Saturday, March 15, 2008

Paris-Nice "results?"

For now, they're racing bicycles. But presumably, some agents of the ASO and FFC (the French Cycling Federation) are collecting samples for analysis. LNDD presumably will be doing that "analysis" and also presumably we will hear the results of any positives in the French tabloid L'Equipe. So what will play out? Some possibilities:

1. No positives reported. Well, it is indeed possible the entire peloton is now as squeaky clean as Caesar's Wife. Gotta say, I'm not exactly clear on what penalties ASO/FFC can levy. Given that the UCI isn't controlling or accrediting the race, suppose a doping offense is found. Would that athlete be banned from the Olympics by the FFC? Is FFC's actions in conformance with the needed WADA regs? Or conversely, suppose UCI makes good its threat to penalize riders because of their participation in the non-sanctioned P-N. Any reason UCI can't demand an "out of competition test" during P-N? Imagine if they conflict. The FFC one negative, but the UCI one positive. Different labs? And can UCI demand the sample results, either way, be included in their blood passport?

2. The tabloid L'Equipe reports failing "A" samples. Anyone want to place bets on such results not including any French riders? Nationalistic pride can be a big motivator, particularly when the ASO owns you. And again, I'm a little unsure of the rules here. not sure who is taking the samples, but do the FFC "rules" include anonymity and testing of a "B" sample? As if that really matters - once reported in the tabloid L'Equipe, you're guilty.

3. A few weeks from now, the FFC reports failing "B"s in accordance with their rules, and they seek penalties against the riders. What precisely do the riders contracts say about this? Presumably, the contracts were put in place before the UCI/ASO spat, and one wonders if the teams might not have envisioned someone other than a WADA/UCI analytical positive result. Suppose the language requires UCI action? Then what? I sure would like to see a cycling contract. Why are these riders still agreeing to arbitration? Oh, no wait...I forgot. The riders have no bargaining power. Guess they could have their union representative do that for them. Wait... what?

There's a few other possibilities. LNDD might confess they screwed up all the samples. There might be some massive effort by the ASO to cover up any positives, or for them to simply announce some "results" to show how proactive they are. I wouldn't put anything past ASO with this much on the line.

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