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Crime The Courts

Tour de France Champion Accused of Hacking 259

Posted by kdawson
from the doping-is-for-hacks-and-vice-versa dept.
ub3r n3u7r4l1st writes "A French judge has issued a national arrest warrant for US cyclist Floyd Landis in connection with a case of data hacking at a doping laboratory, a prosecutor's office said. French judge Thomas Cassuto is seeking to question Landis about computer hacking dating back to September 2006 at the Chatenay-Malabry lab, said Astrid Granoux, spokeswoman for Nanterre's prosecutor's office. The laboratory near Paris had uncovered abnormally elevated testosterone levels in Landis' samples collected in the run-up to his 2006 Tour de France victory, leading to the eventual loss of his medal."
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Tour de France Champion Accused of Hacking

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  • Hacking cyclists? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:24AM (#31154344)

    Oh come on, a hacking cyclist? Everyone knows professional cyclists are even dumber than professional soccer players. The French just can't stand loosing from Yanks, look at all the allegations they made against Lance Armstromg.

  • No offsite backup? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by niftyguy (1745152) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:27AM (#31154362)
    Can't imagine how these clowns manage to function when they only keep one copy of all their results.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:31AM (#31154376)

    The warrant only applies to France. They are not seeking extradition.

    He's a professional bicyclist. Not being able to go to France is basically ruining his career.

    It's like saying you can keep your car but no gas.

    It's like saying you can have your pizza but no crust.

  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:43AM (#31154462)

    The skills needed are to find someone who has the required computer skills and offer them something in exchange for doing a task.

  • Re:Champion? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by artg (24127) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:44AM (#31154464)
    Because the behaviour of the lab and the french looked a lot more dodgy than Landis.
  • Re:Champion? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unixcrab (1080985) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:53AM (#31154528)
    Is wikipedia also part of some conspiracy to discredit poor innocent Americans? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Landis#Doping_case [wikipedia.org] "Under UCI rules, the determination of whether or not a cyclist violated any rules must be made by the cyclist's national federation, in this case USA Cycling, which transferred the case to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)." The evidence was good enough for the USADA but it's not good enough for the experts on slashdot?
  • by rve (4436) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:58AM (#31154550)

    Come on, noone is suggesting he did it himself. According to the press, he was accused after his lawyer presented documents in his case that he did not obtain through official channels. It seems more likely to me (as a complete outsider) that they bribed someone who had access.

    The usual accusations of anti Americanism are getting very tiresome. Every year, several riders are kicked out of the race and stripped of any stage victories after failing a doping test. Landis failed a doping test. This was just the first time it happened to the #1 after the finish at the champs elysees. Noone gets to appeal this decision in court. Every rider who performs exceptionally has always been suspected or accused of doping in the media, not just Armstrong. It's just that American sports fans aren't interested in cycling, just in Lance Armstrong.

    Previous tour winners Pantani, Ulrich, Riis, Indurain etc were all accused in the media of taking dope - some of them were caught - all the way back to the days of Anquetil who sort of openly used doping before it was banned. I don't remember American 3 time tour winner Greg LeMond being accused of doping, but I'm sure he was.

    The Floyd Landis case is considered particularily insulting, because the winner failing a drug test smeared the reputation of the tour even further. He never apologised and now 2 years later he still hasn't accepted guilt and is still appealing that decision. With his 2 year ban expired, he was planning to compete in this year's race. It looks like some people in France really wish he didn't.

    Now the question whether this treatment professional cyclists get is fair is another matter. The doping tests are a huge invasion of privacy, and upon failing a test the athlete is presumed guilty and expelled immediately, facing long time bans with very little legal recourse. False positives and sabotage cannot be ruled out, and if doping cases were judged in a court of law, few athletes would be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. It just doesn't normally get this far. After a failed dope test, they usually go 'Ok, I'm guilty. I'm so sorry, I'll never do it again, I'm totally anti-doping from now on'

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:01AM (#31154580)

    Ah, the French. They are always very 'proud' of their cyclists. So prideful that they actually will destroy somebody's career in order to have a 'frenchman' win or at the top.

    You xenophobic idiot. Last time a frenchman won the tour de France was in 1985 - that's 25 years ago.

  • by bahbar (982972) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:08AM (#31154660)
    I'm French, and I'm baffled. How can this kind of comment make it to Insightful ? In case you're not aware, the French have no cyclists to be proud of. None. Why we would kill an American's career to facilitate the win of a Spanish, Netherlander, another American, a British, another Netherlander, a German, an Italian... shall I go on ? Oh... right, because we're proud.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:13AM (#31154716) Homepage

    I've been using a Cognitive Dissonance Meter for longer that most people, and it's just gone off the scale. No, you can't see it. It's myCognitive Dissonance Meter. You'll just have to trust me.

    And there's more.

    Sure there is. There's the USADA finding synthetic testosterone in 4 out of 7 'B' samples [go.com], while Landis' coterie of lawyers wailed how unfair it was to run the synthetic tests on his B samples when his other A samples had shown clean. That's like complaining that the cops found weed in your glove compartment when you hadn't left any lying out on the dash.

  • by nicolas.kassis (875270) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:49AM (#31155026)
    It means that someone, I believe the hackers have already been found, obtain these files illegally. Landis used the files to attempt to prove his innocence (nothing wrong there). The problem is, what level of involvement did he have with the hackers in the first place. They want to show that he put them up to it or financed them or something. The lab in question and the French doping agency are embarrassed and would love to get payback. I always had a feeling that they might have fudge the results to get some massive publicity and glory.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:50AM (#31155042)

    Amazingly, LeMond is the only Tour winner in the last 25+ years not implicated in a doping scandel. I grew up about 30miles east of where Landis did and I'm an avid cyclist. I was very upset when news of his positive test came out, even more upset in the years since due to his continued denials. Sure the lab made some procedural mistakes, but in the end, he had artificial steroids in his system. Had taken the David Millar route: Admin, Aplogize, help reform.. I'd welcome him. Had he gone the Kohl route, admit and retire, I'd have respected him.. Now I just wish he'd shut up and go away, but I hear he may sign with Rock Racing, another group of folks I wish would go away.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:56AM (#31155096)

    If a scientific test is to have any meaning, it must be consistent and repeatable. If it tests positive on one sample and negative on the second, then either one of the samples has been altered, or that test was incorrectly done, or the test is unreliable because its results are not consistent and repeatable. You can't just ignore a negative result because you also have a positive one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:19AM (#31155356)

    Let me be clear here--I live in Lancaster, PA, near where Landis grew up. I think he's guilty, but it's still up to the French to conclusively show this. They haven't.

    "Landis failed a doping test."

    Landis suppsedly failed doping tests, plural. The initial first two results of which were thrown out due to abnormalities in lab handling.

    What he was finally "convicted" of based on test results, he was never given the data of the test results to even review.

    This is a very confusing case, partly because the details aren't reported clearly, and that there has been many steps and turns in the process. But the French wanted Landis to give up, and he didn't, and they've grown tired of his defense, so they essentially had a closed court conviction, which doesn't sit well with Landis or many onlookers.

    I should also point out, what Landis was taking, while clearly a performance enhancer, was not detected in earlier tests of him during the same TDF. He started taking it DURING the TDF, in which the synthetic testosterone would have no play in his performance (testosterone is more a long term actor and a muscle builder, not short term); that's the other perplexing issue that's been raised but never explained, with most thinking it was maybe a pyschological or dare taking inducing edge, but it still makes little sense to start taking a longer term nont short term performance enhancer mid-race. In turn, some think something was spiked.

    "The usual accusations of anti Americanism are getting very tiresome."

    Why, because you believe the French are doing this fairly or because you're lazy? On ESPN, look at the commentary/conversations about this. You have French and EU fans ragging about how they gave more donations per capita to Haiti, as a measure of them being better than the US, of all things. While you may be tired about the anti-Americanism claims, it is and has been continuing to occur whether you like it or not. Bury your head in the sand if you wish, but to NOT think there is nationalistic focus and intent in this is insane.

    When you have a French newspaper, owns the TDF, pulling old B samples, and testing them, without oversight, then slamming an American winner, without review, most would call that slander. That's what they did to Armstrong. Meanwhile, Bernard Hinault literally states he isn't drinking spring water, he's still celebrated as a national hero, not a cheater. Still. He presents awards at the TDF. Still. For those that don't know, Hinault is a 5 times French TDF winner who openly stated, when asked about steroid use at the TDF, something to the effect "Well, you don't win the Tour drinking spring water." Where's the movement to strip his titles?

    "Pantani, Ulrich, Riis, Indurain"

    I know that Pantani and Ulrich were caught doping after their wins in other races, and they were not stripped of titles since it didn't occur DURING the TDF, yet they only tried that with Armstrong.

    "I don't remember American 3 time tour winner Greg LeMond being accused of doping, but I'm sure he was."

    LeMond had been currently going after Armstrong. The strongest evidence against LeMond was circumstantial and not during any of his TDF years; it was during his couple of comebacks after his hunting accident. He ripped ligaments repeatedly, and the whispers were that sort of damage was due to steroid use he was using to recover.

    "The Floyd Landis case is considered particularily insulting, because the winner failing a drug test smeared the reputation of the tour even further. He never apologised and now 2 years later he still hasn't accepted guilt and is still appealing that decision. With his 2 year ban expired, he was planning to compete in this year's race. It looks like some people in France really wish he didn't."

    "even further"--key words here--the TDF was already smeared with doping scandals, with teams and prior winners conclusively found to be doping.

    Landis wasn't. Partly because he didn't roll over. Which the French foun

  • by rve (4436) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:35AM (#31155546)

    My point is that they've all been suspected or accused of doping, including French cyclists, not just Armstrong and Landis.

    Doping enforcement was a lot more lenient in the 70's and early 80's. Eddie Merckx was actually caught several times, for example, but it didn't hurt his career.

    Today it is unbelievably draconian. Never failing a drug test is not considered proof of innocence in the public eye. The Festina team was banned in 1998 purely based on circumstantial evidence. None of the riders tested positive, despite the irrefutable proof that they had been taking it.

    But you're right that the sort of evidence used to ban riders from cycling usually wouldn't stand up in court if it was handled by the law. Landis isn't the first who persists in not admitting guilt, if you remember Virenque...

  • by mmeister (862972) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @12:33PM (#31156166)

    Given the timing of this (4 years later, a few months before the next Tour), it looks like a pre-emptive attack to discredit Landis.

    The Tour officials certainly played fast and loose with their labs and techniques, so it is hard to know who was right. In my eyes, they have little to no credibility.

    Given the enormous consequences of their charges (and the fact that you are assumed guilty and then have to try and prove innocence), I'd like to see more disclosures of the relationship between the Tour and labs they hire and a change in process to allow for review of tests. The testing process is so secretive that it begs the question of whether the French just have a chip on their shoulders because no frenchman is winning.

  • by mmeister (862972) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @12:47PM (#31156298)

    Testing was much more lax in LeMond's day, so he could very well have skated by. The fact that he's so quick to join the accusers makes me wonder about his motives. And his claims that some of his best friends told him (and only him) in private that they doped says that either his friends are stupid or maybe he's not being truthful.

    Armstrong sued the Tour for their claims and won. He's probably the most drug tested cyclist on the tour, yet all that comes out of the Tour is innuendo and whispers because there is no evidence of him doping. The officials so desperately want to implicate him but can't, so they throw out whispers instead. Of course, Armstrong is probably the best thing that ever happened to the Tour in the last 25+ years.

    I don't know whether Landis did or didn't dope. I do know the claims made (that he would massively dope on the last stage) is inconsistent with the science involved (of how steroids work) and would make Landis an absolute idiot that it leaves questions. I can say that the evidence I saw from the hearings made me question the entire testing process used. In a normal court, Landis would have been found not guilty just on the labs very questionable procedures. Of course, in the Tour "court", if you're accused of doping, you are assumed guilty and have to then prove your innocence. Even the panel's findings suggested major problems with the testing procedures, but they stayed with the guilty assumption.

    I'm waiting for the Tour to have a transparent process in place for testing so that there is no doubt by the public, but they have done absolutely nothing since then.

  • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @01:11PM (#31156698)

    Sure there is. There's the USADA finding synthetic testosterone in 4 out of 7 'B' samples [go.com], while Landis' coterie of lawyers wailed how unfair it was to run the synthetic tests on his B samples when his other A samples had shown clean. That's like complaining that the cops found weed in your glove compartment when you hadn't left any lying out on the dash.

    No, it's complaining that if the tests are so shoddy and/or temperamental that they only find something in half of one sample, and none in the other, ie 3/4 of the samples show nothing, you must believe the 1/4 which show something.

    If a jury votes 9-3 for acquittal, you must believe the 3 for guilty.

  • by GSloop (165220) <networkguru AT sloop DOT net> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:34PM (#31159018) Homepage

    I thought I'd reply to this...

    I'm not sure I'd agree with the "guilt" portion.

    In short, the lab totally screwed up a (comparatively) very simple test that "showed" guilt.

    In the course of the case, it was clear they had totally botched that simple test.

    A much more technically difficult test using mass spectroscopy was a follow-up to the original test. The software on the MS machine was out of date and not certified for use in that configuration etc.

    The prosecution wants us to believe that even though the lab couldn't get a simple test right, the exceedingly more complex task was, and that we should rely on that test to hold Landis guilty.

    There are numerous other technical/procedural issues raised that also cause me great pause. [For example, a minor screw-up - taking a vitamin supplement that is tainted [but taken without malice] is enough to get you banned without recourse. However, if the lab screws up procedures and labeling and there is no penalty.]

    So, while he did "fail a doping test" - I'm not sure I think the test was valid.

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