The VeloNews repeats persistent rumors of a possible working relationship between Rock Racing's controversial owner Michael Ball, who appears to be unclear about the status of his own team, and Floyd Landis who has been invited to the team's training camp in Malibu:
"We forged a friendship and an understanding of what is happening in the sport, and what needs to happen going forward," Ball said. "From time to time I give him a call, for some advice. He's been in the top tier as an athlete in this sport. Things obviously haven't worked out too well for him thus far, but his career is not over. He's not done. As I have said before, I support guys who have been vilified. At the end of the day, we are all human beings, and we all deserve a second chance. This guy didn't go murder anybody. He's an athlete, who is competing at the highest level. He's been accused of things, and he's tried to defend himself. Whether he is able to do that in the environment that is cycling today is a tough call."
Ball confirmed that Landis had been invited to Rock Racing's team camp, adding that he "might come by" to meet with the riders. Ball clarified that Landis wasn't working with the team in any official capacity - for now.
"Floyd is a great guy. We will see," Ball said. "He and I will be working together in some capacity in the future. Not sure what, but we will certainly do something together. He is a dynamic individual and a true champion - and deserving of the yellow jersey, I might add. We will have a relationship into the future, whether it is in business or racing, competition, promoting, what have you."
And Chris Horner was going to sign with Rock Racing too.
The VeloNews Monday Mailbag contributors are still buzzing about Rock Racing's Michael Ball, and contains one or two cogent comments about Roger Clemens and the paradox cycling finds itself in.
The CyclingNews reports this morning that the Spanish Cycling Federation has refused the UCI's request to reopen Iban Mayo's doping case which will now ultimately be decided by the CAS where the UCI has filed an appeal against the RFEC. You'll remember the UCI requested a second opinion on Mayo's "B" sample which had been tested by Belgium's national anti-doping lab in Ghent last October and returned an inconclusive result. The UCI was not satisfied with the Belgian lab's findings, and sought a second opinion on the sample using the controversial LNDD for its re retest. The RFEC maintains that the second "B" sample testing is illegal and "in contrast to the principles of justice", thus the reopening of the case constitutes "double jeopardy".
ESPN posts the CAS decision to uphold a lifetime Olympic ban on three Austrian skiers who were found in possession of doping materials at the 2006 Winter Olympics, even though they had never tested positive. The Austrian Olympic Committee was also fined 1 million dollars for not preventing the doping from taking place.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Phil Sheridan pens an opinion piece about Roger Clemens which mentions Floyd Landis, among others, in one of the points he makes about Clemens. The piece is typical of many articles in this morning's newspapers.
Michigan Live/Muskegon Chronicle talks about a Law Student who worked on the LaTasha Jenkins case, which is cited as giving hope for Landis' appeal.
Velo Vortmax notes that anyone who is surprised at the brashness of Michael Ball has not been paying attention. VV also wonders about the "double doping standard" in cycling. Accused dopers who confess are welcomed back into the cycling establishment with open arms as heroes, as Frankie Andreu has been. But the accused who profess innocence are persona non grata, like Floyd Landis who awaits his CAS appeal. Where is the fairness there, VV wants to know:
Well people have told me for over a year that I am a fool because I believe in honesty and integrity in deposed Tour de France winner Floyd Landis. Some have insisted that in time Floyd Landis will pull a Marion Jones and tearfully admit his doping past in full detail. Maybe so, maybe not. In the current sports culture any person accused of using PED's and who denies the accusations are automatically considered liars. Accusers are only exposing truth. Well in some people I do not feel that accusers have honesty and integrity and they do display an awful double standard of dubious personal motivations.
World Cycling is pleased that the Spanish Cycling Federation has refused the UCI by not going after Iban Mayo. After all we should get the cheats with good lab work that will not create "collateral damage" in the fight against doping in cycling.
Sara Best writes about the possibilities of team "bad ass" er...um... Rock Racing.
Matt Decanio rambles incessantly about the current state of cycling and why he is not riding. A summary would not do it justice.
The Long Ride admires Rock Racing's Michael Ball from a business standpoint, and hopes that something good can come from his foray into cycling. He also notes Floyd Landis' rumored connection with the team and wonders about the fact that Floyd has spent nearly all his money fighting against shoddy lab work. No one likes what seems to be the "guilty until proven innocent" tactics of the anti-0doping agencies.
Jim Carlisle wonders if we can trust anyone anymore, and prematurely notes a CAS decision in the Landis case. The appeal to the CAS reportedly will begin on March 19 in NYC.
Bike World News joins in on the discussion of Rock Racing.