Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Roundup

The IHT reports Alberto Contador's statement to the press this morning, asserting his innocence of any doping offense and his intention to fight anyone who makes those allegations against him.

The CyclingNews writes about the Contador press conference, and adds the Discovery Channel team may disband since no new sponsor has been found.

LA Times says Disco is disbanding (thanks to Cam for the pointer). Bloomberg Germany also writes about the disbanding of Disco and works Floyd Landis into the story.

The Denver Post writes a short preview of the Leadville 100 which starts tomorrow at 6:30 AM Mountain Time.

The Colorado Springs Gazette in an op-ed piece, thinks that Lance Armstrong needs to "rescue" cycling due to incidents such as the Landis saga. The Brandon Sun Online writes of the speech Armstrong gave last night at the Broadmoor.

Pez/Edward Hood makes some proposals, including a review of testing procedures, "to render errors and consequent 'Landis' type affairs less likely."

has letters about the demise of Discovery.

Velogal carries the press release saying Discovery/Tailwind is giving up the search for a sponsor. It's vaguely worded, suggesting some parts of the organization will remain, but without a "venture back into cycling" for a while.

Phantom Reflections notes Bruyneel is retiring too.

Plus Rapide ran into Floyd Landis on the road in Colorado and asked for a picture, Floyd gladly agreed but asked for a favor first:

He gladly agreed and we chatted for a minute, shook his hand and then asked if I could get a picture of us together. Ironically that morning before I went to work I grabbed my Dopers Suck t shirt was still wearing it. Before he agreed to a photo he politely asked if I would take it off, or cover it. "I really, really hate to ask, but could you please do me a favor Colin? Could you maybe change or cover your shirt first, I totally agree with the message, it's just the guy who makes them" he said. Doper or not, you can not refuse a favor of someone so nice.

Floyd, Colin, and the offending shirt, covered up.

(The guy would be Brandon Dwight; you can look it up.)

Rant is up early this morning with comments and questions about Alberto Contador's statements to the press in Spain earlier today:

“I have passed all controls … surprise and scheduled, in my house and at competitions, during racing and when not, of blood and urine,” Contador said. “I find it impossible to understand the personal attacks against me, putting in doubt my honor as a sportsman, from people who don’t know me. … We have to make an effort to move forward in believing in cycling and in me.”

So the statement is a hybrid with Lance's traditional "I've passed every test..." and Ras's "Trust Me." It wasn't a press conference, and no questions were allowed.

Rant returns with a nod to Tailwind's tailspin.

HTML went to the T-Mobile web site this AM and found something interesting, and asks what happened to Floyd Landis and why did we rarely hear his name mentioned in Tour coverage this year?

Potholes and Roadapples also takes note of the disbandment of Floyd Landis' former team, Postal when Floyd was there, then Discovery.

Stories from the front range asterisks about his Tour pick-'em scoring,

(* denoting that Floyd Landis' arbitration hearing could potentially take a win away from me. Isn't it great that over a year after a race you still don't know who legally won due to all the cheating? Ugh.)

More is Less, while calling Landis a "winner" in quotes, correctly says he "is still waiting on a ruling to see whether he’ll lose the title because of a positive test for steroids."

Scott is disappointed that there will probably not be a Lance vs Landis showdown tomorrow in Leadville. He also provides the route profile seen below. Floyd will have his work cut out for him-- as will everybody else.

Angry Fan still doesn't like Bonds, and others he considers cheats, including:

In cycling, Lance Armstrong - the poster boy for overcoming adversity - is constantly fighting allegations of doping, even into retirement. Some of the allegations coming from former teammates with nothing to gain by coming forward. I won't even go into Floyd Landis.

Glendora Mountain Road made an "Orange and Grey" sighting this afternoon during a historical tour of Leadville. We expect first person reports tomorrow GMR.

Eric's Blog kinda says it all.


Emailer PotBelge tells us about an Ironman winner who fought a charge and eventually won, who now has a book out:

Just to let you know!
Have you ever heard of Belgian triathlete Rutger Beke, second at the 2003 Ironman Hawaii?

Rugter Beke had a EPO conviction overturned after nearly a year-long fight to prove his innocence, due to doubts over the accuracy of his EPO test.

WADA did everything they could to fight against him. They knew that if he proved the test was wrong, they'd have problems with everyone else. So they did everything they could. They knew that Beke was innocent but still they wanted to convict him, just to protect their own tests.

Beke is suing the World Anti-Doping Agency and two drug labs for $155,000. Damages are for both the material and moral damages the athlete suffered during his suspension.

Just to tell you there's hope for Floyd, even a brave little belgian stands up against WADA and fights for justice.


wschart said...

I read the CS op-ed piece about Lance needing to do more to "save cycling". Perhaps the writer has a point, but what is lacking in this piece is any suggestion of what Armstrong can and should do. We have plenty of people making anti-doping statements; I don't see that if LA makes more anti-doping statements this will make any meaningful contribution to the situation. What else could LA do? Go around and punch out any rider suspected of doping? Sue them, like he has sued those who accused him of doping? Or perhaps the writer secretly suspects that LA did in fact dope, using sone super-secret system to avoid detection. If this were true (and I personally strongly doubt this), then LA could let WADA/UDI know how he did it and help them develop tests to detect it. But then if he is in fact innocent, there is nothing he can do here.

My feeling is that before we can "fix" or "save" cycling, we need to know the extent of the problem: is it only a small percentage of riders who dope, as the testing results from the tour would suggest; or does everybody but your favorite rider dope, as many suggest; or somewhere in between, such as Merckx' suggestion of 25%? Then, if many riders are avoiding detection in the tests, we need to know how they are doing this. We can really fix a problem if we don't know what it is. Right now, all we have are opinions; no one really knows what the truth is. Not even current riders, certainly not sports writers, tv commentators, forum participants, bloggers (no offense), or the general public.

One idea I have would be to contract with researchers to conduct an anonymous survey (for lack of a better word) of riders who competed during the last 10-15 years. Suitable gaurantees would exist to ensure participants would remain anonymous; hopefully a statistically significant number would participate and provide truthful answers.

Once we have some idea of the nature and extent of the actual problem, we can better design a system to counter it. If the statistics from recent TdFs is truly indicative of the situation, then there really isn't much of a problem and the current situation is catching most of the dopers. (Note, if this is true, this does not address the problems of not providing true due process for athletes, or of sloppy lab work.) If most riders are doping but getting away with it, then procedures need to be developed to detect what they are doing. And if the mid range is what is going on, maybe it is just the fact that most riders in the Tour and other stage races are not tested.

jrdbutcher said...

Cyclingnews is now reporting that Discovery is disbanding:

strbuk said...

jrd, thanks that's already been posted.


jrdbutcher said...

Unless I made an error, I referred to a different link. It's an update and just confirms/gives a bit more detail on what you posted earlier.

Larry said...

str -

You've posted that they may shut down. Apparently, they will shut down.

There's supposed to be a conference call later today, according to velonews. It's not clear whether they were unable to find a satisfactory sponsor, or could not do so on satisfactory terms ...

This is terrible news ...

nahual said...

Soooooooooooo maybe it's time for us avid cyclists and fans to raise some funds, form a LLC, and buy a team à la Green Bay Packers. Say 12000 @ $1000.00 each and we get to design a jersey. Let's see, who could we get to ride the dream team, Landis, Vino, Rasmussen, that big Columbian, and a bunch of 24 year olds...........get Lance with Johan to coach 'em all .

viztester said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nahual said...

oooh, oooh, oooh, that LA Times article stated 14 million was needed, have to kick it up another $400. Sell ads on the jerseys and call the team Freelancers.........

are you hearin' this LA?

cam said...

to clarify, the LA Times was the first to report. now everybody's got it.

the official press release is available at

strbuk said...

That IS such bad news!


cam said...

yes, it is...

back to Floyd, love love love that piece by Plus Rapide! you can tell that he was totally won over by Floyd, even he didn't quite go into it that way. just priceless!

and while we're all waiting anxiously for thee ruling, i'm kind of glad it didn't come out this week. it will let everyone focus back on Floyd's cycling tomorrow -- which is what this is all about.

Larry said...

Here's the text of the press release from PaceLine (you have to have a login to their site to get it, thought I'd save y'all the trouble):


Team to cease operation effective the end of 2007 season

(Austin, TX) - Tailwind Sports, owner and operator of the current Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, announced today that it will cease operations at the conclusion of the 2007 cycling season. The Team, with roots back to 1989, has operated under the Tailwind umbrella and seen tremendous success over its tenure including eight Tour de France titles, a Tour of Italy and a Tour of Spain title, and numerous national championships.

“Tailwind has had an amazing ten years of success with U.S. Postal and more recently Discovery Channel as its title sponsor. This is arguably the most successful sports franchise in the history of sport,” stated General Manage Bill Stapleton. “This was a difficult decision, not made any easier by our recent Tour de France success. We were in talks with a number of companies about the opportunity and were confident a new sponsor was imminent. We have chosen, however, to end those discussions.”

Sports Director Johan Bruyneel has been the driving force behind the Team’s success since his arrival to the team in 1999. In only nine years, Bruyneel has created a legacy that will live on in cycling history, and his departure from the sport was not an easy choice.

“When I came to direct this team in 1999 I never would have imagined that we could achieve this level of success. It was an amazing time in my life and the lives of all the staff and riders associated with this team,” commented Sports Director Johan Bruyneel.

“What I will miss are the staff, riders and the excitement of the races, but not all the in fighting between the teams. This team has become my family and I am very sad to think that we will not be together next season. 2007 has been our most successful season ever and I expect the remainder of the season to continue on that same path.”

Lance Armstrong has been intricately involved in the team both as a rider and as an owner.

“I do not think you have seen the last of this organization in the sport but clearly things need to improve on many levels, with a more unified front, before you would see us venture back into cycling,” added Armstrong, co-owner and seven-time Tour de France champion.

The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team will continue to race its full calendar of Pro Tour races including the final grand tour of the season, the Tour of Spain, as well as the upcoming Tour of Missouri.



Tailwind Sports owns and operates the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. Founded in 1989, the team has established itself as one of the best in the world and is the only American team to have won each of the sports’ premier events: the Tour de France, Tour of Spain and Tour of Italy, including Lance Armstrong’s historic seven consecutive victories at the Tour de France.

Tailwind has partnered with Capital Sports & Entertainment (CSE), an experiential event and sports marketing firm based in Austin, Texas to manage the sponsorship and operations of the team. Tailwind supports both USA Cycling and the USA Cycling Development Foundation to help identify and develop future American cyclists. Find out more about the Team and CSE at: and

Sascha said...

Question, slightly related: Cycling news reports that Iban Mayo is having his B sample tested at an alternate lab.

"Iban Mayo, who has tested positive for EPO in the A sample, taken at the second rest day of the Tour de France in Pau, will know the results of the B sample only at the end of August. He and his Saunier Duval team knew yesterday that the counter analysis will be made on August 20 at the University of Gent, Belgium"

My question is, how did he manage that? When others have tried and been denied. I'd really like to know.

Larry said...

There's something strange here ... Contador's press conference, Bruyneel's retirement, Discovery's disbanding, all announced on the same day? At a minimum, that's bad public relations. The three events get linked in the public mind.

For example, consider the implications of Contador's spirited self-defense, followed closely by Bruyneel's retirement announcement and the team's disbanding. It's like the team and the team manager are saying that they don't want to hang around to defend Contador.

I'm not saying that the team or Bruyneel have any actual desire to distance themselves from Contador. I AM saying that it could APPEAR that way. I AM saying that you don't pile up these announcements, one on top of the other, not if you have any sense for how to do PR. And Lance is great at PR.

(My bias here: I am a HUGE fan of Lance Armstrong. When I say he's skilled at PR, I mean that as a compliment.)

There's a reason why these events took place in rapid succession ... I think the reason has to do with some kind of serious internal dispute within Discovery. Maybe some kind of breach between Armstrong and Bruyneel? That doesn't entirely add up for me ... those two have been very close, and if they were no longer seeing eye-to-eye, Bruyneel could have departed without the team shutting down.

To be sure, the difficulty in finding a sponsor was a contributing factor. But if you read the press release carefully, Tailwind does NOT say that they could NOT find a sponsor. They're hinting at something else.

I can't figure this out yet, but I can guess that we haven't heard the last of this.

wschart said...


I think you're on to something here, in regards to PR faux pas. We get a compounding of, shall we say, bad vibes due as much to coincidences in timing as much as the events themselves. The bad press regarding doping at the TdF is compounded by the Bonds saga, the NBA ref scandal, the Vick business, etc. People believe the worst without any real evidence (i.e., are all NBA refs on the take or just the one), and the flames are fanned by sports and op-ed writers who feel free to pontificate ad nauseam. Even though they have little hard evidence cycling is dope-ridden, neither is there hard evidence to contradict them.

Taking the long view, I think that ultimately cycling will survive. Other sports have gone through difficult times: the Black Sox, college BB point-shaving scandals, etc. Also remember that cycling was rather seriously curtailed during the 2 wars. Degrange almost ended the Tour after the second edition, when many of the top-placed riders were disqualified for hitching rides, but ended up sticking with it. Cycling is going through tough times, but I think it will survive.

nahual said...

From Ian Austen's article in the NY Times: "Contador did not say what his plans are once Discovery folds at the end of this season."

So it seems that even though there were three announcements today they don't take effect until the end of the season in October.

Glendora said...

for nahaul

I like the idea of lots of "us" fans getting together and "buying" a team. I want a letter on the jersey. Count me in.

nahual said...

Glendora as a charter owner you should be able to get any letter in any language you want. Maybe even a glyph á la Prince. I honestly think it is a feasible activity. Green Bay Packer fans own that team. I'd like to see Lance teamed up with Cannondale again. Could be some profit sharing, or run as a non-profit with tax exempt status for a revolving charity. Traumatic Brain Injury is my choice. Ten Million divided by $5000.00 would require 2000 contributors. We just need a daddy or mother Warbucks to set up the infrastructure. I mean they ain't makin' any $$ off their subprime mortgage investments today..........

Strider said...

G'Day again.

I really love this blog, and the way that it is reporting on the upcoming demise of cycling as a sport, as seen through the career of our pal Floyd.

After Floyd is acquitted or found guilty (hopefully the latter), you really need to continue to run this blog - it is like Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but about cycling - a sport which tends to attract all the really nastiest characters.

Incidentally, that Hell Rider who killed a pedestrian last year in Melbourne got off with a $400 fine last week, and if that is a sign of the kind of justice cyclists get, then Floyd has nothing to fear.

Cheerio for now, and keep up the good work.

Larry said...

Sascha -

According to Magnus at the Iban Mayo blog (yes, there is such a thing), Mayo managed to time his "B" sample test request (intentionally or just luckily) to coincide with LNDD's vacation. So LNDD had "no choice" other than to farm the work out to another lab.

If you've ever spent time in France in August, half the country is out on vacation then.

Larry said...

Strider -

Your second paragraph is pretty funny. Your third paragraph crosses the line. There's no cause to compare the Landis case to a case where a pedestrian was killed by a cyclist.

The reason to hope for the long-term survival of this blog is because of the highly civil nature of the posts here.

Michael said...

The really scary thing about the Mayo case is that it's taking a month to get his B sample tested. Once again. like Floyd said, the powers that be continue to run unabated and make up the rules as they go along.

I hope Mayo gets off and sues the pants off everyone.