Archive for the ‘Bicycling- A Fan’s View’ 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.

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.)

World Anti-Doping Agency chairman disagrees with his own agency’s rules

September 11, 2006

Professional sports do indeed have a problem with performance-enhancing drugs. Athletes are randomly tested, even off-season, more than ever before. Scientists are hard at work improving detection technologies for banned drugs. The war on doping has been very much in the media eye in recent years, most noticeably involving baseball mega-hitters and bicycling champions.

The self-contradictory behavior of WADA, and the UCI (International Cycling Union), specifically their tendency to violate their own rules, prematurely announce test results and publicly conclude that an athlete is a cheat is extremely troubling. Now, the AP and the BBC are reporting that WADA chairman Dick Pound has taken a bizarre stance, contradicting WADA regulations, that it is “disturbing” an athlete was cleared of doping allegations because her A and B samples didn’t both reveal the presence of EPO.

Mr. Pound is speaking of Marion Jones’ case. Jones was just cleared of doping allegations, because there was no consensus between her two samples. And like Floyd Landis, Jones’ positive A test was publicly announced before confirmation with a B test, thus violating her privacy, sullying her name, and likely costing her considerable income in endorsement deals. Coincidentally, WADA’s routine and unethical pre-announcement of Jones’ guilt has left just a bit of well-deserved egg on WADA’s collective face. Perhaps less coincidentally, this B sample backup system is exactly what Dick Pound is against.

Read more to see why I think Dick Pound is frighteningly misguided.


Floyd Landis’ lawyer will file to dismiss charges on 9/11/06

September 10, 2006

The Associated Press and Floyd Landis’ blog are reporting that Floyd’s lawyer, Howard Jacobs, and a team of scientists have found “inconsistencies in the testing protocol and methodology” in the 370-page document provided by the French testing lab Chatenay-Malabry. Jacobs said, “While I cannot comment on the full details of our findings, we now have the foundation for a very strong defense should the case proceed to arbitration.” As a result, Jacobs will formally file for dismissal of the case against Floyd on Monday, September 11.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. I wish Floyd, his family, and his defense team all the best. In a perfect world, not only would he be found innocent, but the rule-bending officials in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Cyclist’s Union (UCI) would be removed and replaced with people able to do the job, people without an agenda. The people currently in these positions, like Dick Pound and Enrico Carpani, perhaps through good intentions, have nonetheless nearly ruined the public’s image of cycling. In a perfect world, Tour officials would apologize for their quick-to-judge statements, and proclaim Floyd the true winner of the 2006 Tour de France.

But in our imperfect world, I’m afraid justice can never and will never truly be done in this case. Even if the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, in whose hands the case now rests, clears Floyd of all wrong-doing, will Tour organizers embrace him again? Due in large part to the presumption of guilt, Phonak/iShares has already announced the team will be disbanded at the end of the year, so Floyd’s team is gone. Lance Armstrong himself, the athlete who has been tested for drugs more than any other and never once failed, was still booed and taunted with shouts of “Dopé!” as he rode the Tour. How might the mostly-European fans treat Floyd? Certainly not better than Lance, regardless of his innocence.


Floyd Landis’ father-in-law commits suicide

August 17, 2006

Sports Illustrated is reporting that David Witt, 57, died after shooting himself in the head. His suicide occurred two days ago, 8/15/06.

This is a sad, sad time for Floyd and Amy Landis, and their families. Amy is David’s daughter, and through David’s enthusiasm for cycling, met her then-future husband Floyd. My prayers are with them all.


Lance Armstrong: “I am a fan and supporter of Floyd Landis. I believe in him.” (Me, too.)

August 13, 2006

Lance has given his friend a bit of public advice: don’t count on the media for fair coverage. Lay low, and wait for your time.


The sad Landis saga, and other doping casualties, continued

August 1, 2006

It’s too hot and/or rainy for an amateur like me to get out for a ride, so I continue with more musings on the most recent cycling debacle, namely poor Floyd Landis, and the cycling regulatory organizations that appear to go out of their way to sully their own sport.