Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Wednesday Roundup

The CyclingNews has part 1 of an extensive interview with UCI anti doping manager Anne Gripper in which she comments on many subjects including the Tour de France this year, the various national anti doping federations and their powers, and the current split between the ASO and the UCI.

AZ wonders who's next for trouble, and one of the candidates is Alberto Contador who may have to turn over his yellow jersey faster that Floyd Landis did.

The IHT admonishes Patrik Sinkewitz for using testosterone gel when it can be so easily detected, and may not be of any real value:

Maybe, Pat, testosterone doesn't do anything for a rider. That's one of the arguments in the Landis defense. If true, the joke's on you. Maybe you should have taken Bromo-Seltzer instead for all the spark it would have provided.

The Evening Sun thinks that baseball could learn a lot from cycling.

The VeloNews comments that instead of being known as one of the most competitive Tours de France in history, this year's version will be remembered for the fallout from doping scandals, again. And, Lance Armstrong can no longer lay claim to the title"most tested athlete":
We know from court documents, for example, that Floyd Landis was tested 44 times in a five-year span from 2002-2006. USADA statistics indicate that nine of those tests were USADA testing. So, in numbers confirmed Landis becomes "the most tested athlete in the history of sports." If Vino' can back up his claim, then he takes the "honor." Armstrong had USADA write a letter confirming his 12 USADA tests as part of his defense in the SCA case, but he has a long way to go to back up his most tested claim because, as noted, the track athletes have a big head start on him in USADA testing and they get tested a lot throughout each year on the indoor and outdoor track circuit, plus French Open tennis champion Rafael Nadal, who was questioned by the media intensely because of rumored connections to Operation Puerto claimed to have been tested more than 20 times during 2006. At that clip it would only take the top tennis players five years to pass the magic 100 test mark.

VeloNews also gives us a history of Americans who have stood on the podium at the Tour de France for the past 10 years. posts a story about Welshman Geraint Thomas , the youngest rider in this year's Tour de France, who thinks that drug cheats need to be kicked out of the sport for the good of all:
One stupid person taking a risk affects the whole of cycling, not just yourself,” said Thomas, the 2007 World Track Championship Team Pursuit gold medallist.“It’s about time people started to realise that. What I would like to see now is a massive investigation now to remove all the cheats. The sport doesn’t need them, nobody needs them. We are just better off without them around."

Bicycle Retailer says BMC has taken its bikes away from Astana and gone home.

Owner Andy Rihs probably isn't happy. He had some control of behavior at Phonak, but probably none at Astana, and it can't help the branding. Its not news that the old-boy network around the UCI doesn't like Andy, and some of the scrutiny on Phonak was from that -- and there was enough dirt in the corner that scrutiny found what it sought.

(FWIW, Landis is still riding BMC on the road and intending to at Leadville.)

The health of the sport can't be helped when well funded enthusiastic sponsors and teams are chased away because they don't want to play by the old rules, and by the political fighting that uses the production of scandal as weapons against other interests.

Who is looking out for the viability of the sport?

Nobody. Unenlightened self interest seems to be ruling. has video of Landis' book tour appearance in Pasadena.

WCSN/Greg Ruckman has a must-read piece, including snips about the hearing, which he watched with a keen and illuminating eye:

USADA and Floyd had top attorneys who seemed pretty good at containing evidence. (I predict that the testimony of most witnesses will not be found in training tapes for classes on IRMS.) It wasn’t until the seventh day of the trial that the personality and overwhelming knowledge of an expert witness was uncontainable. That was May 21, when Richard Young cross-examination of Dr. Meier-Augenstein. That interaction was, in my opinion, a situation where the weight of a man full of facts and understanding simply crushed an attorney’s attitude, semantics, and cherry-picked points.

By minute 60 of the session, I was surprised that Mr. Young kept opening up more of his own positions to the Dr.’s corrections, and then allowing him to be so thorough in his explanations. My guess is that Mr. Young knew the Doctor had done serious damage to USADA’s case, and was trying to undo it by catching him in a slip-up that might serve to taint what so far looked like rock solid scientific understanding and explanations. As the questioning continued through minutes 65, 75, 85, I felt like I was watching a great break away in a long cycling race…

At minute 97, Mr. Young gave up the chase, and I had been convinced that USADA’s case should not have been brought against Floyd. Who knows if he used testosterone, but the testing relied upon by USADA in this case sure can’t help anyone now.

I can’t blame the attorneys from HRO for the situation. They have been hired by WADA, USOC and some dozen of the USOC Olympic sports governing bodies to go after athletes in different situations. It is their job to do so.

I believe the USADA v. Floyd Landis case has hurt sports and the anti-doping movement. The case cannot give confidence to the public that USADA is competent to make sports clean. Further, that case certainly can’t encourage athletes to think that if they use performance enhancing drugs then they will be caught, OR if the don’t use drugs, then they won’t be unfairly accused. That’s a very bad situation for everyone.

Rant read yesterday's San Diego Union Tribune article about Floyd Landis with interest giving us a taste of what might be happening in the smoke filled rooms of those in power. Later Rant goes over the part of the piece in which the LeMond/Landis controversy from last May's hearings is revisited and he speaks directly to LeMond after Greg's attorney is quoted as saying they wants to make Landis pay:

The best thing to do would be to show that you can rise above that phone call and show some forgiveness to a fellow human being, one who’s fallible and makes the occasional (extraordinarily big) mistake. Pick up the phone. Call Will. Tell him you forgive him for what he did, and move on. And forget about making someone pay. Because the truth of the matter is that the most likely person to pay is you. And the person receiving payment will be your lawyer. Sure, Landis will pay his attorney, too, but what does that prove or accomplish? In the end, nothing.
Deep down, Greg, somewhere in there you still have the heart of a champion. A true champion could forgive those who’ve hurt him. Show us that heart, Greg. Show us the heart of a champion.

Rumors and Rants says that he didn't forget you Floyd Landis, nor can he forget that now Alberto Contador may be under suspicion for doping as well.

The Bison Sports Guys have the "bottom half of the bracket" in which we have Barry Bonds going after the home run record against pro cycling where we have last year's Tour de France winner Floyd Landis and all of those eliminated from this year's Tour due to positive doping controls.

is back from a break and there lots to talk about. He runs down how the various reports of doping from the Tour de France get out there to the public, and then gives us more "black smoke" as we wait not so patiently for an end to the longest 10 days in cycling history.

Passion2Ride who does know Landis a little from Power Camp, and would really like him to stop the "race to the bottom" with LeMond.

ArmchairGM wants to know what's up with cycling, and what ever happened to Floyd Landis?

The Boulder Report
laments the utter idiocy of riders who think they can get away with doping, and also notes that the Floyd Landis defense posture that no one uses testosterone in cycling because is does no good has been put to bed by the admissions of Moreni and Sinkewitz.

asks who should/can we trust to make the decisions in doping cases in cycling?

Get Outdoors has an alleged recent picture of Floyd Landis looking a bit porky. Might be Floyd, but what about that Lampre kit?

lists several good cycling podcasts.

Letter From America informs us that Gavin rode with Floyd Landis for a while on Sunday at the Colorado-Eagle River Ride. There is a link to some nice pictures of the lovely terrain, and the support crew.


Ken ( said...

LeMond really needs to read Rant's latest post and heed the advice provided. LeMond really needs to get a good media relations person and listen to their advice. His lawyer only makes him sound like a bitter and mean spirited person.

strbuk said...

Ken, perhaps his lawyer is only working with what he has been given.


wschart said...

Better watch it, Ken and strbuk. You may be next!

Anonymous said...

Here's some free advice for LeMond, something he should seriously consider. Try doing something positive concerning your situation. Look what Lance Armstrong has done and all the good he's accomplished with his livestrong foundation to help people with cancer. That's the ticket Greg, what a true champion would do.

N.B.O.L. said...

While Greg with his comments is often Greg's worse enemy, to say he has done nothing with his championship is anything but the truth. He doesn't go as high profile as Lance, true.

Greg is the chairperson/spokesperson for the Tour de Cure ride which the American Diabetes Associations puts on. I have seen the list of other things that he lends his championship to, but the ADA is the one that I participate in so it is the one I remember first.

Knock Greg for his comments if you want, but he doesn't deserve the "He's done nothing for society at large" rap.

Cub said...

Armstrong has 60 or so yellow jerseys plus a few stage wins when not in yellow. Unless the policy of testing the yellow jersey and stage winner every day in the TdF is fairly new, I think Lance easily has Floyd beat in the "most tested athlete" competition.

wschart said...

OK, I read the Ruckman piece and the statement at the end of the clip provided here put into words something I have been thinking for a long time. In order for any anti-doping effort to succeed, riders need to be both reasonably sure that they will be caught if they dope, and not falsely accused if they are clean. Without arguing either for or against the innocence of any accused rider, I don't think it is immediately clear that a rider will not be falsely accused, and that if so, he has a good chance to clear himself.

That some riders, at least, do dope indicates that some think they have a chance to get away with it. But it could also be the case that some riders think that, if there is a chance they might be falsely accused when clean, why not go ahead and dope and at least have the benefit of doping. "I may eventually get caught, but in the meantime, I may win a few races."

ADA's attitude seems to be that if some innocent riders are taken down along the way, it is just collateral damage, an unfortunate but necessary side effect of getting the dirty riders. I don't buy that. I think that dirty riders can be caught without taking down innocent riders.

Unknown said...

Just read the article on Velonews about the amount of doping. What a horrible, biased article. The author, Jim Ferstle, only counts USADA testing in his numbers. Dude, what about UCI testing. Cub points out that Armstrong would have been tested a minimum of 60 times just for wearing the yellow jersey.

Landis was tested the day after his Father in Law died.

All I have to say to who the heck are you? This is the first article I recall reading written by you about drugs. Considering the bi-line at the bottom of your article:

Jim Ferstle is a freelance writer based in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has covered the issue of sports and doping since 1987.

I can't confirm nor deny you know anything about doping in sports.

TiGirl said...

Hi Guys,

I am Passion2Ride, and I never claimed to know Landis, at least not well, as the synopsis infers. I DID meet him and interact with him at his Camps, and that's where I grew to respect him and grow quite fond of him as more than just a freak of nature cyclist.

And in my blog, I ask either gentleman to take hold and stop the insanity.

That's all, just wanted to clarify!