Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Roundup

Quote on the Day

"You visit a website and you try to register and they asked for your birth date," he explains. "So you put in February 29 and a little pop-up appears that says something like 'Please enter a valid birth date' or 'You've entered an invalid birth date.'"
Of course the test is correct, it's ISO certified!


The CyclingNews writes more of Pat McQuaid's reactions to the stunning rejection the UCI suffered when pro teams were forced to choose between it and the ASO. McQuaid now accuses the ASO of deliberately stirring up trouble and "disharmony" within professional cycling, while the ASO claims that teams and team managers have suffered attempted intimidation from the UCI. Pat McQuaid also claims that the "bio passport" program will not fly this year unless all interested parties pony up their share of the program's costs, and there is some confusion about its implementation in ASO events if the AFLD is forced to manage it due to current political concerns. Stay tuned, this is far from being over.

Eurosport has the rider's group suddenly concerned the UCI might sanction riders who participate in Paris-Nice. That may be McQ's remaining bullet, and it seems poised to go right into what is left of his foot.

The AP is reporting a Judge has ordered that Barry Bond's Grand Jury testimony be made public, but it is not yet released. Expect a feeding frenzy when it arrives. Tip for all young readers: it's best to tell the truth under oath. You promised, it's easier to keep the story straight, and you are less likely to get indicted for perjury.

Having given the old Ford Escape to brother-in-law Max, Landis recently did some test driving of new grocery getters. This was quick, but missing a big-enough basket and a cup-holder. This might work better for trips to the store, but will never win an IHVPA event.
(Photo: D Kohli, at Robbie's Vision Quest Camp)

Rant notes that what goes around comes around and the UCI's greed and heavy handedness of the past has come back to haunt them. Pat McQuaid has managed to unite the pro teams as he could have never imagined.

WADA Watch runs down the recent WADA press workshop, with slides of the "Athlete's Passport" system, and pointers to online documents. WW also goes down responses to some pointed questions he'd posed before the event.

Huffpost runs a new article by Gary Gaffney discussing some myths of PEDs, ineffectiveness, and synergetic effectiveness.
[W]e could conclude that scientific studies of the performance enhancing qualities of these metabolic hormones (testosterone, HGH, IGF-1, insulin, HCG, thyroid hormone) remain incomplete, and will never be totally conclusive.


Odds say that the PEDs enhance measures of athletic performance thus giving an unfair advantage to the PED abuser; the evidence also indicates these hormones produce potentially dangerous side-effects. These drugs constitute one of the most powerful classes of drugs known to medicine, and not to be entrusted to street dealers, strength coaches, gym rats, juiced outfielders, or mail-order hucksters. Regulation of HGH as a controlled substance seems appropriate. And that's no myth.

Petro-World describes some of the events he experienced this week at Robbie Ventura's Vision Quest camp in California. Floyd Landis was there for some of the festivities and Mark posts some tiny pictures to commemorate it.

Velocity Nation posts a couple of cartoons, one of which previews a "fantasy" congressional hearing involving Michael Ball of Rock Racing. The other features Ryan Seacrest and Dave Z, very zen stuff.

Gwadzilla writes about Floyd Landis' intention to run the NUE MTB series this year.

Racejunkie notes the monumental hypocrisies of Pat McQuaid and his new found " best-friend-of-the-rider" conscience:
...Yes, race organizer ASO and their disgusting employees are evil scumly anti-rider dirtballs who will lose no opportunity to destroy the innocent cyclists and their even more cherubic team managers on the most slender of unsubstantiated unkind doping-related rumors in heinous disregard of the truth, in contrast to UCI of course, which always has the very best interests of the poor riders at heart and has shown them nothing, as their exemplary track record will clearly show, but compassion, kindness, understanding, and, most of all, justice. Um, aren't we talking about the same pack of soulless rider-whoring vicious bitter bastards who left Iban Mayo wallowing on his couch like a slop-stuffed pig over their nasty refusal to accept his unpositive Z sample and bonfired Floyd Landis as the loathesome example of all that is wrong with cycling to every press outlet on earth before the boy even had the chance to get his boxers on the morning the scandal broke? What a sparkling little snowglobe of a fantasyland you live in, Pat "Dick" (McQuaid)!

MixItOnUp has another photo of Landis with a fan. Someone would have happily traded the sharpie for what's in the other's hand.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday Roundup

Pat McQuaid working the controls of his spin machine.
"Beware or you will lose the protection of the great and powerful UCI!"

The CyclingNews reports the UCI's response to the decision of many pro teams to commit to riding Paris-Nice after the UCI called for a boycott. (We called it.) Pat McQuaid sent a letter to the teams expressing his "concern" over a clause in the contract the teams must sign in order to run the race:
In the letter to the teams, the UCI president Pat McQuaid cautions the teams over the participation contract they have to sign with ASO in order to race. According to the French press agency AFP, the contract includes a clause which obliges a team to "immediately exclude from the race those who could damage the image of the event or the organiser

This clause has alerted McQuaid, who wrote in his letter,
"A simple doping rumour around a rider or member of staff would be enough for ASO to exclude the person or the entire team: there is no control be a neutral person or instance as there would be under UCI rules. You are being refused this elemental right.

It is remarkable for McQuaid to suddenly have such concern for the reputations of the riders in the peloton.

The CyclingNews Letters column is replete with notes about the tumultuous past two weeks in cycling. One note pronounces pro cycling as dead, they run the gamut.

In an update ESPN says that all 20 teams invited to take part in Paris-Nice will participate making the rejection of Pat McQuaid's call to boycott unanimous. McQuaid did not return AP requests for a comment.

The VeloNews flashes the headline,"McQuaid: Teams are Signing Away Their Rights" and posts a portion of the letter Pat McQuaid sent to the teams who elected to participate in Paris-Nice:

"I would like to impress on you the following. The signing of this contract would mean that your team would put itself completely outside the UCI,” McQuaid wrote. "By signing the contract you would be joining a private circuit controlled entirely by ASO for the benefit of its commercial interests

"You would be abandoning the protection afforded by rules of the UCI which are designed to give teams and riders rights and not simply protect the interests of organizers."

"ASO would be able to exclude any rider or even an entire team simply as a result of a mere rumor of doping (article 2.2 and 3.2): the contract provides for no form of appeal to a neutral body in contrast to the UCI's rules which provide for appeal to president of the college of commissaries, the president of the CUPT, the Road Commission or CAS. You would be denied this fundamental right of redress," McQuaid said.

Those protections and chances for redress has been working so well. Thanks for the advice, Professor Marvel.

AP reports MLB's Fehr as being willing to consider blood tests for HGH, with caveats:

HGH cannot be detected in current urine tests. The World Anti-Doping Agency says a blood test for HGH will be used at the Olympics, but no validated blood test for HGH currently is commercially available.

"If and when a blood test is available and it can be signed and validated by people other than those that are trying to sell it to you, then we'd have to take a hard look at it," Fehr said Thursday. "We'd have to see what it is and try to make a judgment as to whether it is fair and appropriate." Such a test would have to be agreed upon in discussions between owners and the union.

This is a softening of the position by MLB (and quoted players), but addresses the concerns we raised yesterday about WADA's announced test method.

The NY Times reports that the Justice Department will now investigate whether Roger Clemens perjured himself in testimony to congress.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Magnolia Pictures has acquired distribution rights for "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" a movie about steroid use in America which features an interview with Floyd Landis.

AP's Eddie Pells has won an award for his sports writing last year, including his coverage of the Landis case and hearing. Congratulations to one of the best informed and careful of reporters in the MSM.

WADAwatch was in attendance at the WADA media symposium held yesterday in Lausanne and previews what promises to be Ww's informative and in depth discussions of what he learned there starting tomorrow.

Rick is attending Robbie Ventura's Vision Quest cycling camp this week near Solvang, California and a surprise dinner guest answered a few questions after the meal.

Justin is at the Vision Quest camp as well and notes the following exchange. Looks like Floyd will ride with the group today:

20 minutes in to dinner, we had a special guest come in: The real winner of the 2006 Tour de France, Floyd Landis!!!!! We had a short Q&A regarding his situation and the best dialog of the night was the following exchange

Wally: Floyd, if you go drinking with Rick tonight and climb Mt. Figueroa tomorrow, do you think I could beat you
Floyd: First off, I will beat Rick in drinking and then I will beat you up the mountain.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday Roundup

AP/FoxSports/MSN reports a claim by Fahey that WADA has a good HGH test just in time for the Beijing Olympics. How conveeenient. It's said to be good, and capable of standing up to litigation challenge -- we assume, at least under the WADA Code in the setting of arbitration. The timing of the announcement is no doubt for deterrence value, and we won't know how good the claims are until a case arises. We have advanced pity for the person with the first contested positive. It's blood plasma based, and Catlin continues to chase a urine test. The NFL and MLB will not accept blood draws. (Tip from 5-iron in a comment)

FoxSports/O'Connor seems to be letting Landis off the hook, thanks to Roger Clemens:

In the long history of sports stars gone bad, only Pete Rose was this drop-dead dumb in defense of his legacy and name.

Not even a mention of Floyd! The times, they are a changin'

The CyclingNews reports on the continuing dispute between the UCI and the ASO with International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) president Eric Boyer looking for some consensus among AIGCP members. At this time Boyer indicates teams once again may side with the ASO forcing the UCI into the uncomfortable choice of sanctioning teams which participate in ASO events, or backing down on its threats. In further escalation of hostilities, the ASO has placed the AFLD in charge of doping control at Paris-Nice which the UCI says will make the race merely a private competition with no international status whatsoever:
No longer, it seems, is the agency simply viewing itself in the role of a UCI contractor, implementing doping controls deemed appropriate by cycling's international governing body. Speaking before Monday's announcement by the UCI which denounced the "insubordination of ASO and it allies," AFLD president Pierre Bordry said. "The first thing we had to consider was our strategy. The UCI's approach seemed too systematic to us. They test only the stage winners and the overall race leader. To avoid being tested it is sufficient to simply finish down the field. There needs to be more random testing.

"Under French law the AFLD can test nails, hair and even skin samples and Bordry has said that it may be necessary for his organisation to undertake testing outside of France in the run-up to the Tour, if indeed they are charged with running the Grand Tour's anti-doping programme. However, the possibility that the AFLD will take on such a role also throws into question the future of the biological passport programme instigated by the UCI.

There are also further developments in the trial of Bjorn Leukemans. And in more CyclingNews it looks like the relationship between Michael Ball and Mario Cipollini may be on the rocks. Also The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) reminds the participants in the ASO/UCI dustup that the needs of the "exhausted" riders should come first. That will be the day.

The VeloNews says it's a done deal. The Pro Teams have voted against the UCI and will go to Paris-Nice, or anywhere else they darn well please apparently.

More VeloNews writes that in the wake of rumored doping scandals and the exclusion from the ToC of three of its riders, Rock Racing is developing its own internal anti-doping program. No details were provided at this time. Attorney Maurice Suh is vetting anti-doping consultants to oversee the program's implementation.

And CONI has advised a two year ban of Danilo DiLuca for "abnormal hormone readings" which may indicate, but not prove, use of PEDs.

ESPN reports WADA is appealing the LaTasha Jenkins case to the CAS:
"We just appealed against the Jenkins decision," (David) Howman said. "She was exonerated on grounds that, once we looked at it, we considered not sustainable

Landis and Suh were around the Rock Racing bus at Stage 7 of the ToC. Floyd is under the 'C', and Maurice has the tail of the 'G' going into his head. (Photo: Rock Racing)

Rant writes about those pesky rules which to some extent support each side in the UCI/ASO throwdown.

WADAwatch looks back at the 2001 Tour de France and ahead to today's media symposium with WADA head John Fahey. Ww has his questions prepared, and we await the answers.

It appears that Fatty needs an intervention after all. Mrs. TBV enjoyed the comments as well. I only have three bikes of my own, swear, average age 17 years. Plus her three, plus the five for the four kids...

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday Roundup

AP/SportingNews says the candidates for election to the CAS Presidency on April 3rd are the expected Mr. Pound, Robert Briner, Mino Auletta, and Gunnar Werner. The election is in Monaco, so maybe the voters will show up instead of phoning it in-- this is the gravy at the Olympic lunch buffet. (tip from CalfeeGirl)

The latest Editon of the CyclingNews cites a piece in Sportwereld (Google translation from Dutch here) which quotes Floyd Landis as saying his situation is "hopeless" It goes on to state he has gained 22 pounds, and is advising Rock Racing's younger riders.

Floyd Landis has put on ten kilograms, or about 22 pounds, and is not training. "Why should I?", he told "But I still put in some time each week on my bike. And I advise the youngsters at Rock Racing.

In the meantime, Landis is waiting for his March 19 hearing before the Court of Appeal for Sports. "My lawyers told me that Lausanne has set five days to hear all the parties. I hope that I won't have to wait an additional five months to hear the results, as I did last year after my hearing in California. It is all hopeless."

We suspect more than a little has been lost in the translation. The last time we saw Landis, he'd looked to be in fighting shape. He had put on weight last year at this time, but it is gone now. This is also the first we've seen he was in Pasadena for the end of the ToC.

In more CyclingNews apparently the escalating battle between the UCI and the ASO will only get uglier with the proclamation by the UCI that far reaching consequences will be faced by the ASO due to its actions concerning the exclusion of Astana from all events this year and the ASO's request that Paris-Nice be run as a "National calendar event":
Describing ASO's actions as "utterly irregular", the UCI has threatened to have no involvement with the first major European race of 2008. It said that no international or national commissaries would be authorized to work at the event as it will not be governed by the UCI rules if ASO continues to organize the race as a national calendar event.

The VeloNews updtaes the UCI/ASO battle with teams now being forced into making hard decisions, and the ASO digging in its heals. To paraphrase Margo Channing, fasten your seat belts it's going to be a bumpy ride.

AP says the ASO is telling the UCI to bring it on, with the ASO more than happy to go it alone.

The NY Times reports that the congressional committee which heard Roger Clemens' testimony earlier this month, may be making the symbolic gesture of sending a letter to the Justice Department about Clemens. Reports persist that Clemens' accuser, Brian MacNamee, will not be named in the letter. This would be the first step taken in any action contemplated against Clemens, but does not necessarily indicate any forthcoming legal proceedings.

Rant notes the call for a pro teams boycott of Paris-Nice to protest of Asatana's exclusion from ASO events. The action, by the UCI's Pat McQuaid, may be just a power grab being taken by an organization which sees the ASO as usurping its authority. Rant goes on to talk about yesterday's revelations by soigneur Suzanne Sonye that Kayle Leogrande of Rock Racing confessed that he did indeed dope.

Racejunkie picks up on the Leogrande vs. soigneur story and is incredulous that Kayle missed the lesson stating one should never confess nothin' to a soigneur. "Moronity" seems, at times, to rule cycling and this goes for those who would jail Patrik Sinkewitz for not singing like a bird. RJ also comments on the ASO's treachery and subsequent call to action by the UCI. The allegedly recent photo of Pat McQuaid and Dick Pound looking for cycling roadkill is just a bonus.

Unless it's Funny Dept

I don't get a laugh like this very often.
" Instant Karma's gonna get you, gonna knock you right off your feet..."
(found by RaceJunkie).

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Roundup

AP/Yahoo reports on brinksmanship by the UCI, "telling" pro teams to boycott the Paris-Nice race unless ASO plays nice. We think some of our readers might run to the rulebooks to figure out whether what McQuaid is saying is viable under the UCI regs, or whether the ASO opened the door to this by chosing to run under the French Cycling Federation (FFC) rules. For some reason we don't think this is going to go well for the UCI.
Also at ESPN.

The CyclingNews posts a feature about the team oriented doping programs that have sprung up recently in cycling. The piece compares the A.C.E program, which is a private for profit anti-doping program developed to help not only cycling but also other sports, with Dr. Rasmus Daamsgard's CSC program which seems to be a stop gap until the UCI can get up to speed with its promised "blood passport". Neither program is punative in nature, and ACE will share results with the UCI and WADA which would be the agencies responsible for "prosecuting" and sanctioning athletes found with AAFs. The first edition of CN's daily updates posts the reported complaint filed to the UCI by Quick Step's Kevin Hulsmans' concerning the female doping controller assigned to him during the ToC.

The VeloNews drops the news this morning that suspected "John Doe" cyclist Kayle Leogrande, who filed suit against USADA for testing his "B" sample when they "A" sample had not been found positive, admitted to a Rock Racing soigneur that he had indeed used many doping substances and had tried to confound the doping controls:

In a sworn affidavit obtained by VeloNews, dated October 27 and filed with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Suzanne Sonye says Leogrande confided that he had used testosterone gel, had taken “lots of things,” including EPO, and that he had put soap on his wrist prior to entering a doping control at Superweek, hoping that by urinating on the soap, it would “f— up the test.”

How VN got that affidavit is an interesting question -- the goodpath is that Sonye or her attorney provided it; the bad is that is was leaked by someone at USADA. We have not heard whether the B sample tests will be done, being the subject of the law suit. They apparently have not been tested yet. There is also a claim in the article that the confession was passed to Rock management (Frankie? Ball?), with no visible response. Ball issued a statement saying he supports his riders, is against doping, and will take appropriate action if an offense is found to have occurred.

AFP/VeloNews reports a two year suspension from CONI for Marco Fertonani, a testosterone positive by LNDD in Feb 2007, a little before that Landis alternate B samples. AFP says he alleged problems with LNDD, which were rejected by CONI, obviously. We don't know if the details are available - we suspect they are not, which makes it hard to compare and contrast with the Landis case. There's no speculation if he'll appeal, and he probably won't get any hints from the Landis case before he needs to make a decision. CyclingNews had an earlier story, which quoted his attorney as saying:
"We have given a detailed technical report, in which we outlined the reasons why there are these minuscule variations in the values of Fertonani, which explain the mistakes by the lab,"

We also don't know why AFP is talking about this now, as CyclingNews had an earlier announcement of a CONI finding on December 21, 2007.

The Carroll County Times pens a piece on how "cheaters" are "prospering" nicely and includes Floyd Landis in with a host of the usual suspects. Right.

FattyM agrees with some of Floyd Landis' comments on Team High Road after observing their "tactics" at the Stage 6 finish of the ToC.

GMR reviews the recently completed ToC and posts support for Floyd Landis as his March 19th CAS hearing nears.

Tyler Brandt posts his promised "controversial" picture taken with Floyd Landis from an event held before the beginning of the ToC. The photo comes from Tyler's blog.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Roundup

So far all is quiet on this Sunday morning and there seems little news to post. So, we'll pass on some pictures that Larry took yesterday at the ToC:

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Roundup

The CyclingNews reports that at the ToC post stage press conference yesterday UCI president Pat McQuaid split hairs about why he feels the RCS's exclusion of Astana from events it sponsors is not as egregious the ASO's. Also in rather confusing OP news Spanish judges have ruled that they will allow riders to voluntarily compare their DNA with the DNA gathered from the blood bags stored in Madrid. The judges maintain that the riders are "witnesses" in the cases against Dr. Fuentes and Jose Merino and as such are not "accused." Still they could be liable to punishment by their respective sporting federations (or perhaps the UCI?) if a match is discovered. One wonders then why any rider would dare to attempt such a comparison. In later news the "scandal of the day" is that a female doping controller was asked to accept the samples of Quick Step's Kevin Hulsmans, chaos and modesty ensued:

But the controller was a female, upsetting Hulsmans. "I don't think it is normal that a woman is indicated for that job," Hulsmans complained to "We politely asked her to leave, but she refused. What were they thinking? That I would try to escape through the roof?

He further wondered what would happen if the situations were reversed. "Would they send a man to look at eight naked female athletes?" he asked.


The VeloNews'
Mr. Rogers Neighborhood does the obligatory "fashion review" that we expect from any event held in California, and in another article Greg LeMond wants the remainder of the millions owed him by the developer of a land deal up in Montana who tried a buy out LeMond's shares at less than their estimated value.
In more VeloNews suspended cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz faces jail time if he continues to refuse to "rat" on his alleged compatriots. Apparently, for now, "Sammy the Bull" he is not.

Copperhouse Dance Party sees a conspiracy in France targeting American riders, citing the Landis case as an example, as he tries to garner support for Levi Leipheimer.

Swim! Bike! Run! says Robbie Ventura is his coach, and Robbie is Floyd's coach, but SBR is better than Floyd. It's nice to have a fantasy life, Mr. Mitty.

Left Handed Leftist does a "trust but verify" on some claims made about gas prices. We advise caution conflating correlation with causality.

Racejunkie catches Alberto Contador trying to "bail" on Astana without effect, and how about those OP blood bags?

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Friday, February 22, 2008

A different kind of error from the LNDD

An emailer passes on the following developing story at the Paceline forum:

RE: No Astana to Tour? - 2/22/2008 8:38:26 AM
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Starting Member

Posts: 57
Joined: 1/22/2008
Status: online
it seems like a start of a big scandal around french lab Chatenay-Malabry in case of russian woman-rider Svetlana Bubnenkova. The lab made a probe A in August 2006 (non-negative), then a probe B in April 2007 (non-negative), but they didn't informed about this WADA, UCI and Russian cycling federation!!!
Bubnenkova took a part in all races as well as in World Champ in Germany!!! And only now French cycling federation AFLD has informed about non-negative test other sides.
There's only russian version, I didn't see any other

Google Translation of the referenced article says:

"Case Bubnenkovoy" could lead to the closure of the French anti-doping laboratory in Shateno-Malabri


Case velogonschitsy Russia, the world champion in command race in 1993 and 1994, the victorious mnogodnevki Dziro d'Italiya "" 2002, the participating Olympic Games 1996, 2000 and 2004, a candidate for the Olympic team Svetlana Bubnenkovoy-2008 (photo), which the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) accused in the use of Erythropoietin (EPO) may lead to the most unexpected consequences. In particular - to the closure of the scandalous well-known French anti-doping laboratory in Shateno-Malabri.It follows the investigation, which held a special correspondent for the Agency's sports information "All Sport".

Agency "All Sports" first reported by the French doping claims Svetlana Bubnenkovoy - see, = 12114 and Since then found some details - in addition to previously published news.

According to the documents, which the Agency was able to find correspondents sports information "All Sport", the doping samples, which then declared positive, with Svetlana Bubnenkovoy took in August 2006, after the victory in one of the national races in France. The study sample "A", which conducted an accredited World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and International Olympic Committee (IOC), a French anti-doping laboratory in Shateno-Malabri were ready as early as September 2006. However, a controlling "B" sample was analyzed after only six months - in April 2007. And on June 11, 2007 AFLD made a decision - in line with the WADA anti-doping codes and the International Cyclists Union (UCI) to disqualify Bubnenkovu two years since the opening of a control sample "B". According to UCI rules, rendering verdicts on doping cases in the national races is the responsibility of the national anti-doping services, but extends to all countries.

Nevertheless, during the summer and autumn Boubnenkova continued to race around the world - both international and national. At the end of September at the world championships in Stuttgart took the offensive, but high fourth place in the group race. Surprisingly, in France, pomeshannoy to combat doping, Bubnenkovu also continued to prevent the start! Moreover, in no way informed of any positive "A" sample nor requested consent or refusal to hold a control sample "B", which in this case is not legitimate. What to say if AFLD UCI informed of the problems Bubnenkovoy only 15 2007 year! All of this suggests premeditation and alleged accusations of Russian racers.

But the matter may result Bubnenkovoy and totally unexpected consequences.
According to the World Anti-Doping Code, WADA, the results of the doping samples conducted in WADA and the IOC accredited laboratories, regardless of a positive or negative result, it automatically and immediately communicated to the three organizations. The first - zakazyvavshaya analyses (in the case of Bubnenkovoy - AFLD), the second - headache international federation, responsible for the development of a particular sport (in the case of Bubnenkovoy - UCI), the third - WADA c all its controlling system ADAMS. This headache international federation of the positive cases also automatically and immediately releasing information to the national level. Meanwhile, the UCI Bubnenkovoy learned of the charges a year later after analysis of sample "A" and six months later, after testing a control sample "B".The Federation of Sport cycling Russia - and later. WADA, WADA, it seems, through official channels, and not from the Agency's publications "All Sports" is not learned so far.

At the same time concealing information on the doping samples is one of the most serious breaches of the Code and is punishable by WADA very hard - up to the deprivation of accreditation. . Agency experts "All Sports" believe that the case Bubnenkovoy with adequate levels of investigation and principles can lead to the closure of an already scandalous famous French anti-doping laboratory in Shateno-Malabri. Standing plum "information", unproven accusations, the use nevalidirovannyh doping methods for detection of drugs, failures in the study of doping samples of world sports stars such as legkoatletka Russian Olga Yegorova and the American racing cyclist Floyd Landis already tired of the world order sporting community, which is trying to streamline the fight against doping .

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Friday Roundup

Daily Digressions


It's the day of the showdown Tour of California Time Trial. Can Levi hold off V-for-Vabriskie (-0:21) and C-for-Cancellara (-0:13)?

Update: Yup.

The CyclingNews this morning posts comments by various members of Astana on recent wins and their exclusion from the Grand Tours this year. There is also an interesting juxtaposition of stories: one is about US Olympians bring their own meat to the party in China this summer due to worries about various contaminants in local products which could produce positive doping tests, and below it is a story on the first vegan cycling team which rides bamboo bikes.

WADA Watch is warming up for an an upcoming media workshop with five questions for WADA President John Fahey.

Caren named one of her cars after Axel Merckx, who she says was a hero to Floyd Landis, who she feels was framed.

HuffPost has an article by Gary Gaffney tamping down enthusiasts on both ends of discussions about steroids.

Slowtwitch offers a ToC tale about why it's good for spectators to bring their bikes.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008


Our spies, who are everywhere, inform us there is a quiet meeting going on somewhere in Switzerland of many, many CAS arbitrators, perhaps discussing selection of their next leader. There's no word on the TAS/CAS website.

Or, it may be a gathering of the Illuminati.

Nothing to see, move along.

* of Zurich

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Thursday Roundup

Quote of the Day

My contention is that a sport cannot be successful if the promoters and the organizers are telling the fans that the [athletes are] all cheats. That the results are not to be trusted. Even if it is true.


The Globe and Mail writes about Canadian bobsledder Serge Despres who faces a 20 month suspension for an extremely low level of steroids found in an out of competition test from last summer. He retains Landis legal team member Howard Jacobs who hopes to get a reduction of the suspension due to the circumstances surrounding the positive result:

He said an arbitrator for the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada agreed that he did not willfully take nandrolone and that "there is no significant fault or negligence" on his part. Still, his Olympic dream faces obstacles.

During the 2006-07 season, Despres suffered a hip injury that caused him to miss the world championships and led to hip surgery in June of 2007. To hasten his recovery, Despres said he consulted Bobsleigh Canada's nutritionist, who recommended that he eat specific foods and take "a number of supplements which were clean of any prohibited substances and low risk," he said.

The CyclingNews notes that Pat McQuaid has stated emphatically that Alberto Contador should be allowed to defend his TdF title this year, and the UCI will take legal steps if necessary to try to insure that he gets that chance. ESPN also reports on this development.

Fatty has some sage advice to Johan Bruyneel on how he can still get "Astana" into the TdF. Pay close attention to the Monty Python reference, it works for all sorts of situations.

Rant writes about the "ping pong" match between the UCI and the ASO, the "ball" just happens to be Astana, and Pat McQuaid has just served. It's all about who has the real power.

Team Specialized posts this picture of some team members with Floyd Landis at the charity ride held last Saturday morning in California. In the interest of full disclosure the Strbuks ride Specialized. Photo originally posted by Edan.

Bad Idea Racing is irked USACYcling has confusingly named its MTB series the "National Ultra Endurance Calendar", which is completely different than the National Ultra Endurance series that that Landis is riding this year. Hey folks, this is what trademarks are for -- and it sure looks like an opportunity for confusion to us. Maybe Richard Young will see his opportunities and want Landis' suspension to be reset because of these races.

Pantaloon fan is bummed by all the doping stories, because now he doesn't know what anyone can do on their own. Yet he still finds watching video of Stage 17 inspiring.

Woody points us to a newly available T-shirt design, reminding us of so many pieces of art we've seen drawn on roads at cycling events. We anticipate a swiftly delivered "cease and desist" letter:

Pinnochio's nose is traditionally less of a carrot and more a blunt stick, but the point is made...

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday Roundup

The CyclingNews notes the continued "freezing out" of Astana, with RCS shunning the squad this week:

ProTour team Astana has been dealt another blow with major cycling race organizer RCS Sport not inviting the squad to this year's Tirreno-Adriatico or Milano-Sanremo, according to The news comes exactly one week after fellow major cycling race organizer ASO, which operates the Tour de France, announced the Johan Bruyneel-led squad wouldn't be invited to any of its races in 2008.

The VeloNews also reports on the exclusion of Astana by the Giro's RCS, which did invite Team High Road, giving some credence to the theory that more is involved in these decisions than just a history of doping within the squads.

Floyd Landis makes The San Francisco Chronicle's entertainment column with the following item:
There was a big dinner in Sausalito on Friday night, catered by McCall's, for the Tour of California, which started on Monday. Many guests were champion cyclists from Europe, easily recognized and celebrated, but it was Robin Williams who warmly greeted one who wasn't formally introduced: Floyd Landis, the cyclist whose Tour de France title was revoked and who was barred from the sport for two years after testing positive for synthetic testosterone. Landis was standing off by himself, a spy tells me, when Williams, after performing onstage, passed right by him. Landis tapped him on the shoulder and Williams turned and recognized him, the two pausing for an affectionate hug.

The Boulder Report's Joe Lindsey writes a nice profile of former Landis Postal teammate and Girona flat-mate Dave Zabriskie. We hear Dave is still using "Casa Floyd".


Free Rolling, who had a "Landis in Palo Alto" story with a narrow perspective, didn't like the attention it brought, and has taken it down. He also explains some things you can learn from people clicking into your blog. This saves us the trouble of investigating what may or may not have happened on Saturday, an experience we were afraid was going to go all Rashoman on us. We've got enough of that as it is.

The Arena
feels Floyd Landis is either the victim of an unlikely conspiracy, or a bigger liar than Nixon.

Beermapping hosted a thread on "most loved and hated blogs" and someone out there, calling him/herself Faro, likes us.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday Roundup

AP/Yahoo has Hank "chip off the old block" Steinbrenner whining that Baseball is being singled out. Possible snappy rejoinders:

  1. as if!
  2. yeah, right.
  3. if only.
  4. add your own in a comment!

USA Today writes a thumbnail of Michael Ball and Rock Racing with an interesting fact or two, as well as a comment from High Road's Bob Stapleton.

The CyclingNews says that the IOC is pleased with the reopening of OP and is not surpisingly anxious for sanctioning to commence.

The VeloNews notes the reshuffling of Astana's racing schedule now that it is "persona non grata" at ASO events.

ESPN reports British sprinter Dwain Chambers, who was banned for two years for testing positive for THG, missed the deadline that would have allowed him to appeal his suspension from this summer's Olympics which stemmed from his ban.

Eurosport passes on word that the ever diplomatic Mr. Pound doesn't think it will be Landis', or Gatlin's fault if the US doesn't get another Olympic games. He doesn't mention Jones, though, so it maybe it will be all her fault. Or maybe the writer reached for names Pound never actually uttered.

Fora.TV has put up Greg LeMond's Feb-17 appearance in Palo Alto to pitch "Ethics, Doping, and the Future of Cycling". We're too busy watching the ToC and doing paying work to view this, but if someone wants to summarize in a comment, we'd be obliged.

WADA Watch gives it's February "Tipping the Scales of Justice" press award to Ann Killion, of the Mercury News, for her factually challenged article on Greg LeMond.

Over at Rant, there are some great conversations going on in the comments, accurately and fairly representing many positions. We particularly like this one by Michael. Some others yesterday noted the irony of a screen grab from yesterday's ToC finish, won by JJ Haedo:

In the future, maybe the finish shouldn't line up right with PEDestrian crossing markings, lest people draw implications the organizers and sponsors would rather avoid.

Eddie O gives us a blast from the past '94 NORBA Nationals, where some kid Landis was 2nd in the "senior expert" (up to age 24) race.

Coal Miner's Longjohn's is reminded of Landis' "bonk" on an XC skiing excursion.

Planet Quirky re-captions a snapshot of Landis and Suh in Palo Alto on Sunday:

Floyd Landis and George Takei

Sausalito, CA – Word on the streets today is that Team Rock Racing owner, Michael Ball had an altercation during the pre-prologue press conference in which words were exchanged with former Star Trek star George Takai. Ball was quoted as referring to the former star as “Space-Age Queer” and “Floyd’s new Toy Boy”. Some time later, Takei and Landis were reportedly seen smashing windows of one of Rock Racing’s controversial Cadillac Escalade team vehicles. A melee ensued between the pair and three Rock Racing riders that organizers had not allowed to start the race. Tensions were high but the scene quickly dispersed as Guarda Civil sirens could be heard in the near distance

At least it's a new joke, and most of the names are spelled correctly.

Free Rolling is no fan of Floyd Landis, and even implies that Floyd left an injured cyclist by the side of the road without offering any help. FR snarks that Floyd may have doped or not, but the REAL reason he is so disliked is that he yelled long and hard about being treated unfairly.

ViciousLifeCycle thinks in ASO vs UCI, riders lose. No argument there. Points (a), (b) and (c) look eerily familiar.

StL.Today illustrates some head scratching about Michael Ball with a vintage video of David Essex lip-syncing Rock-n-Roll, Part III.

Nucleus also snapped Landis in Palo Alto, in leather. Don't know if the big guy in green is the bodyguard.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Roundup

The Boulder Report notes the tension and conflict that defined the start of the Tour of California yesterday in light of the last minute behind the scenes maneuverings that disallowed three members of Rock Racing from participating. Clearly as cycling tries to rid itself of its past, its future is still greatly in question.

The Marin Independent Journal
comments on the hilarity and chaos caused by celebrity cycling nut Robin Williams Friday night at a ToC event in Sausalito. Even former ToC champ Floyd Landis wanted his picture taken with the comedian, who joked about all sorts of subjects:

"It's amazing to see a race like this (in Marin)," Williams said before going off on another tangent. "(But) the drug testing in Mendocino will be difficult because people will be holding up chocolates and you're hoping someone doesn't go for them. What are you doing? Multiple choice."

For Midwest, East Coast and international readers, Mendocino is the spiritual home of marijuana culture in California, and this is a reference to "pot brownies" that would trip a cannabis test. Yeah, some things shouldn't need explanation, like, say, his remark that Viagra is a PED for the pole vault.

The VeloNews says that Levi Leipheimer has established, a grass roots effort to draw attention to the arbitrary nature of the ASO's decision to exclude Team Astana from all of its events this year:

“With I’m not disputing the ASO’s right to decide which teams it invites to the Tour and which teams it doesn’t,” notes Leipheimer. “I’m drawing attention to the fact that this decision by the ASO is completely arbitrary and unjust. I had nothing to do with Astana prior to joining the team this year. There are many other teams with tainted pasts that haven’t changed management or structure like the new Astana has, yet Astana is singled out and excluded. Where’s the consistency? By taking action now it looks political. It looks like the ASO has a grudge against a team that can win its races. My hope is that this campaign will encourage the ASO to reconsider its decision.”

The CyclingNews notes the specially made Rock Racing team kits that its three banned riders were sporting yesterday at the ToC prologue. CN also reports on some of the same old names being connected to a new blood doping scandal alleged to have centered around a clinic in Vienna. The list of names came from an anonymous source and cyclist Joost Posthuma comments on the propriety of publishing the information:
Posthuma, 26, added, "The journalists say they have to be careful what they write, because it is only based on an anonymous tip. But they still go ahead and publish the names of athletes."

Bicycling/Christie Aschwanden did a long piece referenced by The Boulder Report above about Tyler Hamilton. Many of the dilemmas discussed there apply as well to the Landis case. Our name, "Trust But Verify", was in no small part a reaction to the awkward "Believe" positioning in the earlier case. And we think Hamilton should have started yesterday, having done time for the one offense, and the "UCI Confirmed" OP case being one that would have to be folded into the previous one by the rules, with no additional penalty possible.

Today's VeloNews Mailbag contains a suggestion for race promoters thinking of banning individual riders they find suspicious.

The Columbia Tribune
has a story about the swimming comeback of 40 year old Dara Torres, complete with PED rumours and Landis reference. Stories like this used to be heart-warmers. Tip from wschart.


Pommi rode his new bike to the ToC prologue yesterday but unfortunately couldn't find TBV and GMR. Pommi went to the turnaround at the end of University, and we were at the start of University. Sigh.

Spare Cycles snapped a picture of Floyd Landis at yesterday's prologue of the ToC.

Landis looks fit. He shoulda been starting too. Photo: Spare Cycles

Team Specialized rode with Floyd Landis and many other cycling celebs in the morning and worked hard to see that the Davis Phinney Foundation Dinner in the evening went off without a hitch, sounds like an exciting day.

Velogal has a Prologue report, and some pictures.

Spinnin Wheel watched the Prologue, had a Landis sighting, and another of an FFF T shirt in the crowd.

Racejunkie wonders about the seemingly poverty stricken, thank goodness Amgen has its own web site with excellent race coverage. RJ also thinks Rock Racing may just be trying to frighten people with the new team kit given the poor boys who cannot race this week.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

The ToC Start

We don't know when it happened, or exactly what it was, only the result.

Sometime between about 3:00pm and 8:00pm, the "Rock Three", Hamilton, Botero and Sevilla went from being pretty sure they were starting today, to being non-persons leaving town quietly.

UPDATE: we're corrected that The Boys (a) weren't quiet, and (b) haven't snuck out of town. There was a press gathering before the start with all in special "red barbed wire" Rock kit, and Oscar at least has been seen around on Monday.

It is suggested that the UCI delivered some kind of confirmation that the three have "open files" for a doping investigation, thereby justifying AEG's position they should not start. We have no idea what form this confirmation took -- and we don't know that the principles, Michael Ball, Hamilton, Botero and Sevilla were given copies of anything. As far as we, the public know, it may have been an story made up in the afternoon to justify a decision that was about to get called into sharp question. And the story was delivered too late to be challenged. The alphabets ran out the clock on Rock, and then ran a trick play.

What is to keep an "open file" rule from being imposed at all races? Probably nothing. Is there anything in the UCI rulebook allowing discussion of open investigations? Not that we know of.

Are AEG and Amgen desperate to avoid a scandal at the race, and is doping a problem for the sport? You bet.

But does that make it acceptable to deny rightfully licensed riders their livelihoods through last minute shenanigans?

It looks like there is never a bad time to bend rules and circumstances if the riders take the punishment.

This may turn into the next play for race strategy. If you can get DQs merely by having an "open file", then planting a rumor in the right place will open a file and take care of someone you don't like, or a competitor you fear. There may be nothing to prevent the UCI from having "open files" on every elite rider, since performing at the elite level is clearly suspicious by itself.

Rant addresses all this and more with lots of comments from both sides.

Bicycle.NET has another story, with the relevant parts of the contract, and the full contract visible for inspection.

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Pics from the Tour of California, Palo Alto Prologue

Eventually won by Cancellara, who Mrs. TBV said had by far the most graceful line around the corner where we were stationed. We were joined by the GMR's, Annette and Bill, who will have some better pictures on their site later. These are what you get when you combine a crappy phone camera and massive shutter delay making decent framing impossible to achieve. But at least they posted right away. This collects all the ones we posted live, all the ones where we got someone in the frame at all, and not just blank pavement or a car.

Levi, running last.



Cancellara, the winner.

Bettini, who looked fast to me. So I only got his back.


Jens, who was by far the least graceful of the bunch, flopping and flailing down the block like a scarecrow in the breeze.





Cippo returns to action; the ink might be dry on his contract!

J. Sund.


Larsson, going fast enough to distort time and space.




Here's the start list, short three Rock Racers.

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How convenient

Michael notes in a comment:

Although Ball received letters from the riders' national federations of Colombia, USA and Spain confirming that the three riders were not involved in any open investigations, Messick clarified by stating the UCI's direct confirmation was enough to exclude the riders from starting. "The letters are irrelevant, and whether the athlete is eligible to race in UCI races has no bearing on what all seventeen teams agreed to about the eligibility of riders for this race. Every team agreed that no riders who were under an open investigation would participate; it's different from UCI eligibility. Every team agreed the UCI and USA Cycling would tell us about any riders who are currently under investigation and that is the criterion and the basis – that's the rule."

It appears to us this "confirmation from the UCI" showed up after the press conference, and before the Rock team meeting reported by Ruibal.

We wonder how planned this was. The late timing makes it difficult to refute, and it seems magically pulled out of the hat just as Rock appeared to be willing to to press the point.

The general technique offers quite the escape route for all sorts of interesting behavior. Now, to exclude riders, all that appears necessary is for promoters to add an "open file" rule, and get a fax the night before a start to axe anyone they don't like. No due process, no recourse. It reminds us of the USADA "we'll test the B's anyway" gambit, hinting at the influence of Richard Young. Whatever you thought the rules were, they aren't.

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Sunday Roundup

The San Jose Mercury News snarks the opinion that Roger Clemens' case should be judged by a "jury of his peers", and the author includes Floyd Landis among those he deems a "jury".

The CyclingNews writes that Pat McQuaid of the UCI is appalled at the ASO's decision to exclude Astana from all of its event this year. McQuaid sees it as an attempt to please France and French cycling fans. As for OP McQuaid is all for the reopening of that case. And in separate Tour of California news yesterday's machinations between AEG and Rock Racing are recapped, along with other ToC quotes and news.

The Sac Bee commends the ToC and AEG for their attempts to restore cycling's image in these dark days of past doping scandal publicity.

The Grauniad (UK) has an interesting interview with ex-foot sprinter Linford Christie, complete with squirming sponsor PR person.

But does he really believe people don't care about the apparently wide and persistent use of banned substances in his sport? Does he think they don't care about cheating any more? Does he not have a view on Chambers, who was once a friend and is now an unavoidable leper in his sport because administrators cannot technically ignore him since he has done his time for drugs use?

'Listen,' he says, 'It doesn't matter whether it's right or wrong [picking Chambers for the World Indoor Championships]. People just want to come and watch the athletics. The quickest from A to B is a straight line. That's what people come to watch. I just care about me. I'm in my lane. I don't care what's in the lane beside me.'

The awful import of what he is saying is that he might be right. Perhaps people are as cynical as he is. We're just in our own little lanes, eyes straight ahead. What's the point? Just 'move on', he says. Which is exactly what the nice woman from Puma wants us to do.

Racejunkie says we're off to the races already this year with yesterday's Michael Ball vs AEG throw down spectacle, which AEG handily won. RJ wonders if Landis lawyer Maurice Suh shouldn't find more suitable clients to hang around with in public, in light of the fact that Floyd's CAS hearing comes up in a month's time, ick! OK, now it's off to the real races!

Rhys Spencer
thinks dopers suck, and he considers Floyd Landis as one of them. BUT he also feels that Floyd has been unfairly treated.

Rant suggests that the "rules" by which AEG has determined who can and can't race in the ToC may be something the unscrupulous out there can manipulate.

Fathom Harvill finally got into the Leadville 100, and is taking some inspiration from Positively False.

Stanford Cycling is abuzz over The Best Ride Ever:
Yeah, just a normal day out riding ... except we saw Floyd Landis attack the Spectrum ride, George Hincapie cowering in fear as cat 5's swarmed around him, and spun home escorting Mario Cipollini, Santiago Botero, and Oscar Sevilla back to their hotel. Damn.

Here are some pictures, Mario eschewing the helmet.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Interesting Times

Our ears and eyes are abuzz today with speculation about Rock Racing at the Tour of California tomorrow.

Michael Ball still says he intends to start the team he named, yet the official start list (which we can't find) omits three of the riders, having only five instead of the eight.

The riders in question: Tyler Hamilton, Santi Botero, and Oscar Sevilla. (The spot previously taken by Kayle LeoGrande is being filled by Mario Cippolini.)

It is not clear what legal basis AEG or USACycling would have to reject non-suspended, licensed riders. And USADA isn't supposed to tell anyone about any investigations until they get to a point where there is formal process involved.

Michael Ball was late to his press conference today, because he was out on a ride -- and who was he riding with? We think it must have been pretty important to cause a delay with the press conference. That suggests it wasn't just with members of his team, but was, perhaps, a "ride in the woods" with some of the powers associated with the event. At the press conference, Maurice Suh was whispering into Ball's ear.

Suh and Ball. Photo: Velonews/Casey Gibson

Ball says if some of his riders are denied their rightful starts, he'll pull the team, and repeatedly pushed the idea of a real rider's union.

The most informed pieces we've seen on what is going on are at Velonews, CyclingNews, (and again) and the Bicycle.NET articles on the press conference (echoed in Hamilton's site).

We also highly recommend the PEZ account from Thursday, which really seems to get what is going on about the need for organized push-back by the riders.

CyclingNews is the most skeptical of Rock's chances, saying Ball will back down or pull out in humiliation. So they must be mind readers.

If anything, denying starts leading to a Rock withdrawal without legal basis would be a clearly tortuous action by whoever was involved in the decision. We wonder if this is a trap Suh has set with Ball, and the the alphabets may fall right into it. Should it happen, it won't be Ball who is humiliated: he'll be licking his chops.

As Bill Hue noted here, should the federations or agencies do somehthing against the rules, the involved parties would have no immunity from personal liability - they are not operating with governmental immunity. Bill somewhat snidely wondered if Maurice Suh, representing Rock Racing, might end up with Steve Johnson's house when all is said and done.

What is going to be done is going to happen tonight and tomorrow, as various parties consult their attorneys and decide what they can do without accumulating liability. That is, whether Steve Johnson will finally get "told otherwise", and that his options may be more limited than he realized when he gave the interview a few weeks ago that sent Landis over the edge. Or tried to explain himself later.

And while Landis was scathing, things may turn out to make him appear prescient. Should AEG, USACycling and USADA fail to follow their rules and stop Rock Racing from running licensed riders, there could very well be hell to pay.

It might be the first case of "strict liability" being applied to parties other than the athletes.

Which is a good turn of events, in our opinion.

UPDATE: USAToday/Sal Ruibal reports Rock has apparently backed down. Following a team meeting this evening, the three riders agreed not to start. This apparently comes from an "open file" rule imposed by AEG on the ToC, and confirmation from the UCI these riders had an "open file". The implications are totally unclear, as is the timing of the UCI confirmation. A UCI confirmation may confuse jurisdiction and take it out of the purview of the US courts. It's not USADA or USACycling's fault now. We presume this is fallout of OP being reopened, which has delighted the UCI. Those claims it would not be used against riders applied only to the Spanish criminal cases, it is now said.

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