a case for the first time. It is common to not want to be “that guy.” However, attorneys have ethical and other obligations to avoid falling into the statistics trap.

Three, in addition to internal motivations, there is the specter of outside pressure. WADA and/or the United States Olympic Committee have influence. The comments by Mr. Pound have increased the stakes in the Landis case, making a finding against Landis even more critical to USADA. Though publicly WADA would likely downplay USADA’s role in any “loss,” Mr. Pound’s comments make it more than reasonable to assume WADA would privately take USADA to the woodshed if it “loses.”

WADA can use money as a weapon. Section 20.4.6 of the WADA code makes Olympic funding of the NADOs contingent on their conformity with the code.16 Also, Section 23.4 of the WADA code makes WADA the code compliance monitor. It could certainly use this as a basis to justify ”scrutiny” of USADA if it failed to continue the case against Landis and/or appealed against WADA. Because WADA hasn’t hesitated to flex its muscles in unfair ways, it would be naïve to believe it wouldn’t use the funding weapon to encourage USADA to stay out of the case should it decide not to pursue prosecution on its own.

Remember too that WADA and the Olympic committees have very close working relationships, so WADA could exert pressure on USADA indirectly via the USOC. USADA has a contract with USOC “to conduct drug testing, manage test results, and adjudicate disputes….” 17 We assume there are provisions by which USOC could terminate that contract18, which of course threatens not only USADA’s stature, but also its very existence. Finally, the current B sample testing fiasco shows a confluence of interest between LNDD and USADA19.

The reasons above suggest USADA will not abandon its current position. Additionally, the recent discovery request by USADA’s outside counsel and the tone of Mr. Tygart’s comments to the Daily Peloton and other media20 strongly hint that it is determined not to seek the truth, but instead to defeat Landis and reassert its hegemony. Finally, USADA’s recent behavior at the retesting of his B samples, as reported by the Landis team, are consistent with this conclusion. While the Landis account is clearly biased, the likelihood of gross factual inaccuracy over issues such as access and consultation during testing seem unlikely to be contradicted.


While WADA has substantial influence over USADA, the majority of USADA’s funding comes directly from the US Congress. On this front, Landis has apparently been successful in raising awareness of the inequalities involved in his case and the system, to the extent that USADA is complaining about his efforts, as evidenced by its last request for production. Should USADA wish to drop the case, it could cite Congressional pressure to justify its actions to WADA.

Path to a Flip?

Should USADA conclude the case really is a loser, or a pro-Landis decision is worded properly, it could abandon the case or switch sides. If it plays its political and public relations cards right, it might come out looking like a heroic champion of justice – at least on the national stage, and perhaps on an international level. Such a flip could be a politically deft move, and shore up support in the US, and therefore, its funding.

This would not be easy.

The pressure WADA might exert on USADA to keep the wagons circled might be too much for USADA to resist. Breaking ranks in this very public and extreme way would risk the future working relationships between these organizations, which need each other to execute their missions.

Whether USADA would even consider such a switch would depend greatly on the increased exposure Landis has brought to USADA’s tactics and a rational consideration of the facts in the case. We believe USADA’s most recent production request is an overreaction to an unfamiliar feeling: vulnerability. So dramatic changes are not impossible should USADA unlock its position.


The applicable guidance shows that USADA could abandon the case and then side with Landis against WADA both at the initial hearing and/or at an appeal. USADA is clearly not required to appeal an adverse decision by the AAA Panel.

It seems unlikely that USADA would do this, even though fairness may indicate it to be the right course. All the evidence we have so far - public statements by USADA regarding the Landis case21, USADA’s apparent refusal to provide required documentation to the Landis defense team in a timely way, USADA’s questionable behavior concerning an open hearing, the bizarre contents of USADA’s most recent discovery request, and its behavior during the retesting of Landis’ B samples - strongly suggests it will maintain its current position to the end.

The only logical conclusion is that, thus far, USADA’s tactics reflect a win-at-all costs mentality, which can make it an irrational actor.


As an indication of irrational decision making, the discovery request of April 3rd raises questions whether USADA and/or its outside counsel may have violated attorney ethics rules. That, however, is a topic for another time.

About the Authors

John Gilliland is an Air Force judge advocate. He has been involved in numerous drug prosecutions involving urinalysis testing. His views are his alone; they do not represent those of any government agency.

David Brower is the publisher of Trust But Verify,


1 Though the word “prosecution” in this context is incorrect because Landis isn’t facing criminal charges, we use it here because of familiarity.

3 Id.

4 USADA Protocol.pdf, sections 2a, d, and/or e.

6 Conceivably WADA could pursue a fraud or similar case in the US courts, but that would set a precedent that would likely work against WADA by opening the door to athletes initiating actions in the US court system.

7 The ongoing public statements by Mr. Richard Pound, the head of WADA, indicate that he is not above changing the rules to his organization’s benefit.

8 USADA Protocol.pdf, 10b, p 10.

9 AAA modified rules for doping cases.doc, R-4. The only potential parties are the athlete (or other party charged, such as a soigneur), USADA, the applicable international federation - the UCI, in Landis’ case.

10 . Whether it could directly intervene in proceedings in another country depends on the rules of those proceedings. USADA could certainly provide public and political support, and could appeal to CAS in Landis’ defense. Also, Landis could conceivably call USADA personnel to testify on his behalf, and that is easier for him if USADA is cooperative.

11 WADA code.pdf, pp 38-40. Note also that the American Arbitration Association Arbitration of Olympic Sport Doping Disputes Supplementary Procedures, which governs the upcoming Landis proceedings, is silent on this subject. Though these rules do spell out appeal rights, the primary focus is on the process and procedures related to the initial hearing, so it makes sense that these rules are not relevant to this issue.

12 While the American and Portuguese rules and organizational structures are not identical, the fact remains that the PFP, an enforcement body, imposed a suspension, then sided with the athlete against WADA before CAS. Remember that the appeal procedures are identical, so the same section I have cited here were applicable to the Portuguese case.

13 For anti-doping violation cases involving use/possession of prohibited substances. On 30 January 2007, USADA cleared 2 testees who had been previously sanctioned for failing to appear for drug testing. They had been reserves who would not have been subject to testing because “both the automatic selections and the randoms were available for testing.” Of note is that of approximately 50 press releases and rulings posted on the USADA web site, this case is the only one in which an athlete was cleared. Remember this case dealt with athletes who were suspended for not showing up for a drug test, even though they were not required to do so.

14 The “Fundamental Rationale for the World Anti-Doping Code includes “Ethics, fair play, and honesty…respect for rules and laws,” etc. WADA code.pdf, p2. The USADA results management web site says, “We work each day to achieve a transparent and fair results management and adjudication process.”

15 Though I doubt statistics are the only reason for his promotion, it is reasonable to assume the successful prosecution rate is a contributing factor.

18 Such provisions are common in these kinds of contracts.


20 I acknowledge that Mr. Tygart’s tone could be a result of the editorial process, but the fact that Mr. Tygart has not challenged that interview (it would be easy to do so via the USADA web site) suggests that the interview conveyed his views accurately.

21 Without naming them explicitly, the targets of at least some of Mr. Tygart’s barbs in this interview are clearly Landis and his defense team. He also takes a general shot at athletes who chose to exercise their rights to contest adverse analytical findings. His comment that anyone who suggests the USADA process impinges on athletes is “a blatant distortion of the truth” must be tempered by the fact that he was involved in drafting the code that he is defending: Perhaps there’s a bit of bias there.

Full Post with Comments...

Friday Roundup

The Boulder Report covers some new ground in interviews with some of the parties involved in this week's Landis developments. The case gets stranger and stranger as it goes on, but it does seem that it is creating new benchmarks in the athlete vs anti-doping agency process. From Maurice Suh, one of the Landis lawyers:

In a telephone interview with Suh earlier this week, he outlined to me some of the possible plans, which may include a request for summary judgment. Simply put – while the arbitration panel has no power to compel USADA or LNDD to follow its rules in France, they also are under no obligation to admit the evidence in question and, says Suh, either at the arbitration level or the civil court level, Landis could ask for a case dismissal.

“There is a longstanding line of cases that talk about, in essence, a kind of prosecutorial misconduct in connection with handling the case,” Suh said. “Under U.S. law, that can result in a dismissal of the case as well as sanctions. We’re operating under a different legal framework here [in the arbitration process] but there are a lot of analogies.”

To Suh, the LNDD incident offers an excellent opportunity to introduce a laundry list of sorts of actions they contend are egregious conduct on USADA’s part. “There is a long line of pieces of conduct, including the discovery request, which constitute abuse of process, and a lot of other pieces of conduct relating to false statements made to us in the course of investigation,” he said, declining to offer specific examples of false statements.

The discovery request represented a new wrinkle in the case and a much harder edge to USADA’s prosecution of it. In a four-page letter sent to Suh on April 3, USADA – through an outside law firm – requested a variety of information from Landis, including the identity of donors who contributed $250 or more to the Floyd Fairness Fund, the usernames Floyd has used in posting on instant message boards or online forums (and the content of all such posts) and copies of all documents sent by anyone associated with Floyd to government officials to instigate investigations or USADA.

That request, from Matthew Barnett of the law firm of Holmes, Roberts and Owens, was for most observers the latest indication that the Landis case is ever-widening. One example: to my knowledge, USADA has never retained outside counsel to help adjudicate an anti-doping case.

To use a poker analogy, both sides have consistently upped the ante on their bets. Early on, either Floyd could have admitted guilt or USADA could have dismissed the case for lack of evidence. That’s no longer an option for either side now – each one is all-in and, in order to survive to the next hand, one of them must be pushed off the table.

The Boulder Report's Joe Lindsey concludes that even as cycling needs cleaning up, the athletes involved deserve to have their civil rights acknowledged, and the way forward is now even less clear than it was before.

The Journal News writes about hip resurfacing in what is thus far starting out as a blessedly quiet day on the Floyd Landis front. It is seen as a great solution for younger patiences with flexibility and bone strength, and Landis was a perfect candidate for the Smith and Nephew device.

BBC Sport publishes a piece on the delight Bradley Wiggins is taking in the suspension of Ivan Basso from Discovery. He also comments briefly on Floyd Landis:

"But I don't think we will ever learn the full story about what happened last year with Operacion Puerto and Floyd Landis (the Tour winner who subsequently failed a doping test). Every time something comes up they get a good lawyer and it gets dragged through the courts for years.

In another of the Matt Slater articles, Wiggins has even more to say about Floyd Landis and his spectacular ride in Stage 17 of last year's Tour de France:

“Landis had lost 10 minutes the day before but he took nearly six mountains out of the other leaders on that last climb. I finished 52 minutes behind him. It was not a human effort.

“And what is often forgotten is that some riders didn’t make the time cut that day, only three days before the finish in Paris. That is messing with people’s livelihoods because next year’s contract could depend on that.

It is small wonder then that Wiggins is confident he speaks for the majority of cyclists – who are almost certainly clean – when he says he has little sympathy for the likes of Basso, Landis and Ullrich.

Mr Wiggins seems to have forgetten that Floyd Landis has lost his livelihood while a majority of the riders who didn't make the time on that stage are still riding. But the goods news is that some of the "cheats" Wiggins has met turned out to be among the nicest people in the peloton. That should make everyone feel much better.

The Cycling News print two letters today criticizing Floyd Landis for everything from being too hard on the LNDD for its profesional work ethic, to fundraising practices for the FFF.
Our letter reminding them "several" is not "seven" was politely received and replied to via email, admitting "it's very important to make such a distinction," but not published. So it goes.

WGAL from Floyd Landis' hometown Lancaster , PA picks up the bankruptcy story with this added quote which was not in the original:

"If it continues at this rate for a few more months, yes, it (bankruptcy) will happen. It's costing me time and emotional energy -- all of my time away from my family dealing with this," Landis said.

The Union Sentinel must have just gotten around to posting on line a story from last week's Tour of Georgia telling us that Floyd Landis gave some cachet to Stage 5 when he became an impromptu announcer.


We show the "whistleblower" / "hacker' documents
for the first time, and discover CYA.

Later, we consider USADA options about dropping the case. This introduces new contributor John Gilliland, USAF, a Judge Advocate (prosecutor). It may seem a fanciful topic, but might be a politically astute move.

Rant talks about the above noted "Whistle Blower Docs" and emphasizes among many pertinent things, one conclusion that may have a great deal of importance:

Of course, the problem in the Floyd Landis case is that LNDD’s famed leaker spilled the beans on the lab’s findings within days of Floyd’s Tour victory, which — if a mistake had been made — left it impossible for LNDD to issue one of their “So sorry, we made an error. Would you kindly destroy the evidence of our incompetence?”

It reminds one of the great Laurel and Hardy line: "Well Stanley, that's another fine mess you've gotten us into". Rant also shares our concerns that Bradley Wiggins has missed a vital point in all of his criticism, and that is what if Floyd Landis is telling the truth?

Dugard writes:
USADA should feel proud of themselves for grinding every last bit of money out of Floyd Landis for having the temerity to stand up and demand due process

Bankruptcy Lawyers of San Antonio blog about the admission by Floyd Landis this week that he may have to seek relief from financial troubles in the form of a bankruptcy declaration. Perhaps they know a lawyer who can handle his case if need be?

Information Cul-de-Sac comes to the rescue, and contemplates some of the complications of a bankruptcy, especially if Landis ends up winning. His TdF payoff, traditionally paid to the team, might end up in the hands of the creditors instead, with Landis owing the IRS to boot. Earlier, he'd sent a letter to his Congressman.

Chubbyandnot references a comic sports cartoon on the topic of the LNDD and conspiracies against Floyd Landis, but no link? But chubby does feels badly that Floyd can't compete this year.

Freedestqw starts off telling us about Floyd Landis' newly leaked test results, but then well, just stops.

Proleptic Life looks at developments and scratches head, thinking he may not be given a fair chance. (n.b., "proleptic" defined - it ain't in my vocabulary)

Le Grimpeur talks cycling, watts, kg, and Hincapie, Peirero, Armstrong and Landis climbing in the 2005 and 2006 Tours. Maybe George lost too much weight in '06, and didn't keep the w/kg he had in '05; he might still have had a hard time keeping up with Landis.

Thought for the Day

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations... can never effect a reform.
-susan b. anthony-

Full Post with Comments...

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Among the many turns of plot in the L'Affaire Landis was the report in November that copies of documents embarrassing and attributed to the LNDD had been delivered to a number of news outlets and organizations, by mail, in plain brown envelopes.

There were charges that parts were forged, the contents were "taken out of context," and perhaps worst, that the French was bad. L'Equipe did not run a shocking expose of the leaked contents, but complained about how the documents were obtained, and how it was Landis what done it. On the other hand, Sam Abt of the International Herald Tribune thought they sounded pretty darned likely, and convincing.

Tellingly, Dr. de Ceaurriz, head of the LNDD, has been saying that he is is not allowed to comment on the authenticity or the contents.

UPDATE May 8, 2006. Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times confirms some authenticity:

Documents provided to Landis by USADA indicate that LNDD was forced to reverse itself in at least one other case in 2006 because it had mishandled an innocent athlete's sample.

According to the documents, the lab withdrew its finding that a competitive swimmer had doped with the steroid mesterolone after it discovered that the athlete's sample had been contaminated by steroids in another sample tested the same day. WADA rebuked the lab, demanding that it take corrective action.

The documents provided to Landis' attorneys appear to be identical to several that were made public last year by an anonymous source who had allegedly hacked into the lab's computers. USADA's delivery of the documents in the swimmer's case indicates that those, at least, are genuine.

Arnie Baker has made reference to them in slide shows, with caveats that they are not authenticated, which we repeat again, here: These are not known to be authentic. But there have been no denials of the content, only complaints on the "letterhead" upon which they were delivered by what Dr. Baker calls, "the Whistleblower."

We're going to show both the originals as delivered, and translations for English speakers prepared by our Paris correspondent, Marc, except where the letters are already in English.


As described originally, the documents apparently consist of a number of apologies and result-withdrawals made by LNDD to various federations reflecting various errors that the lab felt obliged to correct, after having sent off "certified" AAFs. It also includes alleged correspondence with WADA attempting to explain various aspects of the situation.

None of the agencies, federations or labs has confirmed the contents of these letters -- but neither have they been denied. The main public complaints have been (1) that the letterhead on which they are printed appears to be forged, perhaps reflecting the sender's attempt to duplicate the effect of LNDD's fax or letterhead; and (2) that they are taken "out of context", but no context has been provided.

It appears the sender obtained machine readable copies of these documents, faked some letterhead, and passed them on. That has left many to think the sender is a "hacker" who broke into the LNDD's computers, one with shockingly bad spelling, since the Lab address is incorrect on the faked letterheads. The truth is unknown, but the incident apparently has spurred the AFLD to approve funding for better security and improved information systems at the lab. Perhaps that was the goal of the operation.

Now, what M. Whistleblower sent.

First, he sent a cover sheet, saying,
Please find attached the very interesting information. I had to make sure that what happened was known.

Then, a list of people sent the envelope.

The list includes:

  • Jacques Rogge at the IOC
  • Peter Uberroth at the USOC
  • Richard Pound at the WADA
  • Pierre Bordry at the CPLD (now AFLD)
  • Terry Madden at USADA
  • Steve Johnson at USA Cycling
  • Pat PcQuaid at the UCI
  • Patrice Clerc at the ASO
  • Howard Jacobs
  • Sam Abt at the IHT
We don't know if there were other recipients. We think the New York Times got it, suggesting another page of recipients we don't have. Notably missing is anyone associated with ISO accreditation, who would seem relevant.

The second page appears to be a letter from LNDD to the World Squash Federation, on May 10, 2005, about reports issued April 13th.

Please find attached the reports of analyses #25086 (63/03-2, May 10, 2005) and #25087 (63/03-3, May 10, 2005), which revoke and replace the reports of analyses #24912 (63/03-2, April 13, 2005) and 24913 (63/03-3, April 13, 2005).

In fact, Terbutaline was attributed to the wrong sample (confusion between #316143 and #316148)

Consequently, I would be grateful to you if you would destroy the erroneous analytic reports.

[The equivalent of “Sincerely yours”]

Caroline LOUBET

We're sorry, it's three weeks after we sent you these AAFs, but the reports we sent out attributed the banned substance to the wrong sample. Oops! Hope you didn't ruin anyone's life over it!

Page 3, a similar looking letter sent to the World Alpinism Association [sic], on Nov 17, 2005.

Please find attached the report of analysis #26532 (38/11, November 17, 2005), which revokes and replaces the report of analysis #26511 (38/11, November 15, 2005).

In fact, the date the sample was taken was recorded as November 29, 2005 instead of October 29, 2005.

Consequently, I would be grateful to you if you would destroy the erroneous analytic report.

Please excuse us for this error, and [“Sincerely yours”]

Caroline LOUBET

Got the sample date wrong, Doh! Fortunately, it's only two days after we sent it!

Page 4, sent to FINA, the Swimming Federation, on July 6, 2006 about reports issued on the July 4th. (Remember the dates).

Please find attached the report of analysis #28236 (90/05, July 12, 2006 [sic]), which revokes and replaces the reports of analyses #28112 (90/05-1, July 4, 206 [sic]) and 28113 (90/05-2, July 4, 2006).

In fact, a re-analysis of sample #336186 invalidated the presence of one of the metabolites of Mesterolone (due to contamination of one of the urine controls)

Consequently, I would be grateful to you if you would destroy the erroneous analytic report.

Please excuse us for this error, and [“Sincerely yours”]

Caroline LOUBET

The tour has started, and they are withdrawing a report that found Mesterolone because they had bad urine blanks. Let's hope this athlete didn't have his reputation ruined.

Page 5, On September 1st 2006, after the Landis AAF has broken out, WADA asks the LNDD, "what the heck is going on here with your blank urine sample? We found out through FINA, and are not amused."

Dr. Oliver Rabin, Director of Science

Pages 6 and 7, LNDD answers WADA on Sept 8th, a week later.

We're all pals here, so we're using a very informal font for this. This isn't serious, is it?

Anyway, here's our documentation on the original. We had second thoughts because something didn't look right, and when we did a reanalysis, it looked OK. We think maybe we mixed up some samples, and the blank urine was contaminated. When we did it again, it came out right. And the dog ate our
homework, or maybe contaminated the blanks.

No problems here!



Page 8, The French Swimming Foundation gets a letter dated Sep 13 2006 about tests reported on Sep 11 and 12, a few days after LNDD tells WADA things are under control.

Please find attached the report of analysis #28740 (161/06-1, September 12, 2006), which revokes and replaces the report of analysis #28720 (161/06-1, September 11, 2006).

In fact, the sample was recorded as 338439 instead of 338349.

Consequently, I would be grateful to you if you would, by return mail, send me back the original of the erroneous analytic report.

Please excuse us for this error, and [“Sincerely yours”]

Caroline LOUBET

Darned, those numbers are tricky to copy right.

Page 9, to FINA, the International Swimming Federation, on Sep 13 about those same Sep 12 and 13 reports.

Please find attached the report of analysis #28740 (161/06-1, September 12, 2006), which revokes and replaces the report of analysis #28720 (161/06-1, September 11, 2006).

In fact, the sample was recorded as 338439 instead of 338349.

Consequently, I would be grateful to you if you would destroy the erroneous analytic report.

Please excuse us for this error, and [“Sincerely yours”]

Caroline LOUBET

Silly ol' us.

Clearly, none of these incidents has anything directly to do with the Landis case. They are not evidence related to his reported AAFs. The problem with urine blanks in July leading to false declaration of an AAF could presage a similar problem with Landis, but that has not been raised to our knowledge. These incidents might be relevant in the same way the new B sample tests are after several burden flips in corroborating perceptions about the LNDD.

The letters indicate a pattern.
  1. An error of some sort is made.
  2. It is identified after a report has been sent off to a federation.
  3. LNDD wants the old report destroyed or returned.
  4. Only rarely does WADA seem to be informed of this.
  5. And never the ISO accreditors.
  6. When WADA is informed, it accepts at face value LNDD's excuses.
Now consider the scenario in the Landis case. LNDD sends a report they think is an AAF. Perhaps they are having second thoughts and thinking about doing some confirmation work, but Merde! The UCI has already gone public and all hell is breaking loose

Can they allow themselves second thoughts now? Are they going to send one of Caroline LOUBETs sincere letters of apology?

In fact, the little exchange between LNDD, FINA, and WADA over the urine blank problem causing a misidentification happens while the Landis case is exploding.

Landis files his motion for dismissal on September 11.

Does the ADRB know anything about the problems LNDD has been having?

Has LNDD sent one of the LOUBET notes? Can LNDD think about admitting an error given the exposure of the case?


The wagons at LNDD, USADA and WADA are circling. Gonna have to tough it out, stick by your guns, stay the course.

The tests are "infallible", the labs are accredited, we have no problems, nothing to see here, move along.

Look! A dirty doper!!! He's CHEATING!!!

So it goes.

Full Post with Comments...