While the Jones and Landis cases are very different – the Landis B sample was also found to contain an abnormal ratio of testesterone and epitestosterone – the clearing of Jones shows that it’s rash to rush in to judge athletes "busted" for "positive" drugs tests.
There are many variables at play and athletes should be allowed to have their say before the lynch mob takes over.
As the current issue of Bike Biz argues (PDF download) there’s every reason for throwing open the world of drugs testing to examination. Will WADA’s Dick Pound apologise for attacking Jones or will he say the B sample negative shows how good the testing process is?
Howard Jacobs, the lawyer for Marion Jones, is the lawyer representing Floyd Landis. Jacobs has crititicised the dope test leaks at the heart of both cases.
"This is perfect illustration of why this new trend of leaking A-positives is a horrible thing. This whole thing should have happened anonymously. Marion should’ve been able to keep competing and no one should have known about it."
And the science in the Floyd Landis case is far from clear cut. There’s a blog devoted to examining the science and testing protocols abused in the Floyd Landis case. David Brower’s Trust But Verify blog is updated frequently and contains lots of quirky facts. Did you know, for instance, that billiards has more dopers than bicycling?
Brower shows there’s a huge amount of scientific literature that could show that Floyd Landis – and the sport of cycling – has been unfairly hounded.
To read the Bike Biz created petition that calls for an open examination of the French lab at the centre of the Floyd Landis case, and which also calls on WADA to reign in the loose cannon that is Dick Pound, go here. There have been 3353 signatures to date, a relatively low number and an indication that Floyd Landis has already been found guilty in the court of public opinion.
The last word, for now, goes to Trust But Verify, a 49-year old Californian cycle sport fan:
"One of the primary weapons of the Doping Inquisition is fear. It often leads to a quick confession that doesn’t look too closely at the details. This isn’t necessarily bad, because a lot of athletes are dirty, and crumble like crackers at the first AAF.
"This shock-and-awe covers up the facts that the tests aren’t that good, and neither are the labs. They’ll catch a bunch of obvious kinds of cheats, but at the skinny edge of reliability, they are fig-leaves giving an illusion of credibility. The dilemma is that by presenting an infallible face, the Inquisition becomes incapable of the self-criticism necessary to admit shortcomings and correct them.
"Landis could be the case that reveals a little old man behind the curtain, full of bluster, but without nearly as much magic as he’d like you to believe."