Author Topic: The end of the road for Landis.  (Read 9774 times)

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2008, 06:28:54 pm »
He was doping and he got caught - just not for what he was doing though. :o

Did he? The sample, which in any case produced inconsistent results, was not correctly labelled. There's not even convincing proof it was his.



I challenge you to justify this assertion.

"What a long, strange trip it's been", Truckin'

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Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2008, 06:30:58 pm »
From the BBC just now:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/7478019.stm

Most importantly....

In its ruling, the court said the laboratory "did not violate the International Standard for Laboratories".

It concluded that "the presence of exogenous tesosterone or its precursors of metabolites in Floyd Landis' sample proves that he violated the anti-doping rules of the International Cycling Union".

So let's drop the smokescreen of this and that about shoddy testing practices here and there. The case is proved beyond whatever doubt is required is it not?

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2008, 07:19:14 pm »
Quote from:
Landis said he was "saddened" by the verdict.

"I am looking into my legal options and deciding on the best way to proceed," he added.


Pity he didn't choose that option at the start of 2006.


I know it's a flippant comment but I've tended to become more cynical as I've got older.

David Martin

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Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2008, 08:01:57 pm »
From the BBC just now:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/7478019.stm

Most importantly....

In its ruling, the court said the laboratory "did not violate the International Standard for Laboratories".

That is an intereting choice of phrase and one which smacks more of the legal than the scientific.

Quote
It concluded that "the presence of exogenous tesosterone or its precursors of metabolites in Floyd Landis' sample proves that he violated the anti-doping rules of the International Cycling Union".

So let's drop the smokescreen of this and that about shoddy testing practices here and there. The case is proved beyond whatever doubt is required is it not?

The case has been decided. I'll need to read the findings in full to see whether they have actually assessed the scientific evidence.

It would also be interesting to see whether you can support your assertion that the arbitration panel is qualified to examine the technical aspects of the science.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

David Martin

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Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2008, 08:11:29 pm »
Fourty something bottles he got through!

Yup, and he didn't just drink them.

If we want to hang someone out to dry as a drugs cheat then we should make sure that it is done properly. Half-assed record keeping and shoddy practices are not acceptable if we want to take the moral high ground.

..d

I really don't understand your point - Landis has spent a lot of money (>$1M if rumour is true) to try to demonstrate "half-assed record keeping and shoddy practice" and a bunch of folks with a lot more expertise than anyone on this forum have evaluated the evidence at least three times and concluded that the test results do stand up to scrutiny, and that Landis did indeed take an illegal substance.

What is interesting about yACF is that you never know who you are going to come across. There are analytical chemists, Mass Spectroscopists, physiologists and so on. A substantial portion of the data was placed on the web. I would not argue that all of it was. From what I have seen (and I am, to some degree qualified to examine GCMS taces and the process used to evaluate them) the procedures were not particularly rigorously followed, calibration and interpretation were fast and loose and I am not confident in the results. Indeed, unless there is a wealth of missing data, several issues of a technical nature have been quietly ignored/shoved under the carpet.
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He has had multiple opportunities to demonstrate the unsafeness of his conviction, had access to the finest legal minds and subject-matter experts, had unlimited time to present his case, but after due consideration his case has been rejected.

By any reasonable standards you must conclude that he did dope, that he is a cheat and a liar.

It is interesting that those whom Landis called in evidence were those with the most expertise in these systems. The chap who quite literally wrote the book on the Mass Spec used (who described the labs use of it as like an expensive random number generator)

I am disappointed by the report from USADA and now from CAS, not because they found Landis guilty - I couldn't care less about that- but because they failed to demonstrate at a technical level a reasoning that supported the conclusions drawn from the evidence.  It is a scary precedent they set, allowing what appears to be flawed evidence to be accepted.

From my technical viewpoint it looks like a "we don't really understand this so we'll take the labs word as virtually nobody else really understands it either" whitewash.

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

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Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2008, 08:31:41 pm »
Completely besides what results the lab claim to have got, regarding the dodgy chain of evidence and protocols - people have had criminal convictions overturned for far less. Why should the same not apply for athletes?
Yes, by all means hunt down the cheats, but the hunters have to be whiter than white. There is no room for ambiguity of procedure.

And why not have the 'B' sample processed at a different lab than the 'A' sample?
Very little chance of the same technicians handling the evidence both times that way, and it would remove any bias in the results.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2008, 09:37:03 pm »
"From my technical viewpoint it looks like a "we don't really understand this so we'll take the labs word as virtually nobody else really understands it either" whitewash."

Possibly the CAS and USADA review panels were staffed by wishy-washy arty-farty types with no understanding of the scientific method, no training in analytics, no ability to separate fact from fairy story and a unwillingness to challenge lab findings.

Or maybe not.

"What a long, strange trip it's been", Truckin'

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2008, 09:39:36 pm »
<- snip ->

It is interesting that those whom Landis called in evidence were those with the most expertise in these systems. The chap who quite literally wrote the book on the Mass Spec used (who described the labs use of it as like an expensive random number generator)

I am disappointed by the report from USADA and now from CAS, not because they found Landis guilty - I couldn't care less about that- but because they failed to demonstrate at a technical level a reasoning that supported the conclusions drawn from the evidence.  It is a scary precedent they set, allowing what appears to be flawed evidence to be accepted.

From my technical viewpoint it looks like a "we don't really understand this so we'll take the labs word as virtually nobody else really understands it either" whitewash.

..d

David - do you have any web links for the evidence presented? Not doubting you - just interested in the subject and like to know more of the procedures in use these days.

Ta
“There is no point in using the word 'impossible' to describe something that has clearly happened.”
― Douglas Adams

David Martin

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Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #33 on: June 30, 2008, 10:42:50 pm »
<- snip ->

It is interesting that those whom Landis called in evidence were those with the most expertise in these systems. The chap who quite literally wrote the book on the Mass Spec used (who described the labs use of it as like an expensive random number generator)

I am disappointed by the report from USADA and now from CAS, not because they found Landis guilty - I couldn't care less about that- but because they failed to demonstrate at a technical level a reasoning that supported the conclusions drawn from the evidence.  It is a scary precedent they set, allowing what appears to be flawed evidence to be accepted.

From my technical viewpoint it looks like a "we don't really understand this so we'll take the labs word as virtually nobody else really understands it either" whitewash.

..d

David - do you have any web links for the evidence presented? Not doubting you - just interested in the subject and like to know more of the procedures in use these days.

Ta

Start at Floyd Landis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which has a lot of links.

The pro Landis website Trust but Verify has a strong condemnation of the finding. trust but verify

"From my technical viewpoint it looks like a "we don't really understand this so we'll take the labs word as virtually nobody else really understands it either" whitewash."

Possibly the CAS and USADA review panels were staffed by wishy-washy arty-farty types with no understanding of the scientific method, no training in analytics, no ability to separate fact from fairy story and a unwillingness to challenge lab findings.

Or maybe not.

I would ask whether you have looked at the evidence and have sufficient expertise to interpret it?

The report reads politically. And yes, when you look at the panel, I don't see many scientists there, let alone chemists with a backgorund in analysis. Do you?

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2008, 11:12:32 pm »
Thanks for that David.
“There is no point in using the word 'impossible' to describe something that has clearly happened.”
― Douglas Adams

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #35 on: June 30, 2008, 11:21:23 pm »
David asks "I would ask whether you have looked at the evidence and have sufficient expertise to interpret it?

"The report reads politically. And yes, when you look at the panel, I don't see many scientists there, let alone chemists with a backgorund in analysis. Do you?"

Actually I see forensic minds with an expertise and experience in evaluating complex sports and doping issues.  So I'm perfectly comfortable with the ability of both USADA & CAS panels.

But that's not really my point, because my view or your view of the evidence isn't material - what matters is the process.

For me the questions are:-

Did Landis have opportunity to challenge the findings, present his case openly and without obstruction, with access to all available evidence?  Yes.

Was the panel(s) intellectually and experientially equipped to evaluate the evidence put before them?  Yes (as above)

Is there documented evidence that due consideration was given to the arguments of the defence and the prosecution?  Yes, findings are published and it is plain (to me anyway) that due consideration has been given.

Or in summary - did Landis get a fair hearing?  Absolutely.

So Landis gave it his best shot and on the balance of probabilities (this is not a criminal court where "beyond reasonable doubt" is the yardstick) he was found guilty. And we should stick with that - the verdict is guilty, no maybes.ifs or buts, he done it.

Incidentally, anecdotally there are folks out there testifying to a history of abuse by Landis, and this probably colours my view  :)

But I do agree with what I think is your primary point - apparent sloppy lab work makes this a lot more doubtful than it should be and opens loopholes whre none should exist.
"What a long, strange trip it's been", Truckin'

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2008, 01:01:56 am »
David asks "I would ask whether you have looked at the evidence and have sufficient expertise to interpret it?

"The report reads politically. And yes, when you look at the panel, I don't see many scientists there, let alone chemists with a backgorund in analysis. Do you?"

Actually I see forensic minds with an expertise and experience in evaluating complex sports and doping issues.  So I'm perfectly comfortable with the ability of both USADA & CAS panels.

But that's not really my point, because my view or your view of the evidence isn't material - what matters is the process.

For me the questions are:-

Did Landis have opportunity to challenge the findings, present his case openly and without obstruction, with access to all available evidence?  Yes.

Was the panel(s) intellectually and experientially equipped to evaluate the evidence put before them?  Yes (as above)

Is there documented evidence that due consideration was given to the arguments of the defence and the prosecution?  Yes, findings are published and it is plain (to me anyway) that due consideration has been given.

On this point there is some dispute. The presumption is that the lab were correct and Landis had to prove they were not.

He had already shown in the USADA hearing that the lab results were wrongly interpreted for the elevated testosterone (as seen in the USADA report where they exonerated him of that).

He claimed and provided a body of evidence that the lab results were unsound. This was dismissed by the arbitration panel without a technical justification.

Quote
Or in summary - did Landis get a fair hearing?  Absolutely.
I would submit not.

Quote
So Landis gave it his best shot and on the balance of probabilities (this is not a criminal court where "beyond reasonable doubt" is the yardstick) he was found guilty. And we should stick with that - the verdict is guilty, no maybes.ifs or buts, he done it.

Incidentally, anecdotally there are folks out there testifying to a history of abuse by Landis, and this probably colours my view  :)

But I do agree with what I think is your primary point - apparent sloppy lab work makes this a lot more doubtful than it should be and opens loopholes whre none should exist.

This we do agree on. Unfortunately the only person to benefit from an exoneration would be Landis. Everyoen else would suffer. One is left with the feeling that a political decision has been made 'for the greater good' and it leaves a very bad taste in my scientific mouth.

As I said previously, If we want to take the moral high ground then it must be fair and seen to be fair. I do not think that was the case with Landis.

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #37 on: July 01, 2008, 02:52:00 am »
He was doping and he got caught - just not for what he was doing though. :o

Did he? The sample, which in any case produced inconsistent results, was not correctly labelled. There's not even convincing proof it was his.


I challenge you to justify this assertion.


Take a look for yourself at the PDF of Arnie Baker's presentation. Look particularly at page 7.

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This is the page summarizing the testosterone and epitestosterone results from the B sample.
The sample number has two parts: The lab identification number and the athlete's identification number.
The lab identification number is wrong.
The lab identification number is 178/07—not 478/07.
The athlete’s identification number, 994474, is not Floyd's number.
Floyd’s number is the number in the barcode label taken from his attestation page. It is 995474.

And from Arnie Baker's home page on the same site.

Quote
The Court of Arbitration of Sport upheld the findings of the American Arbitration Association in affirming a doping violation against Floyd Landis.

Having closely read the laboratory’s reports and the statements of its witnesses, I strongly disagree with the findings of these tribunals.

The evidence documents conclusively that not only did the laboratory (1) never identify testosterone in the testosterone/epitestosterone ratio test according to WADA criteria, it (2) had no written procedure to identify substances in the more sophisticated IRMS test.

Moreover, there is evidence of scientific misconduct/malfeasance. Records have disappeared and documents appear to have been fabricated. USADA, its experts, and the lab appear to have repeatedly made false statements.

I document the reasons for my opinions in the Wiki Defense 2.0. Source documents are provided. By all means download —it is free—and come to your own conclusions.

I disagree strongly with your conclusion that Landis had a fair hearing. The whole procedure smacks of a political one that is simply out to get someone and cover up its own failings. As to whether he was cheating in the Tour, I might have my suspicions but I have no way of knowing, and neither do you.
The old Legion hand told the recruit, "When things are bad, bleu, try not to make them worse, because it is very likely that they are bad enough already." -- Robert Ruark

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #38 on: July 01, 2008, 08:17:03 am »

"Quote
Or in summary - did Landis get a fair hearing?  Absolutely.
I would submit not."

Then there is nothing more to say.

I see an open, transparent process where all parties submitted evidence and arguments for consideration by an independent and expert judiciary, who published their findings openly.  The essence of justice.

You don't, you see a "political" verdict that protects the establishment, that disregards evidence that you believe is crucial, and is invalid because the judiciary are not proper scientists.. I can see no way of bridging this divide, we must agree to disagree.


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Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2008, 08:21:06 am »
How about asking the question did Landis dope.
Yes.

Did he get caught?
Yes.

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2008, 08:41:18 am »
How about asking the question did Landis dope.
Yes.

Did he get caught?
Yes.

Perfectly expressed   :thumbsup:

thanks

"What a long, strange trip it's been", Truckin'

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2008, 08:50:21 am »
How about asking the question did Landis dope.
Yes.

The point of this discussion is NOT about whether or not Landis doped. It is whether the evidence presented is sufficient to provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is acknowledged that the lab screwed up. (Read the USADA judgement if you believe he had an elevated testosterone - he didn't). It is known that the lab deviated from protocol. It is up to the lab to demonstrate that their deviations did not provide an AAF that otherwise would not be found.

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Did he get caught?
Yes.

A difficult test was performed badly and it is claimed that it shows the presence of exogenous testosterone. There are strong technical reasons why the test results as presented are arbitrary and not sufficient evidence to convict.
These reasons were not addressed, just dismissed with the statement that the lab was certified and the tests were certified.
Chain of evidence issues were not addressed.

FWIW my background is in chemistry with experience in chromatographic separation. I am a scientist who is presently writing software for analysis of mass spectrometry results, including isotope label analysis. I do have a bit of a clue about the matter under discussion.

My verdict from the evidence I have seen is that it is suggestive of doping but inconclusive. There are inconsistencies in the data and failures in process.

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2008, 10:23:18 am »
How about asking the question did Landis dope.
Yes.

Impossible to say from the evidence.

Quote
Did he get caught?
Yes.

To the standard required of a kangaroo court or a Stalinist show trial, yes. To the standard required by natural justice or a properly constituted court of law, most certainly not.
The old Legion hand told the recruit, "When things are bad, bleu, try not to make them worse, because it is very likely that they are bad enough already." -- Robert Ruark

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Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2008, 11:06:08 am »
How about asking the question did Landis dope.
Yes.

The point of this discussion is NOT about whether or not Landis doped. It is whether the evidence presented is sufficient to provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

No, it's not.  As pointed out above, its the balance of probability.  And, on the balance of probability, given the points that Rich makes above, the finding was that, yes, Landis doped.   End of story.

Quote
Quote
Did he get caught?
Yes.

A difficult test was performed badly and it is claimed that it shows the presence of exogenous testosterone. There are strong technical reasons why the test results as presented are arbitrary and not sufficient evidence to convict.
These reasons were not addressed, just dismissed with the statement that the lab was certified and the tests were certified.
Chain of evidence issues were not addressed.

FWIW my background is in chemistry with experience in chromatographic separation. I am a scientist who is presently writing software for analysis of mass spectrometry results, including isotope label analysis. I do have a bit of a clue about the matter under discussion.

My verdict from the evidence I have seen is that it is suggestive of doping but inconclusive. There are inconsistencies in the data and failures in process.

..d

I think it is imperative that the testing authorities tighten up their act.  I have no doubt that their bungling has, in the past, let dopers off the hook.  Despite the wriggling of teams trying to avoid testing, there is no excuse for handling samples badly once collected.

However, returning to the point:  Landis cheated, and no amount of money or lawyers he could throw at the system to try to intimidate them to back down succeeded.  Floyd Landis is a cheat, and degrades our sport not only in commiting his breach of the rules, but in dragging out his doomed attempt to prove his alleged innocence, providing headlines for years about drugs in cycling.

Thanks Floyd.  Now go away.
Getting there...

gonzo

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2008, 11:16:04 am »
However, returning to the point:  Landis cheated, and no amount of money or lawyers he could throw at the system to try to intimidate them to back down succeeded.  Floyd Landis is a cheat, and degrades our sport not only in commiting his breach of the rules, but in dragging out his doomed attempt to prove his alleged innocence, providing headlines for years about drugs in cycling.

Thanks Floyd.  Now go away.

This is what the argument's about; is there sufficient evidence to say that Landis did cheat in the manner they said? It sure as hell doesn't seem clear cut to me based on the arguments from those in the know.

I would have thought that you wouldn't be against someone standing up in court to defend themselves.

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2008, 11:18:05 am »

However, returning to the point:  Landis cheated, and no amount of money or lawyers he could throw at the system to try to intimidate them to back down succeeded.  Floyd Landis is a cheat, and degrades our sport not only in commiting his breach of the rules, but in dragging out his doomed attempt to prove his alleged innocence, providing headlines for years about drugs in cycling.

Thanks Floyd.  Now go away.

I don't see how you can be that categorical on the extremely flimsy nature of the evidence against him. To deprive a man of his livelihood should require far more than a balance of probabilty, but I'm not convinced even that test has been met in this case.
The old Legion hand told the recruit, "When things are bad, bleu, try not to make them worse, because it is very likely that they are bad enough already." -- Robert Ruark

David Martin

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Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2008, 11:55:41 am »
How about asking the question did Landis dope.
Yes.

The point of this discussion is NOT about whether or not Landis doped. It is whether the evidence presented is sufficient to provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

No, it's not.  As pointed out above, its the balance of probability.  And, on the balance of probability, given the points that Rich makes above, the finding was that, yes, Landis doped.   End of story.

You are making a proof by assertion.
Let's look at the actual facts:
Somehow Landis ended up with a detectable level of synthetic testosterone but no elevated testosterone levels (finding of fact by the USADA). In itself this is remarkable as you would have to have a high proportion of synthetic vs natural testosterone for it to a) be detectabel and b) be worth doing. Furthermore that synthetic testosterone magically breaks down into one of the four metabolites but not the other three (Explain that and you get a Nobel prize).
Those are the recognised facts. The WADA regulations were poorly drafted and allowed the lab to declare an AAF on the basis of one sample which was internally inconsistent. It is a legal, not a scientific decision.

 I would not expect the court to be technically competent in interpreting laboratory data. What they have done is to rely on the laboratory accreditation in order to push through a political decision.

Quote
Quote
Quote
Did he get caught?
Yes.

A difficult test was performed badly and it is claimed that it shows the presence of exogenous testosterone. There are strong technical reasons why the test results as presented are arbitrary and not sufficient evidence to convict.
These reasons were not addressed, just dismissed with the statement that the lab was certified and the tests were certified.
Chain of evidence issues were not addressed.

FWIW my background is in chemistry with experience in chromatographic separation. I am a scientist who is presently writing software for analysis of mass spectrometry results, including isotope label analysis. I do have a bit of a clue about the matter under discussion.

My verdict from the evidence I have seen is that it is suggestive of doping but inconclusive. There are inconsistencies in the data and failures in process.

..d

I think it is imperative that the testing authorities tighten up their act.  I have no doubt that their bungling has, in the past, let dopers off the hook.  Despite the wriggling of teams trying to avoid testing, there is no excuse for handling samples badly once collected.

However, returning to the point:  Landis cheated, and no amount of money or lawyers he could throw at the system to try to intimidate them to back down succeeded.  Floyd Landis is a cheat, and degrades our sport not only in commiting his breach of the rules, but in dragging out his doomed attempt to prove his alleged innocence, providing headlines for years about drugs in cycling.

Thanks Floyd.  Now go away.

You again assert that Landis cheated, but without any scientific validation of that assertion. The data presented was severely flawed. It was incumbent on the doping authority to demonstrate that the flaws in the data do not preclude a positive finding and they have most emphatically failed to do that.

If you think I am being a bit Mr Loophole about this, then think again. It is not about having the border on a 30 sign 3mm too narrow, it is about performing delicate analyses which require extreme precision and careful control.  A lack of rigour can skew the findings dramatically, leading to a false accusation (or conversely, failing to find a positive).
I won't delve into the technical details but am happy to answer tech questions to the best of my ability.

I remain convinced that the decision is primarily political rather than based on science.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

gonzo

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2008, 12:35:49 pm »
Thanks for your words David as I don't really understand the science behind this, but what you've said has helped.

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Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #48 on: July 02, 2008, 12:48:14 pm »
Maybe all this is true, I'm sure there is politics involved there always is. However, like all the other TdF winners and contenders Landis was well doped up. He got caught, they made him the scapegoat (though I have far more confidence in the CAS than some in this thread, even if they are far from perfect and they aren't scientists) if you like, and it seems to have been one message amongst others that pro cycling has take on board recently, and I think we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel in this fight against doping in cycling.


gonzo

Re: The end of the road for Landis.
« Reply #49 on: July 02, 2008, 12:55:11 pm »
SS - The problem was though that the method by which they caught him was decidedly dodgy.

How would you feel about police breaking a couple of bones to get a confession out of a suspect?