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August 03, 2006

Troubling leaks

The AP reports on the concerns about leaks and criticism of the UCI from Floyd's attorney and notes "the provisional suspension earlier this year of a high-ranking UCI official for leaking documents and-or information to" the French newspaper LEquipe. The article continues with the dispute of whether or not a CIR (to detect not natural elements) test was performed and what the results are. In this turn of the story, it's good to see Floyd's team on the offensive and Cyclingnews has more on his counter claims and the impending battle.

Posted by Byron on August 3, 2006 in Floyd Landis | Permalink

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Comments

Floyd may very well be guilty, but until the UCI gets its act together, it can't be particularly effective at combating doping. So somebody really needs to get attention focused on the problems the UCI has in relation to holding its own people and the people at the lab accountable for maintaining confidentiality (one hopes these types of lapses at the lab aren't also happening in its testing processes and procedures). At this point, reform of the UCI's behavior is about the only silver lining to this whole thing, and that's a slim lining indeed. To say nothing of the irony that Floyd may become a symbol for cycling's reform, but not in the way we all thought when he was standing on the podium in Paris.

Posted by: Jason at Aug 3, 2006 12:27:37 PM

Come on - Floyd's corner is grasping at straws here, trying to find any inconsistency they can and then blowing it out of proportion.

Complaining about the UCI's leaking that "a rider" tested positive comprises an invasion of Floyd's privacy? Sure doesn't fit the statute definition. Oh, and complaining that the B sample hadn't been tested yet? That was Floyd's own fault for not making the request ASAP.

Howard Jacobs (Floyd's new legal hire) has a lovely references sheet, including Tyler Hamilton and Tim Montgomery. They were proven guilty in the end, and he's throwing up the same silly smoke screen for Floyd that he threw up for them. I can't wait for him to call mass spectroscopy an "unproven" science.

Posted by: Cosmo at Aug 3, 2006 1:33:06 PM

Cosmo,

I see your points and I'm waiting like everyone else to see how this plays out, but a vigorous defense is the obligation of any attorney. The lab definitely has credibility issues and it would be neglectful to not make a case for them or the reliability of the test. A larger problem is making news when there is none from leaks, quotes, and more.

Posted by: DL Byron at Aug 3, 2006 2:08:30 PM

I see your points, Cosmo, but you really can't trust the UCI any more than you can trust the riders themselves.

Those who are calling Landis guilty are just as ignorant as those who are calling him not guilty. Believe what you want, but the truth is that we may never know whether he is TRULY guilty or not.

Posted by: James at Aug 3, 2006 2:36:36 PM

He who lives in glass houses should not throw rocks. When the enforcer appears corrupt and the lab appears corrupt, I highly doubt the fairness of system. Floyd has been crucified, dead, and buried already. This is such a mess and it should never have gone down this way. As far as the B sample goes, shouldn't they use another lab to verify the results of the first lab. The lab has motive to verify the results of the first test in order to save their own credibility. Guilty or not, Floyd will never get a fair "trial" in this debacle.

Posted by: chip at Aug 3, 2006 2:43:23 PM

I'm all in favor of Floyd's team going on the offensive, but they really need to stay on message. The various lawyers (US and Spanish) and PR guys seem to be all over the place in terms of possible explanations (some of which are really over the top, IMHO), where the blame may lie, etc. That's not to say that the UCI and the testing system aren't a complete mess (they are), but I'm not sure whether Team Landis is yet winning the PR battle. It will be a long battle though.

Posted by: Phil at Aug 3, 2006 6:18:14 PM

Phil,

Agreed and now saying it possibly dehydration, or the jack or beer, or whatever.

Posted by: DL Byron at Aug 3, 2006 6:22:40 PM

Everyone may have seen this already but VeloNews has an interesting article about a former pro-cyclist's contention that it's not possible to win a major tour without doping:

    "Do I know a racer that wins clean? None. No one can win the Giro without doping. I don't believe it's possible." ...The ex-pro refused to blame the teams and the cycling culture in general and said the blame lies with the racers themselves.

I'm not sure that it makes sense to say it's impossible to win a race like the Giro without doping and then turn around and say that only the riders are to blame. I think it's commendable to not try to shift blame to someone else, but if it's impossible to win without doping, this would help explain why cycling has such problems (can't believe I'm passing up an opportunity to bash pat McQuaid, Dick Pound, et al).

Posted by: Jason at Aug 3, 2006 6:58:00 PM

I want to believe that cycling is clean but after Tyler, Landis and Operacion Puerto I doubt if anyone is truly clean. Drug testing does not work! Tyler and Landis were flukes or bad planning. Look at the 58 riders in Operacion Puerto. Only Tyler and Haras were ever caught by testing. The answer is lie detector tests. Not just any lie detector tests but Functional MRI lie detector tests. You test once a year for about 10 grand and thats it. No more drugging up the test limit. It may not be ready for prime time now but IMO it's the future of all drug testing. What will we do in a few years when gene doping arrives? Do muscle biopses on all muscle groups?
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.01/lying_pr.html

Posted by: velopismo at Aug 3, 2006 10:36:48 PM

Perhaps we should make all performance enhancing drugs available to all athletes, with permanent asterisks about new record holders, and clean up the judges as well as the judged. Just a thought. Because there are two sides to this story and one side is being seriously under-reported. There is credible evidence from the last Tour Winner that WADA's impartiality is compromised. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Posted by: A Modest Proposal... at Aug 4, 2006 12:58:56 AM

Lie detector tests? Why not just ask riders if they'll ever dope? It'll be like Minority Report - you could punish them for future crimes! Drug tests, confessions, or videotaped doping are the only realiable ways to catch dopers. I'm sure plenty of people slip through the system, but the same can be said of any law enforcement system.

Anyway, I wouldn't take the 58 riders implicated in Puerto as evidence of the widespread nature of doping. Five athletes from Astana and 13 from CV have already been cleared of any wrongdoing. I'm sure more will be exonerated before charges are pressed. McCarthyists love to inflate statistics; remember when the report broke with "200 names"?

I agree (I'm sure I'm on record ranting about it in blog) with the statements above that the anti-dope needs to tighten down its testing. But where were your complaints when Heras' name was leaked last September? Or when Armstrong's name slipped out last August? Just because an American might be stripped of his title, suddenly this becomes a problem?

And never being able to know whether someone is TRULY guilty? Can't that be said about pretty much any trial, sport or criminal?

Posted by: cosmo at Aug 4, 2006 4:00:18 AM

Cosmo said "And never being able to know whether someone is TRULY guilty? Can't that be said about pretty much any trial, sport or criminal?"

I say: Exactly!! And this highlights the not-so-wonderful side of cycling that takes such a "tough stand" on doping. The stakes are so much higher in cycling than any other sport...but the "trial" system seems even more flawed than most. Harsh sentences require rigorous, unbiased trials. If you can't have the latter, you shouldn't have the former.

Posted by: james at Aug 4, 2006 1:08:38 PM

James,

Good points. Very much agree that harsh sentences require rigorously objective and fair trial procedures. But on another note I've been wondering about how much is at stake in cycling. Obviously there are some quite serious punishments at stake for the riders, but outside of someone like Armstrong, there really isn't as much at stake in terms of money. I'm sure Terrel Owens makes way more money than entire teams, or a number of teams together. So why does cycling have such problems? Is it because cycling is using much more stringent testing measures than other sports? I think that must be part of it, but that doesn't feel like the whole picture. Maybe it's too many athletes chasing too little money? Just curious what others might think about the incentive to cheat in cycling as compared to other sports.

Posted by: Jason at Aug 4, 2006 1:54:58 PM

lie detector test might sound like a good idea to some, but the mindset of a junked-up racer needs to be borne in mind - they don't see themselves as cheats. they actually believe it when they say they are innocent. that a drug is on a banned list doesn't mean anything to them. the only thing that means anything is getting caught and being able to come up with a good enough excuse. no lie detector test can get around a person who actually believes what they are saying, even when what they're saying is a heap of bullshit.

Posted by: fmk at Aug 4, 2006 3:01:56 PM

I have not seen any article that speaks to how long Floyd's testosterone level would remain elevated. Wasn't Floyd tested again several times after his Stage 17 test came back showing the 11:1 level?

If subsequent tests are also abnormal, why has there been no mention of them?

If subsequent tests are normal, how can the abnormal test after Stage 17 be explained?

Posted by: John OKeefe at Aug 4, 2006 3:31:08 PM

John,

That's right and in all the leaks, and quotes, and information there is that, which is this has never turned up before. Just today, we see more news about Jan, but it's not news, it's quotes on information we haven't seen.

Posted by: DL Byron at Aug 4, 2006 3:44:25 PM

Floyd posted a statement this afternoon on his website: www.floydlandis.com. He predictable continues to maintain his innocence, but he also adds some details about his test results. He claims that while his t:e ratio was out of whack (several sources have confirmed 11:1), his testosterone levels were normal. He says that his epitestosterone levels were in fact unusually low and resulted in the adverse result, which was speculated on by several experts, but never confirmed by the Landis crowd until now, as far as I know.

I think that if this is in fact true, it does shed a different light on the results. I hope that it gives a bit more room for error, freak of nature, etc., but who knows. I still hope Floyd can clear his name or explain the results, but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: Jason M. at Aug 4, 2006 8:22:41 PM

The tests "prove" Floyd and Tyler are guilty, and yet both deny the results. Can anybody really know if their samples were NOT tampered with BEFORE testing? Sure, the glass "looks" empty, but is it really?

Americans have been discredited to the world. Motives? Plots? Some great conspiracy? Or are all of us just stupid?

Phonak's treatment of Floyd sucks. They should fire the team manager and their Doctor. Tell me they know nothing.

No matter what, I believe Floyd and Tyler. Call me whatever, all I know is that all of it just breaks my heart.

Posted by: James at Aug 6, 2006 5:16:19 AM

James,

I think Phonak did the right thing here and I'm sure they discussed it with Floyd. He is one his own and that's written into their contract.

Phonak deserves much credit for being nearly as scandal-ridden as Festina and sticking with the sport.

Posted by: DL Byron at Aug 6, 2006 9:13:52 AM

I don't know how Dick Pound and Wada, Pat Mcquaid and the UCI and the labs and people involved can expect to be taken seriously when they do not even respect their own rules.

I rant more on my own site: Drug Testing: Corruption in the System, but the gist is, I'm not only (potentially) disappointed in Floyd, but the whole system which has presented itself to be pretty lame and downright unprofessional.

Posted by: Mike Papageorge at Aug 9, 2006 3:28:28 AM