Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Roundup

The Pensacola News Journal previews Floyd Landis' scheduled group ride Saturday April 21 at the grand opening of the Andrews Institute for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Pensacola, FLA. His appearance comes under the auspices of Smith and Nephew who are the manufacturers of his new hip joint. A spokeswoman for the new clinic hopes that doping allegations against Landis will not distract from the fact that he is an excellent example of the benefits of hip resurfacing for an athlete:

"We have followed his case closely as well, and he is in the process of going through various legal channels to address the allegations," said Nikki Troxclair, an institute spokeswoman.
"We really hope it doesn't put out a negative message. We focused more on the aspect that Floyd is very known in the biking community, and there are a lot of avid bikers here that look up to him. Here at the institute, we really stress performance training the natural way. We don't condone any kind of unnatural enhancement."

Reuters cites a new phenomenon in cycling referred to as "the Landis effect" in which potential sponsors of various cycling events pull out or decline support due the fallout from doping allegations filed against 2006 Tour de France Champion Floyd Landis. The particular race cited in this piece was a one day held in Zürich, Switzerland. The acquisition of a sponsor is alleged to have been disrupted by the Landis doping allegations.

Grand Island Independant
(registration req'd) headlings "May arbitration hearing can undo public opinion."

To cover its tracks, the USADA is now testing another "B" sample from after the tour. Landis' "A" sample was negative in that test. Landis fought the new test, as it goes against international testing rules.

He's hoping it will all backfire because he believes the whole world will be watching as the USADA's case against him crumbles like old Roquefort.

The VeloNews reveals that Ivan Basso's participation in this year's Tour de France is in question. Little Landis content except for the implication quoted by Christian Prudhomme about last year's "sullied Tour".

CyclingNews letter doesn't see the point of the B sample tests in checking the LNDD procedure:

Why does USADA think that retesting Mr Landis B samples is necessary to examine whether the IRMS procedure is faulty? In order to test the IRMS equipment and procedure a properly designed experiment should include: a urine sample with a known amount of c14/c13, a urine sample with synthetic testosterone metabolites, and a urine sample with natural testosterone metabolites, and a urine sample free if any testosterone metabolites (if possible).

These types of experiments should also be done in independent WADA facilities and blind of one another to rule out or confirm that the French lab is a source of testing error. Mr Landis B samples are one big unknown and retesting them will likely only produce more confusion. For example, if all the B samples test positive for synthetic T, without scientific control then Mr Landis can easily suggest the IRMS testing procedure is faulty because his ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone was normal. Perhaps the USADA arbitrators should be less arbitrary in the questions they pursue. Only when an experiment is properly designed can it reveal meaningful information.

Biking Bis notes that last year's Tour of Georgia winner Floyd Landis was on hand at the summit of Brasstown Bald this afternoon as Levi Leipheimer won the stage .

Rant read the above article about the "Landis Effect" and thinks it ought to be called "Nervous Sponsor Effect", reflecting desire for an excuse to save money:

Sponsors will, however, cite examples like the Landis case in order to justify their actions — whether that’s dropping their commitment to a team (causing the folding of Phonak, for example), or their commitment to a race. It’s easy to pin the blame on someone else. It’s much harder to accept responsibility for one’s own actions. So let’s be clear about this: The Zürich race isn’t being canceled because of anything Floyd Landis did. Pinning that on Floyd is a bum rap that further sullies his name.

Cyclist 451 posted some recently taken photos on Flickr of the Ride with Floyd event held on Sunday April 15, 2007 around Austin, TX. Below we see Floyd pictured with Doug. posts one sentence on the Landis appearance cited above, in Pensacola, FLA tomorrow. No comment was made, though one must assume a snark is being hinted at here since the site is dedicated to keeping Barry Bonds out of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mountain Buzz is psyched that Floyd Landis will be competing on the same team as kayaker Tao Berman in the Teva Mountain Games in June.

Forums has been bouncing around Landis for a while. One reasonable, but skeptical poster writes in conclusion:

I've only glanced at Landis' presentation, but a lot of it seems concerned with procedural justice. I think there are important reasons for procedural justice, so I have no problem with that. But it's possible that Landis could convince me that he is technically entitled to keep his victory and yet not persuade me to leap to my feet and proclaim that he didn't engage in doping.

For instance, IIRC, one of his claims is that only one out of four tests showed the presence of a synthetic hormone. I'd like to know more about that. Is it really the case that no substantive conclusions can be drawn from only one test (a true false positive) or is it rather that the requirement of multiple positives serves procedural concerns such as giving any benefit of the doubt to the accused?

And therein lies the challenge for Landis: explaining how the metabolite deltas observed are erroneously arrived and not indicative of doping, but within the realm of normal variation.

Thought for the Day

Courage consists in the power of self-recovery.
-ralph waldo emerson


Anonymous said...

What a surprise, now Basso might not race in this year's tour. Just one more reason not to watch this year. Perhaps the powers that control professional cycling will destroy it faster than I thought. Guess I will just have more time to ride, after all professional wrestling is more believable than professional cycling right now, and I hate wrestling.
Green MTN.

Thinnmann said...

I wonder which lab did the DNA matching for Ullrich....

Anonymous said...

Oh c'mon Mike. You KNOW you're going to watch the Tour just like everyone else here.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Steve, not a chance. I have not watched one second of any pro racing since the end of last year's tour, nor will I. Not as long as this circus continues. What is the point? The best are not there, so who really cares... Not I. I will just stick to riding my bikes, and teaching my boys how to ride.
Green MTN.

Anonymous said...

"And therein lies the challenge for Landis: explaining how the metabolite deltas observed are erroneously arrived and not indicative of doping, but within the realm of normal variation."

Floyd should not be required to prove a negative. Under that standard, all defendants would hang. Rather, the burden should be on the French Lab to explain why it claims Floyd's test results were positive for synthetic testosterone when no other WADA labs thinks the lab's own data support that conclusion.

Anyhow, the fact that Floyd's samples were tested by the same person and the paper work was touched up after the testing (and appartently again after the Wiki defense!) indicate that Floyd did not receive the required benefit of a double or even single blind testing. This alone would cause the case against him to be thrown out of any non-kangaroo court.

DBrower said...

Last anon, what you say makes sense from the point of view of a US resident accustomed to US legal procedure.

However, the rules of Anti-doping enforcement DO require him to prove a negative. This is but one of the "fairness" problems being brought to public consciousness by the case.