Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tuesday Roundup


The VeloNews Monday Mailbag contained the typical letters we have seen of late about lawyers, doping, sponsors, etc., but also a rather sad note from a cyclist who is giving up on the sport before he has even begun.

The Boulder Report compares the confusing Michael Rasmussen with new breed US cycling phenom Taylor Phinney.

The CyclingNews notes that Giro D'Italia organizer Angelo Zomegnan is calling for a clean Giro this year, from his mouth and all that.

The Charlotte Observer comments on the eligibility of several high school football players and drags Floyd Landis' name into the discussion.

NYT reminds us forensic labs under high standards have problems with, "Sloppy Police Lab Work Leads to Retesting":

The New York Police Department has begun to test thousands of drug evidence samples, as a review by the state’s inspector general has found that sloppy work by analysts in the department’s crime laboratory could have skewed drug evidence used by prosecutors.

There is no Inspector General with interest in overseeing WADA labs. (Tip from Woody)

Analytical Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal, looks at the case in its news section in the Dec. 1st edition. PDF here. No particular revelations, but it is a decent summary of many significant issues. Tygart doesn't cop to any scientific failings, just lessons for case management:
On October 10, Landis announced that he has appealed the arbitration ruling and will take his argument to the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport. It remains to be seen whether any new scientific evidence will be introduced or whether a new panel of arbitrators will respond any differently to the complex scientific arguments. “The issues here were very complicated for anyone not well versed in isotope work,” says [Paul] Scott. “It’s not easy to understand.”

The case has raised the question of whether, in their current state, the analytical procedures and protocols in sports drug testing can be properly followed at all times so that no one can dispute the results. “It’s really easy to play Monday-morning quarterback and see an i that’s not dotted or a t that’s not crossed, but that in no way undermined the validity or the reliability of the work that was done by the French lab,” says Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of USADA. “But we always look for ways to improve, and we’ll learn lessons from this case just like we do in every case that goes forward.”

AP/Yahoo report Luca Ascani is being recommended a two year suspension for EPO use while winning the Italian time trial championship.

Rant is following the "what is documented where" discussion on TBV and is now wondering if USADA had the information it needed from the LNDD to make any kind of a decision in the Landis case, and has a few pertinent questions on the matter:

What did the lab do? This we know, because the case against Landis alleges the use of exogenous testosterone. LNDD performed both T/E screening tests, and IRMS (carbon istotope ratio) tests to determine whether the testosterone was natural or synthetic.

What were they supposed to do? Being that the use of testosterone is the issue, they were supposed to do the tests listed above.

How were they supposed to perform the tests? This is where it begins to get a little murky. In the LDP, you can find procedures for the T/E testing and the IRMS testing. But, as has been pointed out already, some of the documentation is missing. That would be the standard operating procedures for one or both of the GC/MS testing and the GC/IRMS testing. The part of the information that’s known shows some step by step procedures for preparing samples, and so forth. But does that include the setup and use of the GC/MS and GC/IRMS equipment?

(tip from an emailer)

Racejunkie continues to write amusing and trenchant analysis. Today, he touches on bad journalism in the Landis affair, hypocrisy around Rasmussen, the baby-making calendar for CSC riders who wish to skip survival camp, and the curse of Kloden.

Cycling Fans Anonymous vents about the lack of rider representation, and the UCI's flouting of its obligations to the participants. Landis' stuggles to get paid for time at Mercury are cited as an example of the UCI jumping on the victim of someone else's malfeasance:
For example, Floyd Landis had to wait years to get his money when Mercury went under, and was angrily punished by the UCI when he dared to reply honestly to a reporter who asked him about the situation. Landis broke the cardinal rule by making the UCI look bad in public. So as usual, instead of following the rules and just paying Landis the money he was clearly owed in a timely manner, they instead got angry at him for daring to suggest that they ought enforce their own rules. Such is the unfortunate possible fate of most any rider who rightfully asks the UCI to do their job of enforcing the rules. Of course, the UCI went on blithely claiming that they had no proof Landis was not paid.

The University of Notre Dame Cycling Team wants you to make the call. Frankly, Mr. Rock would not be caught dead, or alive, in that plaid shirt -- European collar notwithstanding.

Velo Swiss was bored at home yesterday and went looking for cycling vids to watch on YouTube, and found a Slipstream promo about the motivation to ride clean. Clips with Vaughters, Allen Lim, and Paul Scott of ACE.

Bicycle.net re-runs a general story on doping enforcement from last week, the one where Catlin says if the sample CoC isn't good, everything is broken.

Off Topic

Texas Jim invites us all to take a break and enjoy some really beautiful pics. We'll follow with a reminder from the folks at Despair.com.


ms said...

NYTimes: Sloppy Police Lab Work Leads to Retesting

The New York Police Department has begun to test thousands of drug evidence samples, as a review by the state’s inspector general has found that sloppy work by analysts in the department’s crime laboratory could have skewed drug evidence used by prosecutors.


nahual said...

..."it's not unusual, it happens all the time....." per Tom Jones

Another link to past screwups:

Oversight of crime-lab staff has often been lax
A close look at the Washington State Patrol crime lab reveals a stressed system where officials have been slow to deal with misconduct by longtime employees.
- Crime labs too beholden to prosecutors, critics say (July 23, 2004)

Laura Challoner, DVM said...

Here's another one:
"Bullet lead analysis exposed as unscientific", here;


I'm sure it was NOT "easy to play Monday morning quarterback" on those tests and whatever quarterbacking was done, turned out exactly to undermine the validity of the tests.

Mr. Tygart must live in an ADA induced coma, I think, because he doesn't seem to have a clue about how "sloppy" science can and does ruin lives and careers.

Bill Mc said...

The article in Analytical Chemistry is disappointing in that it is really just reportage without any analysis. I would love to see an article in a peer reviewed scientific journal that did a rigorous analysis of the "science" that was used to accuse Floyd, but I do not think that is likely to happen any time soon, if ever.

Unknown said...

Judge Hue beats me to the point(s) once again.

+1 on the Monday morning quarterbacking wrt the Landis hearing/case actually being difficult.

It should have/could have been easy if little things like following the rules and actually seeking the truth mattered to WADA/USADA/LNDD/UCI/ASO. Confidentiality breaches, heads of involved organizations proclaiming guilt before a hearing (even a kanga court hearing), failure to produce copies of pertinent documentation to the accused during what passed for discovery, and huge holes in the case being deemed acceptable by the Majority Arbs +1 - the mass spec data that might tell the story one way or the other - overwritten by LNDD and unrecoverable.

Tygart gets a quote in the journal and it further demonstrates that he is FOS.

Tygart doesn't seem to have a clue about the concept of the golden rule. If his livlihood hung on a sample he might be required to produce being analysized by LNDD in the manner that Floyd's was, well then, I'd be curious to hear his candid evaluation in that situation.......

Ali said...

Those pictures are amazing !

PEM said...

Re: Off Topic Pics

They were some cyclists caught red handed experimenting in high altitude training. Real unfair advantage. I also believe one of them missed an out of competition sampling because he could not be reached.

Seriously, really nice pics.