Monday, April 30, 2007

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-


Unknown said...

Now the AFLD is asking for outside help. So much for this being and open and shut case. It sounds like Bordry isn't convinced about the 'B' samples himself...

This whole thing is screwed up and should have never happened. I hope Floyd can get his money back somehow...

Anonymous said...

ORG here ....

Could this not work to Landis favor?

Back in February the AFLD gave Landis another copy of the LDP that was marked "original" but was different from the LDP Landis got from USADA in September. It also became apparent that the AFLD and USADA do not communicate and, I believe, USADA had to get a copy of the "other original" LDP from the Landis camp. (is this correct?)

So, let's assume the AFLD and USADA still do not talk. If Bordry does a review and forward's it to Landis, he could hand Landis some information that could weaken USADA's case without even knowing it. He certainly did when he handed Landis the otehr original LDP in February.

Even if their review finds nothing wrong, certainly something will diverge from what the Landis experts and the panel's experts report. Then we can have various set of experts not agreeing on basic facts about the procedures at the LNDD.


Anonymous said...

I generally agree with your take on the situation ORG, but I really doubt AFLD will get anything to Floyd in the next 14 days. They operate on their own time frame, and probably aren't in any hurry given that they have agreed to wait until USADA is done with Floyd before they go at him.

Anonymous said...

from sadden1

swimyouidiot is right about the French time frame. We're entering the 'Ponts de Mai'here in France right now. It's a couple of holidays that fall in the middle of the week during May, and the French traditionally take the bridge days (the ponts) off as well. You will be lucky if anyone shows up at the office for more than three days during the next two weeks.

Anonymous said...

Geez, life is tough in France!

Let's think about it. Who would you vote for...a socialist who wants to keep all your holidays or a conservative who wants to get rid of them? Go Segolene!


Thomas A. Fine said...

I think TBV should make some mention of al l the other doping stories going on. 49 new riders in O.P., Spain reopening investigation, Basso leaves Discovery, Hamilton and Jaksche suspended.

Basically the profession sport of cycling appears to be imploding. This will have a significant impact on how Floyd's case is perceived by the public, and also possibly by the arbitrators.


Cheryl from Maryland said...

I agree with Swimyouidiot -- it seems highly unlikely that a review of the LNDD will happen in two weeks, or that they will forward information to Mr. Landis. On the other hand, it suggests that Mssr. Bordry is positioning the AFLD to be ready in case the arbitrators side with Mr. Landis.

Just curious, with Puerto now implicating over 100 riders, is there anyone left in the peleton?

Anonymous said...

Can someone clarify....the quote from Mssr Bordry claims that he is "awaiting a regular review, conducted every six months by an independent French agency".

But if May is month six, then this review would have been done in December as well??? What about the results from the review six months ago???

Does that even matter???


Anonymous said...

My thought at this point is that AFLD may be positioning itself to try to have a winner declared by July 7th. Remember, when Floyd is done with USADA, he still has to hop across the pond and deal with the delayed AFLD hearing. (Unless I missed something and that was canceled).

Depending on the outcome of the USADA proceedings, AFLD may be positioning themselves for a quick dismissal in order to have a winner declared prior to the start of the Tour.

Anonymous said...

Cannot the AFLD inquiry work both ways?

Bordry is quoted saying:
"These results will be difficult to contest whatever their conclusion. I will forward the results to Landis' lawyers when I get them,"

Notice the "whatever the conclusion". It seems to me that one very plausible conclusion is that the "B samples where handled adequatly". A way to counter-spin Landis' lawyers.