Friday, July 28, 2006

Something's amiss, WADA doc claims

Something may be amiss with the result of the test, both a former pro cyclist and a WADA physician speculate. The WADA is responsible for the lab in France that administers the tests on the riders of the Tour de France.

From "Mark Conley: We shouldn't be surprised by Landis' plight" (link)

Since the sample taken after that stage is the one that has implicated Landis, it's easy to connect the dots and speculate his super-hero performance was anything but au naturale.

At least one former pro rider, "Fast Freddy" Markum of Santa Cruz, believes that's a bit too easy of a connection.

"They had probably tested him a dozen times over the course of the race to that point, so the last one comes up positive?" Markum says. "I smell a rat."

Markum, a two-time Olympian who raced against Greg LeMond in his prime and Armstrong in his infancy, smells a French rat, to be specific.

"The French have been so anti-American since Lance's second or third Tour win, they've tried to tear him down for so long now," Markum says, referring largely to the newspaper L'Equipe. "It's just a witch hunt at this point. They're tearing their own sport apart."

A World Anti-Doping Agency doctor agreed Thursday something seems amiss, telling an Associated Press medical writer, "Something's missing here. It just doesn't add up." If Landis had been cheating all along, then why wasn't there a positive test earlier in the race? The idea that he could load up effectively between his 16th stage death ride and his 17th stage super-heroics is bunk, the doctor said.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kathleen J said...

Something does sound amiss, cyclists in this class of athleticim have vast knowledge of the testing procedures. Why would one in Landis's class take such a risk? Is it possible that the sample was tainted with the chemical traces from another's urine, or perhaps Landis's was given food or drink that was laced w/ the drug?

10:06 AM  
Blogger mtnwing said...

I asked a lot of similar questions when another famous US cyclist had problems with WADA a few years back. First of all there ought to be a lot better seperation of church and state between the testing labs and the cycling organization (and also the local newspaper!). These relationships are unaccepatably close to enable impartial and unbiased scientific judgements to happen in my opinion.

There are alot of questions I have about the lab as an observer that I'd love to know. Who is there biggest client? Is it the UCI/WADA? My guess is that their incentives for revenue are driven by creation of successful tests. To them I am sure success is partly (or perhaps fully) defined by "catching" riders and thus there is a underlying pressure to "show results". To what length they go to do this is for others to interpret. Why are there not serveral labs doing the testing? How is this test research developed and is this funding being given by the UCI/WADA to these same doctors. Why is there now standards or ethics with respect to leaking information to the press? Is it not suspect that this same lab has had past leaks and has not been reprimanded or changed? If past test proceedures were faulty at the Olympics, why is the same lab still being used without consequence? Why not hold them to the same standards and ban the lab for 2 years for mistakes? Why not have samples randomly selected and then sent to different labs in different countries to help create a more unbiased approach.

My personal opinion is that there needs to be more involvement from the riders as well to represent the interests of the athletes in these proceedures. I am not saying there aren't cheaters that need to be caught; there are. But the system for catching (or creating the perception of catching) appears to be quite flawed when the judge is the same as the jury and it appears that the judge and jury may have significant financial incentives to convict.

Don't forget the tour de france was founded on the primary goal of "selling newspapers", NOT creating a great sport. I'm not sure from the recent actions and evidence of the paper's unacceptable insider knowledge that this has changed any since it's founding.

10:06 AM  

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