Archive for the ‘Bicycling’ category

Floyd Landis vs. France

February 15, 2010

I just read two articles, here and here. The French have issued an arrest warrant for Floyd Landis for data hacking.

Putting the facts together from the two sources, it seems that Pierre Borrdry, the French anti-doping chief and head of the Chatenay-Malabry lab that “proved” Landis’ guilt in the 2006 Tour de France, has made an interesting slip. He says that Landis took lab data, manipulated it to show mistakes had been made, showed it at his trial without the “judges” noticing the supposed fabrication, and still couldn’t get an acquittal. It would seem that such mistakes didn’t or couldn’t affect the outcome, which always appeared to be pre-ordained. While M. Borrdry might see today’s news as further proof he and his interest-conflicted lab were right all along, instead it offers more proof that the fix was in and Floyd could never have won.

One misstatement in the coverage so far is that it was the lab itself that claimed the data had been accidentally lost at the time of the proceedings.

I see this as a desperate attempt to ensure Floyd never rides in the Tour again. The French cycling authorities summarily dismissed Lance Armstrong’s return as if he were a proven cheater who got away, yet in 2009 he finished second after three (or four?) years out of competition. Imagine the embarrassment if Floyd returned and won. It would be impossible for the public to ignore the stench of a rotten, corrupt anti-doping system any longer.

Lance Armstrong, Miracle Man

July 7, 2009

Serve up (a little bit of) the crow: Against better judgement and past things I said, I am watching a little of the Tour de France. One of my heroes, Lance Armstrong, is back after winning a record-smashing seven straight Tours. Even though he came back to keep his fight against cancer in the spotlight, it warms my heart to see him on his bike, confident, and seemingly as strong as ever. Live Strong indeed.

Tuesday saw the nearness of the man’s greatness. On only the fourth TdF stage he’s raced in four(?) years, he missed taking the race lead, and therefore the yellow jersey, by a fraction of a second. It was so close the race organizers had to refer to the Tour rulebook and get out the calculators to figure out if Lance had indeed captured the lead.

Here’s Lance, being the better man, talking about this day when he nearly took the yellow again: Link.

Honestly, while I have deep respect for the man, and continue to be amazed by his willpower, physical ability, and depth of character in the face of a corrupted Tour organization (including a newspaper and a poor excuse for a lab, all co-owned by one of the “owners” of the race, M. Pierre Borrdry) I hold no real hope he’ll win a Tour again. I would be delighted to be surprised, however the politics behind the scenes of the Tour have shown themselves to be downright dirty beginning with the persecution of Floyd Landis, and unless Lance is practically perfect, the cynic in me fears he’ll be dragged down by the dirty backroom dealers. That’s why I never thought I’d watch another Tour again–even now, former Tour officials are treating Lance like he’s a crook and a cheater, which has never been proven–it seems impossible for anyone who isn’t on the inside of this crooked brotherhood to get a fair chance. There’s something about French jurisprudence that, at least where the Tour is concerned, violated all that Americans hold dear about being innocent until proven guilty. In France, if there’s a hint of misbehavior in their Tour, the inevitable “leak” occurs from the Tour to the French anti-doping lab to the French paper “L’Equipe,” and within 24 hours a champion can be tarred as a cheat based on the most tenuous piece of flawed evidence.

Anyway, it is a wonderful thing to see Lance Armstrong, a man blessed by genetics and hard road back from cancer, come within a second of leading the Tour de France yet again. I should never have doubted his ability and determination.

Pro bicyclist at crematorium, arranging his infant son’s funeral, is threatened with suspension by drug tester

March 18, 2008

The Fanhouse at AOL is reporting the sad story of Kevin van Impe, who was arranging his baby’s cremation when he was approached by a drug tester and ordered to pee in a cup. Van Impe asked for some compassion at such a painful time, and the tester (whose name and agency have not been reported) threatened the cyclist with a two year suspension.

Words can’t describe what a tragedy this is, not only for Mr. van Impe, but also the sport of cycling, which is suffering at the hands of over-zealous, secretive anti-doping agencies who feel they have a moral mandate to conduct a modern-day Inquisition, yet like Torquemada have long ago lost their own moral compass.

(Warning: the comments contain NSFW language.)

The 2007 Tour de France, or Tattered Elegance

July 26, 2007

The world has heard of the decline of the Tour, and the many riders who have been sent home because they were caught taking drugs. What you won’t hear is what we truly know, and what we don’t know. The media feeding frenzy is in full swing, and truth and fairness are taking a beating. I wrote a small essay about it on Trust But Verify, and I reproduce it here.

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Floyd Landis’ arbitration hearing for testosterone-doping charges is May 14. Cue the kangaroos.

May 9, 2007

As a bicyclist and a bicycling fan, I’ve been following the progress of 2006 Tour de France Champion Floyd Landis’ long, sordid, and long story as his case is considered–no, that’s the wrong word–prosecuted by one or another of the various anti-doping agencies and putative judiciary bodies. It has been a maddening spectacle to witness, an openly one-sided, arrogantly unfair railroading of a decent and honorable man and athlete. In civilized societies, suspects caught red-handed at the scene of the crime, with a separate piece of incriminating evidence in each hand and pocket, and with video tape of the actual crime… these suspects enjoy more fair treatment, benefit of the doubt, and due process than Floyd has received. I am ashamed, and I may never watch or enjoy the sport again.

I had originally intended to write frequently about this debacle on these pages, but so many others have done a better job than I could have, that instead I’ve enjoyed their articles. “Enjoy” is also the wrong word, since the news is most often about the inconceivably misguided, possibly corrupt actions of the so-called guardians of sport. I suggest you tune in, at least for the next few weeks, to these excellent sites for their coverage and opinions:

There are many jumping-off points from these three sites, including links to the various anti-doping agencies, to other blogs, to Floyd’s innovative WikiDefense strategy, and to discussion forums. These are, in my opinion, the best places to start.

Finally, if you believe as I do that the current state of anti-doping organizations is hopelessly flawed, or inept, or even corrupt, please consider that many of the groups involved in this miscarriage of justice are federally funded. The International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Association and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency are all paid, at least in part, out of our pockets. Please consider contacting your representatives with your concerns.

The opinions expressed in Steve’s Peeves are intended to entertain and, in some cases, uplift. They may not be appropriate for young readers or the satirically challenged. Parental supervision is advised.

Link- “Fast Freddy’s” Recumbent Tips & Tricks, riding positions

October 29, 2006

“Fast Freddy” Markham is an accomplished ‘bent racer and holds bicycling records. He’s the real deal. So, when I stumbled across his own forum section on Tips and Tricks I figured it was worth a read. It’s a little lean just yet, as it seems he’s just getting started this year. Also, Fast Freddy rides Easy Racers long-wheelbase recumbents, so not everything will apply to riders like me on short-wheelbase ‘bents.

Even so, there’s an excellent thread on his four main recumbent riding positions. He uses a position (#4 in the pictures) which he calls “the recumbent version of getting out of the saddle,” which is useful for short bursts of maximum power. I’d never considered this one, but I’m definitely going to try it. I sure could use a boost on short hills, or quick sprints and accelerations. Thanks, Freddy!

Floyd is supporting the families touched by Monday’s Amish schoolhouse tragedy in Lancaster County, PA

October 4, 2006

Floyd grew up in the same county, in nearby Farmersville. As his blog reports, his connections to the people of the area run deep, and he will be donating funds to those families touched by the senseless killings.

From his website:

Floyd encourages that all those who would like to help the bereaved visit the Coatesville Savings Bank website at www.coatesvillesavings.com for more information on the both the Nickel Mines Children’s Fund and the Roberts Family Fund.