Tuesday Shorts

A media and business theme to this week’s shorts. There’s been plenty of satisfaction in Italy with Vincenzo Nibali’s Giro win. A home winner is always going to pull in the crowds but his punchy style has been a real draw for TV audiences. La Gazzetta Dello Sport reports an average daily TV audience of 1.56 million on RAI, up 16% on last year. The audience peaked at 4.3 million for last Saturday’s stage finish at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. This means over a third of the TV audience, an impressive stat.

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Frank Schleck’s Expert Problems

Frank Schleck case

This week a leaked expert report suggest that Frank Schleck’s positive test in the Tour de France probably didn’t result from doping. Luxembourg newspaper Tageblatt got a copy of the work done by Dr. Hans Geyer, deputy director of the WADA-approved laboratory in Cologne.

The report seems fine – although I’ll add one point to it below – but the rules don’t care for hypotheses. no matter how expert. If the molecule is there a two year ban awaits unless the athlete can demonstrate it was an accident, for example proof he was poisoned. Without this, Frank Schleck will be banned until July 2014.

This is the principle of strict liability, a cornerstone of the anti-doping rules. It’s all reminiscent the Contador case when the Spaniard too tested positive during the 2010 Tour de France. Similarly, it might take time, there might be speculation, it could go to appeal but all the signs point to a two year ban.

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