VeloNews/Neil Rogers has an interview with Landis, described as, "his most outspoken, acerbic interview ever." The galled profanity starts in the answer to the second question, and he rakes Steve Johnson over the coals for what he calls "lying" in the interview last week.
Landis talks about Rock Racing, what he calls "Team High Horse", and on the general handwringing:
Look, the more they talk about it, the worse it gets for cycling. Of course we need to fix it. You will never solve all the crime. There is always going to be a police agency, because there are always going to be people trying to rob liquor stores. You’re never going to fix it. The more we talk about it, the longer this goes on. I’m not saying ignore it. I’m saying in the background enforce the rules the way they are written and leave it at that. That is what police do. That’s what the government does. The government enforces rules, and a person that breaks the rules pays for those rules in defined way. And after that, that’s it, that person then goes back out to live their life. In cycling, that’s not how it works. And the way it is now can never help cycling. It’s going to always be a mess until people start to realize that we have to have people enforcing the rules, and the rest of the time, the show goes on
On the state of cycling:
If I never race again, I have a hundred friends of mine who I’ve spent years of my life with, and I know how hard they work, who deserve better than what they are getting. And it’s not just people in a gray area who other people are wondering if they’ve doped or not. It’s everybody. It’s people who just love to ride their bikes because they love to do so, and the sport attracted them because it was something that appeared to be better than what it is now. Really, there are a lot of people in this sport that deserve better than what they are getting now, including you guys, the press, everybody. Everyone deserves better than what they are getting now, and it all comes down to the people at the very top, people like Steve Johnson, who say, when something bad happens, oh I wasn’t paying attention. You know what? If you are the referee at the Super Bowl and you weren’t paying attention, you’re fired. Your job is to pay attention.
Amazingly, Rogers still doesn't get what the dispute in Landis' case is about-- whether the CIR test result is correct:
NR: I understand your defense argument against mishandling of the original urine test, but how do you explain the presence of exogenous testosterone that showed during the carbon isotope ratio test?
Landis answers at length. Go read.
The CyclingNews says that concerns over any redundancies in testing between the new UCI "blood passport" program and in-house individual team testing are nonexistent as they "compliment" each other:
Slipstream director Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews that the team will continue testing its own riders even after the UCI rolls out the 'biological passports'. "We'll continue with our testing, but we will be fully integrated with the [UCI's] blood passport system. I am 100% behind the UCI's system and we will back it financially to any degree they deem necessary. We will also continue with our ACE program, as we feel it's a complimentary element to the biological passport program."
CyclingNews also covers the retraction by German TV of the Austrian blood doping lab story, but the story will not end there as the investigation into systematic doping programs at the labs continues. Finally, Andrey Kashechkin and his lawyer have parted ways.
In the AM update the CN reports that Mario Cipollini will sign with Rock Racing and return to competition as well as management of the team:
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that "Super Mario" is currently in Santa Monica, California, for technical and administrative meetings. An agreement that he would join the team was reached Wednesday night after a five hour meeting with Ball, and the contract may be signed as early as Friday. The 2002 World champion may make his come-back next month in the Tour of California.
As we learn in the Landis interview at VN, he couldn't take the job, so Cippo is in.
The CyclingNews letters column today has lots of notes debating whether or not Lance Armstrong ever doped, and one that wants the UCI to finally draw a line in the sand and declare the "biopassport system" a new beginning.
ESPN's Bonnie D. Ford continues her conversation with Sliptream's Jonathan Vaughters in a Q&A which includes some comment on the controversial IM incident with Frankie Andreu:
Q: People might look at you and say, "You're smart, you're driven, you probably could have gone into another industry. Why do this?"
A: Everyone on the planet knows about that little IM conversation I had with Frankie Andreu.
[The alleged transcript of a July 2005 instant messenge chat between Vaughters and Andreu has surfaced in multiple media reports. The on-line conversation turned to the subject of doping and Vaughters referred to anecdotes he had heard from the 2004 Tour de France involving Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong and the Discovery team. Vaughters later characterized the content as "gossip."]
That was sort of like before I had this dream, and it was when I didn't know what to do with this passion I had. I was angry about what was going on, and there was nothing to do about it other than bitch and moan to your buddy on the Internet. That was a very public example of how negative I was at that time. And now, I have something entirely and totally positive that I can pour all that into. It's very cathartic for me. Now, with Taylor Phinney on our junior team, you can draw the line of responsibility very directly. You have someone who will, almost certainly, be one of the best professional riders in the world in six years' time. So is it not your responsibility to do everything you can? I know his mom and dad. I don't want to have to lie to his mom and dad seven years from now … but the sad story is that in cycling 10 years ago, that is the way the story would have gone
The VeloNews quotes Ivan Basso as saying that his two year suspension for doping was the best thing that ever happened to him. Glad he has found the perspective to come up with such generous feelings.
VeloNews also updates with the Cipo return story and speculates that Michael Ball's "good friend" Mario may plug the manegerial hole left by Frankie Andreu's departure.
A reader points us to an organized debate held on the 16th, moderated by Bob Costas, over the question, "We should accept performance-enhancing drugs in competitive sports." No prizes for guessing which side Mr. Pound represented. For the position, one civil libertarian, a professor of pediatrics and bioethics, and another of practical ethics and bioethics, including stem-cell research. Against, sportscaster George Michael, former ballplayer Dale Murphy, and former-WADA president Mr. Pound.
Images here, transcript here.
AP/Rachel Cohen covered the debate, which swung some opinion in the audience, but not decisively:
Before the nearly two-hour debate began, 63 percent of audience members indicated they were for prohibition and 18 percent believed the drugs should be allowed, with the rest undecided. Afterward, 59 percent said they should be banned, and 37 percent said they should be permitted.
TBV's view is that some PEDs are dangerous (speed), some demonized ones are likely harmless (hgh), others (steroids) in-between; and that the testing and enforcement situation with the current prohibitions is a mess that produces neither justice nor a "level playing field". What it does produce is large amounts of hot air. Including us.
Pez talks to Frankie Andreu, late of Rock Racing. He's no longer associated with ACE, and isn't sure if he'll get a job with VS for the Tour this year.
The Mercury News, among others, says former SF 49ers defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield has plead guilty to a charge of lying about PED use, including "the clear" and EPO. This is part of Jeff Novitzky's continuing BALCO investigation. The news is the EPO, which hasn't turned up in many NFL rumours before, and it's the first time I've remembered hearing BALCO and EPO linked. Stubby was noted for having a big "motor", going full speed in the 4th quarter-- at least, until he moved away from BALCO. When he went to the Redskins as a free agent, he was considered a bust.
Rant says the word of the day in Germany might be "oops", as ARD cops to having perhaps been a bit premature in breaking the Humanplasma Austrian lab as doping center story. Trouble is, it's really hard to put toothpaste back in the tube once you've squeeze it out. Then again, where there is smoke there may be fire.
A prescient comment notes that teams with their own testing are going to keep doing it, because they don't really trust the UCI's blood passport system. Well, nobody trusts anybody. This will lead to trouble when one set of tests say one thing, and the other says something else, and testing by WADA labs says something else again. We suppose this is progress of a sort. "A man with more than one watch never knows what time it is," where the man with one knows for certain, even if he's wrong.
Racejunkie reviews the most interesting cycling stories of the week, including the possible mistake made by German TV in accusing the Humanplama labs of being doping centers for various athletes. And why, with all they could be writing about cycling, does the mainstream sports media in this country choose to report that Lance Amrstrong is running the Boston Marathon?
Benjacat notes that Floyd Landis will be racing in the NUE Mohican MTB 100 in Ohio this spring and wonders if this will be troubling to anyone. Yes, we're sure some people in some offices in Colorado will not be happy.
Potholes and Roadapples notes the closest race to Floyd Landis' hometown of Lancaster, PA in the NUE series this year.
Finallllly, as if the roundup for today would never end, Bike Snob NYC was leaked some correspondence between Michael Ball of Rock Racing, and Steve Hed, of the wheels.
That'll do for today.