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Crime The Courts

Tour de France Champion Accused of Hacking 259

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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  • Champion? (Score:1, Informative)

    by unixcrab ( 1080985 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:25AM (#31154354)
    Why does the heading refer to him as a champion? He is no champion. He cheated and had lost the medal.
  • by yourpusher ( 161612 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:28AM (#31154364) Homepage Journal

    actually engaging in it.

  • Re:Champion? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:35AM (#31154402)

    Why is this modded troll? Wikipedia appears to agree []:

    Floyd Landis (born October 14, 1975) is an American cyclist, from Farmersville, Pennsylvania, best known for being disqualified for a doping offense after finishing first in the 2006 Tour de France.

  • by gilly_gize ( 470403 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:51AM (#31154510)

    As someone who grew up in Floyd Landis' hometown...German Mennonites are not really comparable to Amish when it comes to the use of computers and even some of the Amish themselves have fine computer skills (using them at the library, just not at their home). Landis' could very well have had the same level of exposure to a computer as a child as any other American his age.

  • by TheWanderingHermit ( 513872 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:55AM (#31154536)

    Anyone who watched Landis win the TdF and has followed the issue can find much more wrong with the tests than valid with them. He's been using a meter on his bike to measure his power output longer than other riders and he actually used less power in the day of that amazing catch-up ride than he did on many other days. Also, the drug he's accused of using is a blood level drug, one that provides most of the benefit over time and it builds up in the body, yet in the tests two and three days later there is no trace of it in his body at all. Also, only a few of the possible markers were there, most were not. And there's more.

  • Title inaccurate (Score:3, Informative)

    by brucmack ( 572780 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:11AM (#31154694)

    The title is inaccurate, as Landis is not a Tour de France champion. What an athlete is stripped of a title, it means you shouldn't be using that title to describe the athlete any more. Logical, no?

  • by MasterOfGoingFaster ( 922862 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:22AM (#31154782) Homepage

    Uh.... I have two state time trial championships, and finished fourth in my class at the American Mountain Bike Championships. Top cyclists are pretty smart people, and you have to be to get your body in the kind of shape to perform at that level.

    A friend who has won over 6 state championships says the strongest guys doesn't always with, but the smartest strong guy usually does. He fits that description to a T.

  • Re:Champion? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:29AM (#31154834)

    There were several issues with the case in general:

    - There were several mistakes with tracking numbers of the so-called anonymous samples; these numbers should have all been consistent, but were not. In some cases, white-out was used to make corrections.
    - There were irregularities in test procedures, including with calibration of the device used to test the testosterone level. The technicians appeared to not be competent in the operation of the device, and interpretation of results.
    - One the original test results sheet provided to Landis and his defense team, there were actually 3 test results, and 2 of them were below the allowed threshold. Personnel from other UCI-approved labs have stated (in confidence) that those results would not have triggered a test failure in their lab. These personnel are not allowed to testify in the arbitration hearing, since they are barred from doing so by the UCI as a condition of becoming a UCI-approved lab.
    - The test was not measuring testosterone levels, which vary by person and situation, but a ratio of one kind of testosterone to another. The actual testosterone level was not high, but the amount of the 'other testosterone', whose level is the denominator, was low.
    - These were supposed to be anonymous tests, but the results were announced in haste by the UCI because the French press had gotten the results from the lab, and were about to go public with them. This should be a major strike against the lab.
    - The arbitration hearings that result in a suspension do not appear to be at all like a normal legal proceeding, and they seem to be organized to rubber stamp (my opinion, of course) the results of the test lab. Landis' team introduced facts that helped their case, but it doesn't look like the 3-judge panel was all that interested in facts. Even so, the vote against him was 2-1, so one of the judges did not believe the test results either.

    There is a good paper on the case, written by a retired criminalist (whatever that is), at this location:

    Some are saying that Landis' performance on the stage on which he tested positive was 'super-human', but he was riding with a PowerTap (which measures power output at the rear wheel hub), and it indicated that he was riding at power levels that he had ridden at in previous races that year (and for which he did not test positive for elevated testosterone). One unusual circumstance of the performance was that he rode ahead early in the race so that he was riding alone, allowing his team car to be near him most of the way, and to keep giving him cold water bottles, around 90 in all. 80 of these he used to douse himself, allowing him to stay cool (it was in the upper 90's in temp), while those in the pack did not have that luxury.

  • by zx75 ( 304335 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:47AM (#31155008) Homepage

    Please readjust your thinking about Mennonites... you are so very wrong that you almost circle completely back again.

    I will state for a fact that I am Mennonite. I got my first computer when I was 6 (1988) and I am currently employed as a software developer.

    Although the Amish and the Old Order are Mennonites (which are among the few sects that have community restrictions on technology) the reverse is not true. It is equivalent to me saying that you are Christian, sometimes mistaken as Mormon. I'm not saying it's impossible for you to be monagamous, but I'm sure you were raised in a polygamous cult.

    I will further add to my comment in saying that I do know some Old Order and Amish people, and have had a nice long conversation with an Old Order deacon and teacher who explained that it is not technology that they shun, but anything new that may split their community. They take a very long time to evaluate new techology (usually about 300 years or so) but they do use some modern equipment. The Old Order community that I was on used modern combines (computer controlled) in order to quickly and efficiently harvest their fields.

  • Re:Champion? (Score:5, Informative)

    by sluke ( 26350 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:49AM (#31155024)

    I don't think this is entirely accurate. From what I can recall, the case against Landis was from two tests. The first showed that his T/E ratio was well outside the normal ratio for humans. Note that this is different from having elevated testosterone, in fact I believe his testosterone was actually lower than normal. It was just that his epiesterone was WAY lower than normal (these are normally about equal, his ratio was 12/1). As far as I remember this test was somewhat discredited due to shoddy procedures at the lab. The one that stuck was an isotope test which showed that the testosterone in his sample had a different isotope ratio than is found in humans. From this they concluded that it was synthetic and thus upheld the ban. I don't claim to entirely agree with all of their methods or even the results of the test, but I really don't think it's fair to say that he crashed, had a surge of adrenaline and subsequently tested positive.

  • by rve ( 4436 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:11AM (#31155278)

    There is a small problem with the French regarding the Tour: They're not thrustworthy in their judgement. If Floyd Landis had been named Richard Virenque the tests would probably have mysteriously disappeared. I'm not saying that he didn't cheat, but the French are very often using double standards regarding cycling...
    I guess it has something to do with Armstrong winning the tour 7 times in a row which their own heroes Anquetil and Hinault never could...

    You mean like Richard Virenque who was ejected from the Tour in 1998 by French officials in the Festina scandal and who became a virtual pariah in his home country for his continued refusal to admit his guilt?

    You don't read about non-Americans being accused of doping because you don't read about cyclists who aren't Lance Armstrong. All successful professional cyclists of the last 3 or 4 decades have been accused / suspected of doping.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @12:38PM (#31156212)

    If you read the link, the USADA determined nothing. It was the same French lab that is the center of the controversy that tested the B samples.

  • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @01:06PM (#31156594)

    I followed it closely at the time, but have forgotten the details by now. I'm sure google would be my friend. However, Landis' main complaint was that the lab results were poorly handled, poorly tracked, and altogether lacking a real chain of ownership to show they were even his samples. Furthermore, IIRC, the surprisingly high results for that day were incompatible with samples taken before and after. The kind of doping they accused him of would have left traces in the blood for some time afterwards, long enough for later tests to have shown something, which they didn't. And the samples they used were the backup samples, because they had lost the primary samples.

    It smelled pretty bad from what I remember. It didn't mean he hadn't done it, but no court would ever have accepted their evidence, and to strip someone of a Tour de France championship because of it was pretty outrageous. IIRC he had also beaten the French favorite and the French have never taken much to foreigners who do that, especially Americans.

    OTOH, I undoubtedly have forgotten a lot of the details, and I just don't care to look them up -- I mainly remember how shoddy their case was, how much it seemed like petty officials running amuck, and especially taking revenge for their gross carelessness and incompetence being shown to the world by some uppity bicycle rider. After all, everyone knows that the true purpose of any bicycle race is the glory of the promoters, not the racers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @01:44PM (#31157294)

    It is true that his defense was based upon the lab mishandling the samples, and claiming that there was no proof that the samples that tested positive were his. It is also true that tests before and after the positive test showed nothing. Nothing from before the positive is unlikely, as steroids tend to work based on continuous use, not a single use. Having nothing from samples after seems impossible. Steroids take a while to go out of the system.

    There was no French favorite. The highest finishing Frenchman was Cyril Dessel, who moved from 7th to 6th after Landis was removed from the results and was still almost 8 minutes behind of the replacement winner, Óscar Pereiro (Spain).

    Landis is no longer appealing the decision, as all of his appeals have been used up. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled against him. That's it. Please note that the rules there are different from the U.S. legal system. This case would have never resulted in a conviction based upon reasonable doubt. There was a lot of very reasonable doubt. I'm still not convinced that he did it.

  • by rve ( 4436 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @02:22PM (#31157908)

    IIRC he had also beaten the French favorite and the French have never taken much to foreigners who do that, especially Americans.

    In that same tour, the French favorite was also beaten by two Spaniards, a German, an Australian and a Russian, a pattern similar to that of the past 25 years or so.

    False positives, laboratory fuckups and actual cheating are all much more likely than a French conspiracy against Landis on the basis of him being an American.

  • by ub3r n3u7r4l1st ( 1388939 ) * on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:06PM (#31160226)

    Jockeys intentionally apply whips to the horse next to theirs, thus messing with the other jockey whip timing, and their horse will suffer or slow down due to this.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming