Saturday, July 07, 2007

Saturday Roundup

On Versus' Tour de France coverage the story of doping came first. Paul Sherwen reiterated his view that last year's Landis performance on stage 17 of the TdF was not superhuman, but a combination of a good ride by Landis and bad judgment by the chasing teams. Robbie Ventura was the loudest in his support for Floyd Landis stating that he thinks that Floyd is innocent and that having just seen him, Floyd is "bummed" that he is not in London at the start of the Tour, and that he WILL be back. Ventura also notes that riders were "forced" to sign the UCI pledge if they wanted to participate in the Tour, but that with no rider input as to its content and no protection for the athlete they were not happy about having to do this. Craig Hummer stated that perhaps the results of the arb hearings in the Landis case will be known in the next 5 or 6 days (?) and that Versus will endeavor to get Floyd Landis to talk about the results.


The Columbus Dispatch writes that Floyd Landis is fighting rather than riding in this year's in the Tour de France, which the article notes will be painful for Landis to watch. After almost a year nothing is settled as the arbitration panel decision is impatiently anticipated buy the disputed 2006 Tour de France Champion:

"The difficulty in explaining the case is that it's such complicated science,”, Landis said. "But ultimately, it boils down to a fairly simple argument, which is nearly irrefutable, and that is the lab never identified what they were measuring as testosterone in the first place. They didn't do the test right, so the numbers are meaningless."

"I can't let something that unjust go on," he said. "If I can prevent someone else from going through what I did, at least then I'll have the satisfaction of knowing something positive came of it."

The Baltimore Sun
compares the recent history of the Tour de France to Shakespearean drama, or tragedy depending on who you are speaking of, with a little Greek mythology thrown in for good measure:

Then here came a plain-speaking, honest-faced Mennonite named Floyd Landis. He took over the lead of the Tour but fell like Icarus in a terrible day in the mountains. The next day, he rode like Hercules and regained the lead, taking the victory in Paris.

It was a perfect script, except for one thing: an "adverse analytical finding." On the day that Landis regained the lead, the laboratory found something amiss with the testosterone in his system. The news got out a few days after Landis basked on the podium on the Champs Elysees. To most of the public, the honest Mennonite was just another doper.

The Fort Worth Star Telegram previews this year's defending championless Tour de France with a glossary of doping terms defined, and so go our times.

The New York Times story headline says it all, "Americans Seek to Escape Shadows of Those Who Came Before", when it previews the start of this year's Tour de France.

ESPN Page 2/Jim Capel gives 10 reasons you should watch the Tour.

Martin Dugard's Tour de France blog covers the anticipation at the beginning of the Tour de France in London, and he again notes that there is no "Number 1" since Floyd Landis is not there to defend his title.

Tommy Wonk previews this year's TdF with a note that Floyd Landis' performance last year in the race may have been too good to be true, and the 2006 champion waits for the decision to be rendered in his recently held arbitration hearing with USADA.

The Science of Sport, with almost no Landis content, discuses altitude training in an interesting blog entry.

Rant notes some undeserved absences at the start of the Tour.

Fredcast poll results say Landis and Pro Cycling came out equally badly from the hearings, tied at 27% each.

Sportsbiznews points to a Howard Bloom podcast; he says Landis is neither the first nor last to be tarred with drug scandal. He notes races canceled for lack of sponsorship. Sponsors remain on the fence. Athletes who try to dope make money until tainted, then lose sponsorship opportunities and sometimes, salary.

The Boydzone runs over his feelings, including thinking Stage 17 was "superhuman".

At DPF, Mr. Idiot gets a machine translation of the Belgian paper that started the "decision yesterday" myth changing its story. Now we don't know, and Landis is said to be depressed. Clairvoyance in action, a second time.


Unknown said...

In this world where everything is increasingly complex, it is about impossible to know anything. I believe, based on reading everything that I could, that while there are dopers in the sport Lance Armstrong won fair. I also believe Floyd Landis won fair.

These guys had two things going for them most of us don't. First, they were gifted genetically with the right muscle fiber, heart size, etc. Second, they have iron wills that drive them to succeed past a point few athletes dare to go. This second point is partially due to background (Lance and cancer and Floyd and his Mennonite upbringing) but largely a will to win.

They need the credit and respect they deserve.

Ken ( said...

I agree with Ken at Global View. The thing that the thing that sets athletes like Floyd and Lance apart from the rest is their iron will. I will also say they have a willingness to suffer like few others.

Oh and yes I did decide to watch the TDF. It is still a fantastic race and who knows, maybe an American will win for the 9th year in a row. That would be a most excellent way to "stick it to the Man". I'm hoping George Hincapie takes the prologue. Discovery starting in yellow would be wonderful.

PEM said...

The 2007 Tour has started; I am watching it; I will be watching it in the days to come; but my heart goes out to Floyd Landis who I am sure must now be hurting on the inside.


Unknown said...

Also rooting for George (I live in Greenville where he lives), I think he is 34 this year, rode by his house Thursday. George put in a lot of good years supporting Lance. This is his most likely his last year riding for Discovery Channel, who is reportedly pulling the sponsorship plug this year.

I sure hope Floyd's efforts make cycling a better sport for cyclists. This is direly needed because few can continue as long as Ekimov did. But ... I still see 70+ year olds on the road and I hope to be one of them.

Eightzero said...

I'm watching the Tour, and it will as beautiful as ever. But the lead out on Vs. is the usual "we don't know who won the 2006 TdF." This is reminiscent of the ASO statement that "we don't know yet...but categorically it isn't Landis." Why is the last part of that quote never reported? That the race organizers have publicly and summarily dismissed Floyd? Presumably, even if Floyd wins at the USADA *and* at the CAS level, the ASO will not recognize him as the winner.

Ken ( said...

Personally, my question is what the fall out will be from the DNA samples the TDF riders had to give, how long that testing will take and who is doing the testing? Could we see the loss of more riders as a result of more bags of blood from last year's doping scandal finally being matched up to their donors?

Some how I keep thinking that forcing the riders to sign the new anti-doping pledge is going to come back and haunt the TDF.