Friday 21 May 2010

Kimmage and McQuaid on Newstalk re Landis

24 hours later and the Floyd Landis story has moved on somewhat with all kinds of unsubstantiated accusations flying in both directions.

Not unexpectedly Lance and Bruyneel have responded by essentially labelling Landis as crazy. Lance's statement accuses Landis of harassing him along with some bizarre comments about Landis living alone in the woods with no-one to talk to. Bruyneel accuses Landis of using the allegations to blackmail him and the organisers of the Tour Of California. Naturally neither will get into any specifics about the records of the past members of the US Postal team.

There is an interesting debate happening about the timelines in Landis's emails. Lance made comments that the timelines don't fit. The presumption in most articles I've read is that this refers to the section in the emails referring to events in 2002:

"2002: I was instructed on how to use Testosterone patches by Johan Bruyneel during the During the Dauphine Libere in June, after which I flew on a helicopter with Mr Armstrong from the finish, I believe Grenoble, to San Mauritz Switzerland at which point I was personally handed a box of 2.5 mg patches in front of his wife who witnessed the exchange. About a week later, Dr Ferrari performed an extraction of half a liter of blood to be transfused back into me during the Tour de France. Mr Armstrong was not witness to the extraction but he and I had lengthy discussions about it on our training rides during which time he also explained to me the evolution of EPO testing and how transfusions were now necessary due to the
inconvenience of the new test. He also divulged to me at that time that in the first year that the EPO test was used he had been told by Mr Ferrari, who had access to the new test, that he should not use EPO anymore but he did not believe Mr Farrari and continued to use it. He later, while winning the Tour de Swiss, the month before the Tour de France, tested positive for EPO at which point he and Mr Bruyneel flew to the UCI headquarters and made a financial agreement with Mr. Vrubrugen to keep the positive test hidden."

Much has been made of the fact that Lance didn't ride the Tour De Suisse in 2002, let alone win it. However, I don't think Landis actually claims that he did. What Landis says is that Lance told him about events "in the first year that the EPO test was used". The fact is that the UCI introduced urine testing for EPO in 2001, the year Lance did win in Switzerland. This, of course, doesn't mean Landis is telling the truth but it does remove one of the rebuttals Lance is using.

What is also interesting is that the UCI, via Pat McQuaid, is playing the man too. McQuaid appeared on an Irish radio show last night following an interview with Paul Kimmage. As you can imagine Kimmage was pretty no-holds-barred, but McQuaid seemed to be solely concerned with implying that Landis has an ulterior motive and so should not be heeded. He doesn't seem to think that the UCI should at least be checking out the story, preferring to leave that to others.

Now, I might be wrong here, but surely there is, at the very least, a learning opportunity for the UCI here. As was the case when Bernard Kohl started shooting his mouth off, there are lots of insights into the methods and mindsets of dopers being aired. The UCI should be making it clear that they take this seriously and want to glean every last shred of info possible in order to improve future anti-doping efforts. Rather than belittling the whistle blower, regardless of whether they think he's right or not at this stage, they should be reacting in a manner that encourages riders to come clean. Or maybe they know it all already, in which case you would have to wonder why they're not ahead of the game more.

McQuaid also, again, pointed to Lances "clean" record as a factor limiting his ability to do anything. But one of the central planks of the Landis mails, and Kohls statements too, is that he was getting away with it for years. If that is the case then the UCI should be immediately taking steps to review the records of the riders mentioned, retesting samples from previous races if necessary. They may not be able to prove anything to the point of legal certainty but, as we saw in Michelle Smiths case, a stars bubble can be burst in many ways. Or, conversely, it would give Lance the data he needs to put the accusations to bed.

The interviews with Kimmage and McQuaid can be heard here

1 comment:

  1. Who in their honest minds believe high-performing cyclists don't use PED? It's so obvious, and the tests do not detect so many things. Why not allow doping? The playing field is already leveled, why not just make it clear and allow athletes to use these "supplements"and incorporate it into professional sports.