The Cleanest Ever

by Rant on September 12, 2011 · 69 comments

in Cycling,Doping in Sports,Tour de France

Earlier today, I saw a news article on BBC.com which touches on the subject of doping at the 2012 London Olympics. Of course, with that being about a year away, it’s hard to say how many athletes who get a boost from performance-enhancing drugs will actually get caught during the upcoming Summer Games. And, as faithful readers here (and who isn’t at this point?) already know, just because someone doesn’t get caught doesn’t mean he or she wasn’t cheating.

So what could make the London Olympics the cleanest ever? Well, according to the Beeb’s article:

Prof David Cowan [who is in charge of anti-doping efforts for the 2012 Olympics] strongly indicated that a new test to catch blood dopers could be deployed for the first time.

Speaking at the British Science Festival in Bradford, Professor Cowan confirmed there would also be a new test for human growth hormone.

What’s special about this new test to catch those who are blood doping is that it is supposedly geared towards people who store and then reinfuse their own blood (which is known as autologous blood doping). Up to now, testing has been supposedly able to catch those who use other people’s blood, but catching athletes who use their own blood has been more problematic.

The article goes on to say:

At this meeting [Cowan] gave details of a new test that would compare the age of blood samples by looking at the genetic component of red blood cells.

“We’re working on a scheme where the nuclear material, not in the nucleus itself, but the RNA material in the cell has been shown to change and we are hoping that using those markers we’ll be able to distinguish stored blood from blood that’s in your body naturally,” he said.

I would be interested to see just how this test works. I’m not sure what change would happen over the lifetime of a blood cell that might show one blood cell is older than another. At least, not in the timeframe where blood doping occurs. I could imagine a test that could take a stored bag of blood from many years ago, and then compares those cells to existing cells to determine the age. But I can’t imagine that a cell from say two months ago is going to have a significant change in the nuclear material that could make it easy to pick which cell is older than another cell.

Professor Cowan was careful not to tell the BBC that the autologous blood doping test will be ready for the London Games. What he did say is this:

“I would never guarantee what we can deliver by a particular time, that’s the nature of research, we’re working very quickly on this, the progress is very exciting. I would put it the other way round, if you’re an athlete be careful – we may have a test in time,” he said.

Professor Cowan did confirm that an improved test for human growth hormone would be available next Summer and that tests for gene doping were also in the pipeline. His message to dopers was simple – cheats will be caught if they come to London.

I can imagine that a new, improved test for HGH might be available by 2012. Gene doping — that is, real gene doping where a person essentially changes one gene for another with the hope/belief that it will improve athletic performance — is probably not happening just yet. And testing for it will be problematic. Working on a test? Great. Knock yourselves out. Verifying that it’s accurate? Color me skeptical.

Why? Well, because gene replacement therapy is still not anything approaching safe and reliable and in the mainstream of medicine just yet. It’s still experimental, and the techniques — safe techniques — aren’t fully there yet. So anyone who attempts gene doping is literally risking his or her life. Because, not to sound melodramatic, people have died in gene replacement therapy trials. Short of actually getting before and after DNA samples to compare for modified genes, I’m not sure how the testing labs will be able to confirm that someone has engaged in gene doping.

There’s a part of me that suspects that stories like this are more about psychological warfare. If the anti-doping authorities can make the athletes believe there is a test that can catch certain types of cheating, then that (they hope) will convince the athletes not to engage in those forms of cheating.

Which could be a brilliant strategy, if it works. Problem is, the tests have to work, too. Otherwise the cheaters will eventually figure out that it’s all talk and nothing else. So if the tests really aren’t there, it’s only a matter of time before the cheats will be back to their old ways.

Still No Positives from the 2011 Tour de France

It’s still early days yet, but no new positive test results from the 2011 Tour de France have been leaked or announced. A while back, the UCI said that there were no positive test results (well except, perhaps, the Russian rider Kolobnev, who was unceremoniously booted from this year’s Grand Boucle). Of course, it seems to me that the whole Contador affair didn’t come to light until a couple of months after the 2010 Tour, so I wouldn’t go so far as to say the results are final just yet in the later edition of the race. Come November (more likely December or January) we will find out what the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides.

Who knows? Andy Schleck may go into the 2012 Tour as the 2010 champion, depending on how this all shakes out. And Alberto Contador may (or may not) be working on a cattle ranch in Andalusia, rounding up stray cows while riding a mountain bike. Yeah, I can just picture Alberto tossing a lasso while riding an MTB. At least he can stay in shape for his eventual return to the peloton. In about 2014.

The Gang That Couldn’t Merge Straight

Just a brief comment about the Leopard Trek – RadioShack merger. Seems like the two sides haven’t been able to get their stories to mesh, exactly. Almost makes me wonder how much time and thought went into the merger. Will the combination of the Schleck brothers and Johan Bruyneel’s helmsmanship lead to a Tour victory in 2012? Time will tell. Meanwhile, Team LeopardShack needs to finalize their roster for the coming year.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being … Lance

Interesting blog post in the Calgary Herald about the dichotomy of Lance Armstrong. Is he a cheat or is he a great human being? Can he be both a doper and a great humanitarian raising funds for cancer research and awareness? Does it matter if he doped, or was he the cleanest ever? (After all, Lance “never tested positive.”) Take a look and let me know what you think.

 

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{ 69 comments }

Jeff September 13, 2011 at 8:26 am

WADA’s real mission is to protect the olympic brand. While I have no love, and little respect for what the olympic brand stands for, there are clearly people within the anti-doping movement and the WADA umbrella who are dedicated to the stated mission vs the real mission of their organizations. Those people are to be commended.

Because of their work, and the bureaucrats desire to protect the rotten to the core golden goose olympic brand, there has actually been some progress in “cleaning up” segments of international sport, from an anti-doping perspective. The TdF is a possible beneficiary of this phenomenon, depending upon your point of view?

Then there is the curious case of Jeannie Longo:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/papp-reportedly-sold-epo-to-longos-husband
Search for other links, there are plenty. The above link is a reasonable summary.

SHOW ME THE MONEY, LANDIS! September 13, 2011 at 11:54 am

YOU should LOVE the new merged team, why, it shares your name!

RANT

RAdioshack Nissan Trek

As for me – I hate this LIFE BOAT phase of cycling. Little did we know that the Landis positive was the Titanic iceberg for the sport. While the next 4 years were mostly spent rearranging the deck chairs, the current Life Boat phase began late last season with the “merger” of Garmin & Cervelo. Now we have Omega-Lotto merged with Quick Step & RS with LT. And poor HTC missed a “boat” completely & have gone under with da feeshes. Who will be next?

With the European economy supposedly even worse off than our own, it will be interesting to see if the sport of cycling survives long enough to get “picked up” by rescue ships to eventually emerge one day strong enough to sail the sporting seas again.

Jeff September 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

To clarify and expand upon my previous post, I believe there is a minority of persons within the anti-doping establishment who are skilled, honorable, and dedicated to the science. That minority has made some significant progress in spite of WADA’s real mission, in spite of unskilled/dishonorable/uncaring co-workers & supervisors, and in spite of much of the press generated by the WADA umbrella spin doctors regarding anti-doping technology which is largely bravo sierra (and limp d1ck psychological warfare). In short, they have done some good work while overcoming large hurdles that include their real mission having little to do with their published mission, which was imposed upon them by their evil bureaucratic overlords.

That said, I don’t give a rat’s rear end if the upcoming olympics or the 2011 edition or the TdF are/were the “cleanest ever”, or not. I won’t willingly watch even a moment of the London olympics, especially the Nazi rip off pageantry. If I did, I would just hope for them to be entertaining while damaging athletes, fans, and the finances of the city as little as possible. That would include avoidance of capricious doping allegations. YMMV.

Under the current Code, there is a final date for determining the winner of a Grand Tour or other top level professional bicycle race. That date is ~eight years from the conclusion of the race. Unfortunately for the Code, almost no one cares about a newly declared winner once the post competition celebrations are over. (Have a seance and ask Nascar pioneer and color barrier breaker Wendell Scott who was $crewed out of a trophy presentation by a bunch of racist crackers) Until the winner on the podium can be declared the final winner, sports that embrace routinely re-writing their results will suffer. I’ll add that (8) eight years is a stupid long time to suffer bureaucratic ineptitude. Meh, the guys on the podium won, and that includes Floyd. (Wendell Scott should have been on the podium and should have gotten a kiss from those pretty white trophy girls.) You keep the podium results unless there are exceptional circumstances, like when Scott beat all the white drivers and actually won the race.

Shack & Leopard Trek? The merger that was announced via the media, before notifying contracted riders. Interesting group. They may deserve each other?

LA. Interesting character. Won the genetic lottery as an athlete. Won the lottery again by beating a particularly insidious form of cancer, that he may or may not have had a hand in causing in the first place via alleged (I’d say probable, but don’t really care either way) doping. His charity has raised multi-millions of dollars for cancer research. He and his friends have lived well doing so. I admire the guy for his athletic accomplishments. As a person, he’s not someone I’d care to be in proximity to or to emulate, YMMV. To each his own. If I liked the guy, I could see he and his friends raising millions for cancer while living a privileged lifestyle as a win-win situation. Because I don’t like the guy, I’m more inclined to question the high incidence of the mixing of travel in private jet on foundation business with his more personally oriented itinerary, while charging it all off to the foundation. I’m also troubled with the foundation’s ratio of dollars spent to raise money for research. That said, I don’t care if LA doped during his cycling career. I assume he did much as his contemporaries did. That he beat the drug testers so badly, then shame on them and they should be ashamed now if they are going after him in his retirement for what he did so long ago. It just reminds me of anti-doping’s past pi$$ poor work and what pompous a$$es they’ve been despite having some good folks in their midst. If LA is an inspiration to individuals facing their own mortality, then that has value. If the guy I think is a jerk can give someone like Gino DiVincentis hope or peace of mind, then that is not a mythical MasterCard moment, it is truly priceless in the most valuable sense. How do I dislike a guy like that? I don’t know. He just impresses me as being a jerk. As always, YMMV….

As for the previous thread, all was relatively quiet on the doping front. More recently, we have news of Jeannie Longo and Alex Rasmussen missing multiple appointments with the pooper scoopers and possible black market purchases of epo by Longo’s husband via a 3rd rate former doping pro rider of questionable talent and confirmed sleaziness named Papp. It appears the cessation of hostilities has ceased.

Rant September 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm

SMTML,

The buggers are infringing on my trademark! ;-)

Jeff,

Good points. WADA was born of the IOC’s desire to cover their behinds. No doubt, there are some folks within the anti-doping agencies that actually want to address doping and clean up sports, but that wasn’t really WADA’s (and by extension their affiliates’) raison d’etre.

I find I feel kind of blase about the whole who doped when thing. I think it’s a waste of resources to go after long-retired athletes, when the money could be better spent on improved testing techniques and on more frequent testing (a major flaw in the biological passport, as currently implemented, is that athletes aren’t tested nearly enough to develop a comprehensive set of data on each individual).

For guys like Lance, I assume he did what he had to do to win. If that meant doping, so be it. I agree that if the ADAs couldn’t catch him during his time as a pro then shame on them.

The thing about Jeannie Longo is just plain weird. Not unbelievable (after all, how does a woman her age continue to dominate as she does…), but more for the fact that Joe Papp, of all people, may have been her supplier. Or at least her husband’s supplier. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if he was buying stuff for his wife. Pure speculation on my part, but not out of the realm of possibility.

Alex Rasmussen apparently hasn’t learned from another Rasmussen’s (Michael’) experience. Whether or not he was trying to evade the authorities (a whole lot of people are rallying around him saying he’s a forgetful sort … sounds like an echo of the past, doesn’t it?), it was just plain stupid to mess up on his whereabouts info. Three strikes and you’re out of competition for two years. Oops. Major oops.

I saw an article in which Brian Holm said he’d be there for Rasmussen when he returns to the sport. That’s decent, anyway. A-Ras will at least get a second chance once his time is over.

Of course, if I were him, I’d think about different ways of making a living. Even if he returns to the pro ranks, he’ll need something to fall back on when he retires somewhere down the line.

Rosemary September 17, 2011 at 12:47 am

Read this today and thought it was Norwalk, CA…but it is Norwalk, CT:

Cycling champ Landis charged in Norwalk for evading responsibility By STEVE KOBAK Hour Staff Writer
Posted on 09/16/2011

NORWALK –A champion cyclist is appearing in Norwalk Superior Court today on a motor vehicle charge stemming from a car crash near Taylor Farm Park.

Floyd Landis, 35, of Murrieta, Cali., is charged with evading responsibility.

Landis hit a fence at Taylor Farm Park while trying to avoid a vehicle that turned into his lane of travel at 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 15, police said.

He did not report the accident until the following morning after his rental car company advised him to do so, according to police.

Police say he was staying at a friend’s Shorehaven Road house at the time of the accident.

Landis raced on the U.S. Postal Service team alongside Lance Armstrong from 2002 until 2004, and he won the 2006 Tour de France. He was subsequently stripped of his medal in 2006 after being accused of using performance enhancing substances.

Rant September 18, 2011 at 7:16 am

Thanks for posting that Rosemary. I wonder if Landis actually appeared in court or if a lawyer representing him did. Sounds like he should have reported the incident right away. Oops.

Jean C September 21, 2011 at 11:47 am

Hi Boys

Some news from Italia (Corriere della Sera).

It’s reported that Lance is associated to money (from PED traffic) laundering with Menchov,…

MikeG September 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm
Jeff September 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Going after retired athletes is a fruitless endeavor that wastes valuable resources better applied to improvements in current day racing. And not to be jingoistic, that applies to retired athletes of all nationalities. This crap is driven by small minded political climbers and desperate bureaucrats, in other words, parasites.

Jean C September 22, 2011 at 3:07 am

Jeff,

Lance is a retired athlete who has announced that he will take part to a triathlon. But for fraud, only justice time limitation could protect Lance.

Do you think that people who have been sullied like Mrs Andreu, Lemond, Anderson,… deserve some kind of justice?

It’s probable that a lot of people have lied at SCA affairs, and were part of a scam.

Jeff September 22, 2011 at 9:26 am

Jean C wrote:
“Do you think that people who have been sullied like Mrs Andreu, Lemond, Anderson,… deserve some kind of justice?”

They’ve had a heavy hand in getting the “justice” they deserve to date. Difficult to imagine an innocent in the bunch?

Liggett junkie September 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I think Jeff is right, let’s start on the people who are active in the drugs trade and who haven’t suffered any consequences. You know. Like Team Cofidis.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/8785976.stm

m September 22, 2011 at 10:44 pm

LOL.

Jeff, Rant, Ligett

The Lance fanboys don’t want justice for Lance. Why? Because he was their homie. Denial. Denial. Denial. He was your homie.

If you want to discourage doping today, you have to nail the biggest doper in cycling history, your homie. Otherewise those today will think they can still get away with it.

So like my homie Barry Bonds, they have to nail his ass to the wall.

Jeff September 23, 2011 at 8:09 am

M,
1) You are having no success in identifying a fanboy. Your use of the term here is a simplistic and inaccurate throwaway that is in all likelihood meant primarily to be inflammatory. You are having even less success in identifying a homie.
2) LA is probably a big doper. Doubtful he’s the biggest, by a long shot. Do some research on known bike racing dopers. I realize that doesn’t narrow the field much, but……. Meh, doesn’t matter anyway.
3) Racers today, as those in the past, will do what they feel they have to, and what is customary, to succeed. You can waste limited resources on going after a few of the high profile past transgressors while ignoring most of the low profile past transgressors, which brings up an ethical dilemma for those concerned about such trivia, or devote your limited resources to changing the culture such that doping is no longer customary or required for success. Of course it’s more difficult to make a name for yourself by being instrumental in changing bike racing culture than it is to go after high profile past “bad guys” who were doing what was customary.
4) And it was a waste of time & our tax dollars for the feds to go after your self professed homie, Barry Bonds. Kind of doubting Barry Bonds would consider you his “homie”. ROTFLOL. Seriously, the thought of Bonds calling you his homie is off the wall funny.
5) Bonds was a baseball problem. Baseball should have taken care of it, not the feds.

William Schart September 23, 2011 at 10:29 am

Just out of curiosity, and as a possibly OT aside here, I looked up the LA Foundtion on charity navigator. It rates 3 out of a possible 4 stars and devotes 83.2% of funds to program expenses. It would thus appear, whatever your personal opinion of Lance as a person, as a cyclist and how he managed to win, his foundation is doing a pretty good job.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Jeff September 23, 2011 at 11:28 am

William,
His foundation is doing a better job wrt grading now.
This seems to have happened both because they have learned to do a better job meeting their mission and because they have learned how to better manage their budget numbers to grade higher. (Look into the budgetary relationship the merchandizing arm of the foundation has as it relates to the overall budget of the foundation. How income & expense are reported…… Interesting……)

Jean C September 24, 2011 at 12:53 am

Livestrong is a scam, half of the benefit of livestrong.com is for Armstrong and his business partners.
That is no charity when Armstrong request personal fee to speak about cancer!
Lance has raised millions of dollars for him by using cancer fight as pretend. It’s not correct to make business of cancer.

Liggett junkie September 24, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I don’t even know what a homie is. NO, don’t tell me.

But I do know one thing, and that is that I have not been able to so much as utter the name of B… Ba… — I guess I can type it though, Barry Bonds — since he lost the Pirates the pennant.

Jeff September 28, 2011 at 6:11 am
Liggett junkie September 28, 2011 at 11:42 am

Talk is cheap, but litigation comes expensive.

MikeG September 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Contador defence receives setback as WADA confirms Clenbuterol will remain banned:

http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/9926/Contador-defence-receives-setback-as-WADA-confirms-Clenbuterol-will-remain-banned.aspx

Rant September 28, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Jeff,

Saw that earlier today. It’s giving me some ideas for the next post. Thanks.

Liggett junkie,

Talk definitely is cheap. And given that both McQuaid and Verbruggen might fall under the category of “public figures” I rather doubt that the UCI could bring a successful case against Landis in the US. Not sure what Swiss law is like, but I have to wonder how solid a case they could make if they haven’t bothered to even file paperwork yet. Methinks McQuaid and Co. are all hat and no cattle.

Mike,

Thanks for posting the link. Bummer for Contador, eh?

Jeff October 1, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Commentary on UCI’s most recently available budget numbers (from 2010):
http://www.cyclingnews.com/blogs/inner-ring/inner-ring-uci-financial-accounts-published

William Schart October 3, 2011 at 8:13 am

I would assume that, for various reasons, Landis will never set foot in Europe again. If V, McQ, and/or UCI were to file a suit in Switzerland, what actual effect could it have? Would US courts enforce any award of damages or any cease and desist order? In any case, getting monetary awards out of Landis would be rather like getting blood out of a turnip.

The part about the “virtual” lawyer was rather funny. Reminds me of the time we tried to run one Robert Fausto (yes, named after that Fausto) for student body president in high school. Problem was, in order to run, you had to be enrolled. In those pre-computer days, getting him enrolled would have involved breaking into the office and physically producing any and all necessary paperwork. This was beyond our capabilities. Today, someone probably would simple hack into the school’s system.

Jeff October 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Picking up where MikeG left off, WADA has its collective head in the sand (up its a$$) and UCI has a problem if/when an athlete at the Tour of Beijing pops non-negative for clenbuterol (lean meat powder). It’s clearly in the food supply in various large population centers throughout the world. WADA’s failure to integrate that reality into their Code, while apparently pretending it does not exist, is a discredit to the organization, indicating gross incompetence. I’m not sure how anyone’s milage can vary on that? Giving up any pretense of organizational integrity in order to hang Contador high seems a senseless price to pay.
http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/300535/skinny-pigs-poison-pork-china-battles-farm-drugs
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/tour-of-beijing-teams-wary-of-clenbuterol-in-food

Liggett junkie October 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm
Jeff October 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Liggett junkie,

It does not sound like there would be many enthusiastic applicants for the State Food and Drug Commissioner position in China once Zheng Xiaoyu was removed from his post and later executed? Just guessing. Given the uphill battle involved in remedying the tainted food problem in China, it would seem the position requires a person of some fortitude considering the likelihood of failure and penalty for the same. I realize Zheng Xiaoyu was executed for crimes related to bribery and other corruption that caused a great many deaths in China and overseas, but the job, even when held by an honest individual, is monumental.

WADA seems not to realize how the world has metaphorically shrunk. The FDA has rejected a variety of food coming in from China for a plethora of reasons, while admittedly testing only a tiny fraction of the sample of imports. The USA imports other potentially tainted food from numerous other nations, so while China is a high profile repeat offender, they are by no means alone. While statistically much less likely, tainted products are also produced domestically. The USA is just one example. Nations routinely import and export food products throughout the world, with varying degrees of “purity”. There is no practical way to ensure athletes will not come into contact with, and eat, contaminated food from the regular supply chain which will trip a positive, particularly for substances that are a yea or nay proposition, with no threshold attached.

Unless WADA can guarantee athletes are able to eat food from the regular food supply that is un-tainted by Clenbuterol, which it cannot, then WADA has no business declaring Clenbuterol a no threshold substance on the banned list. Consideration should be given to the reality of the food supply and WADA should be responsible enough to provide athletes with a reasonable path toward being able to comply with the Code. Most reasonable people don’t consider Catch-22′s to be a good thing.

(maybe the UCI would like to charge us to put an approved sticker on certain food products like it does certain bike frames???)

Rant October 5, 2011 at 7:39 am

William,

Being able to enforce a judgment against Landis from a foreign court would be a problem. One lawyer I talk to regularly tells me that there is, in fact, no treaty that would require the US to recognize a civil judgment from a Swiss court. Assuming that McQuaid and company aren’t just talking out their behinds, I’m not sure what they would accomplish through such a lawsuit.

Defend the honor of the UCI and its current and former leaders? Doubtful, given all the other allegations of corruption and conflicts of interest that have come from many, many sources besides Landis. Get monetary damages? Like you said, the likelihood of that is about the same as getting blood from a turnip. Not gonna happen. And even if they could, they’ll probably have to stand in line behind others who (like SMTML) would like to be reimbursed for their donations to the Floyd Fairness Fund.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine why McQuaid seems to have such a need to keep harping on Landis. Yeah, he got busted doping at the biggest cycling event of the year. And he didn’t take ol’ Paddy’s advice to shut up and take the suspension. But Landis is highly unlikely to ever work within professional cycling again. I can’t imagine that a team with serious aspirations would employ him, given that he’s radioactive to the UCI and others.

So what’s the point of all this bluster? As far as I can see, it’s to deflect attention from other things. Like McQuaid’s conflict of interest over the Tour of Beijing. On the one hand, he strong-armed teams into participating. On the other, he’s a shareholder in the company promoting the race and stands to gain financially from it.

Seems like he could use a good diversion. Or a lesson in ethics. Take your pick.

Jeff and Liggett junkie,

WADA’s refusal to deal with the reality of environmental contamination is a case of the overly dogmatic running the show, eh? Given that some tests are becoming more sensitive, some serious thought needs to be given to how to handle low-level results for what otherwise could be doping substances. As LJ points out, the USOC was so concerned that they took their own food to Beijing in 2008. That says it all. If athletes now need to bring their own food and caterers to international events in order to avoid doping positives, we have two problems.

One, the fact that the contamination exists in the first place. That’s a governmental issue, in terms of regulating food production, etc.

Two, the fact that people can be punished for contamination beyond their control. Are they all supposed to employ environmental chemists and biologists in order to ensure that nothing they eat or drink is contaminated with a banned substance? That seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? Or should certain thresholds be established, so that minor contamination doesn’t become a two-year suspension? That seems a reasonable solution. But unfortunately, WADA doesn’t often do reasonable solutions.

Jeff October 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Ah, McQuaid and the UCI:
http://inrng.com/2011/10/uci-sponsor-letters-warning/#more-5191
Seems rumor is getting very close to being proven as truth.
A class act for the ethically challenged……….

William Schart October 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm

It seems to me that Landis has had his 15 minutes of fame and is pretty much out of the public eye now. His allegations about WADA/UCI are probably perceived by many as vindictive rantings by someone whose creditability is shot. If these organizations were to ignore the allegations, so would most people. Litigation only serves to keep these in the public eye and I doubt that either the organizations or any of their officials have suffered any real harm from Landis’ statements.

Let’s face it Landis is a broken man with little future. While SMTML and other might have some claim for recovery of money donated, seeking to punish him further seems to me to be overly vindictive. As always YMMV.

Jeff October 6, 2011 at 8:25 pm

William is correct that Floyd is largely out of the public eye now.
If I recall correctly, after the UCI corruption accusations, there was a story about Floyd planning on driving for an entry level Nascar team, and most recently we see reports that UCI/McQ/HvB have not followed through on McQ’s/UCI’s threatened suit and that McQ may be full of bravo sierra when claiming it is in the hands of UCI attorneys and is moving forward. I did enjoy reports of Floyd’s taunting UCI legal via a web impostor attorney and an interesting legal specialization. Hide the carrots!
As such, I wouldn’t disagree with William that there is an element of vindictiveness in Floyd’s claims against UCI.
However, if William is attempting to link vindictiveness to falsehood, then I’d argue there is not necessarily a correlation.
In this situation, Floyd’s claims and accounts seem to ring much more true than the protestations of McQuaid and friends.
The link I included in my previous post seems to support the notion that McQuaid’s leadership at UCI is corrupt and the gentleman may be serially ethically challenged?
To be clear, (1) McQuaid is a partner in a private for profit enterprise that is promoting the Tour of Beijing. If reports of the letters in question are to be believed, then (2) the head of the international sanctioning body (McQuaid) is “protecting” his personal business interests by threatening one or more sponsors with loss of their sponsored teams ability to compete in other ProTour races should they boycott the Tour of Beijing by making sure their license is pulled or fails to get renewed via the strength of his (McQuaid’s) position with the UCI. The letter purports to (3) threaten anonymous sponsors with diminished ability to do business in China.
Let’s forget that based upon reports of the content of the letter(s) that (4) McQuaid overstated the penalty for a team’s non-participation in a required race on the calendar, with the first offense being a monetary fine, not revocation of a team’s license.
More importantly, (5) THREATENING SPONSORS DRIVES INVESTMENT AWAY AND IS BAD FOR PROFESSIONAL CYCLING.
If at all true, “ETHICALLY CHALLENGED” may be an overly kind characterization of the UCI figure head?
Who do you believe when listening to a liars club (cough, congress, name your politician)? But then again, are we not all liars? We are in actuality arguing about degrees of truthfulness.
Borrowing an antique colloquialism, I think it’s a fools adventure to judge a person’s veracity today based solely on a past (high profile) lie while discounting the current evidence and context. Better to look at the total of the evidence.
By WADA world standards, McQuaid and UCI would be screwed. It’s much more likely than not, that Floyd’s and inner ring’s accounts are true. Much more likely than McQuaid’s BS. YMMV.

Jeff October 7, 2011 at 7:13 am

UCI says they didn’t threaten any sponsors:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/uci-denies-threatening-teams-in-lead-up-to-tour-of-beijing

But then again, it looks more and more like reports about McQuaid’s “Operation Poison the Well and Chase Team Sponsors Away from Pro Cycling” are true:
http://inrng.com/2011/10/uci-threats-confirmed/#more-5212
Read the comments section. It appears a bit of nepotism doesn’t bother ole Paddy either.

In other Tour of Beijing news, riders stay away from beef and pork in an attempt to avoid running afoul of the doping regs:
http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/10/news/riders-swear-off-beef-this-week-in-china_194543

Liggett junkie October 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm
Jeff October 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Edit: Wrote the following previous to reading Liggett junkie’s post -w- link. Tip of the hat to Liggett junkie.
My link will add some video so that you can see for yourself.

And here is some more from Paddy’s Tour of Beijing:
http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/blog/fourth_place_medal/post/Video-Billboard-falls-on-cyclist-during-Tour-of?urn=oly-wp725
Yannick Eijssen of BMC gets tackled by a barrier blown over from the wash of the media helicopter. Lucky to get off with a broken nose and a few other injuries…..

CAS makes some sense of the mess caused by officials desiring to inflate punishment regarding riders who have already served their sanctions:
http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/10/news/millar-supports-cas-decision-allowing-olympic-entry-by-athletes-who-have-served-doping-suspensions_194519

My past few posts have highlighted some, but not all, of professional cycling’s follies over just the past several days. UCI and McQuaid are related to most, if not all, of this lunacy that lacks anything approaching competent leadership. Pro cycling is mighty screwed up. Sad days…….

Jeff October 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Forgot to add this to the pile:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/uci-performed-no-blood-tests-during-amgen-tour-of-california
“Three months prior to the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, the race organisation and USADA announced ‘the most comprehensive anti-doping program in the history of the race’, in which USADA, an independent testing body, would perform all pre- and in-competition testing, while the UCI would manage the results of the controls.” (UCI reaped the benefit of the bold announcement and then quietly snuck away at the last minute)

“It was understood that, at the time of the announcement, the UCI had signed off on the plan, but just one day before the start of the race, it was reported that the deal fell through at the last minute. A source has confirmed to Cyclingnews that the deal had in fact been signed by all parties, but was terminated by the UCI.”

The story also states the proposed testing plan was funded, so UCI can’t claim there was not money for it.

Read the details. UCI is lacking in so many areas.

For William, do I hear an echo at UCI?

*UCI says they are in on the cooperative testing, then @ the 11th hour says no.
*UCI says they did not coerce sponsors wrt Tour of Beijing, then we find out the probably did.
*UCI says they filed suit against Floyd’s claims of UCI corruption, while we can find no evidence that they have filed a legal action against Floyd in any jurisdiction.
*UCI says Floyd lies about his accusations against HvB wrt protecting certain riders while hanging others out to dry, and we’ll have to wait to see how that one works out, but I think we’re beginning to see a pattern developing?

Liggett junkie October 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Well, maybe I hadn’t heard everything:

Bookwalter said he was knocked off his bike when another rider was easing off after taking a pull to position a teammate for the final sprint. Bookwalter was taking one more dig to position his BMC teammate when the other rider plowed into his handlebars.

“It was like someone pulled my handlebars out from under me,” Bookwalter told VeloNews before Friday’s stage. “I am pretty banged up, it’s not good for morale so late in the season. Thank goodness I didn’t lose any teeth because I am getting married in two weeks.”

http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/10/news/elijssen-seriously-injured-in-beijing-crash-as-bookwalter-suffers_194651

William Schart October 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm

To be clear, I am making no claims for myself that Landis is lying in regards his allegations, only that it is likely that some people will perceive it that way.

Jeff October 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm

William,
Fair enough.

Liggett junkie October 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm
Jeff October 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/dcunited/wada-drops-doping-case-against-5-mexico-players-who-tested-positive-for-clenbuterol/2011/10/12/gIQAgbkGfL_story.html
Sharing a language aside, Spain is not Mexico and cyclists are not football/soccer players. The cases are almost entirely different, but contain interesting links just the same. It’s taken quite a while for WADA to admit the obvious wrt the guys from Mexico who seldom touch the round ball with their hands, but give credit to them for eventually coming to a reasonable conclusion in this case. Can we hope for more?

Jeff October 13, 2011 at 8:42 am

And for your reading pleasure:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/wada-withdraws-appeal-in-nielsen-clenbuterol-case
Another WADA withdrawal wrt appealing a clen case to CAS.

Jean C October 17, 2011 at 2:55 am

Hi,

Trial of Arnie Baker and Landis begins today in France for spying. None of them are there but most of that trial will be focused on the other client of Quiros the hacker : EDF.
Neither Floyd nor Arnie are there, I don’t know if they have send an avocat. That should last 2 weeks.

Jeff October 17, 2011 at 9:31 am

Hi Jean C,
Please keep us posted.

Liggett junkie October 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Why delegate? Just go to google.fr , type in Floyd Landis and hit Actualites (where ‘News’ is on the google.com page). French isn’t that hard to read. Is it? If you know what it’s about, and especially if it’s a technical subject, as one of my linguistics profs said, it’s English with diacritics.

Rant October 18, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Jean C,

Thanks for the tip. I did a search a few hours ago, and (not a great surprise) didn’t find any English-language stories about the case. I found stories in Spanish, French, Swedish and Italian, however. It will be interesting to see if/when the English-speaking press picks up on this.

austincyclist October 19, 2011 at 9:44 am

Couple things:

Guess F is applying for Probation based on his wreck..

If you do advanced search in Google and specify countries, you can find more on the hacking thing, but not much to read at this point..

Word on some of the forums is the LA stuff is imminent.. but heard that before.

Could apply this to to a couple cyclists, from unforgiven:
L.Bill “I don’t deserve this. To die like this. I was building a house” W.Munny: “Deserve’s got nothin to do with it”

William Schart October 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

OK, assuming that:

1. AB and FL are found guilty in absentia, and

2. Neither actually ever set foot on French soil again,

what actual consequences could be in store for either one? Is there an extradition treaty with France that would cover this (and, if so, why was there no real attempt to extradite them for the trial? Or is this merely something for show?

Jeff October 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Just for show, and a poor one at that…..

tedg October 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm

pompous penguins parade. It is a bad show.
just could not resist.

William Schart October 20, 2011 at 6:34 am

Kind of what I thought, but then, you never know.

Jean C October 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm

What happened today, the best I have found, I let it in french for more accuracy.

PARIS (AP) – “Cette histoire, c’est quoi? C’est trois pieds nickelés qui se rencontrent”, a résumé jeudi l’un des protagonistes de l’affaire du piratage informatique en 2006 du Laboratoire national de dépistage du dopage (LNDD) jugée devant le tribunal correctionnel de Nanterre.

La veille, la 15e chambre de ce même tribunal avait examiné des faits identiques, mais au préjudice de l’ex-directeur des programmes de Greenpeace, Yannick Jadot, à la demande d’EDF, selon un ex-agent de la Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE, contre-espionnage), reconverti dans les officines de renseignement.

Cinq prévenus sont poursuivis pour ce volet du piratage présumé des ordinateurs du laboratoire dépendant de l’Agence française de lutte contre le dopage.

Les deux commanditaires présumés, selon l’acte d’accusation, sont le coureur américain Floyd Landis, vainqueur déchu du Tour de France 2006 en raison d’un contrôle positif à l’EPO, et un de ses anciens manager, Arnie Baker. Les deux hommes, qui n’ont jamais répondu aux convocations de la justice française, ne se sont pas présentés devant le tribunal. Restent trois prévenus à défiler à la barre.

Thierry Lorho, ex-agent de la DGSE, reconverti dans le monde de l’intelligence économique, Alain Quiros, “hacker” autodidacte, et Jean-François Dominguez, qui a sollicité les deux premiers pour le compte d’une tierce personne. “Cette affaire, c’est quoi, c’est trois pieds nickelés qui se rencontrent”, a résumé ce dernier.

Ancien légionnaire parachutiste, Jean-François Dominguez, verbe nerveux, a expliqué au tribunal avoir été contacté par l’un de ses anciens camarades d’armes lui demandant de récupérer des documents dans un laboratoire.

Cet homme, Jean-Michel Payet, n’a jamais été retrouvé par les enquêteurs. Mais, a assuré Jean-François Dominguez, il existe bel et bien. Quand il revient en France, il assure la sécurité de stars, a-t-il expliqué.

“Par expérience”, Dominguez pense que Payet agissait pour le compte d’un cabinet d’avocats anglo-saxons “qui font appel à des gens comme nous”.

Dominguez va donc solliciter Thierry Lorho et son “hacker”, Alain Quiros. Grace à un “cheval de Troie” et des mots-clefs, celui-ci va récupérer dans l’un des ordinateurs du laboratoire des documents ayant trait à Landis. Une fois extraits, ils seront remis via Thierry Lorho à Dominguez. Qui rétribuera, toujours par Lorho, le “hacker”. Qui ne se souvient plus si la somme était en euros ou en dollars.

Là où les trois hommes divergent, c’est sur leur degré de connaissance du laboratoire piraté. Dominguez a dit jeudi qu’il pensait qu’il s’agissait d’un laboratoire privé avant de comprendre quelques mois plus tard qu’il s’agissait d’un laboratoire dépendant de l’Etat. Lorho a martelé qu’il ne savait rien du tout, avant de souhaiter endosser seulement le rôle d’intermédiaire.

Une absence de curiosité qui étonne la présidente du tribunal, Isabelle Prévost-Desprez. “Quelqu’un qui a travaillé aussi longtemps dans le renseignement et qui ne cherche pas à savoir, ça me pose problème”, a-t-elle lancé à Thierry Lorho.

En fin d’audience, Jean-François Dominguez résumera d’un trait les activités de ces sociétés dite d’intelligence économique: “quand on fait ce métier, on est dans une zone un peu grise, un peu floue. Entre ce qui est juste et ce qui ne l’est pas. Ce qui est de l’intérêt de l’Etat. On s’en arrange facilement”.

Les débats reprennent vendredi. Le réquisitoire est attendu lundi.

Liggett junkie October 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Of course the US and France don’t have the kind of mutual extradition treaty that obliges either country to do anything. You knew this already, you just didn’t know you knew. Two words: Roman Polanski.

William Schart October 21, 2011 at 7:34 am

LJ:

RP was in Switzerland when the US recently tried to get him back. Probably still there, and I doubt he will ever set foot o. US soil again.

JC:

My high school French gets me the gist of the article, although I admit I have no idea what “trios pieds nickele” are? 3 nickel feet?

Anyway, there is one error there: Landis wasn’t busted for EPO, but for testosterone.

Jean C October 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

William

Les Pieds Nickeles (old comic books)are something like the “beagles of Boys” but a bit more friendly. Bad boys with a big heart trying to steal with few success.
http://matthieu.chevrier.free.fr/sommaire.html

William Schart October 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Merci, Jean.

Jeff October 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Suspended sentence hopefully ends the farce:
http://bicycling.com/blogs/thisjustin/2011/10/24/floyd-landis-faces-18-month-suspended-sentence/
Had WADA Code required ADA’s to hand over pertinent information, then circumstances would not have encouraged the alleged hacking by an outside party (not Floyd or Arnie, according to the French Court) and we arguably would not be discussing what has become a bad soap opera in French. The suspended sentence is for the duo (Floyd & Arnie) supposedly having knowledge some of the info supplied to them, that was in part, included in the Wiki defense was obtained illegally via a hacker. Sounds like a stretch to me, but if (and I mean “IF”) you follow the reasoning of the French Court, then some of the more damning documents regarding LNDD/AFLD incompetence were GENUINE. Screwed either way.
S-C-O-R-E!

Liggett junkie October 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Wait a minute, isn’t there a difference between what a prosecutor asks for prior to decision and sentencing, and what a defendant gets? But then, this is the French system we’re talking about. All I know is, this acts like no computer hacking case I ever heard of. (Read Cliff Stoll’s The Cuckoo’s Egg — dated, but fun.)

Jean C October 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Jeff,

You are making strange assumptions.
To forge documents , better to have original documents.

You are assuming that Arnie and Floyd had given us the original documents, may you back up that point?

You are closing doors, that don’t suit your fantasy, too rapidly, I guess.

William Schart October 25, 2011 at 7:23 am

This may be a difference between French and US law. As far as I know, based on some well known US cases (like Daniel Ellsberg), if one party illegally obtains documents and subsequently gives to a second party who had no involvement or knowledge of the illegal act at the time it was committed, the second party has no legal liability for possession of the documents or publishing or otherwise making use of the information contained therein. This may not hold when the documents are classified and held to be vital to US national interest, there seems to be some conflict between the Pentagon Papers case and the more recent attempts to take criminal action in the Wikileaks case.

At any rate, this seems to be a good resolution to the case which everyone can be satisfied with.

Jeff October 25, 2011 at 7:49 am

The combination of my high school French coupled with electronic translations of what I’ve been able to read about the case leave some gaps, so perhaps Jean C or William could fill in what I might have missed?
To my knowledge, and in layman’s terms:
*Floyd was charged with hacking LNDD’s computer database.
*After dubious notification procedures, the French court tried Floyd in absentia, yet found they did not hear evidence sufficient to prove he hacked the lab’s computer.
*The French court did, however, conclude Floyd knew he received illegally obtained hacked information. For that was given a suspended 18 month sentence.
*I don’t recall Floyd being charged with forgery, which would seem to be a potentially more serious offense.

*It comes as no surprise Floyd was not found guilty of hacking LNDD’s computer.
*That he was, seems a trumped up ploy. YMMV.
*It’s perfectly plausible, and quite likely, that Floyd received hacked information anonymously. There was an internet fervor surrounding his doping case and the issues of sample collection, sample storage, CoC, testing procedures, and data management. In short, there was boundless opportunity for him to received unsolicited information about his case.
*Given official channels were not providing vital probative information related to his doping case, I’m left to wonder how much weight Floyd was supposed to place on the issue of how it was obtained as long as he or his agents didn’t initiate its acquisition?
*Possibly in an effort to save face, that has been acknowledged, in part, by the near non-penalty of a suspended sentence?
*Forgery is a serious crime as defined by most civilized societies. If the documents were forged, as Jean C implies/contends, then why was there no charge related to forgery, especially considering the prosecutor’s/court’s eagerness to entertain a ridiculous hacking charge?

*In the end, a court in a faraway land charged Floyd with a crime(s).
*The court notified Floyd informally via the internet and press.
*Floyd chose not to attend or defend himself due to any number of issues that include: jurisdiction, notification, expense, disinterest.
*In spite of Floyd providing no defense, the court dismissed the primary charge related to an accusation he hacked LNDD’s computer.
*Again, in spite of no defense, the court decided Floyd knew he received illegally obtained documents, but thought so little of it that a virtual non-penalty was issued in the form of a 18 month suspended sentence.

That’s a long way to nowhere. YMMV.

Edit: As William has indicated, referencing Ellsberg, under US law, Floyd would have no liability as the second (or further removed) party. This assumes Floyd was in the USA, and not France, when he received the information, as has been reported. In short, if he was not in France when it happened, then French law does not apply – jurisdiction.

Liggett junkie October 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Hold your horses. Did you read this? It begins, “La décision du tribunal correctionnel de Nanterre dans la vaste affaire d’espionnage impliquant Floyd Landis sera rendue le 10 novembre.”

http://www.lequipe.fr/Cyclisme/breves2011/20111025_185139_landis-saura-le-10-novembre.html

As we learn from this handy site, ‘sera rendue’ is the futur antérieur (future perfect) — http://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/taf5.html .

Jeff October 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm

If I am reading this anywhere close to correctly (Liggett Junkie’s first cite), the article indicates there was a lawyer present at the hearing who represented Floyd. His lawyer representative asked for the suspended sentence to be annulled due to no sentence because no evidence was offered to support guilt.

A lawyer advocating for a client might be expected to do that, so not a big surprise there.

I think there could be evidence Floyd, as a second or further removed party, received hacked documents. I believe that was his and Arnie’s claim all along. As they received the documents when they were located in California, then the Nanterre court does not have jurisdiction. Floyd’s attorney probably appreciates that bit of truth does not play well in Nanterre, even though the court probably knows full well it does not have jurisdiction.

They kind of split the middle and went with the virtual non-penalty with the suspended sentence, but what they should have done is rule on the question of if Floyd hacked LNDD or not (they concluded he did not) and then decline to rule due to lack of jurisdiction on the question of receiving the documents, which he broke no law in doing so on USA soil.

Jean C October 26, 2011 at 2:20 am

Jeff,

Ben Laden was not on US soils, so USA has no juridiction to condemn it for the 9/11.
Thanks for your input.

Jeff October 26, 2011 at 6:33 am

Jean C
Employing a grotesque extreme in an attempt to score a point, ehh?

I’ll assume the good folks in Nanterre are intelligent and have a solid command of their vocation. If that is so, they know jurisdiction is an issue on the question of receiving illegally obtained documents. The good folks in Nanterre are also somewhat skilled at playing politics. There seems to be a need, in your corner of the world, to find a way to punish Floyd for exposing the manipulative incompetence of LNDD. It was politically advantageous for Floyd to be found guilty. To mitigate the insult to his practice of law, the judge suspended the sentence.

Just politics, but let’s call it what it is.

Jean C October 26, 2011 at 8:18 am

Jeff,

Is it a joke?

Sure that trial about hackers was a bit of politics, the enormous part beeing with EDF and Greenpeace. No french people and judges would have concern about the LNDD political part here.
You should understand that for most people, and not only French, Landis’ case is settled and only a few like you have problem with LNDD.

William Schart October 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Indeed, this whole issue of Floyd and the filched documents brings to mind visions of expired equines. The French got a symbolic conviction while the suspended sentence avoids the possibility of Landis thumbing his nose at some other sentence. Heck, he probably could pay another visit to gay Paree, or is there some other issue I forgot about hanging over his head?

Rant October 26, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Well, you guys got me thinking it was time for a new post. Strange story this whole hacking business. Can’t imagine Floyd will be in France anytime soon. You don’t have NASCAR over there, do you Jean? ;-)

I think Floyd will be busy driving around in circles (or ovals, more likely) at least for a while. He’d be right at home in the world of NASCAR, where the unofficial motto is, “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.” (Kidding, sort of.)

Jeff November 10, 2011 at 8:59 am

Curious that CyclingNews has this as their lead/feature story today:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/landis-convicted-in-hacking-case
Seems a serviceable summary, but why the lead today?

Rant November 10, 2011 at 11:12 am

Jeff,

Must be a very slow news day at CyclingNews.com.

Rosemary,

Ive wondered how the proposed test could distinguish between getting a blood transfusion and and a legitimate use such as getting a transfusion of saline solution to re-hydrate. I would think the plasticizers in both types of bags would be about the same. Makes it hard to prove whether the person was blood doping — or so it seems.

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