Thursday, July 31, 2008

Irregular Review

A day off, and you'd think it was the end of the world! We warned y'all, and more days off are inevitable.

Let's see...

Of Note

Landis is a "Lion out like a sacrificial lamb", at the Hall of Fame Network, in a long piece that skewers pretty much everybody who deserves grief. We'd say that author Scott Tinley "Gets It." Snips:

Landis' bizarre and extended romp through the exigency of his fall from grace, let alone the public court of opinion, says more about the general public's relationship with pharmaceutical agents than about the current system of checks and balances in high level sport doping.

Where Armstrong's fortified and feel-good parry to any claim of drug use was clear, clean and palatable, Landis' became the perfect opportunity for cycling to do its best Pontius Pilate, to admit that there were struggles, yes, but it was ridding itself of the evils of doping one simple, unprepared winner at a time. American cycling fans, at first incensed with WADA's accusations about our American heroes, gradually rolled over, tired of the whole thing. It went from sending checks to Landis' defense fund to questions of his guilt, to "what a shame."

No one can fault WADA and USADA for wanting to level a very conflicted playing field. But when you make a big deal about cleaning house, and in fact have only dusted the shelves, are you not as hypocritical as the riders who feign clear consciences and clean slates?

"The Panel has found no evidence at all to sustain any of these serious allegations," the decision read."Moreover, the Panel is surprised that such serious allegations should be pursued in the closing brief when it must have been clear at the end of the hearing that there was no evidential basis from expert testimony or otherwise to support them."

This kind of "I won, therefore my ideology is best" mentality has roots in Fascist thinking. There was ample testimony to suggest and perhaps indict not only the French drug testing labs but the entire system of sport doping governance. To suggest there was no support for any of Landis' claims is to say that the dishes in the sink may be dirty, but who's to say we can't just put more food on them and not worry about the germs?


UCI, the organizers of the Tour de France, the cycling media, public and every commercial team or sponsor that has invested a single Euro into cycling have Floyd Landis' blood on their hands. Whether he was falsely crucified or sent as the lone lamb to carry the message of anti-doping, he walks not alone.


But Floyd's choice to play David to WADA's Goliath has to be good for cycling in the long run. Even if he got his ass kicked for now, even if he got caught for the sins of countless others, the culture of drug use and drug testing will never again be the same in cycling. Everyone will be held to a higher standard. And those that play God need to be monitored closely.


TAS-CAS is pleased to announce the opening of the Olympic Instant Tribunal Office in Beijing, where athletes and their cases can be disposed of expediently.

CyclingNews passes an unconfirmed report that
Aketza Pena has been cleared of nandrolone use by CAS, because of "irregularities" with the Athens lab. If true, that is an award we'll love to read, compare and contrast to the one given Landis.

Ricco confessed
, sort of, after the boys at CONI had a talk with him. It's somewhere between a Millar and a Basso. NYT/Reuters, Velonews, CyclingWeekly. He wonders why only two of the ten tests he took came back positive. That ought to raise a lot of questions. And where is Piepoli's set of test results? Bicycle.NET has an imagined post-confession "interview."

Piepoli also had a nice talk with CONI, and is sticking by his story that he never doped, says Velonews. Also AFP/BikeRadar. Maybe a tactical denial awaiting test results that may never come.

Now that Landis definitely isn't doing Leadville because it is sanctioned, Lance seems to be going. Biking Bis.

Doping tests loaded against athletes, in MedIndia, rewriting the Christian Science Monitor article about Howard Jacobs.

Two EPO positives in Italy, Paolo Bossoni and Giovanni Carini.

Tour TV ratings down 20% on VS. Doping is conveniently blamed rather than absence of contending American stars. MediaLife.

Astana has re-signed Horner and Kloeden, from Velonews. Later, Racejunkie will be crying for Klodi's fate of being a second banana. Horner is still laughing about the support Evans had in the mountains by his former team.


Sssshock, a sport other than cycling (swimming) has a doping case, and double shock, it's going to be defended by Landis' attorney Harold [sic] Jacobs. Hmm, clenbuterol looks like something a swimmer would take. Nashville Cyclist.

Black Entertainment Blog
thinks Cycling is becoming akin to Major League Baseball in PED scandal. "Something must be done. " He evolves to, "World class cycling is not like the MLB, it’s worse." Thanks for the advice.

We're not happy with "something" being done -- we'd rather it be the right thing, which is building a trustworthy and transparent anti-doping environment.


pensum said...

Seems the IAAF is getting slicker in its antidoping campaign, nailing 7 Russian athletes, including 5 from the Olympic team among which are "Yelena Soboleva, the world’s top performer this year at 800 and 1,500 meters, and Tatyana Tomashova, who won a silver medal in the 1,500 at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The Russian women were suspended by track and field’s world governing body and were accused of fraudulently using substitute urine in an attempt to pass doping tests."

Apparently using DNA analysis the IAAF "had been investigating the Russian women for more than a year. The athletes were caught when urine samples they had previously given, which had been stored, were compared with other samples, presumably provided at recent meets." (excerpts from NYTimes article)

Let's see if this gets the same news coverage as cycling or whether it will get Hardy's red carpet treatment...

m said...

7 Russian track and field athletes.

2 Romanian track and field athletes banned.

1 Chinese race walker banned for an earlier violation.

We're already a quarter of the way to the 40 projected doping violations at the Olympics.

Plus 2 more Italian cyclists have just tested positive for EPO.

"It's busy days at CONI, and today Italian anti-doping authorities announced two positives, both for EPO, from the Italian national championship week. Paolo Bossoni of Lampre tested positive after the elite national championship. Lampre has suspended the 32 year old Bossoni and he will not start the Classico San Sebastian. Giovanni Carini tested positive after winning the national championship for elites without contract. He will now lose the title."

And Piepoli denies all at CONI.

Ricco's confession was only partial. He failed to finger anyone else, like his roomate Piepoli. Said he did it all alone. Sure. Plus by admitting guilt, he probably decreased the potential of having his Giro B samples tested.

m said...

Thoughts on why Piepoli may never test positive for EPO. Although I'm still holding out hope that the testing will catch him.

1. Conventional EPO test is hit and miss and only detects EPO during a short window after its administration.

2. New CERA test may not overcome this problem, even though the effects of CERA are longer lived. See, WADA comment that CERA is detected also by conventional test.

3. Microdosing with EPO is even more difficult, if not almost impossible to detect.

4. Piepoli may not have been targeted and multiple tested like Ricco, thus decreasing the probability of catching him in the "detectable window".

Found this "pro doping" website thru Podium Cafe. Some interesting discussion of how to beat the doping tests. They think EPO micro-dosing almost impossible to detect.

Joe Lindsey thinks microdosing EPO may be used to mask blood doping.

"So if you were blood doping and trying to cover it up, what would you do? You'd take micro-doses of EPO, just enough to boost your retic count to plausible levels, but not enough to test positive for EPO use. And a drug like CERA, a continuous release option, is a perfect drug for that.

I think most of the EPO positives we've seen are not actually EPO. They're EPO as a masking agent. This dates back to Roberto Heras after the 2005 Vuelta - that was probably the first actual testing catch of this kind of situation."

Brent Soderberg said...

It's interesting how the media spins TV rating data to make what ever point they are trying to make. Another report from July 17 said ratings were up for the Tour de France on Vs.

racejunkie said...

Yes, it *is* darn near the end of the world when you don't post--you're the first thing I read in the a.m.! And yes, Klodi is completely hosed, *again*. !@#$%$# Bruyneel!

m said...

Interesting article and interview about the Aegis Sciences Corp. which does drug testing for the Agency for Cycling Ethics among others.


"What's one of the biggest growth areas in the world of sport, when it comes to a need for better drug testing?

Cycling and the Tour de France has had terrible press on the degree of drug use in that sport. We're working with the Agency for Cycling Ethics (ACE) … to do close monitoring of every cyclist that is engaged in that sport in the United States. We monitor these individuals through both blood and urine testing to make sure they're not using any doping or performance-enhancing drugs.

This is one new development that began about 18 months ago to be proactive in terms of identifying use. We are monitoring a number of natural indicators for body function … and if the individual who is being tracked has their normal values markedly change over a short period of time … we'll just know there is something abnormal that is more likely than not to be associated with a prohibited practice. And they'd no longer have the opportunity to compete."

Unknown said...

"and drug testing will never again be the same in cycling. Everyone will be held to a higher standard"

Scott Tinley is much more optimistic than I am. My takeaway from this is that the ADAs can have have very poor quality lab data obtained by methodology that most Analytical Chemists would question and yet still get a conviction. If anything, I think the standards will be lower (thought I hope I'm wrong).

Ken S said...

I agree Dailbob. Seems to me the Landis arbitrations showed that once they accuse someone, their proof can be very thin. They might tighten their ship a bit and make it harder to question, but I doubt they'll hold the labs to a higher standard.

Ken S