(AKA the 'Right to Shower' - inconsistencies)
Announcements surfaced Friday evening in France, that Lance Armstrong would not be pursued by French Agency AFLD (Agence française du lutte contre le dopage) for the crime of showering pre-DCO: the effected Controls were negative in every aspect for prohibited products or methods.
Interestingly, the NY Times reported that the AFLD: "[antidoping agency] said that Armstrong was required to stay with the drug tester at all times, and that the tester had warned him of that."
However, as to the AFLD, 'l'Equipe' reported the following:
Le médecin contrôleur avait en effet rédigé un rapport suite au contrôle car le septuple vainqueur du Tour n'avait pas été en sa présence en permanence, s'éclipsant notamment pour prendre une douche. Le collège de l'AFLP a décidé «de prendre en considération les explications écrites du sportif et, en conséquence, de ne pas ouvrir de procédure disciplinaire à son encontre pour ces faits.»
Our own translation would be:
The doctor-controller (DCO in WADAspeak) had in effect issued a report following the control, because the seven-time Tour (de France) winner had not been in his (the DCO's) presence permanently, eclipsing notably to take a shower. The Board of the AFLD decided "to take in consideration the written explanations from the Athlete and, by consequence, to not open a disciplinary procedure against him for these facts."
Was there anything publicized about Lance's comments regarding the DC form which he'd signed at the time of this DC, that no comments were registered 'at the time' by this DCO (of 15 years' experience as such...) as to irregularities, which had previously been reported? Not that we'd found...
One can only wonder whether AFLD would have come to the same conclusion, without the recent CAS Decision (as revealed by WADAwatch) that squashed WADA's appeal in the Cherubin case? WADA had requested CAS to intervene in that case, and increase the duration of the one–month suspension for an Italian soccer player whose 'comportment' during a post–match doping–control was sufficiently 'abnormal' (in the eyes of the Italian anti–doping prosecutor) to present a case against Cherubin.
Important to remember that the initial case against Cherubin failed to bring a penalty against him: it was only upon appeal that the Italian National 'Football Court' had agreed with the maybe-overzealous prosecutor, yet only inflicted a one-month ban. That was the bee in the bonnet that drove WADA towards requesting, via CAS (and its CODE-based right to bring infinite appeals: Article 13.2.3) that 'failure by shower' be accorded a two-year work stoppage...
Simply restated, CAS disallowed the WADA position, rejecting its theory that the violation was of such heinous calamity that only a two–year suspension was proper justice. All the pertinent facts were remarkably in parallel with the events that occurred during Armstrong's contested control circumstances. An Athlete presumed upon the status of the circumstances at hand, that a shower was permitted; albeit the DCO facing Armstrong appeared solo. In Cherubin's case the four DCOs present in the Cherubin case were inexplicably and perhaps irregularly deployed, to accompany the four Athletes that had been notified of their participation in this in–competition control. Read more in this previous WADAwatch (same link as above) post.
Now, with the news that there is not to be a prosecution, in France against Armstrong, one wonders if certain evidence or information was passed to AFLD, regarding the Cherubin case? Was (perhaps?) AFLD reminded, as we had once written, that the commercial aspects of this calamatous (financially speaking) year's Tour de France would have been compromised without le Grand Lance himself in attendance?
Or should we take AFLD upon its word, that because Lance filed written 'explanations' (perhaps just after the DCO 'remembered' that certain 'irregularities' needed to be written into the case-record?), which 'explained' Armstrong's position to the 'comfortable satisfaction' of the AFLD Board ('Collège' en FR; and offering the WADA legal system's 'standard of review' as the hypothetical determining standard), and certainly because the tests themselves were 'negative' (although the hair samples seem to have become superfluous: AFLD claims that they have not yet been tested...?), Lance is free to ride in the Tour de France 2009?
Vive le Tour! Best of luck in Italy, Juan Pelota...!
Don't forget to support le Tour de Romandie, tout le monde!