Friday, May 18, 2007

USADA vs. Floyd Landis

I've been following this case over at Rant and TBV somewhat obsessively (is that an oxymoron). My thinking is that the only reason that USADA had Greg LeMond testify is that they a) know their case is weak on the science and there are problems with the lab results and b) wanted to take advantage of the fact that the hearing is open to the public. Their case should simply be 1) There was an 'A' sample that was positive for high T/E ratio and then positive for synthetic testosterone 2) the 'B' sample results matched the 'A' sample. 3) Both samples are from Floyd Landis 4) Prove chain of custody. That should be it. Landis' defense has to be either to demonstrate that the lab results are inaccurate due to faulty procedure or equipment, the chain of custody can't be proven or some other related problem.

So why add LeMond to the mix? The only reason I can tell is that up to that point the testimony was technical (and in Landis' favor, I believe) and would not make for an easy sound bite for the news. However, a stunning revelation by the first American to win the Tour de France coupled with his accusation that Landis is guilty will get press, is a quick sound bite and will stick in people's minds. Never mind that their phone conversation (which took place 9 months ago) was not recorded and there is no proof what Landis said or in what context he said it. In addition, (perhaps the primary reason) his testimony gives the arbitrators cover to find Landis guilty. They can reason that even if the science is questionable, and/or the lab made mistakes, maybe enough so that in an open hearing it would be difficult to find against Landis, that since LeMond says that Landis admitted guilt then no one will care enough about the science to question a guilty verdict. And Will Geoghegan's behavior the night before make that even easier.

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