The current issue of VeloNews carries a fairly lengthy article on Floyd Landis. The time frame for the interview is around his appearance in Tuscon Arizona to present his updated version of his defence strategy.
While quite a bit has been written on Floyd, I still found the article engaging and in some cases revealing. Kip Milker trie to paint a portrait of the complex personality that is Floyd Landis. Through Milker’s interview, you can seed the fierce determination to prevail that is a hallmark of Landis’s career. You see his quick wit which has endeared him to many and created PR nightmares to others.
The article skews slightly pro-Landis in great part to the USADA invoking a gag order on itself. This is one of the two interesting sidebars to the article. The USADA seems to be on a PR mission itself. Travis Tygart, USADA legal counsel, is touring the country talking about how the USADA can’t talk about the Landis case.
In the anti-slideshow 2.0, Tygart talks about how we are only hearing one side. He paints a picture of being the victim of a one-sided gag order and fighting from behind. The interesting point here is that the USADA is using the case against Tyler Hamilton to insinuate Floyd’s guilt.
Since the Hamilton case is over, the USADA is free to present their ‘case’ against the rider. By pairing statements of not being able talk about their case against Landis with their case against Hamilton, Tygart leaves a strong impression that they have a smoking gun on Landis. Tygart does a good job at his version of the three card monte.
The other sidebar is where I found the most interest. VeloNews talks to two scientists, Bert Callicoatt, Ph.D. and Kevin Dykstra, Ph.D. Both scientists looked at the current body of evidence and weighed in with very reasoned opinions.
Both agreed that the data from the Landis camp was very damaging. Dykstra felt the failure to follow the WADA protocol requiring careful documentation of the molecular fingerprint of the molecule. It is not enough to do gas chromatography.
Callicoatt has the money quote for all Floyd fans:
“The ratios were all over the place – 7,11,4. That kind of data set is a very unconvincing way of quantitatively measuring things. An average of 7.5 with a standard deviation of 6? That’s horrible from a statical standpoint.”
Both scientists urge caution, however. Their guidance is we still need to see the context. Since only one side is talking, we need to exercise restraint. One example is that while the values look inconsistent we may not be seeing an apples to apples comparison. The readings look to be all quantitative. It is possible that the readings we seen are a mixture of those that were used for identification purposes and those that are used for quantitative purposes.
One final note. The only downside to the article is the author did not give attribution the Trust but Verify website. A casual mention of the furor on cycling blogs was the only backhanded acknowledgement to the power of this medium and the influence TBV has had on the transparancy of the case.
This issue is well worth the price.