The CyclingNews is all over the Rock Racing story this AM with a special feature on the controversial team which emphasizes how inconsistently and indifferently owner Michael Ball treats sponsors, and yes Floyd Landis is mentioned in the piece as potentially working for Ball. In other news, Stefan Schumacher's positive for amphetamines, found during a drunk driving stop, will not be pursued by the German cycling federation because amphetamines are not on the World Anti-Doping Agency's out of competition "forbidden list."
And Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes , of Operation Puerto fame, may be questioned this year in connection with the ongoing lawsuit between Jan Ullrich and German anti-doping crusader Werner Franke.
In an update the CyclingNews reports that the UCI's "biopassport" program is now on schedule and that samples are already being taken from riders with a goal of 7,000 samples in total being anticipated. Too bad the UCI is also taking samples from retired riders as well, they should be paying better attention.
ESPN provies a bit of a different spin on the UCI's implementation of the "biopassport" program saying that it is just underway:
It has started training teams to use a World Anti-Doping Agency program to record athletes' whereabouts online. It will be fully operational in March and will gradually take over from the system of faxed information.
The UCI has chosen five laboratories accredited by the Swiss Quality Control Center to analyze the blood samples, recording values for hemoglobin, free plasma hemoglobin, reticulocytes, stimulation index and hematocrit.
It would be interesting to see exactly which labs have been chosen for this duty.
Racejunkie seems glad that the German cycling federation has declared "uppers" OK , if you are taking them out of competition that is, but is horrified that the UCI tested a retired rider, on Christmas Eve no less. Michael Ball continues to lose skittish sponsors, but "Napoleon" doesn't seem to care and as far as Iban Mayo's re retests and the UCI are concerned RJ wants Pat McQuaid to just give it up.
Rant finds the RFEC's decision NOT to pursue Iban Mayo further to be a good one, after all the UCI cannot, should not, go results shopping. And Michael Ball may shake things up in cycling with his Rock Racing team that's for sure, whether it will ultimately be a good or bad thing only time will tell.
Triple Crankset must be happy to have read about the possible connection between "bad ass" Michael Ball and Floyd Landis, it gave him one more chance to use the term "Bad Boy Floyd".
Absolute Goose feels that Michael Ball is not exactly the ideal cycling team owner. His advice to Rock Racing team members, quit or dope so you can take it.
Funga has lots to say about Michael Ball too, and most of it is not complementary. He feels Ball, as a micromanager, might want to discipline himself since his team seems to have no direction. Maybe he's just trying to sell more clothes.
WADAwatch writes much on the new WADA code, specifically the "aggravating circumstances" section known as Article 10.6:
There exists one simple and reliable resolution to the dilemma posited by Article 10.6, and one confusing, imperfect and exhausting solution; they could not be farther apart. Since WADA has shown de facto that it is disinclined to remove this Article, that solution will not be discussed here.
The situation is this: either WADA intends to rectify its drafting errors, or it will deliberately wait for “... judicial interpretation, which often relies on official comments made by the drafters of the rules...”.
Over at CyclingForums.com , in a thread titled "Michael Ball is Floyd Landis' Long Lost Brother", an interesting post contains excerpts from lawsuits filed against Mr. Ball, they are not pleasant. As far as anyone knows the Balls and the Landises are NOT related.