A new story from Agence France Presse, picked up by Le Parisien (part of the ASO-l'Equipe group) and by FranceInfo. Also, a serious candidate for snark of the week in the weekend magazine of l'Equipe. From AFP:
The Landis Case: a witness speaks about doping, experts disagree
(c) AFP – Gabriel Bouys
American Joe Papp, a professional cyclist turned doping witness, stated Friday in the case of Floyd Landis (who is being tried for doping during his victorious 2006 Tour de France) that he evaded drug tests despite taking testosterone, the product implicated in his compatriot's case.
Apart from this personal testiony, the "Landis case" (Landis is fighting to avoid two years' suspension and the loss of his TDF title) focussed on a long distance battle between two experts regarding reading the results of Landis' analyses as carried out by the LNDD.
The director of the antidoping laboratory in Montreal, Christiane Ayotte, who had begun her testimony the day before, after the "bomb" dropped by Greg LeMond about attempts by someone close to Landis to intimidate him, confirmed that taking "an overall reading, everything is consistent." "Everything goes together," she indicated, snapping back at Landis' attorney's questions. She explained clearly that the errors noticed in the work of technicians at the LNDD had had no consequences for the results of the whole set of analyses, which showed the presence of exogenous testosterone.
"I cannot believe these results. I have never seen so many errors in a single sample," replied Bruce Goldberger, professor at the University of Florida, while pointing out numerous approximations in the tables and other diagrams furnished by the LNDD.
In between these two experts--who did nothing more than confirm both sides in their reciprocal certainties--Joe Papp, a journeyman professional cyclist, spoke of his personal experience with doping. "Two times out of two," Papp (who was suspended for two years for a positive test in May 2006) told of passing through the (anti-doping) net despite having taken Androgel, a form of testosterone applied to the chest just before turning up for the anti-doping tests.
The witness explained that using microdoses allowed "using doping agents in large enough quantities to get their benefit, without getting a positive test result."
"It (testosterone) is important in stage races because they are won by the guy who recovers best and who is the closest possible to his highest performance level every day," Papp added, admitting that "lots of racers" doped by trying to remain close to the legal limits without going beyond them. "It's in the culture of this sport," he added, stating that he began taking EPO (erythropoietin) in 2001, before moving on to testosterone in 2004.
He also more or less directly implicated the Italian team "Whistle Power" (for which he raced in 2006) by stating that the brother of the team's director provided him with EPO, growth hormones, steroids and insulin in the context of a collective doping program.
Before the hearing began, Will Geoghegan (friend and former representative of Landis), who had intimidated Greg LeMond Wednesday, on the eve of his testimony, with an old story of sexual abuse, made his "apologies" to everyone.
The snark of the week candidate is in the form of a full-page, 6-panel cartoon in l'Equipe's magazine. The cartoon shows an athlete (evidently) wearing a yellow tie appearing before a 3-person panel seated behind a desk. The cartoon is titled "Punk Floyd."
Panel 1. First official: "The A-sample of your specimen having displayed an abnormally elevated level of ARF [note at bottom of page: A.R.F. Albinonine raffinée fonebonoïde], you demanded the B-sample be tested."
Second official: "Which was also positive."
Panel 2. First official: "On the pretext of a half-erased label, you had the procedure cancelled. It then started again with immaculate labels."
Second official: "Results: positive."
Panel 3. First official: "You said the lab technician had not washed his hands before the analysis. Because of this doubt, the matter was begun again from the beginning. And the specimens remained positive."
Panel 4. First official: "You called into question the legitimacy of the laboratory at Chateau-Binoni to conduct these expert analyses. The specimens were sent to three other labs."
Second official: "The ARF levels did not budge."
Panel 5. First official: "You demanded to see the diplomas of each one of the experts. In a word, you used every recourse possible to delay your appearance before this commission."
Athlete ". . ." [Conventionally means "does not know what to reply."]
Panel 6. First official: "But today, here you are. We can begin."
Athlete: "Objection! It's time for the lunch recess."