Pierre Bodry is head of the French governmental Agency AFLD, which oversees the French labortoire that carries a globally acknowledged infamy nearly as strong as Floyd Landis or Lance Armstrong, for the case brought against the former, and the insinuated, unsubstantiated claims against the latter.
AFLD invited Armstrong to join in an effort to 'clear the record' by assisting at 're–analysis' of the remaining urine samples. Apparently, these remaining stores of frozen biological samplings taken from six stages of the TdF 1999, are of sufficient quantity (where, as 1999 B Samples that were 'used' as 'A Samples' in 2004–5, as part of an 'LNDD research effort' to be explored below) to be the lab equivalent of the Energizer Bunny: Armstrong's 1999 TdF urine “keeps giving and giving and giving...”.
Lance's reaction, strong and direct, was certainly the correct one: “No!”.
Because in a modern world fully capable of distorting information to an audience, presenting quasi–evidence through media channels whose very action defies their neutrality through repetitive, proven Conflicts–of–Interest, most of the world that even cares about cycling as professional sport, has heard that 'Lance doped in 1999... EPO, right?'
It is not unreasonable to say that there's a strong inverse proportion between the number of sports journalists and fans who've 'heard' about Lance–1999–EPO, while ignoring totally the Vrijman Report.
Headlines scream! While at the same time, that dry, 132p report, a result of objective and incisive probing by the independent commission mandated under the UCI, bursting with facts, laws, international medical agreements and more, all gleaned in spite of substantive missing data (because of stonewalling in France and Montreal) lay unread, and under- or un-appreciated. To the detriment of an Athlete–cyclist whose charismatic career helped the French to earn more money on anything related to the TdF (magazines, newspapers, sponsorships, products), the world of cycling fans has swallowed unsustainable quasi–science through insinuendo.
Former WADA president Dick Pound's exclusive paradigm, which floats at the intersection of his IOC, WADA and sporting law careers, apparently hadn't previously experienced the concept of 'Northern European Reality', when the UCI engaged Emile Vrijman, a noted Dutch sporting law attorney, and former Director of the Netherlands' Anti–Doping Agency to investigate the LNDD/Equipe/WADA/AFLD conspiracy. Dick's disbelief emanated instantly in harsh reactions of shocked and shocking outrage, that the UCI would, throughout the Vrijman Report, cast aspersions against the procedures and substantive opinions presented by those pushing for the dissemination of Lance's so–called '1999–found–in–2004 results'.
Whoever provided Mr Pound with official legal advice, concerning how an inter–Federational Agency founded in 2003 (WADA) had any legal mandate to induce one of its Signatories to 'reinvestigate' 'Samples' proven negative from an event four years prior to its inception (although Pound's career suggests, perhaps, that he needed no other opinion on whose competence he depended), was unhelpful. Yet he did so, knowing that the l'Equipe (and thusly the entire sporting world) would aid and abet the effort to smear Armstrong. They certainly complied.
Thus Armstrong's recent contentions take on perfect resonance, and will probably be ignored, distorted and remain unfulfilled, while further insinuations have recently been promised by former Jean–Marie Leblanc. This was the quote attributed to Lance:
“Two years ago I agreed to have all of these issues aired and decided by that tribunal, but WADA and the French Ministry refused,” Armstrong said.
“If Mr. Bordry would now like to re-examine the past, he must start with presenting the issues of the misconduct of the French laboratory, the French Ministry, and WADA before a proper tribunal.”
Translated: Monsieur Bodry must begin any reconciliation with Lance, by resolving how the highlighted conclusions of the Vrijman report, which evidenced a serious series of violations concerning the 'findings' announced by l'Equipe in August 2005 (days after Armstrong's historic Seventh Yellow Jersey was awarded), which were not in relation to any research having been published in a scientific journal. Remember that such publishing had been done, when 1998 TdF remaining urine samples were researched by the LNDD, and its anonymous results were published in the English scientific review Nature (in a tight, 2/3rds page article). Some of those included findings were:
LNDD violated the Helsinki Convention, (and by correlation WADA accepts Labs in its accreditation program that do so violate the Helsinki Conventions);
Someone, between allied players: the LNDD, its parent Agency AFLD, their parent Ministry for Sport, Youth and Health, or WADA, had passed information concerning any reports relevant to this inquisition to Demian Ressiot at l'Equipe (and by correlation WADA accepts Labs and Agencies in its Signatories that do so violate its Results Management restrictions);
The paper l'Equipe published the article written by Ressiot on August 23, 2005. The 'final report' sent from LNDD (unfortunately we are not informed if 'sent' means by Post-mail or electronically), was received by WADA and the French Ministry on August 22. Noting the impossibility of having published a story that had to have been completed, submitted, reviewed, cleared by Legal, edited, and published prior to that same day (the 22), means Ressiot received and was working on scoring more information long before either two of the only three entities (including the UCI);
The paper l'Equipe implied through its article (above), that its journalist had been 'working on this case' for at least four months. July–June–May–April: somewhere between April and May, admittedly, Demian Ressiot had been informed and was pursuing Armstrong's alleged doping trail assiduously; does this imply that the information from 1999 was being held through four months, pending confirmatory analyses anticipated from Lance's last Tour participation and victory? Which implies that l'Equipe was NOT prepared to sacrifice the loss in profits to itself and its parent organization ASO–TdF, by publishing, prior to the last Tour de Lance.
Our retrospective continues:
- Two seemingly ignored (at least by this researcher), historical articles were published in Le Monde, in July of 1999; they allowed Vrijman to suppose that the names of the allegedly doped 1999 TdF riders were long known by Team l'Equipe, but there were no identifying Sample numbers with which to correlate the data (which Sample is whose?). Yet, as the 2000 Nature article accords data summations only on the 1998 samples, apparently whatever transpired through 'research' on the 1999 Samples was buried, in the preparation of the LNDD 2000 Nature r–EPO article;
- Vrijman also states, evidently based on communications between his investigators and WADA, that WADA 'had no jurisdiction in this case': then under what influence or motivation was WADA pressuring UCI to 'investigate' Armstrong and cite a violation of UCI rules (?);
WADA uses the term 'transparency' in a heavy–handed letter insisting that 'public opinion' must be fulfilled through a thorough UCI investigation, yet refused beyond a point certain to cooperate, its pressure on the UCI also negates its own 'Results Management' system (although, again, the question of WADA's jurisdiction retains some hold on the resolution of this issue), under Pound, what was WADA's definition of 'transparency' (?);
In regarding any research on identifiable Samples (the publication of 'donors' being banned when the 'research' has been turned back against that donor, as in this situation) by the Helsinki Conventions, impeccable documentation of Chain of Custody nevertheless remains a prerequisite to publishing scientific research as conclusive. According to Vrijman, “There is no chain of custody...” (for these research Samples). Any reputable Agency publishing any reliable 'science' would prioritize retention of a C–o–C document.
While Vrijman's mandate from the UCI included all facets of this contention against Armstrong, there is a more profound hypocrisy buried within the report, which betrays yet again the bias against Lance Armstrong: the Equipe article mentioned 'six other riders'.
In a Tour de France under ideal conditions these last ten years, 189 riders are at the first–day starting line. Thus, according to admission by Ressiot as quasi–official LNDD spokesman, SEVEN riders were implicated. Of those 189 riders, some 39 are French. Of those 39 French riders, some five were active members of the Festina Team, whose outrageously embarrassing conduct the year before is highly responsible for creation of Dick Pound's WADA. Thus, there is a 20.6 per cent chance that any one of the 'other six' riders was French, and this author is not the statistician that could say what mathematical possibility exists that a greater proportion of the other six riders could have been French.
We could propose that Erik Zabel may be one of those concerned, according to the 2007 confession he offered. Or he could have been 'scared straight' by the 1998 Festina experiences: we may not know until he retires and writes his memoires.
The proper avenue out of this turbulent troubling tempest?
Why not take Lance seriously: invite the relevant French Ministry officials from 1999 to 2005 to testify in court, alongside Dick Pound, and AFLD? LNDD can produce its research results, its testing procedures (which we are not sure have been adopted universally amongst the 33 accredited WADA–accredited laboratories), and WADA can justify its published stance regarding the trustworthiness of its Labs' non–standardized Laboratory Standards?
A court could do what WADA demonstrably has not been proven capable of doing alone: define the abuses of power and leaking that led to a deflated public opinion of the one man whose spectacular talents rehabilitated the greatest Cycling race, after a French team with a majority of French riders nearly destroyed this French event enjoyed throughout the world. Having this case cleared would certainly benefit others besides Lance Armstrong, such as Jean–Marie Leblanc, who for much too long has given his fellow countrymen every benefit of the doubt.
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