Tuesday, May 22, 2007

French Press: Morning coffee and news from Paris, Tuesday

After a Monday with no new stories, Tuesday only brings one morning story, from Agence France Presse, as reported in Le Parisien and FranceInfo:


Doping: Floyd Landis Cross-examination moved to Tuesday
(c) AFP – Gabriel Bouys

The cross-examination of American Floyd Landis (on trial in Malibu for his positive drug test during his victorious 2006 Tour de France) was moved from Monday to Tuesday because of the length of the testimony of two earlier witnesses.

After his initial questioning Saturday by his own lawyers and a rest day Sunday, Landis waited nervously the whole day for the moment he would fall into the hands of the lawyers from the American Antidoping Agency (USADA), which accuses him of having failed a drug test on the evening of the 17th stage of the Tour last July.

But the more time passed, the more distant the probabilty became of hearing the American (who risks a two year suspension and the loss of his Tour de France title).

At 4:30 p.m. Canadian Patrice Brunet, president of the independent American Arbitration Agency’s (AAA) hearing panel, ended the seventh day of hearings.

Tuesday morning, then, Landis will be giving his explanations to his naysayers, who will obviously be tougher than his advisers were, to whom he repeated Saturday that he had never doped.

He will certainly be questioned regarding the falsehoods which he admitted Saturday he had furnished in different public venues (press conferences, press releases . . .) after the announcement of his positive test for testosterone.

He had explained the positive result sometimes as a naturally elevated level of testosterone, sometimes by his thyroid problems, sometimes by beer and whiskey that he had drunk the previous evening.

He "will also be grilled" for the rather harsh things said in connection with his compatriot Greg LeMond, who had asked him to confess if he really had doped.

Finally, the case of his "friend" and former representative, Will Geoghegan, will probably be taken up.

Last Thursday, LeMond revealed he had received an anonymous call (later identified as coming from Geoghegan) with intimidating statements regarding the sexual abuse of which he had been a victim in his youth and which Landis alone knew.

Landis immediately fired Geoghegan, who apologized the next day, claiming he had drunk "a beer or two" before making the call to LeMond. Geoghegan let it be known Monday that he was beginning a detoxification program.

Monday the hearings (scheduled to last through Wednesday) were therefore entirely dedicated to two expert witnesses called to dispute the results of the analyses conducted by the French laboratory (LNDD).

First, Professor Wolfram Meier-Augenstein, a German specialist at the University of Belfast, tried to persuade the judges that the results were not clear enough to support an absolutely positive conclusion.

Then, American John Amory, a testosterone specialist, gave a lengthy explanation of that product's effects, and indicated that it seemed to him that the results of Landis' analyses during the Grand Boucle did not exhibit a daily use of testosterone.

"The relevant question is to know whether these results confirm that doping took place, and I do not think one could (say that)," affirmed Amory, who had been called by the "Landis camp" to comment on a mass of obscure charts.

[TBV:] This looks to be a textbook example of "burying the lede"


Anonymous said...

Somewhat short shrift of some significant developments; but the media isn't what it was. And the French media was never the New York Times (or the International Herald Tribune) when I was there.

marc said...

Hi pc,

We scarcely need the Landis case to convince us that the press ain't what it used to be, and not only in Europe. But in addition to that general decline, remember that Europe has its own fish to fry. How much space are Operacion Puerto and Ivan Basso being given in the American sporting press? And to most of the French, FL's just wasting time and spinning his wheels before bowing to the inevitable. Nor are they inclined, prima facie, to believe a French lab messed up like FL is claiming. So, all in all, the amount of coverage is about what I'd expect; and the tone rather more balanced than U had exxpected.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Fair comment. Too easy to get tunnel vision.

Landis was either luchy or artful in having his appearance put off until today. It would have swalloed the coverage of Monday and, instead, his experts did get some play in the media and were essentially stand alone with the panel for Monday.