The CyclingNews says that the UCI has threatened teams and riders with sanctions if they take part in ASO events, specifically Paris-Nice. In an email sent out yesterday Pat McQuaid says he has "sympathy" for the riders but at this point he is well prepared to take action against them:
According to the letter, riders who particpate in Paris-Nice face up to six months suspension, a fine of up to 10,000 Swiss francs, the loss of UCI points and "exclusion from participation in UCI World Championships and other events". Teams were threatened with the suspension of their UCI registration, a fine of up to 10,000 Swiss francs and withdrawal of the UCI ProTour licence or Wild Card label
So much for the UCI taking a "pro rider stance" as claimed last week. The teams state they have been forced into proverbial "rock or hard" status:
Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer refused to say whether or not his team would ride on Sunday, but noted, "If we don't start in Paris-Nice, then you can be sure that we can forget our start in the Tour de France. If we do start, then our riders are threatened by the UCI with a ban and non-participation in the world championships and Olympics. We have our choice of being either quartered or hanged." Gerolsteiner was supposed to send such riders as Davide Rebellin, Bernhard Kohl, Stefan Schumacher and Andrea Moletta to Paris-Nice.
In the meantime McQuaid has refused to meet with the ASO to hash out this dilemma, and the ASO has accepted changes in the language of the Paris-Nice contract which AIGCP found objectionable. And so it goes...
The VeloNews also writes on the above topic, taking the angle this can only be destructive to an already fragile sport.
Later VeloNews passes on word from AFP that says the head of the FFC, Jean Pitallier will take the UCI to CAS if the UCI keeps messing things up. He says he has the backing of French President Nicolas Sarkozy should this me necessary, so is no longer an ASO thing, but a French thing.
ESPN reports that the CONI hearing, through which the Italian Olympic Committee wishes to ban Danilo DiLuca for two years for irregular hormone levels, will take place in April 1. We're still not sure which WADA regulation covers irregular hormone levels, as in, do they constitute an AAF, or is this being chased as a non-analytic positive?
News.com.au reports Prudhomme as ready to take doping on, and scoffs at suggestions made by some to make the event easier to reduce the temptation:
“Ben Johnson took drugs to run a 100 metres, so it's not the race or design of the course. If you staged a sack race, I'm sure some people would take drugs to be the best in a sack race,” he said.
Or as Landis once wrote of the same suggestion: "I think we should shorten the long jump."
Racejunkie assesses the major players in the Paris-Nice brouhaha and assigns levels of sympathy for them.
Matt Steinmetz ran into Landis at the Vision Quest camp, with pix.
RobsWorld is getting some indirect help from Allen Lim, and doing a bunch of testing.
Phantom Reflections was happy to see Landis as the ToC finale, seeing as he was the first winner of the event.
MCP also recaps the ToC and includes a nice photo of Floyd Landis.
Benjacat is amused by the Federal Case being pursued against Clemens:
Remember when the Floyd Landis scandal broke and American mainstream media sports news people summarily dismissed cycling as a fraudulent sport while continuing to treat the Big 3 "American" sports as clean and legitimate? Now that was funny.
Alan Foster runs an old article on Mountain Biking, with a quote from a much younger Floyd Landis:
"I like the competition, it's an individual thing, and after a while you get good at crashing," Floyd Landis, 23, a pro rider from Ephrata said. Landis has been a competitive rider for almost half of his life and now is a sponsored rider who travels the circuit. He says it's not a bad life. This year he has been to Big Bear, near Los Angles, now at Seven Springs and will soon be off to Red Wing in Minnesota, then to Canada and Mammoth, Georgia. Sponsored riders fly to these places on the various companies they represent. Landis said the bikes have come a long way and the gears and chains are not as affected by mud the way they used to. "Flat tires are still a problem though," Landis said.
Bruce Hildenbrand at Active.com takes on the UCI and ASO, and thinks the UCI are the bad guys here.