Wednesday, May 16, 2007

French Press: Morning coffee and news from Paris, Wednesday

Not much in the morning press. Le Monde has a story they put online relatively late yesterday which deals with opening day; they do also have a short film clip of the opening moments of the hearing. Le Figaro is even a little further behind the curve, essentially republishing yesterday's Eurosport dispatch with some snarky asides. Today's brief Eurosport dispatch, as published in TF1, is effectively a very abbreviated version of the story below. (Added: by noon, Eurosport has a longer story, but based entirely on the AFP story, therefore essentially the same as the l'Equipe story below.)

Here's the only new story, from l'Equipe, based on their sources and Agence France Press:

Landis against the laboratory

Day two of the independent American Arbitration Agency’s hearing on Floyd Landis' positive doping test during his victorious 2006 Tour de France was dedicated to the testimony of Cynthia Mongongu, a technician at the antidoping laboratory at Ch√Ętenay-Malabry.

Ms. Mongongu testified that two of the rider's seven B samples analyzed in April turned out positive for exogenous testosterone. She stated specifically that during the week of April 16 she performed analyses of "6 of the 10" samples examined "without kinowing to whom the samples belonged." These B sasmples were analyzed in April, despite their A samples having been negative.

The defense reproached the French-speaking technician for having participated in both [A and B] analyses, which is not permitted by regulations. The Congolese native then explained that while she had indeed taken part in the analysis of the A samples, she had only verified the B samples. This second day of the hearings was entirely devoted to her long testimony--made even longer by translation difficulties.

The hearing Tuesday in Malibu had to be suspended for almost 45 minutes because of translation problems. The interpreter, Pierre Debboudt, had great difficulty doing his job--he claimed there were problems hearing the witness--and, when he translated "a day and a half" as "an hour and a half," the president of the panel, Patrice Brunet, and one of Floyd Landis' attorneys proposed adjourning the session in order to bring in another interpreter. If Landis is ruled culpable of doping, he could be suspended for two years, and could lose his 2006 Tour de France title.


Ali said...

The 'transcripts' incicate that some good points are being scored by the Landis camp. Do they reinforce these points and indicate the significance of them to the panel of arbitrators ?. I get the impression that this case is all about the 'sum of it's parts', i.e. there will not be one big amazing revelation. All these little pieces of information need to be kept together and built upon, otherwise the significance will be lost if they are just considered in isolation.

marc said...

You may well be right, Ali, about how this will all play out. The French papers so far have been very defensive about the LNDD (as, not surprisingly, they have been throughout the affair). So far they haven't reported any of the cross-examinations, for example. They will probably not be able to avoid reporting on the cross of Mrs. Mongongu.

Anonymous said...

I watched some of the Testimony last night of Branna and Monongu.

Was it just me or does Monongu speak English? It seemed there were a lot of times she leaned forward to the Mic. as though she would answer and then the Translator started talking which reminded her to wait and speak in French? Just find it curious, thats all.

As TBV and Mr. HUE have stated before USADA appears to be on their heals, trying to find their balance while Suh is totally comfortable picking them apart piece by piece.

Atown, Tx.

cam said...

i believe Ms. Mongongu *does* speak english. she was not willing to testify in english, answering questions and having them asked in english. it's not her first language.

would you feel comfortable testifying in a court of law in a language that you weren't fluent in? neither would i. (when i was stopped here in paris, the first thing i told the police was that i was american and only understood a little of french.) and neither did she.

the questions were short because of the translator so she probably understood most of it. but can you imagine what would have happened if the lawyers were allowed to question her without that buffer? maybe not USADA, but definitely the defense.

although a pain in the a**, having a good translator will keep "mistakes" from being made.

Anonymous said...

From the posts concerning French coverage I get the impression that their media is not stongly represented. Does anyone know if they are relying on AGence Freance, which I assume is like AP, giving a single feed of information to all.

That would help account for the rather sparse French coverage and also avoid french media exercising their individuality/bias in print. Would have thought that at least L'Equipe would be there.