Thursday, May 24, 2007

French Press: Last coffee of the evening and news from Paris, Thursday

Only one new story today (I'm expecting more action tomorrow), in Le Monde. Le Monde is an afternoon paper which comes out with the next day's date on it. So this story, which appeared on the website and in the newstands this afternoon, was dated May 25, 2007. (That probably accounts for the error in the first sentence. [Note: Reader cam suggests that in fact the hearings did end on May 24--Paris time. I'll agree that that's the proper explanation.])

At the end of his hearings, Floyd Landis cotinues to deny doping
by Stéphane Mandard

The Landis page is temporarily on hold. Thursday May 24 [
sic], the hearings for the 2006 Tour de France winner--in front of the American Arbitration Court (AAA) in Malibu, California--came to an end with closing arguments from attorneys for the rider and for the American Anti-doping Agency (Usada). The Usada had begun disciplinary proceedings against Floyd Landis--who faces a suspension of two years and the loss of his title--following his positive test for testosterone after the 17th stage of the Tour. The court's decision is not expected to be known for at least a month.

The hearings, which lasted nine days, did not bring any new elements to light. True to the line he has been following, Floyd Landis continued to deny having doped.

An incontestable result

He only just admitted that the initial explanations he provided to explain his abnormally elevated level of testosterone--drinking beer, taking cortisone, or even having a naturally high testosterone level--had been wrongly suggested to him by his first lawyers. The experts called by the two sides argued for diametrically opposed conclusions regarding the integrity of the results from the Naitonal Anti-doping Laboratory at Châtenay-Malabry (LNDD), where the analyses were done of the racer's urine specimens. Landis' defenders maintained that the measuring instruments were improperly operated and that one could not clearly conclude that a test was positive. To the contrary, "The data are excellent and clearly show testosterone," concluded Wilhelm Schanzer, director of the Anti-doping Laboratory of Cologne (Germany) who had been called as a witness by the Usada.

An independent report commissioned by the French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) also concluded that the results of Floyd Landis' positive test for testosterone were incontestable. Moreover, the rider has agreed with the AFLD not to race in the 2007 Tour.


Anonymous said...

actually, if you stayed up watching it in france, it *did* end on Thursday, 24 May.

marc said...

Good point, cam.

Anonymous said...

I remember someone mentioned Michael Powell as an observer for AAA for this hearing.

Can anyone comment about anything Michael Powell said or did during his observation of the hearing? Was he only allowed to sit where the public sits in the court room and not observe the Panels discussions?

Also, will Michael Powell observe the decision making process of the Panel and observe that WADA Lab Employee's input into the decision?


Ken ( said...

Oui... Nothing like ignoring nine days of testimony and restating the same arguments that started before the trial at least L’Equipe has gone to the trouble of actually reporting on the arguments and giving some credit to Landis's defense team. Next to Le Monde L'Equipe seems extremely balanced if not pro-Floyd.

L'Equipe being fair to Floyd, I never thought I'd be saying that. This is a strange, strange case.

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snake said...

lesse just what happens when an incontestable result meets an irrefutable argument ...

Anonymous said...

Something happening on this blog, which makes me think that things have gotten out of control. First, what's with all the French bashing? Last time I was in Paris, in March, NO ONE cared at ALL about the Tour de France. People seem to think there is this dark French conspiracy - well, talk to your average Parisien on the street and he or she really has no opinion either way. You have to understand that to many people in the world, the Tour de France is seen as something VERY old-fashioned and behind the times. It's the same with young Greeks and Turks - they could care less about this supposed 'enmity' they're supposed to have inherited from their parents. Keep this in perspective.

Also, I'm seeing more and more posts that are deleted. While I can understand that profanity is not encouraged (and I find it childish and annoying as well) it doesn't help the sense of an open forum. This forum has become more and more biased in the desperate hours.

Lastly, the the Judge - I have to ask - is it ethical for you to be reporting with a bias on a case the whole while that the proceeding was going on? You judged Floyd innocent prior to the full arbitration? I hate to say this, but golly, I certainly hope I'm never in your court. Perhaps I'm just being naive.

In any event, cycling is at a point where people have become ambivalent. Think of it this way - when the sport was all about endurance, strength of the athelete and ability to use the muscles to overcome obstacles, it shoots itself when it's revealed that so many cyclists dope. Innocent or not, cycling fans are aging, the younger generation is far more interested in getting living wages than it is about 1 cyclist's battle.

Time to pack it up. Let the panel decide, and let's just try to see if cycle can prove that it is relevant once again.

Anonymous said...

...same poster as above: I correct myself in saying 'you judged Floyd innocent before the full arbitration?' - I agree that we must assume a presumption of innocence, but this is different in the fact that he was tested and the results indicated doping. That was fact before any of the final analysis was complete. To make snide comments about the prosecution before they've even presented their full case is simply juvenile. Everyone talks about the science, and yet science that isn't in favor of the Landis camp is routinely avoided.

Also, I'm not fully convinced that Landis' manager wasn't paid by some funds from the FFF. The FFF has not clearly spelled out what money was collected and how it was spent. Let's just say that I'd like to see the evidence that proves he wasn't paid by FFF. It's the only fair thing to do for all those people who've donated so much.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:13:

The day after Geoghegan was let go, the FFF mailed a letter to all donors that stated he was not a paid employee of the FFF, and that they had no contractural or business relationship. According to that letter, no FFF funds found their way into Will's pocket.

For what it's worth: As Landis' business manager, it's my understanding that he was paid directly by Floyd Landis, not the FFF.

Anonymous said...

Parisians have no opinion because the United States of America "Owns" The Tour de France...

Anonymous said...

I know the french to be strong opinionists, even in the way they say 'no comment'. Give a chance to a french national(ist) lab to explain why french cyclists are so far away from the podium on their national event, and you get the Floyd case, the Armstrong '99, and whatever else they can twist around.

Anonymous said...

8:04 -- You must be fairly young. French-bashing goes way back and is a strong tradition in America. I'm a tiny percent French with a French maiden surname so this always bothered me. It's a political thing mostly but there's also, I think, some envy of French ways that manifests itself in animosity. But the French-bashing isn't just related to the Tour or conspiracy theories.


Anonymous said...

The hearings were beneficial to the sport of cycling. No argument from me that athletes who get caught doping should be punished. Yet, athletes deserve a system which ensures quality testing standards and minimizes/eliminates false positive results. The Landis team made a convincing argument that this process involving the LNDD lab has significant problems.

The OJ Simpson case relied on a defense theme of "garbage in=garbage out" regarding the testing of evidence, similar to Landis' defense. Floyd's actions and testimony regarding his manager's threat of Greg LeMond was weak. I picture him sitting next to his manager as the phone call was made and truly being a party to this misguided attempt to thwart LeMond's next day testimony. His own blog comments and threats to LeMond were obviously regarding the matter of divulging LeMond's childhood abuse stories and his actions attempt to cover up what he told LeMond in confidence about his admission of doping.

I predict this case will result in Landis being declared innocent and will lead to a better testing process for doping in all sports. The mistakes revealed in this case will not be made again for doping tests in other sports. Floyd is the OJ Simpson of Cycling!