Time to reignite the Floyd Landis petition

On August 17th last year, I created an online petition that questioned the credibility of WADA doping protocols, the conduct of WADA boss Dick Pound, and the sloppy scientific method I assumed sometimes took place at the Chatenay-Malabry lab, the lab which tests the urine samples for the Tour de France.

WADA’s inconsistency is now famous; Pound’s public utterances have so often gone beyond the pail it’s almost normal; and sloppy lab work at Chatenay-Malabry is an assumption no longer.

Given there’s now significant doubt that one of the samples tested belongs to Floyd Landis, see Whose wee was it? on the bike trade news site I edit, perhaps it’s time for the petition to be revisited?

I created the petition for many reasons, one of which was the desire to see stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France reinstalled as one of the best ever breakaway victories in this iconic race. Here’s a mash-up from the stage in question:

There have been 3559 signatures on the Floyd Landis petition, some of them high-profile. Petitions don’t change anything but this one attracted a few signers that didn’t seem to hang out at the blogs and forums that specialise in Floyd Landis reportage and comment.

For instance, one of the last signatures was from Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D. He added his (wonderfully Polish) name and placed this comment:

“Testosterone is anabolic drug (hormone). It takes days or weeks for testosterone or any other anabolic drug to have an effect in terms of build-up of muscle. Landis is accused of taking testosterone the day before the stage race. With such short time testosterone would have a negative effect on the athlete’s ability to perform because the energy (ATP) instead of going to power the muscle will go to synthesize protein. It is a scientific nonsense to claim that a shot of testosterone just before the stage race helped him to win. I am M.D. and scientist working in field of cell and molecular biology, and I amazed how much nonsense discussion on this topic is being carried out in media.”

Dr Darzynkiewicz is director of the Brander Cancer Research Institute at the New York Medical College and the Professor of Medicine and Pathology at the same College. He’s the editor/co-editor of five scientific journals and a member of the editorial board of eleven other scientific journals. His publications have been cited over 20,000 times in the scientific literature and 75 of his publications have been cited over 75 times.

Features of apoptotic cells measured by flow cytometry has been cited 1254 times.

And Dr Darzynkiewicz is just one of many scientists who have signed the petition in support of Landis. Read the petition text here.