Snark of the Day
Proving there's no symbolic gesture organizers will skip in their get-tough-on-doping attitude, the Tour will, for the first time in its history, not have a rider wearing the number “1”.(link)
Quote of the Day
[A]bout Lance Armstrong.(link)The guy is obsessed. With whatever he does he is obsessed, and whatever he does he wants to be the best at it. Ultimately, he doesn’t have a lot of close friends because of it and he winds up not being the nicest guy.
It's nice when athletes don't mince words, although it would have been more direct if he had just said, "Lance Armstrong is an asshole."
News 24 South Africa notes that the Tour de France needs a "clean winner" this year, but at least it recognizes that Oscar Pereiro is still the runner up.
Philadelphia Weekly gives us our QoD, above.
Guardian (UK)/Fotheringham runs down various PEDs used in cycling, not entirely accurately, and with some tongue in cheek.
Guardian also quotes Bradley Wiggens renewing his love-fest with Landis:
"With cycling you're always guilty by association and after a while it gets you down - having to justify your reasons for not doing drugs while these guys are cheating. Last year at the Tour [when pre-race favourites Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich were barred because of doping allegations] it was fantastic when they threw them out. But then [Floyd] Landis won while apparently doing the same thing."
Wiggins shakes his straggly head when remembering the day that Landis made his now infamous breakaway, only to have his routine drugs test eventually confirmed positive, for testosterone.
"He attacked on the first climb and we had six hours to go. I was at the back, along with 80 guys, and about an hour later we heard he was six minutes clear, and then it was seven and eight minutes with three climbs to go. [But] I was so wrapped up in my own survival I didn't focus on him."
Landis has since spent $2m (£1m) in compiling a 300-page document asserting his innocence, but Wiggins is dubious. His answer is decisive when asked if there is a chance Landis might be telling the truth. "No. I have faith in the testing procedure. I just think he messed up and his name should be removed from the records. But the problem is that these things go through the courts, and if you've got the money the best lawyers can drag it out forever."
SI's Austin Murphy continues his Tour preview in the context of Walsh's book, with more from Armstrong and the Andreu's in tit-for-tat. Landis mentioned only as part of the book title.
Baltimore Sun's David Steele bemoans steroid use, going down Chris Benoit, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and the media's coverage of the issue, including his own.
And for the most part, I was right with everybody else. A couple of columns featuring Hooton denouncing Palmeiro after his positive steroid test in 2005, and Garibaldi applauding baseball when it finally added some teeth to its testing program. Then, like most of the sports world, I got back to woofing about Bonds and McGwire and Jason Grimsley and the NFL and Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong.
Landis and Armstrong are back in the news, because the Tour de France starts this weekend. Fresh speculation has surfaced in Sports Illustrated implicating Armstrong, and Landis is, despite the circus of the past year as he tries to disprove the positive test from last summer, still the defending champ.
Did they cheat, any of them, all of them? Are their records legit? Are their reputations legit? Is there a double standard about which person is believed and which isn't?
It might take, as it's been written before, the death of a star of one of the major sports, in his prime, for us to finally be clued in to the barely controlled use of these substances. Or the death of a star's wife and kids, by that star's hand.
Until then, though, we're going to keep popping veins in our necks over Bonds and the record and whether Bud Selig should be at the game in which Bonds passes Aaron.
Let's reset our priorities. Let's argue about whether Selig should be at Chris Benoit's son's funeral.
Jamaica Gleaner has a reminiscence with David Weller, Jamaica's most successful cyclist (Bronze '80 Olympics). He speaks of contemplating the dark side:
"I was in Brisbane (Commonwealth Games) in 1982 and finished fourth in both my events (1,000m time trial and 1,000m match sprint)," Weller, the only Jamaican to win an Olympic medal outside of track and field, said.
"I finished behind guys I regularly used to beat. I said if these guys are doing 'something' and 1984 (LA Olympics) is going to be my last hurrah, I've got to do 'something', too," he said of his rivals' improved performances none of the riders who finished ahead of him tested positive for any banned substances.
"I felt I had to get on a level playing field with these guys - I came this close, this close," he emphasised with the hand gesture.
"It (doping) became institutionalized in the mid-'70s in eastern European countries like East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland," Weller said. "You cannot always speculate though; I was accused of using drugs.
"The truth of the matter is only the man himself knows for sure in all of these things. Their conscience is starting to get to some of them now. I sit here 23 years later and am proud of what I achieved and how I did it."
However, Weller has some words of advice for Landis, who continues to fight to clear his name and has even produced a book espousing his innocence.
"Floyd wanted to join the team (UPS) I was coaching in the U.S. in the late '90s. He was a recent cross-over from mountain-biking at that time and there were rumours about the team that he had been training with.
"In that era there was a lot of speculation, of course. He was trying to sell himself to me. Floyd was a good person. I can't say I suspected him, but I just didn't think he had the right credentials at that time ... I didn't think he was the right fit.
"Now, after all this, the best thing for him to do is drop it, just go away and be quiet."
Telegraph (UK) story by Brendan Gallagher under the headline "Peddling a lie that only cyclists cheat" begins with the warmth of Landis' Stage 17 victory, then the affront of the positive test report.
Citizen Rain blurbs Floyd Landis' upcoming appearance in the great Northwest to peddle his new book "Positively False".
TdF Blog gives us our Snark O' the Day, above.
Phliadelphia Bicycle News blogs about Friday's Floyd Landis appearance in Montgomery Co., PA at the Univest event, but also emphasizes that Floyd was there at the opening of the Landis Market.
PBN also runs down some other celebrity cyclists, for fun.
Rant checks out the pre-tour coverage, including Kimmage's interview with Lemond.
DrunkCyclist reads the same Kimmage/Lemond interview and comes away madder at Geohegan.
Adam Does Australia thinks Landis is an ass, the good Dr. Brenna is the chemical master of the universe, Suh is bad, and Landis is ugly. He admits this is because Brenna was his teacher last year, and he explains what the $1.3 million is buying -- 2 dimensional GC with a reference library for retention times. This will be good when rolled out. Unfortunately, Adam doesn't talk about the botch of the LNDD's IRMS retention times. We left him a comment hoping he'll answer with some details.
Potholes and Roadapples writes of the weekend visit home by Landis, including the Saturday wedding of his youngest sister Priscilla to Manny Caliz Jr., a local cat 4 racer.
Sweet Victory went to the book signing, but left with the book only, unwilling to wait on line. He likes it anyway.
Bicycling Mag Blog flogs Leadville.
Doug RAAM writes of helping a "Floyd Landis Challenge Time Trial" in Pennsylvania over the weekend. We hadn't heard about that event.
Men In Tights writes of Lawyers and cycling, in a way that seems like there is some background missing.
CycloBlog says Kessler clobbered Landis on the T/E ratio, scoring a solid 84.5:1 vs. Floyd's mere 11.1:1. As the Cyclo says, "that's a lot of Jack Daniels!"
OZReport quotes Environmental Chemistry's article on chain of custody.
Peloton Jim at Endless Cycle thinks journalists take the easy way out talking about doping before the start of the Tour.
Liz Reap Carlson writes:
Last December, I raced the David Witt Memorial, an invitational held at the San Diego Velodrome. There, a young father made his way onto the infield for a meet and greet. After chatting with Floyd Landis and Dave Zabriskie, he came over to me, introduced himself and extended a heartfelt smile and thank you. He said he was just so thrilled for the chance to bring his little girl out to the track, and for her to have positive role models and to see us out there racing and being aggressive just like the guys. "I can't thank you enough," he said. "Can we get a picture?"