Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday Roundup

The Daily Camera interviews an outspoken Greg LeMond at the "Tour de Cure" and asks him how he feels about cycling in the wake of the scandal ridden Tour de France this year, and what should be done to curb doping in cycling. He has many suggestions on just how to fix things, among them the civil criminalization of doping offenses:

"I was asked what I thought could be done, and the first thing I said was to divorce yourself from the (International Cycling Union)," LeMond said. "They're in a war in a fight over TV rights. The UCI has been negligent in the sense that they've known what's been going on in cycling. But they have done a much better job under (UCI head) Pat McQuaid, no doubt." Also "There would be the ability to plea-bargain prison sentences, so when riders get busted they can rat out the system and come back to racing in much heavier testing," he said. "It needs to be criminalized because they are trafficking in illegal drugs. They are prescription drugs, but they are being illegally distributed throughout the peloton. You make sure it's very transparent, and then that increases the credibility of the sport."

He also comments on Taylor Phinney son of Davis Phinney, and one of the most talented young riders in America:
"He could be one of our most talented riders coming up. At first I thought, 'Oh, I'm so happy for him,'" said LeMond, who won the Coors Classic in 1981 and 1985 . "And then I thought, 'Oh, I'm so sad for him.' Because I don't know if I was the parent, and my son would have won the worlds, that I would allow him to pursue it on the professional level. I am optimistic that there is a change and it's shifting, and that maybe Taylor Phinney can have a chance like I did where you don't have to decide to either sell your soul to be part of a sport or having your dignity and be proud of doing it on your own."

LeMond says nothing about Floyd Landis, though he's mentioned in the article.

The VeloNews publishes an interesting anti doping suggestion in a letter from the mailbag by Peter McIntyre:

I propose the creation of "Riders Union" laboratory calibrated samples to be tested alongside the rider samples during events. Neutral samples would be doctored with specific amounts of various banned substances to test the accuracy of the testing labs. Even if the lab identified it as a calibrated sample, they would not know what banned substances and what concentrations it contained. Samples would be created to be perfectly clean, just below the acceptable level of a banned substance or wildly over the level of a banned substance. The lab would then report the findings to the riders-union-certified labs, which would compare them for accuracy against known values

Environmental Chemistry feels that sports are really messed up when a knowing wink can get certain stick and ball athletes no punishment for using PEDs, when a star quarterback can do the unthinkable with dog fighting, and then cycling gets beat up in the press when all it's doing is airing its' dirty laundry and being up front with the public. Ban Vick for life from the NFL.

Racejunkie evaluates LeMond's prescriptions for fixing the sport, and goes along with the part about ditching the UCI, thinks some of the rest is silly, but likes the smack talking that appears directed at Lance.

Then he talks about the immanent release of Mayo's B sample result,
due to be released by the honest unbiased do-gooders over at UCI this past Friday but now due the day after tomorrow instead. No news is never good news--either he's definitively nailed, and the torch-wielding bastards just wanted Iban to really enjoy his weekend, or else they've gone all Floyd Landis on the poor boy, completely screwed up somewhere again, and are just working out the kinks to fry him anyway.

Who Am I?
"expands" his vocabulary in interesting ways, and even though he feels some disappointment about "no book" author events at work, he is happy to have gotten a a free copy of "Positively False".

Pommi posts his registration for the Mount Diablo Challenge and if Floyd Landis shows up AND gives him an hour head start he plans on giving Floyd a hard time.

PND Swimming remembers Floyd Landis, and admires him for his courage and determination despite having a "dead hip"doping scandal or no doping scandal.

CFA is glad to see Floyd Landis getting out and racing next week at the Shenandoah Mountain 100. CFA has a message for USADA as well, make a decision in the Landis case or people will think you're incompetent. That boat may already have left the dock.

Kevin's Thoughts on Life finally finished "Positivley False" and he liked the folksy way in which Floyd Landis' story is told. He met Floyd a few weeks ago on the Columbine in CO and liked him enough to want to have a few beers with him. Kevin is not completely convinced, but wants to see Floyd vindicated for various reasons not the least of which is the sloppiness of the LNDD in the handling of Floyd's samples. As a litigator, he also notes
Floyd laments the fact that unless you have tons of money to afford a top-notch attorney, you are doomed against the USADA. This is where Floyd misses the fact that his microcosmic world of cycling closely mirrors the larger US legal system as a whole. The quality of "justice", unfortunately, is often a factor of ones available resources.

MiddleAgedHip tells the story of how he got his Birmingham Hip, and noticed god-like, presumptive surgeons who didn't know anything about hip resurfacing, and he only knew because of what he read about Landis. The only tricky part: the surgeon he ended up with had only done three so far.

Petrucchio got a "ho ho" out of a line in The Outcast, describing Landis as,
"a charming redneck among a venerable group of sleek, mostly European race ponies."

Various spam blogs are running a curious headline that, "Floyd Landis tested positive for increased Diuretics on the day of his spectacular stage win at the Tour de France last year." Whatever that means.

Matt DiCanio
pops up again, this time as "The International Brigade of Anti-doping Cyclists", and says "From Lance to Landis" got it right, but calls him "AMRSTRONG" [sic] in the headline.

BrandonVW notes Landis at the SM100, as does CityBikesMike.

SCAQ (Southern California Aquatics) wants hair tests, stiffer penalties, and deals for cooperation. It also offers this accurate description,
[D]isgraced Tour de France rider, Floyd Landis USA, who tested positive for artificially high testosterone levels after "winning" Le Tour.

But it's a nice picture -- cropped a little more loosely, we'd see the flag. Here's another one from the Flikr stream:

Landis taking back the Yellow Jersey. (Click for bigger)

We get plugged at r.b.rm, but Mike Jacoubowsky complains we referred to him as "one reader". He should be happy that we tell people at work to go to his store, Chain Reaction Bikes in Redwood City. We made the attempt to spell his name right here. If he adopts some much-needed spelling reform and goes as Mike Jacobs, we'll spell it out all the time.


cat2bike said...

Okay, I'm glad that Greg is saying nothing regarding Floyd. His criminalization of the doping offense, is harsher than I feel is fair. These riders have doctors writing the Rx's for them, and some of the stuff is available over the internet and in Europe without a Rx. What's illegal about that??

cat2bike said...

Plus, prison time for using some herbal supplement for boosting your's most likely not even performance-enhancing. Let's put REAL criminals in jail. Like people who murder and rape....

Anonymous said...

cat - agree completely with you regarding criminalization for doping. It's easy to promote that way of dealing with the situation when you're no longer competing. I'd bet GL would change his tune if he was unjustly accused of doping and not allowed to prove his innocence. Seems to me the NFL/MLB/NBA approach is more reasonable.

Eightzero said...

Peter McIntyre suggested an intriguing process for assuring validity of drug test results. It is most certainly a worthy suggestion, this assurance comes at a tremendous cost. I recall seeing somewhere that a single test is around $500. While I am no expert, I think perhaps ProCycling's current drug issues are totally predictable from an economics perspective. We do drug analysis "on the cheap" and the peloton knows it (See the interview with Joe Papp.) If everyone was tested with a process that included blanks and control samples, along with double blinded A and B samples by separate personnel and separate facilities, we'd have no drug problem - the cheats would be found with certainty, and there'd be no possibility of cat and mouse. The unintended consequence, of course, is that no one would compete, because there'd be no prize money or economic benefit to the riders - all the money would be going to the testing - and sponsors aren't thrilled with supporting a race event that's won by John The High School Kid Who Just Got a New Huffy for Christmas. Of course riders wouldn't cheat - the dope would cost more than the prize (and I use "dope" purposely...)

And I'm a little puzzled by the Velonews response to Peter's suggestion. What exactly do people in the press tent have to hide? Hmmm???? :-)

wschart said...

Maybe after following a stage all day, you need a little extra something to be able to pound out that story before your competitor does? After all, everybody does it, right?

Mike Solberg said...

I think doping by professionals ought to be criminalized. But it should be under the category of business fraud or some such thing, not some substance related crime. At the ProTour level it should be punishable by some brief time in jail, like 3-6 months. That would be a serious deterrence, and I think not out of line with other business fraud (or white collar theft type crimes) cases. We had a financial secretary steal $200,000 from our church and she got 2 1/2 years in prison, and doping seems like close to the same level of fraud / theft to me.

Of course, you would need a much more serious burden of proof than currently exists in the WADA system. You couldn't convict someone on the type of evidence there is against Floyd.


cat2bike said...

Very good point, Mike.