Saturday, July 20, 2013

Team Sky: Sky High?

Is Chris Froome doping?  There seems to be allot of people who think so.  There seems to be some scientific proof of this allegation; +6 watts per kilogram of power. +6 watts per kilogram is considered by some experts as physiologically impossible.  +6 watts per kilogram aptly termed "superhuman power" is produced by blood transfusions combined with micro doses of EPO, testosterone, and other performance enhancing substances.

Now we have all of these self proclaimed sleuths watching the ascent up Mont Ventoux with stop watches and lap top computers loaded with software that measure road grades, wind resistance, tire resistance, temperature, then compare these conditions to riders of the same stages in the steroid era; then compare the watts per kilogram generated between suspected dopers, say Chris Froome versus proven dopers, Lance Armstrong.  Quaint, voodoo nonsense declared Sir David Brailsford, the mastermind behind the United Kingdom surge in cycling: a surge that can only be compared to the old doped Chinese women's swimming team.  Great Britain does nothing in cycling for years, then suddenly they are walking away with all the gold.  Without dope. Very improbable.

These anti-doping sleuths, the human calculators, want all of the professional team blood data teams collect released to the public for inspection.  Pro tour teams that pay lip service to the notion that blood is analyzed to prevent opportunistic blood doping among the riders may be deceptive.  Phonak claimed that an internal blood doping program that they pioneered was designed to detect then punish riders who dared to dope.  But in reality the whole purpose of the program was to not test positive during a race.  Team Sky has the same claim: we support clean cycling and our internal measures are designed to deter cheating on the team and nothing more.  But can these claims be believed?

Because believe it or not the entire cycling world is fixated on one problem: the winning formula.  Michele Ferrari knew the winning formula, he devised the model that for seven years produced a Tour de France champion.  Lance Armstrong's contenders were experimenting with their own formulas; trying to develop a formula that would beat Lance Armstrong.  Tyler Hamilton writes about this quest, so does Floyd Landis, and even David Millar.  Finding the correct doping regimen that would produce results and be undetectable at the same time was the summa cum laude quest for all cycling teams.  Perhaps doping without detection is the current summa cum laude team goal.

Who ever thought of two ascents up L' Alpe D' Huez in a single stage is a deranged sadist; reminds me of the attitude when the Pyrenees were added to the Tour de France: assassins!  Chris Froome looked in distress on the second ascent up L' Aple D' Huez, he asked his team car for food in a non-feed prohibited area of the course and was penalized twenty seconds for this transgression.  The French press jeered: "Chris Froome is human."  Chris Froome is smart, he remembers that dope fueled people who are flying sky high up beyond category cols bonk from lack of sugar; Lance Armstrong bonked, Tyler Hamilton bonked, Floyd Landis bonked.  Chris Froome merely was prudent and very wise to eat food in a prohibited zone and take a penalty, rather than bonk and lose the race.  Does this prove that Chris Froome is riding clean?  Absolutely not.  Theatrical performances that are designed to deceive can even be performed on ascents up L' Alpe D' Huez.  Remain vigilant and sceptical at all times.

David Millar says that when Bradley Wiggins was riding for Garmin that the team never imagined him on the podium; but when he moved to Sky the guy suddenly dominated the Tour de France!  Chris Froome finished second.  Now Chris Froome is sprinting up beyond category climbs at an inhuman rate and dominating the Tour de France!  No wonder people want to look at Team Sky's blood profiles, this is not normal, and the issue should be independently investigated.  David Brailsford says he will release some of Chris Froome's blood profile data to WADA.  What exactly will that accomplish?  WADA is a stake holder with a vested interest, not an independent entity who will examine the evidence objectively.

Rubbish!  We suspect Chris Froome of doping, we suspect Alberto Contador of doping, we suspect Alejandro Valverde of doping; based upon past history, including suspensions for past offenses.  Release the blood profiles of all; end the omerta.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Positively False: Book Review

Is Positively False obsolete?  No.  The curtailment of athletes rights have expanded not contracted since 2006.  The alphabet agencies responsible for doping arbitration have systematically undermined WADA code by exploiting loopholes and by writing decisions that do not require independent oversight.  USADA has eliminated the statutes of limitations, there is no penalty in doping arbitration for inaction, in fact, inaction is rewarded with increased sanctions against athletes sans due process protections.  Floyd Landis should be lauded for attempting to raise awareness into the unfair nature of doping arbitration and the arbitrary application of rules, but raising awareness is one thing, reform of the process quite another.  One must agree with Floyd Landis when he declared arbitration of the allegations raised against him as a waste of money.  But one must wonder why a man would become so obsessed with his own personal crusade against the anti-doping agencies, a hopeless fight that ended in his personal devastation and financial ruin.  The answer may surprise you.

Background: A Poor Mennonite Kid Wanting To Do Good.

 Floyd Landis came from a poor Mennonite family, "we never had any money."  Mennonites believe in "strict interpretation of the Bible and non-participation in modern society."  Floyd wanted to upgrade his cheap Huffy bicycle to a three hundred dollar mountain bike, but his father told him that if he wanted a new bike that he would have to pay for it.  Floyd put down a deposit for the mountain bike at Green Mountain Cyclery, in Farmersville, Pennsylvania, and became life long friends with Mike Farrington.  Mr. Farrington would sponsor a local mountain bike team that Floyd Landis rode for.  I am positive that after Floyd Landis won the U.S. National Juniors mountain bike title, and then competed in the Juniors World Championships, that his desire to become a world class cyclist and eventual Tour de France winner did cause him some personal angst: but I would not go so far as to argue that Lance Armstrong became a surrogate father figure for Floyd Landis, as was suggested by Martin Dugard.

Scrappy: Gaining Attention 

Floyd Landis had to become known on the road circuit.  He entered road races and attacked right from the start.  One day Floyd Landis told David Clinger and Scott Moninger of Team Mercury to pull and do some work when they were in a breakaway.  David Clinger tried to offer a deal: we will help you work if you will let one of our riders win the stage.  Floyd Landis refused the offer, he continued to pull with Clinger and Moninger drafting in his wake, but as Landis would report, "I took second anyway."  John Wordin was impressed, "we don't sell races," and he offered Floyd Landis a contract: five hundred dollars a month.  As Floyd Landis expressed it:

"I was a pro racer.  My job was to attack and break apart the field in the last few miles of a race to pave the way for our top sprinter, Gord Fraser, to win stages."

Pure Gold: A Contract with the U.S. Postal Service Professional Cycling Team

Team Mercury soon ran into financial difficulties, John Wordin could no longer pay the riders salaries.  Floyd Landis sent a letter of protest to Hein Verbruggen, president of the UCI demanding that the riders be paid out of a bank guarantee that all professional cycling clubs are required to deposit with the UCI in order to be granted a license.  Hein Verbruggen complained that he considered Floyd Landis's letter an act of intimidation, "that may work in America, but that won't work with the UCI, and certainly not with me."  Fortunately, Bob Stapleton of Tailwind Sport was aware of the situation and offered Floyd Landis a contract to ride for the best professional cycling team in the world: the United States Postal Service Professional Cycling Team, and for the greatest Tour de France champion of all time; Lance Armstrong.

Note:  Floyd Landis also complained that the UCI was not doing enough to recover his salary from Team Mercury to the press during the Tour de France.  These statements apparently violated a gag order that the UCI had imposed on the riders, UCI arbitration between riders and teams over financial disputes was not to be commented upon to the press.  Lance Armstrong and Bob Stapleton insisted that Floyd Landis apologize to Hein Verbruggen for his statements, and Floyd Landis did apologize to Hein Verbruggen.  In a larger context, in Positively False, Floyd Landis attempts to establish the fact that the UCI had an axe to grind over this dispute, and later when Pat McQuaid leaked Floyd Landis's synthetic testosterone positive result to L'Equipe and the New York Times before Floyd Landis had received his Lab Document Package, that the UCI was exacting revenge.

Cappuccinos: Making the Grade: A Tour de France Team Selectee

One fine day in Girona, Spain, with nothing better to do, Floyd Landis and David Zabriskie went to a roadside cafe and ordered a cappuccino.  Then they ordered another, then another, engaging all the while in cracking jokes with increasing hilarity.  The grand total was thirteen cappuccinos ordered and consumed in one setting.  The cappuccino prank became legendary on the U.S. Postal squad, but, Lance Armstrong was not amused.  Lance Armstrong decided that Floyd Landis was an unfocused rider that lacked discipline.  Lance Armstrong decided that Floyd Landis needed some personal training mono a mono to sharpen his focus and cycling skills.  Floyd Landis was up to the challenge, in spite of the warnings by his teammates that riders were broken with these personal training sessions.  At the end of a grueling, physically exhausting marathon of col whipping, Lance Armstrong decided that Floyd Landis had enough stamina to ride as a teammate in the crown jewel: the Tour de France.  The dream was real, Floyd Landis was now a U.S. Postal Service super domestique.  Winning the Tour de France with Lance Armstrong meant real money.

2004 Tour de France: Stage 17: Col de la Croix-Fry: Turning Point

Floyd Landis's status as super domestique ended in incredible fashion on the Col de la Croix-Fry during Stage 17 of the 2004 Tour de France.  Floyd Landis had set an incredible pace throughout the stage and there was a possibility that if he attacked on the last descent he could win the stage.
Here is a conversation Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis had previous to the descent:
Lance Armstrong: "How fast can you ride downhill?"
Floyd Landis: "Real Fast."
Lance Armstrong: "Okay. Ride like you stole something."

But the ploy failed when Jan Ullrich bridged the gap to Floyd Landis who attacked the group. Jan Ullrich was angry over the Posties refusal to work with Jan Ullrich to attack Ivan Basso.  Poor Floyd Landis had to "sit up" to protect Lance Armstrong who had been dropped.  Lance Armstrong, who was furious over the fact that Jan Ullrich had denied Floyd Landis a stage win after his huge pace setting effort, won the stage in an incredible last moment surge after Andreas Kloden attacked the group in the final kilometer. Nevertheless, people suddenly realized that Floyd Landis had potential as team leader, and might succeed as a favorite to win the Tour de France himself.


Floyd Landis's contract with U.S. Postal Service was about to expire, but there was an under current of friction brewing between Floyd Landis, Bob Stapleton, and Johan Bruyneel over training equipment.*  Floyd Landis had complained that with the exception of Lance Armstrong, that the team was training on outdated junk bicycles.  Floyd Landis thought he could improve his time trial skills if he was allowed to train on a new time trial bike.  But Johan Bruyneel told Floyd Landis that if he gave Floyd Landis a new time trial bike he would have to give everybody on the team one.  Floyd Landis was also unhappy when he compared his salary to other riders on the team.  Floyd Landis thought he was being underpaid and unappreciated at U.S. Postal; so he began to make contacts with Andy Rihs owner of Team Phonak to see if he could negotiate a better deal.  Andy Rihs offered Floyd Landis a contract that was considerably larger than the one being offered by Bob Stapleton and Tailwind Sport, as  super domestique for Tyler Hamilton.

Phonak Blood Doping and Positive Tests: The Fall of Tyler Hamilton

Suddenly Team Phonak had no leader.  Tyler Hamilton tested positive of using a heterologous blood transfusion at the 2004 Tour of Spain along with teammate Santiago Perez.  Team Phonak was under scrutiny by the UCI and it was uncertain whether Phonak would be allowed to participate in the 2005 Tour de France.  Floyd Landis describes the situation:
Phonak had no lead rider anymore and was in disarray.  Because of all the doping infractions, the UCI refused to give Phonak a license to be in the big leagues, the Pro Tour for 2005.  With no license, Phonak would need a special invitation to be included in the Tour de France as one of the two wild card teams selected each year, which didn't seem likely after all the doping scandals.
Floyd Landis faced a dilemma, stay at U.S. Postal Service and endure a bad situation or move on to Phonak and miss the 2005 Tour de France.  The choice was important because Floyd Landis was facing a medical calamity and he was racing on borrowed time.  He could ill afford to miss the 2005 Tour de France because there was a high probability that he would not be medically fit to compete in future races because he was suffering from severe avascular necrosis in a hip caused by a training ride accident.

All Systems Go: Team Phonak

Floyd Landis (Ouch). 2009 Tour of Utah Prologue Time Trial. Photo: velovortmax
Floyd Landis decided that in spite of the doping controversies that Phonak was facing to take a calculated risk; but first he had to pass the team physical.  The orthopedic doctor who examined Floyd Landis turned out to be a quack who merely reported that one of his legs "was a few millimeters shorter than the other; but, he was medically sound to race."  Floyd Landis called Brent Kay, who owned OUCH Medical Center, and laughingly reported this diagnoses.  Dr. Kay responded that it was lucky that they didn't take an X-ray.  Floyd Landis slid on some gravel on a training ride that "fractured the neck of my femur.  I had snapped off the ball part of the ball-and-socket joint of my hip."  At the insistence of Dr. Kay, Floyd Landis was rushed into emergency surgery and the ball was repaired with three titanium screws.  Unfortunately, the hip never healed properly and the bone began to die around the injury.  When Floyd Landis was later examined by Dr. Andy Pruitt he discovered that the ball of his femur was flattening out; that the ball was developing a groove; there was a possibility a large fragment of dead bone could become dislodged, and that the entire hip could cease up without warning.  This condition would require a hip replacement and probably would terminate Floyd Landis's professional cycling career.  In addition, Floyd Landis hired Dr. David Chao, Oasis Sports Medicine Orthopedist and team doctor for the San Diego Chargers professional football team, to remove and replace the original titanium screws that was causing pain, with shorter screws in an outpatient surgery, because the joint had compressed during healing.  Dr. Chao also recommended a hip replacement, but, in Dr. Chao's opinion, because Floyd Landis was young and healthy the replacement should be "delayed as long as possible."  Dr. Chao also performed a separate decompression surgery on Floyd Landis's deteriorating hip to encourage scar tissue that would help stabilize the joint.

Good Fortune Smiles on Phonak

Andy Rihs wanted the UCI to re-issue the Pro Tour license that was rescinded due to the blood doping allegations by cleaning house.  Phonak hired former Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) public relations director John Lelangue as directeur sportif.  Phonak also required riders to sign on to a "no tolerance of doping" team code of ethics.  Phonak also initiated an internal team anti-doping program, run by Dr. Denise Demir, who measured riders blood values in the field with a portable centrifuge, and who examined blood samples with a blood diagnostic unit purchased by the team.  Convinced that Phonak had reformed, the UCI re-instated Phonak's Pro Tour license. 

In retrospect, one wonders what team Phonak was really doing with all of this blood diagnostic equipment; employing medical schemes that would keep the riders hematocrit as close as possible to the UCI legal limit of fifty percent without going over the limit?  After all, Floyd Landis allegedly admitted that he used two autologous blood transfusions and that he microdosed EPO during the 2006 Tour de France.**  And there is other evidence of Phonak malfeasance when the list of suspected cyclists connected with Operation Puerto was released.  As Floyd Landis explains the situation:
Two of those named on the list of riders suspected to be involved with Fuentes were my teammates, and had been part of Phonak's 2005 Tour de France team: Santiago Botero and Jose Enrique Gutierrez.  Botero was a strong climber, and Gutierrez was one of the best all around riders and climbers we had, he had just finished second place in the Tour of Italy, behind Ivan Basso, the week before the scandal erupted.

Good Fortune Smiles on Floyd Landis: The 2006 Tour de France

First Lance Armstrong retired.  Then Operation Puerto would be of great benefit to Floyd Landis and would greatly increase his chances for success in the 2006 Tour de France.  But under a most bizarre set of circumstances this would be the case.  At the last moment and in the most dramatic fashion:
Every single rider who finished in the top five behind Lance Armstrong in the 2005 Tour: Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Francisco Mancebo, and Alexandre Vinokourov [were booted from the race.]
Ironically, all of these riders had already completed their pre-race physicals, and in the case of Alexandre Vinokourov, although he had done nothing wrong, so many of his teammates were implicated in the scandal that his team was disqualified because there were not enough riders left to field a legal team.  Under a bizarre ruling it was determined that the remaining teams could not replace riders who were disqualified.  Thirteen riders were banned.  One hundred and seventy six riders started the race.
 
Also, prior to the 2006 Tour de France, tired of suffering from intolerable pain from his damaged hip, Floyd Landis accepts cortisone treatments, he informs his team of this development, and submits a therapeutic use exemption medical explanation to the UCI.  Also, during the 2006 Tour de France, Floyd Landis receives one cortisone shot immediately before the race, and one shot during the race.

On the second rest day of the 2006 Tour de France Floyd Landis announces that after the race he will seek a hip replacement.    

2006 Tour de France Stage 16: La Toussuire: Bonk!

Floyd Landis, wearing the yellow jersey, unexpectedly bonks on La Toussuire!  Axel Merckx in a courageous act of selflessness paces Floyd Landis to the finish.  Floyd Landis loses over ten minutes to stage winner Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank).  Landis drops in the general classification from first to eleventh place.  Oscar Pereiro reclaims the malliot jaune and leads Floyd Landis by eight minutes, eight seconds.

In a curious aside one must ask the question:  Why did Denise Demur give Floyd Landis Jack Daniels whiskey?  Is not Jack Daniels whiskey distilled from corn?  Does not corn generate carbon 13 testosterone?  Would not a hepatic enzyme that metabolizes carbon 13 testosterone be considered a proof of synthetic testosterone metabolism induced by artificial means and not by diet?  Would it not be ironic if the single metabolite above threshold was a result of metabolism of corn based ethanol?

2006 Tour de France Stage 17: Le Bourg d' Oisans to La Toussuire: Attack!

Unforgettable.  The greatest single feat of cycling I have ever witnessed.  Talk about an adrenaline rush!  Every second after Floyd Landis attacked you expected him to bonk again!  After Floyd Landis finished the stage, I sat there and counted the seconds on the clock as they ticked by, praying for a miracle, hoping beyond hope that Floyd Landis would be reincarnated as maillot jaune.  Oscar Pereiro managed to stay on the top of the general classification by thirty eight seconds; but as everyone was aware, Floyd Landis was a much stronger time trialist: employing the patented "praying Landis" style.  Being an ex-Phonak teammate of Floyd Landis, Oscar Pereiro knew that Floyd Landis would make up his time deficit in the time trial and emerge as maillot jaune.  Hope re-emerged for every Floyd Landis fanatic that day.  It was an incredible moment.

Some people called that attack "superhuman."  It certainly was heartbreaking after Floyd Landis allegedly admitted that he used performance enhancing drugs during the 2006 Tour de France. ** But even in 2006 there were suspicions.  For example, Floyd Landis allegedly admitted that he took an intravenous saline solution that was mixed with glucose, nothing more, after he bonked on Stage 16.  This is equivalent to carbohydrate loading and could be considered a form of doping, could it not?  Further speculation: is it possible to add a little EPO to the glucose?  It is possible to transfuse an autologous blood bag on top of a saline bag?  Is that medically possible?

Are Acute Applications of Testosterone of Any Use to Increase Performance or Recovery?

Considering all of the above what possible additional performance benefit would a synthetic testosterone patch offer?  Acute use of synthetic testosterone does not facilitate an increase in performance and it is doubtful if acute use of synthetic testosterone provides any recovery benefits.  So why bother using acute synthetic testosterone patches during a race? Where is the benefit?  True, you might accuse me of refusing to admit that Floyd Landis is lying when he claims that he did not use synthetic testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France.  But even though I am supremely disappointed in Mr. Landis, and disapprove of his doping tactics, I still believe he is telling the truth. 

 Floyd Landis Tests Positive For Synthetic Testosterone

...And this case might be the means of introducing a new method.  One can show from the psychological data alone how to get on the track of the real man. 'We have facts' they say. But facts are not everything, at least half the business lies in how you interpret them.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Crime and Punishment

The joyous moment of winning the Tour de France and living the dream had come true for Floyd Landis.  Even his hip survived the ordeal.  Now it was time to cash in on the endorsements and schedule a hip replacement.  But the clear skies and smiling sun would soon be replaced by frowning overcast skies when John Lelangue called Floyd Landis to inform him that his "A" sample for Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France had tested positive for synthetic testosterone.  Floyd Landis was astonished at this test result, he could not believe it.  Why?  Because he did not use synthetic testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France, so he could not test positive for synthetic testosterone.  I base this conclusion on Floyd Landis's alleged admission that he blood doped and microdosed EPO, ** but that he did not use synthetic testosterone.  Why not admit to everything at once, why tell the truth about some drug use and not all?  I was convinced in 2006, and I am convinced in 2013, that the Laboratorie National de Depistage du Dopage (LNDD), the WADA accredited laboratory located in Chatenay-Malabry, France, produced one of the most blatantly false positive testosterone/epitestosterone ratios in history. Then they compounded the problem with a blatantly false interpretation of the carbon isotope ratio test.  This carbon isotope ratio test false interpretation was reinforced by expert testimony of people who were deemed to be top scientific experts in carbon isotope testing, Don Catlin and Christiane Ayotte.  Don Catlin and Christiane Ayotte, directors of top WADA anti-doping laboratories, argued that a single metabolite above threshold found in Floyd Landis's urine was either an indication of use of synthetic testosterone, or a marker of a synthetic testosterone precursor.  However: in rebuttal to these conclusions, Dr. Arnie Baker, in a brilliant discussion, presented: "What is fair is clear" to the USADA Anti-Doping Review Board.  Dr. Arnie Baker explained that drawing a conclusion of synthetic testosterone use based upon the fact that a carbon isotope ratio test found a single metabolite above threshold was nothing more than a smoke and mirror theory that lacked a sound scientific foundation.  Dr. Arnie Baker cited research reports that documented the fact that control medical students in testosterone experiments, people who had never used synthetic testosterone, had higher single metabolite delta unit scores than LNDD measured in Floyd Landis's urine after Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France!  Therefore: the single metabolite above threshold found in Floyd Landis's urine may have been nothing more than a random event, or a normal byproduct of Mr. Landis's unique metabolism.  Nevertheless: this convincing medical logic was rejected by every alphabet soup agency: the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Cycling Union (UCI), the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), as groundless.  Floyd Landis also argued to the arbitration panel that there were infinite documented problems associated with LNDD laboratory practice.  [For the best discussion of the scientific issues that plagued this case consult the most excellent blog trust but verify.]  It seems that everyone reached the wrong conclusion about the carbon isotope ratio results except for Christopher Campbell; who was the only man not to be sucked into the group think vortex, and the only actor in this whole drama who exhibited any intelligence in this case. "What is fair is clear" is located in the appendix of Positively False.  Don't trust my word for it, read Dr. Baker's argument for yourselves, and make your own conclusions.

The Case Of The Dumbo Ears: Profiles In Incompetence

Final note:  The Pepperdine arbitration panel agreed to allow alternate "B" tests that Travis Tygart requested as supplemental evidence of synthetic testosterone use by Floyd Landis: conclusive proof that was to be proven by running carbon isotope ratio tests on every "B" sample of every stage of the 2006 Tour de France where Floyd Landis had submitted a urine sample.  [Note! The "A" samples had been destroyed by testing and were no longer available.]  [Note! The arbitration panel had ruled that these tests could not be used to file additional adverse analytical findings, because an adverse analytical finding requires a confirmation "A" sample test.  But oddly, the "B" samples could be considered valid supplemental evidence, even though this decision was unprecedented, and violated WADA code as to what could be constituted as acceptable valid scientific proof.]  But, while examining the GC/C/IRMS used in the alternate "B" tests, Floyd Landis's scientific expert Simon Davis noted that the large metal rings that are used to move the IRMS in shipping, were still attached, "years after delivery."
These machines have two massive magnets that are highly sensitive and key to the accuracy of the results.  Think of how a iron object placed near a compass distorts the magnet, inhibiting it's ability to reliably point north.  The dumbo ears could have a similar effect on this machine.  In other words, not only are my B sample retesting results suspect, but every test ever done on this unit may be unreliable, and no one at the lab ever noticed it before.

Conclusion:
 
Floyd Landis was framed by a group of people who refused to retract their bogus adverse analytical finding even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. WADA, the UCI, the CAS, and USADA had too much invested to lose this case. The abuse continues unabated. Floyd Landis fought so desperately because he was innocent of the adverse analytical finding filed against him. He truly had nothing to lose.

Furthermore, if there is a lesson to be learned from the Floyd Landis case it is the arbitrary and capricious application of "science."  Three metabolites above the three delta unit threshold on Monday, two metabolites on Tuesday, and a single metabolite above threshold on Wednesday.  In Australia, the WADA standard was four metabolites above four delta units to ascertain a positive result.  A WADA positive doping test based on floating amorphous criteria that has no foundation in medical science, medical literature, or in medical experimentation; and which also lacks a physiological baseline, is absolutely unacceptable as a bases to suspend a professional athlete from cycling or any other sport.  Nevertheless, the results, no matter what they be or how they are derived, are interpreted as conclusive evidence of doping: then these conclusions are force fed to a gullible public.  If the "scientific" criteria as to what constitutes a positive test is subjected to arbitrary and capricious interpretations; then how is an athlete to prepare and present a coherent defense?  Impossible.

Aftermath:

Floyd Landis scolded the anti-doping alphabet organizations in Positively False for their idee fixe to prove that Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs.  "Let it go!" One must wonder if the positive synthetic testosterone test was nothing more than a ploy to obtain evidence from Floyd Landis that would serve as a bases to file non-analytical positives against Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, Michele Ferrari, et al.  Why else would Travis Tygart offer Floyd Landis the shortest suspension in history as a deal for evidence?  Ironically, Floyd Landis may have reasoned after he was declared persona non grata and refused a continental or pro tour contract with any team that it was in his best interests to provide evidence to USADA.  Once Floyd Landis made allegations of doping against Lance Armstrong and U.S. Postal Service;  USADA sprang into action by threating other ex-teammates of Lance Armstrong with legal action if they refused to cooperate, extracting a mountain of coerced testimony that resulted in the USADA prosecution summary The Reasoned Decision. Floyd Landis said he wanted to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.  In the end Floyd Landis gave Travis Tygart everything on a silver platter.  But in the end Floyd Landis may in up in the lurch with nothing, once again.

UPDATE

*It has been determined that Johan Bruyneel sold team bicycles and Shimano dura-ace components on the black market to partially fund the U.S. Postal Service team doping enterprise.  This may explain why the Postal Service team members, except for Lance Armstrong, were training on outdated equipment.
**This assertion is based upon an unreferenced footnote in Tyler Hamilton's book,  The Secret Race, where Floyd Landis allegedly admitted to blood boosting during the 2006 Tour de France. However, it has been reported elsewhere that Floyd Landis denied using any performance enhancements during the 2006 Tour de France. Given the extensive history of drug abuse by Floyd Landis on the U.S. Postal Service team his denial seems hardly credible. However, I have changed the text to reflect the premise that the doping admission by Mr. Landis is an allegation not a fact. If I have misstated his defense based upon an inaccurate source I sincerely apologize to Mr. Landis for this error.




Floyd Landis (Ouch) 2009 Tour of Utah Prologue Time Trial
Photo: velovortmax