Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sunday Roundup

Today is the start of the 2007 Tour of California. Floyd Landis, not racing, will be appearing at the Smith and Nephew tent at the Lifestyle Fair near Justin Herman Plaza, and holding a Floyd Fairness Fund Town Hall Meeting at Jillian's on 4th Street. Reports say the line got very big, very quickly, and Landis seemed to be in a good mood. We cover both here.

Today's coverage of the ToC on VS seemed to start with an elephant in the room that no one wanted to mention -- Floyd Landis. This was addressed about 20 minutes into the 2 hour coverage, when Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen, and Bob Roll did a re-cap of last year's race, followed by a feature on Floyd Landis and his fight against the TdF doping allegations. In the piece, with studio interview, Landis was shown at the recent FFF event at the Brooklyn Brewery answering a questioner who demanded Landis look him in the eye and deny the doping allegations in front of the crowd. Landis did without hesitation.

In the VS piece, Landis also said:

"Our ultimate goal is to prove to everybody that this was a sham from the beginning and that this whole system does not work. The misinformation comes from a lack of leadership at the top of cycling in general, from the UCI and from WADA, and the other anti-doping agencies. All of them are run by incompetent people who come to conclusions and make public statements whenever a microphone is put in front of them".

Cyclingnews notes support for Landis from some members of the peloton for tonight's FFF event in San Francisco:
George Hincapie said he didn't know much about the fundraiser but supported Landis. "Floyd is a friend of mine and I hope he can clear his name. I hope he is able to get all the help that he needs."
Levi Leipheimer also held a strong position in supporting Landis' quest for athlete’s rights in the anti-doping process. "Landis is having a fundraiser for athletes' rights and that is something that everyone here would support one hundred percent," Leipheimer said. "There are definitely some issues that need to be resolved. One is the issue of his positive test but it is going to be a year later before he knows the decision... I think that we can all agree that is not a good time line of the process and I support him."

Landis issued a response to comments by UCI President McQuaid reported yesterday:

San Francisco, February 18, 2007 – Floyd Landis said, “Pat McQuaid's comments to the San Jose Mercury News on February 17 regarding my efforts to clear my name highlight the lack of quality leadership at the UCI, and his wish to deny me the basic rights to defend myself and protect my livelihood. At crushing personal expense, building a team of professionals to support me is the only way I have to fight against an unfair system and unsubstantiated allegations. The UCI should be apologizing that its athlete’s must go to such lengths to try to protect their basic rights, not criticizing them for the expense they are incurring to defend themselves.

Mr. McQuaid started my trial by media when he made his leading comments about a 'worst case scenario' adverse analytical finding on July 26. His organization continued to subject me to a public show trial when I had no information with which to defend myself by leaking test results to the New York Times, announcing the results of ‘A’ samples before ‘B’ confirmations, and refusing to inform me of the results of my ‘B’ sample before they announced it in a press release.

Mr. McQuaid should suspend all public comment on my case until it is resolved in an appropriate and professional manner.

What was it McQuaid said? Oh yeah:
Every athlete who tests positive blames the system and somebody else," said Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Federation. "Floyd is no different. Floyd has very expensive lawyers and PR people. He's doing an epic number. The public needs to understand they are hearing one side of the story."

The Mercury News has been busy today, offering the full interview (alluded to above) with Landis about his situation with added comments from other riders including Dave Z. Here are some other pertinent quotes from the piece:
From Floyd Landis:
Question: Floyd, are you the voice for all cycling, all athletes in doping cases?

Answer: I see it that way. I feel like I represent the sport. The sport deserves better than what it is dealt. I can't speak for people in the past as far as their guilt. But I don't deserve what I'm going through. Whatever we can do to prevent this from happening in the future we must do. It is equally as important to me as solving my own problem.

Q: So you want to fix the system?

A: Right from the beginning, the way this was handled by every organization was more damaging to the sport than even the subject matter. That really is the source of a problem that needs to be fixed. When I care about the sport, I care about my friends still racing. Those people don't deserve it any more than I did. If it doesn't stop with me, then when? There's no reason it shouldn't end right now.

From Pat McQuaid:

Q: So you're comfortable with how this is being handled.

A: He blames everybody but himself. At the end of the day he has a positive A and B standing against him. He has to account for that. All I did was follow the regulations. It wasn't the UCI that released the name of Floyd -- it was his team. It doesn't get away from the fact. The fact is, there is an A and B sample. I won't prejudge on his innocence or guilt. I wouldn't do otherwise. He wants everything to be public -- that's his choice. We have to wait for the actual case and hear two sides of the story.

VeloNews picks up on the McQuaid vs. Landis story (courtesy of The Mercury News), but also includes a photo of Landis riding around San Francisco this morning in Smith and Nephew kit that matches his shoes, on his Jack Handey Pegerotti.

The Mercury News reworks a story printed yesterday about Landis and his efforts to restore his integrity.

The Townsville Bulletin has story that a thousand riders protested in Spain, demanding Oscar Pereiro be declared the winner of last summer's Tour de France. Good thing Landis was in SF instead.

Ann Killion of the Mercury News writes a charming primer on how to be a proper cycling fan. Though it has little Landis content, it's a nice piece.

SF Chronicle piece by Steve Rubenstein is kinda snarky all around, including:
Woebegone cycling fans still talk of little besides U.S. rider Floyd Landis flunking his doping test after apparently winning the 2006 Tour de France.

which we might have worded, "Landis apparently flunking his doping test after winning the 2006 Tour de France."

Rant thinks about the ToC start, and the man who will be missing.

Rant, working overtime, believes that Pat McQuaid needs only to look into his own mirror to see who should garner the blame for the ways in which the Landis case has played out in the media.

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death... is very VERY angry that people still say that Floyd Landis was "disquallified" from the Tour de France. (except we lost the link).

Perpetual Motion thinks that Landis may be guilty of cheating, but still deserves due process, and isn't much impressed by Road Magazine. Sorry Neil. PM names TBV a good source of Landis information, so it's obviously misinformed.

Activeness! Thinks that Floyd Landis is caught up in a Jean-Paul Sartre play, and it's not good.

Finger Food, from Floyd Landis's hometown Lancaster, PA , talks about the publication of "Positively False," among other things, while waiting for the ice to melt. It's gonna be a LONG wait!

Gene Bisbee thinks that the only way we'll get to see the name of Floyd Landis at this year's ToC will be IF someone paints it on the roads of the tour, despite the objections of local officials who are not amused. TBV asks responsible citizens not to do this, as much as we like riding over the "Jens Voight" on Pinehurst.

The CaliRado Cyclist
posts a celebrity viewing guide for the ToC, and informs us that George Lucas had a premonition about the Landis case upon which he based "Star Wars". Wonder who Darth Vader is based on:
Not many people know this, but Star Wars was actually based on a premonition that George Lucas had about Floyd Landis, Dick Pound and the current state of professional cycling. It's kind of a confusing story and I hope to get further clarification in the near future.

Steroid Nation reviews the state of cynicism about cheating in sport.

Spinnin Wheel thinks that Floyd, Dave Z, and Robbie Ventura should entertain at the next FFF event with a parody of the Dixie Chicks song 'Not Ready to make Nice' and call it "Not Ready to Sit up ":

Not Ready To Sit Up

No Tour, this year
Next time, I'll just skip the beer
They say truth will always out
But I've got my doubts

My hip is healed
All I want is a level playing field
I've paid a price
And I'll keep paying

I'm not ready to sit up
I'm not ready to take blame
'Cause that lab is bad and
They f***ed it up you know time and time again
I will not give up this fight
Tho Pound would love it if I would
But I'm mad as hell
My innocence is true and it must be understood

You're through they said
Why don't you just go away
Like I'd let them tear me down
I guess they don't know me

I won it clean and I made it to Sunday
With one dead hip and a whole lotta pain but
It's a short-lived glory when they call you a cheater
Lawyers and the voyeurs come to make you suffer

And how can the press make a guess at the facts
When they don't know a hole from their ass
What gets lost in the chatter
The fact of the matter: lab results show
That my level was normal

I'm not ready to sit up
I'm not ready to take blame
'Cause that lab is bad and
They f***ed it up you know time and time again
I will not give up this fight
Tho Pound would love it if I would
But I'm mad as hell
My innocence is true and it must be understood

No Tour, this year
Next time, I'll just skip the beer
They say truth will always out
But I've got my doubts

With Betsy Andreu appearing on a Landis thread, her veracity is questioned by NOTAWOFTAM, and she is insisting her version is true.



Anonymous said...

Your quote font is painfully small man. PLEASE make it bigger.

Otherwise TBV countinues to rock it. Keep up the fantastic work!