Monday, July 23, 2007

The Gloves are Off

A year ago Floyd Landis won the Tour de France. A new champion was named after the long reign of Lance Armstrong. I remember how proud I felt when I heard the US National Anthem floating along the boulevard as he stood there on the Champs Elysees his hand covering his heart. Naively I thought a new era was borne and the doping titillations that plagued Lance would be laid to rest. Of course a few days later news broke about the “worse case scenario.” Floyd was subsequently “identified” for having a high T/E ratio.

The gloves are off. The UCI President Patrick McQuaid isn’t waiting for a positive drug test or even for the tour to complete before giving his opinion of who should and shouldn’t win the tour. McQuaid has stated he would rather another younger rider win the tour rather than Michael Rasmussen. No more waiting for the final results of who crosses the line. Perhaps, McQuaid has crossed a new line.

Back on the home front, I was hoping that politics would be minimized with the timing of Floyd’s arbitration hearing ruling. However, as the time lingers on, it seems more likely that the decision will wait until after the tour completes. If the timing of the announcement can be impacted, I am back to fearing that the conclusions will also not be based on facts. But I must hang onto a fragment, a glimmer of reason that I saw during the hearing that science and logic will prevail.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Adrenaline Rush

Floyd Landis visited Borders in Pasadena today. I came early to purchase my three copies before the lines formed or they ran out. Only a few copies were displayed. We walked out and ate dinner at the Crocodile CafĂ© up the street. It was pleasantly empty and the waitress was attentive and cheerful, wondering what the rush was. Book Signing we said. Oh she nodded wisely and cluelessly. Arrived back at Borders at 6:00 pm and was surprised at the small area where they had two dozen chairs set up. More people lurked about for a few moments when the store manager said to move upstairs to a larger area. The larger area was still not large enough as there were three dozen chairs set up. The people kept coming, standing and flocking. Anywhere from 100-200 people. I was impressed with one fan’s sign. It had this real metal bicycle attached to the construction paper, stating 2006 TdF champion and a big beautiful bouquet of yellow roses for Floyd.

Perhaps it was my blue Tour de France shirt that made me look official, I noticed the crowd really quieted down when I went up front to take pictures. It was 6:45 pm. I knew Floyd would be 15 minutes late. Another store minion stated that Floyd was in the building about 7:05 pm and would be up shortly. This was retracted at 7:15 when he said there was a miscommunication before, that Floyd was on Lake Avenue and would be arriving anon. I wondered if they had calculated Los Angeles county freeway timing. Everywhere is only half an hour drive, sometimes when it is just five miles away. He arrived at 7:30 pm.

Floyd started his five minute warm up, with his prediction of David Zabriske as the Tour de France winner, well maybe he might have a come back. [We chortled in response]. Rasmussen is looking good. Valverde is looking good.

[This is total recall. Questions were combined. My apologies to the audience and the speaker.]

Q: It was a question about Lance Armstrong and if he had taken LGZR. (??) [This first question was a shocker.]

A:. This is the first time I’ve been asked that question. I have no knowledge of that.

Q: Sinkewitz question. [Questioner misquoted values].

A: I don’t have all the facts.

Q:There is an imbalance of power between the Anti Doping Agencies and the athletes. After your year long ordeal do you think the athletes are ready to change that?

A: Other cyclists don’t want to rock the boat. They [the LNDD] were willing to forge documents to fulfill our requests. I don’t see a change coming.

Q: Missed the question.

A: I only have smart fans. They have to be smart to understand the science. [We giggled.]

Q:After you win Leadville. [Cheers]

A: I need to do some serious training and the book tour is taking away time. If anyone has ridden Leadville, I need some tips. I will be riding a BMC bike. No need for full suspension on dirt roads.

Q:That phenonomal day in TDF 2006 Stage 17. [Applause! Cheers!]


Q:Where’s the best place to train?

A: California. [Cheers.] It’s the best place in the world to train and cycle.

Q:Have you cycled here in Pasadena?

A: Mount Baldy. I’m from Murrietta so Palomar is also very good.

Q: Will you be riding in the Amgen Tour of California [2008].

A: I hope to, but again I don’t know the timing so I can’t approach any teams yet. In fact they should change the Tour of California from February to July. [chortles].

Audience. Heck yeah, we have a Paris California. We could start there. They could build an Eiffel Tower there as well.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What the arb?

In the arbitration hearing of USADA versus Floyd Landis held May 14 – 23, 2007 at Pepperdine University in Malibu California, Floyd invoked the first ever public hearing. The world had a chance to watch, review and analyze the expert testimony proffered. Now the decision is in the hands of the three arbitrators, Patrice Brunet,Richard H. Mc Laren, and Christopher L. Campbell . And let’s not forget the panel appointed expert from the WADA accredited laboratory in Rome, Dr. Francesco Botre.

After the openness of the hearing in May the world is waiting and watching for the decision to be pronounced. I am left with many questions, are the arbitrators and science advisor meeting in the same location? Are they communicating via phone, fax or email? Are the conversations between all members or does two arbitrators make it a quorum?

I am waiting for the words. I am waiting for the words that will start the healing process. I suppose healing for one side, is enraging for the other side. As people on both sides of the Atlantic have already condemned Floyd based on nothing more than sloppy lab work and the sanctity of following a process.

Here’s the scoreboard so far:

Against: 3 - 0

Against: 2 - 1 TBV, Finger Food

For: 2 - 1

For: 3 - 0 Bill Hue, Moi

Monday, July 9, 2007

TDF 2007 Stage 1

As the cyclists wend their way through the English countryside on Sunday from London to Canterbury the lush greenery was a joy to see. David Millar did an excellent ride to gain the King of the Mountain jersey. Robbie McEwen performed spectacularly with his come from behind finish due to a crash. But along the picturesque scenery there was a 1900 steam engine stopped along the route. The engineer blowing the whistle as the peloton rode by. Phil Ligget stated the engine predated the first Tour de France by three years. The chortle came from my son, "Ah the preferred method of winning the Tour."

I wait patiently for the arbitration hearing ruling on Floyd Landis. I prefer the "correct" outcome over a speedy answer.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


The Belgian Sports press thought that the Floyd Landis Arbitration verdict would be announced on Friday July 06, 2007. The assumptions are 1) that the transcripts were completed on June 11, 2007, 2) the findings of fact completed by the lawyers of USADA and Landis on June 25, 2007. The Arbitration panel then has 10 working days to complete the award.

Question is, did the Belgians factor in the National Holiday of July 4th? Perhaps late Monday or Tuesday at the earliest.

Bill Hue has the low down on the arbitration rules that would change the timing. Peloton Jim is keeping the Pope Watch going with apropos pictures.