Thursday, September 20, 2007

Floyd Landis Found Guilty

I am really disappointed in the arbitration panel. I can't believe that they actually voted 2-1 that he was guilty. I haven't read too much, but from the reports I have heard, the panel threw out the T/E test results saying they were not reliable, but they were basing their results on the IRMS testing. Well, at least they got it half right, but it doesn't change the result.

From what I can remember about the case, there were problems with the IRMS testing. The biggest thing I remember is that LNDD primed the liner before conducting the test. During the hearing, a witness from the manufacturer stated that this was not proper procedure and could likely produce positive tests where they were really negative. There was a memo from an executive at the manufacturer that stated the same thing.

I believe more than ever that this is a witch hunt, especially after hearing when the suspension is effective: in January. Every other athlete that has been suspended has had their suspension effective from around the time of their last competition. Not in this case. The UCI wanted to penalize Landis for making them and WADA look bad. UCI also wanted to send a message with the recent penalties: There is no use fighting us because we will find you guilty whether the science supports it or not. If you fight us publicly, we will give you a longer suspension. If you admit to doping, whether you did it or not, your penalty will be reduced (see Jorge Jaschke's one year suspension). And don't forget, even if you didn't do it, we will find you guitly anyway, so you might as well lie and say you did it. In an athlete's career, one year is a lot different than two years.

If the UCI really wanted to figh doping, they would require all teams to implement the Slipstream/Chipotle model. Yeah, it isn't cheap, but neither is finding a new sponsor because your sponsor has lost faith in the team and the sport. But, in my opinion, the UCI would rather have high profile cases against certain athletes such as Valverde, Landis, Vinikourov, etc. They all may be guilty, but when the science doesn't support it, they should be vindicated as Landis should have been. And the UCI should be more concerned about preventing future doping through baseline testing.

I welcome all comments, especially ones that have better facts than me.

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