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Friday, September 21, 2007

Landis'd

As I've stated before, the problem i have with this Landis gig is that the frenchy lab broke the chain of custody protocol.

A chain of custody error in a testing procedure makes the test invalid. period. There should be no further test, no validity to alternate tests on the sample - the sample is invalid.

That Landis' defense didn't stick to that strategy with absolute vigor and unwavering dedication was, in my opinion, a mistake. He should appeal to CAS and he will likely win the appeal because there is precedent at CAS for such a defense being successful.

Did Landis take synthetic testosterone? Did he cheat?

yes, i believe he did. i believe the chain of custody protocol did not alter his test and that he, in fact, did cheat by taking drugs.

I believe he lied and i believe he cheated.

However, that is only my opinion. It is my miniscule opinion amidst the larger mass of public opinion - and we can all be right or wrong ... and, yet can influence heavily the nature of Landis' future.

So be it.

Landis, however, had a WADA lab screw up and his sample that tested positive is INVALID. It should never have been tested again, no B sample, nothing.

Landis should be exonerated ... of that positive test.


But in the public eye, I think he should be considered a cheat.

37 comments:

imike said...

good post, lab needs to be cleaned up big time !

Ippoc Amic said...

another not surprise confession...Jeanson said she took EPO...

chatterbox said...

ov - Yeah, I'm sort of in the same boat. I don't really know what to believe about whether he took testo. But, I do believe that the lab screwed up the protocol and that the test should be invalidated - even if positive. It's a principle thing, and the lab needs to clean up its act. Sigh.

WarrenG said...

Never mind that... Congratulations Mike! The elected group will make for the best BOD we've had, maybe ever. Really good!

CyclistRick said...

Yes, until the lab and the *ADA organizations learn that they MUST do things properly there will be a continual cloud of maybe/maybe not over all doping cases that do not include confessions.

And, Warren seems to be talking of info that is not public; no results on the Hellyer site, yet, but since he implies you have been elected - Congratulations!

dr-nitro said...

That is the problem, that we think that the court of public opinion is the proper venue for conviction. Moving to broader social commentary, when these things are debated on blogs and in coffee shops, they do not have to follow the rules of justice.

If the rules were followed, then conjecture would not be ruling the day. In this case, either it would have been a slam dunk conviction, or Landis would have never been tossed into the court of public opinion over did he rub testy on his drunken chest. The court of public opinion, instead, would have been about his funky mug. That boy is ugly.

Hooptie said...

Jeanson is a great example of why we cant just let people off if they can find a reasonable doubt in the testing procedure. They reduced her lifetime ban to two years because they questioned the validly of the EPO test, and today she announces she had been doping since she was 15! Her filthy coach (Andre Aubut) should be hung. It’s hard to hate on her after reading up on this guy.

X Bunny said...

i have mixed feelings on this one

the proper procedures must be followed

and tests need to be adequately validated before they are applied (kinda an issue with hamilton)

the testing needs to be strict and accurate

but i absolutely hate it when guilty parties use technicalities as their defense

accept responsibilty for what you did

Anonymous said...

EPO since age 15.
That's child abuse.

Hooptie said...

I miss read the quote, she has been coached by Aubut since she was 15, not doped by him since 15.

CyclistRick said...

I agree with the notion that getting off on technicalities continues to muddy the waters. BUT, it is a defense because the *ADA organizations and the labs do such shoddy work. Only if they are forced to clean up their acts can the testing process move to the point that the questioning of process will not work. Unfortunately, the Flandis decision does the opposite; it tells the labs and *ADA that poor process and bad science is acceptable.

Little_Jewford said...

I think we should hold the lab to same standard we (ie the cycling community and sports fans in general) seem to be willing to set for the athletes:

athlete standard:
innocent unless they are caught on video with a needle in their ass

therefore lab standard:
analysis should be considered legit unless we have video showing either someone spilling coffee into the sample or the meeting at which the cabal to victimize "innocent" cyclists was concocted.

did anyone REALLY reed all the supporting documents arguing for/against the legitimacy of the test results and the procedure before coming to these conclusions?

if the lab dont fit you've got to acquit!

ya...OJ didnt do it either...

LJ

shawndoggy said...

There's a doctrine in criminal law called "fruit of the poison tree" under which a prosecutor can't use evidence discovered through bad evidence. For instance, the unlawful wiretap which leads to discovery of where the murder weapon is hidden. There, the murder weapon, even where the perp's fingerprints are all over it, can't be used as evidence. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but you get the idea.

Here, the threshold test was ruled bad. Had the A sample not been validly determined positive, they never would've done the isotope test. So the fruit of the poison tree argument is sorta analogous.

But there seems to be a distinction that can be drawn. Was the threshold test bad because it was conducted improperly or because the sample was mishandled. If it was conducted improperly, but the integrity of the sample was maintained, then it seems to me that application of the subsequent isotope test would still be OK. Yeah, the UCI wouldn't generally use that test right off the bat, but it could if it wanted to. Now if the sample itself was compromised because of the chain of custody, well then I don't think any subsequent test should be valid regardless of how rigorously conducted.

But the board considered the chain of custody argument and rejected it (after 70! pages of other issues). Basically the lab, while not doing it the way everybody else does, and maybe not doing it the "best" way, did maintain a sufficient chain of custody procedure under the WADA rules. Really it looks like its the WADA CoC rules that need revising, not the board's decision.

Strange, though, that the Board didn't consider the chain of custody args first in their analysis, since a win there for Landis would negate any further anaylsis....

Sorry, clearly over the post-length rule...

Little_Jewford said...

well...at least shawndoggy seemed to read the ruling .....

shawndoggy said...

Well, per my comment yesterday, it really is time for a rider advocacy group. The way that the rules are written (assuming a reasonable interpretation of them in the decision), the deck really is stacked against the riders in the event of a positive, even an erroneous one, and even one from a lab that chronically leaks its results to the press.

The riders should be working as one to make the rules fair(er) rather than leaving it to individuals to face certain financial ruin to clear their names in a stacked system.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJnYVm4iaqc

Anonymous said...

I donno wha’chu’talk’n‘bout chain-o-cus-tididy, but I knows that Flyod spent Millions of dollars on the best lawyers anywhere. I think if they had a trump card they would have used it.

NO FLOYD SIMPATHY.

He is NOT going to jail, is not going to get fined, the constitution does not apply. They are just trying to decide if he should get to play on his bike with the other kids. If he is a bad seed, then NO.

Back to those Millions of dollars ? hey that is OUR money. Flyod didn’t “make” it. He didn’t invent anything, or build anything, or do anything more dramatic or better then the guy right behind him would have in his absence. He took that money "out" of our sport.

How many Safeway/Strawberry/BPG/Lombardi/proman/VAC … teams could have been funded by that 8 million dollars. Could maybe even have paid a living wage for some of the racers…. for 10 or so years.


Don't be influence by Flyods PR folks either... they are desperately trying to influence you. You are being manipulated. The other side has more class then to try the case in public opinion and drag down our sport in the process.

Jeremy T. Arnold said...

I used to think that the CPA was a riders Union but that is apparently not correct.

I recently asked Floyd whether the Cycling Professionals Association (supposedly a Pro Racer advocacy group)headed by Francesco Moser was of any assistance or support with his case and his response was "Who?"

He was kidding of course but still. Can you imagine ANY of this happening in a sport that actualy employed lawyers and business people to represent them as a union should?

Give me Donald Fehr or even Gene Upshaw over Moser any day.

The NFLPA or MLBPA would NEVER have let this even get to court. Cyclists as "workers" are among the most poorly represented group of professional athletes.

I think Bowling has a stronger union presence.

shawndoggy said...

The NFLPA or MLBPA would NEVER have let this even get to court.

zackly. Look, the NFL guys got a sympathetic ear from CONGRESS because low and behold... some of 'em are jacked up from playing an impact sport for years?!? And Floyd gets da shaft from a dirty lab because the rules of the game keep shifting the burden of proof to him ... Seems fair enough, eh?

Anonymous said...

Keep hope alive! you people are killing me. He is dirty, him and Lance. Period. That is where the conversation starts. This lab smoke and mirors BS is too much. You all sound like personal injury lawyers trying to blame everyone but him. He did the crime he does the time. Don't do it, say Baretta!

dr-nitro said...

Court of public opinion. Given the procedures, we know nothing.

Sloppy work = error.

Error can lead to false positives or false negatives.

Hence, if we judge Landis on this flawed process, as recognized by USADA, then we must also assume that negative tests are probably a function of sloppy work. Hence, everyone is guilty.

Did he do it, we have no way of knowing. I can't say that he did or did not, nor can anyone other than him.

When you give institutions the ability to hand down career ending sanctions, just as when you give institutions the ability to incarcerate individuals for crimes, we must ensure that they provide reliable evidence. Reliable evidence requires rigorous standards for collection. Evidence collected without such evidence could either let guilty individuals off, or wrongly convict innocent individuals.

Additionally, sloppy work gives guilty parties something to fend off convictions. However, this should not be used to argue against holding high standards for the collection of evidence, since then we are simply going down the path of saying that anyone who is accused of anything must be guilty. That's fucked up. "Oh, they are just using a technicality to get off." The rules are there so we can convict with conviction, and protect the innocent.

Once again, because this sloppy work, we will never know what the hell happened, unless Landis fesses up. Of course, if he did not do it, then we will simply never know the truth.

Conjecture, public opinion, destruction of our sport. Lovely.

Anonymous said...

Thinkology, Scarecrow thinkology

Grey said...

hooptie, i saw that guy, andre aubut, at tour of the gila one year. he was completely creepy.

jeanson's is a sad story.

Anonymous said...

drnitro:

false pos, false neg... you making my head spinn.

stop with the second and third guessing and instilling doubt for doubts sake... ever bit of information behind your comments has come from the accused.

fact. a neutral arbitration panel investigated this stuff to a level that we will never bother to understand with the help of scientific experts in the field.

if 20 people saw a man pull the trigger, but he didn't get his maranda rights I don't care. would you let him off? ah but this is just bike riding.


next you are going to tell us that OJ was framed, the CIA killed Kenedy, and Obama is the manchurian candidate.

NO FLOYD SYMPATHY

Anonymous said...

Love that "gonnaliveforevah" cartoon.

dr-nitro said...

The "scientific experts" in the arbitration that were allowed to be critical of lab (the prosecution's expert stated that he was prohibited from being critical) stated that the testing was ripe with error.

But my point is that sloppy lab work produces error. Miranda rights are not an about scientific collection of evidence.

And, you made my point by saying that anyone accused who is defending him or herself is simply lying. When the lab reports were made public, individuals not on his defense team found holes in the procedures. That is exactly why Landis made them public, so he could get some free advice.

People have a right to defend themselves, because sometimes people are wrongly accused. I listen to the argument, and make judgement on that, not on who is making it.

The scientific evidence collected in the case was flawed, as recognized by the panel. This can produce false negatives and false positives (deal with the headache). The people on the panel were not scientists. Even scientists on the prosecution side admitted that protocol was not followed, that this could have caused error, and there is no standard for what constitutes a positive test for the carbon isotope test. Yet, a panel of non-scientists decided that the flaws were not fatal. Wait, two of the three, voting in just they say you would suspect if it simply came down to who they represented. Thus, it would seem as those they were voting on gut rather than evidence. What happens if this goes to CAS and they over turn it? Would you then say that we must believe them because they reviewed it?

Back to my point, poor evidence collection makes all of this conjecture, for both those who say he is innocent and those who say he is guilty. I'm not saying either. I don't know.

Fix the testing procedures. This makes it so cheaters don't have loopholes. This protects clean riders. This saves the sport.

shawndoggy said...

Nitro, did you read the decision? To be fair to the arbitrators, their analysis was pretty thorough. Also to say that the two came down the way you'd think they would, remember, that's true -- USADA's arbitrator sided with USADA, and Floyd's sided with Floyd. The important decision maker, the neutral arbitrator chosen by the two partial ones -- the independent swing vote -- sided with the USADA arbitrator. If you are going to disregard the "partial" votes, this is the only one that should matter.

And you really need to understand that the arbitrators' hands are tied by the WADA rules. You are right, top scientists thought that errors were committed. But the WADA rules don't require performance to those docs' standards.

Also don't confuse a criminal burden of proof with what was required here (again by the WADA rules) -- basically "something more than a preponderance." That's a much lower threshold than beyond a reasonable doubt.

Its the RULES that should be made more fair. The arbitration itself was by no means a railroading of Floyd.

dr-nitro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dr-nitro said...

Fair enough on the impartial arbiter. That said, if one voted against the other two, then I don't see how the hands were tied. It seems that the rules are not clear, which is a huge problem.

And as I've said, if protocol was followed, we would not be having this discussion. It would either have been a slam dunk decision, or we never would have seen this.

I'm going to repeat myself again, but this is a fight that needs to be fought with professional actions and clear and consistent rules and procedures, not reasoning. But this is what happens when you have different labs with different standards and different federations and organizations with different standards policing a single sport.

Anonymous said...

you are right the lab really needs to be fired. anyone working for wada or uci who was involved needs to be reprimanded seriously. also in the future the system should be improved. seams like we all agree.

but Flyod is still a doper and his case turned out just fine in the end. while procedurally whacky, the evidence was still there. on TV law criminals get off on technicalities... not in bike law. yeah!!!


NO FLOYD SYMPATHY

shawndoggy said...

So Floyd's arbitrator found for Floyd and that is the flaw? C'mon.

Again, if you read the decision, it says that ALL of the labs use different internal controls. Even the good labs that the other scientists work at. It's the sort "this is how we do it here" workplace specific stuff. Now do some labs do it better and some worse? Clearly. So if you want to raise the standard to the best practices, do so in the rules.

JHL said...

Nitpicking -- it's precedent, not precedence.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

present'd

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

VsNews letters ~ a few of them give a good global of where this brings as. I will mention one i thought interesting:

Testing is flawed, panelists unqualified

Editor:
I'm a Ph.D. candidate in physical chemistry with a background in nuclear chemistry and isotopic analyses. My informed opinion is that the panel should have declared Floyd Landis innocent in light of both uncertain results and the laboratory's shortcomings. The lab's results do not indicate anything akin to certainty. They have two data points that fall nowhere near each other and nothing more. That alone is reasonable doubt.

Measurements are only meaningful if they are reproducible. A single number means nothing. Disparate measurements mean that the technique, the sample, or both are flawed. Then written records of the tests must jibe with each other because results mean nothing without sound documentation. The lab failed on all accounts: disparate data, inattention to technical details, and unacceptable documentation. (I've seen people lose their jobs for that kind of record keeping.)

Apart from that, the panelists are unqualified to review the Landis case. Review panel members must always be trained in the topic of interest, e.g., scientists should review questionable lab practices. The panel members are casual observers and, therefore, are unfit to review this case and others like it. As such, the lab was able to manipulate the system to its advantage. For that, they'll pay no penalty. None.

The system of accountability must extend to all sides: prosecution, defense, and judge. Until then, the anti-doping forces will represent a witch hunt at best.

Let's all utter a sardonic "Hurray!" for this so-called justice.

James Westphal
Seattle, Washington

dr-nitro said...

Yep, kinda my point about non-scientist making decisions about science. However, the flip side is that experts can hide their own values behind the language of science. It would be much more difficult, though, if WADA set clear and consistent standards.

Going to have to use this example tonight in public policy seminar when I go over prinical-agent framework.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

get down with your sexy tutor-talk.

dr-nitro said...

Tutor? My students hire tutors. They need to to understand the lofty language I use.