Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday Roundup

News
VeloNews reports that Lance is chickening out of Leadville citing "scheduling conflict", and that Landis won't be allowed to race if suspended. The latter point contradicts what the Leadville organizer said last week:

If the positive test is upheld, Landis will be suspended from competing in sanctioned races, but Chlouber said Landis will be welcome in Leadville.

"Without question, Landis will still be able to compete in our race. We are more than grateful for him to accept our invitation to race.

Wired runs a long story by Mark McClusky about Mr. Pound, including Landis. It's a double edged article. Email to us about it splits between views that it puffs Pound, vs. it being reasonably fair. It appears to us that it accepts the idea of WADA, but is skeptical of Pound's ability to lead with credibility, highlighting many of his ethically challenged utterances.
Pound has said there's evidence that Lance Armstrong used drugs in the 1999 Tour de France. He mockingly suggested that Landis and US sprinter Justin Gatlin could blame "Nazi frogmen" who injected them with testosterone against their will. When US sprinter Marion Jones tested positive last summer for an artificial form of erythropoietin (known as EPO), a hormone that boosts red blood cells, Pound wasted little time reminding people of Jones' long-rumored involvement with Balco, saying, "People have a tendency to judge you by the company you keep."

There's one problem with these statements. The World Anti-Doping Code requires that results of a positive drug test stay confidential until confirmed by a backup test – which in Jones' case came back negative. And following that, there's an arbitration and appeals process before an athlete is formally found guilty – a process that's still in progress with Landis. Pound himself oversees the entire system by which these allegations against athletes are adjudicated, but he can't seem to stay silent and impartial. By speaking out, Pound violates his own rules.

later,
Pound dismisses these complaints. "I'm not getting much criticism from athletes who aren't using drugs. I'm getting it from the folks who either have been caught, are representing those who have been caught, or are representing organizations who don't want to admit that there's a problem."

Landis gets his money quote:
"Do I expect to get a fair hearing?" he says. "No. I expect them to do everything they can to make it complicated for me. If your goal is to enforce the ethics and not just to promote yourself, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose. You're just trying to find the truth. If your goal is to make yourself look good, and you like to read your name in the paper like Dick Pound does, then it's important that you win. So you do whatever you have to do to win."

The article concludes with an example of Mr. Pound taking a cheap hot, which is framed as an unfair slam:
I tell Pound that I'm going to talk to Landis.

"'Roid Floyd?" he says. "His nickname on the circuit was 'Roid Floyd. But I repeat it as hearsay only."

TBV would like a citation that "Roid Floyd" had been heard by anyone before July 26th 2006. One search we've done shows the first occurrence being July 27th, which does not confirm Mr. Pound's swipe.

Joe Lindsey of Bicycling Mag, quoted by NPR emails a correction to our summary of the story yesterday, where we had misheard $15 million in lost sponsorship as $50 million. If it's only 15, that's more evidence of the business weakness of Pro Cycling even before the fiascoes of the year. Apparently it only cost Skoda $3 million for their portion of the Club; compare their air time and audience reach in Europe to that of a Super Bowl commercial -- cycling is cheap. Lindsey's email also politely didn't make a point of my misspelling his name, the worst of all sins in attribution.


Cyclingpost just catches up with the Lance vs.Landis story at next summer's Leadville 100. Guess they'll correct that tomorrow, given the VeloNews report above.

CyclingNews comes up with another version of the Oscar Peirero interview, which sounds less whimpering than some other tellings:
His honourable ride in the Tour's final time trial gave him second overall, which could result in an overall win if American Floyd Landis is disqualified for his positive testosterone test. "I am not able to do more. I would like that this story is finally resolved. It possibly appears to you that the world's most important race, with the biggest organization, still does not have a certain winner?" Pereiro remarked.

"Besides me, the team is damned because it is not able to promote a victory image. We would like this respect."

Toronto Sun columnist does a year-end review and says,
In France, where they haven't liked anything American since Jerry Lewis, noses are tweaked when Landis wins the Tour -- pending chemical analysis and a court case to be heard later. Where once the scoreboard told the story, it is now evident that nobody knows who has really won until the last drug test is in.

Guardian/Observer
yearly sports roundup has a piece on Landis at the tour. Snips:
In the morning, nobody who was covering the race gave Landis any chance of regaining the lead, which would require an unprecedented feat over five more big climbs. On the first, Landis attacked, helped by his Phonak team, dropping one after another of the contenders. He did it again on the Col de la Colombiere, putting so much time between him and his rivals that suddenly and almost incredulously we realised that he had for the moment reclaimed the general classification lead.

Such has been the Tour's recent history - this year's event began with several of the favourites kicked out following a doping scandal in Spain - that only the most starry-eyed optimist can any longer make a presumption of innocence. Nor can anyone who knows the longer history of cycling be surprised.

Is Floyd Landis a hero or a villain? The only answer must be that he is both. Anyone who could have ridden as he did that Thursday, whether on Perrier or all the drugs in all the labs, is by any standard an astonishingly brave and tough athlete. But there stands the ineluctable evidence that he is also a cheat, along with so many others. I wonder how many more years of how many more such stories we who love the sport can take before we give up.

Blogs
Spinopsys covers Mr. Pound in Wired, with much the same take we have: What was good for starting up is not helpful for an effort that should be maturing, and it's time to move on.

Rant covers Mr. Pound as well as letter writing to Congress, and what he takes to have been a bad CAS result for Aitor Gonzalez. Unfortunately, the Gonzalez ruling is completely consistent with all the "strict liability" precedents.

http://neilroad.blogspot.com/ has published an interesting photo from the photo shoot after the Witt Memorial. So who is the target of the gesture?



The Bullwinkle Blog "Knucklehead of the Year Awards" (sports and entertainment division) gives FL some consideration, but alas no award. Says one judge who placed him second:
Floyd Landis tests negative for intelligence

Vegetables OfTheMind was inspired by Landis to start cycling, and lost 15 pounds and a beer belly. Rats, it hasn't worked for TBV, sigh.

Sean Kelly's The YouTube Review of 2006(part2) links to video of the finale of FL's stage 17 win, along with a link to a video of the playing of The Star Spangled Banner on the Champs-Elysees .

Forums
At Toxic, the usual pitbulls are still going on about IV usage, and encouraging people to send email to UCI, USADA and WADA to "express their opinions".

The Daily Peloton Forums are sick, with what appears to be a corrupted database. That's what happens when you use a toy like mySQL, tsk, tsk:
mySQL query error: DELETE FROM ibf_sessions WHERE member_id=499

SQL error: Can't open file: 'ibf_sessions.MYI' (errno: 145)
SQL error code:
Date: Friday 29th of December 2006 03:51:53 AM

At rec.bicycles.racing, a long thread starts with the Floyd Fairness Fund, and rapidly devolves into a defense of WADA and CAS as fair and objective organizations that don't lose cases because everyone is guilty, guilty, guilty. At present, it terminates near a slam on Hillary Clinton for changing her mind on Iraq.

Another thread considers how bad it might be.
Over in the "US Cross National Champions" thread, Bob Schwartz and Les Earnest are arguing about whether guys who won races between 1963 and 1969 should count as national champions, contemporaneously, retroactively, yes for a year in 1990-1 but not after that, or only in months with a letter "r" in their name.

Bob and Les may be tenacious like a Wolverine, but compared to WADA and the UCI they are both models of not only rational decsion making but catlike quickness. Retroactive testing and retroactive results and record jiggering are Dick Pound's Time Machine. So, I wouldn't count on a mere trifle like the passage of time, global climate catastrophe, or the heat death of the universe settling what race Floyd Landis did or did not win and whose lunch money Floyd did or did not steal last year.

[end]


7 comments:

MMan said...

Floyd hasn't been doing training rides with Judith Arndt, has he?

:-)

Anonymous said...

Careful, the rumors will start flying that he must have been on testosterone when the pic was taken because he looks angry. :p

Yol said...

I'll have to remember that disclaimer the next time I want to avoid charges of slander...

"Sixteen Ounce Dick? He's known on the circuit as a self-righteous, hypocritical imbecile. But I repeat it as hearsay only."

Anonymous said...

Isn't it common knowledge that Dick Pound is a bed-wetter? Something to do with having to endure his own moniker growing up. But I repeat it as hearsay only...

Anonymous said...

Landis gets the finger.

Yol said...

Of course you're "not getting criticism from atheletes who aren't using drugs", Dick!

By your logic, if they criticise you, they're using drugs! They know full well that if they open their mouth, you'll put words in it.

If you criticise Dick, you're using PED's.

If you keep your mouth shut, you're using PED's.

According to Dick Pound's argument, the only person who isn't on drugs is Dick Pound [though I am inclined to suspect otherwise].

Burt Friggin' Hoovis said...

I just read the Wired article, and Dick Pound is nothing short of amazing. I can't believe that a guy who behaves that unprofessionally can have the position that he does...McQuaid's right, that guy can't go away fast enough.