July 04, 2011

Updating the list of Americans with Tour stage wins

Depending on how you count Floyd Landis, Garmin's Tyler Farrar is the 10th or 11th American to win a Tour stage, and the first on July 4th.

    The list (alphabetically):
  • Lance Armstrong
  • Tyler Farrar
  • Andy Hampsten
  • Tyler Hamilton
  • George Hincapie
  • Floyd Landis *
  • Levi Leipheimer
  • Greg LeMond
  • Davis Phinney
  • Jeff Pierce
  • Dave Zabriskie

* Landis, of course, had his victory in Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour vacated after testing positive for an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio.

(I also added Farrar to the category so he shows up on the associated Wikipedia page.)

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2011 in 2011 Stage 3, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Tyler Farrar, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2010

Shades of gray

Landis preparingThere are a lot of cycling fans who still believe in black and white.

Some rider or another, they'll say, has never tested positive, or is the most tested athlete in the world. Team X, they'll say, has the strictest anti-doping program in the peloton. Sure, there used to be a lot of doping in the sport, they'll say, but no sport has such extensive athlete testing, and the sport today is clean.

I've been following the sport for 25 years, through the mysterious deaths while riders slept, the 60 hematocrits, and now the biological passport, and I'm convinced the sport has never in that time approached clean. I don't believe in black and white.

The way I've come to see modern cycling is that every rider exists in a Heisenberg bubble, balanced somewhere on a scale between pure as the driven snow white and Floyd Landis “hell yeah I doped” black. As a fan, we all calculate the likelihood a particular rider is juicing, and all most of us have to go on is the rider and his team's public pronouncements, and the rider's race performance. How much you like a rider has to be balanced against how likely you think it is a) that he or she has doped, and b) that he or she will get caught. This is why I and many others breathed a sigh of relief when Vinokourov lost the maglia rosa at the Giro. I believe Vino's failed dope test was accurate, and I fear he has likely returned to his previously successful ways. You, of course, may disagree, or feel just as fearful about Giro winner Ivan Basso, who was ultimately banned for his involvement in Operación Puerto, and now says he's gunning for a podium spot at the Tour. One of the things about the bubble is that every fan's is slightly different. Maybe you assume that everyone who came out of the sports mills of Eastern Europe is tainted. Maybe you believe that the recent popularity of Spain as a training center was a direct result of tighter French anti-doping laws.

Tyler Hamilton & David MillarOccasionally, especially in the case of a superstar rider, there may be other information, from former teammates, employees, trainers, or other people in the rider's circle. In the absence of positive dope tests, which it still appears can be manipulated without a great deal of trouble, all we can do is take the data and put it together with our own prejudices and preferences to decide who we believe is clean and who's not. If an ex-teammate says you've doped, that moves you 3 spaces to the right. Coming out of nowhere to contend for the climber's jersey at the Tour? Move 10 spaces to the right. If you get caught, suspended, then come back as an anti-dope crusader, that might move you a space or two to the left.

It's apparent that there's a continuing arms race in cycling, and the enforcers are losing. Like any arms race, the advantage goes to those with money and technology, and those belong to the teams.

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - JULY 01: Cyclist Lance Armstrong pauses at the start of the team presentations for the 97th Tour de France on July 1, 2010 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Following a prologue time trial in Rotterdam on Saturday, the iconic race will include 20 stages and will cover 3,642km. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)Far be it from me to identify where I think any particular rider falls on the 0-to-100 scale. Clearly, though, the recent Landis revelations, outlined in detail in the Wall Street Journal today, push Armstrong farther to the right, and at least nudge Zabriskie, Hincapie, and Leipheimer in that direction. Sure, it's easy to impeach Landis' credibility, but it's clear to me that Landis didn't come up with the sophisticated doping program he's described, and he's far from the first person to allege that Armstrong has relied on more than spring water in previous Tour wins.

Let's run through the allegations in the WSJ article by Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell. First and foremost, there are dates and details of blood transfusions during the Tour de France itself in 2004, and a partial list of riders who received them, including Armstrong. Next most damaging is probably Landis' claim that Armstrong himself was the source of his first collection of testosterone patches. Finally, there is the allegation that as many as 60 team bikes were sold for cash to support the Postal doping program. For me, mentions of Armstrong's possible visits to strip bars and cocaine use are just distractions; my interest is in Armstrong as an athlete or a cheat.

According to Albergotti and O'Connell, three other U.S. Postal riders confirmed doping while Armstrong rode for the team, and one admitted he himself doped.

Frankie AndreuLooking through the article, though, I don't see anything that's going to change the mind of rabid Armstrong fans, or of people who have believed he's a doper since 1999. We already know of former teammates who have alleged doping, including Frankie Andreu, who admitted his own EPO use in 2006. The claim that team bikes were improperly sold to pay for the doping program can't be proven by the mere appearance of team bikes on eBay: Someone would have to connect their proceeds to a doping program to really make something of it. Otherwise, those frames could just as easily have gone toward Armstrong's Shiner Bock habit as toward dope. I can see no way to tie Armstrong to the foil-packeted testosterone Landis claims he was provided.

But the addition of FDA special agent Jeff Novitzky adds a new dimension to the sport's doping problem. Teammates and staff who don't hesitate to cover for a rider with the media may feel differently when a federal agent starts threatening purgery charges and deploys subpoena powers. Novitzky seems unlikely to tolerate the shades of gray we as fans have grown to accept.


ESPN.com | Lance Armstrong: Crunch Time

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2010 in Dave Zabriskie, Doping, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

August 29, 2009

US Pro Time Trial Championship today

The pros are contesting the US time trial title later today in Greenville. I'm on the scene, snapping photos like crazy, and am looking forward to the Tweetup at 3:30 at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville.

It's the same course as last year, won by David Zabriskie for his third consecutive title. It's an up-and-down course, very well-suited to spectators, and Zabriskie has to be the favorite to repeat. Here's the start list and a course map. The TT at the Tour of Utah last week threw a bit of a monkey wrench into the works, as Tom Zirbel, 2nd in Greenville last year, beat Captain America by 25 seconds on a flatter course. Other guys to watch are Stephen Cozza, Ben Jacques-Maynes and Scott Zwizanski. Floyd Landis races the Greenville circuit for the first time.

Here are my photos from last year's TT, and here's 2007.


VeloNews: American pros head to Greenville

Posted by Frank Steele on August 29, 2009 in Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 30, 2008

Landis loses final appeal

trust but verify | Requiem for a Champion

Floyd Landis
No one has done a better job following the Floyd Landis case than David Brower, Bill Hue, and a gaggle of interested commenters and guest posters over at Trust But Verify. Today, with the announcement that Floyd Landis has lost his final appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, Hue offers a fitting coda to the Landis circus:

Floyd is my hero because in the face of the biggest travesties of “justice” I have ever seen, he stood proud, determined, true to himself and his family and did not bow to those who define “the game” by making its rules, prosecuting those deemed to violate those rules and then stack the deck with those responsible to judge those “violations”. He made them work for it and we are all the beneficiaries of his efforts even though he ultimately derived no benefit, whatsoever.

I go back and forth on the ultimate question of Floyd's guilt or innocence, but I absolutely agree that the rush by organizers and WADA to be tougher and tougher on drugs has trampled the ideals of fair play, sportsmanship, and athletes' rights. It's unfortunate the riders don't have the leverage to create something akin to the major league baseball players' union.

Landis was also ordered to pay $100,000 toward the US Anti-Doping Agency's legal costs. He is eligible to return to racing in January 2009, just in time for the Tour of California, but I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) he would be subject to the no-UCI-teams-for-2-additional-years proviso (assuming there's still a UCI in 2009).


Court of Arbitration for Sport: Bulletin | Full decision (.pdf file)

VeloNews | Floyd Landis loses CAS appeal

PodiumCafe | Landis Appeal Decision Open Thread

Posted by Frank Steele on June 30, 2008 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 20, 2007

Landis loses appeal, stripped of title

SI.com | Landis must forfeit title after losing doping appeal

Floyd LandisFloyd Landis, who won the 2006 Tour de France with a stunning Stage 17 solo victory, has lost his appeal of a positive doping finding.

Immediately after last year's Tour, Landis was accused of cheating when a urine test suggested Landis had an elevated ratio of epitestosterone-to-testosterone, which should normally be approximately equal. Landis has fought the charge, and still has the option of appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The three-man panel found that the Chatenay-Malabry lab near Paris mishandled Landis's sample, but 2 of 3 panelists felt that a follow-up test with a mass spectrometer was convincing evidence that Landis had used synthetic testosterone. Chris Campbell, who was named by the Landis team and also dissented in the Tyler Hamilton case, was the dissenting voice. “The documents supplied by LNDD are so filled with errors that they do not support an Adverse Analytical Finding. Mr. Landis should be found innocent.”

Pat McQuaid:

“It's not a great surprise considering how events have evolved. He got a highly qualified legal team who tried to baffle everybody with science and public relations. And in the end the facts stood up.”

Right -- we wouldn't want to get science mixed up in all this.

TrustButVerify notes that the suspension is to run through January 29, 2009, which, to me, seems a bit punitive, given that Landis has not competed since the end of July, 2006.

CyclingNews quotes Pat McQuaid that Pereiro will inherit the 2006 Tour title, but I don't think, given the state of relations between the ASO and the UCI, I would take that to the bank. We've already got a Tour without a winner, the 1996 edition, since Bjarne Riis admitted to doping during that Tour. I'm sure the ASO will weigh in shortly.


USADA | Arbitration Ruling: Floyd Landis AAA Decision (84-page PDF)

USADA | Arbitration Ruling: Floyd Landis Dissent (26-page PDF)

USADA | Floyd Landis Receives Two-Year Suspension For Doping During the 2006 Tour de France (2-page PDF)

cyclingnews.com | Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

VeloNews.com | Breaking news: Landis loses

Posted by Frank Steele on September 20, 2007 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 27, 2007

Landis legal team working with Vinokourov, Astana

ESPN.com | Suh, Jacobs in Paris to research Vinokourov's case

Alexandre Vinokourov, booted from the Tour after a positive test for blood boosting, has turned to a legal team that has spent the past year studying the sport's dope-testing mechanisms.

Maurice Suh and Howard Jacobs are also representing 2006 Tour winner Floyd Landis, awaiting a decision from an appeal of his suspension resulting from a high testosterone-to-epitestosterone measurement after Stage 17 of the '06 Tour.

Vinokourov's B sample is being examined at the Chatenay-Malabry lab, formerly the LNDD.

Jacobs also represented Tyler Hamilton, who was accused in 2004 of the same thing as Vinokourov: Receiving a blood transfusion to improve athletic performance.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 27, 2007 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Floyd Landis, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2007

Tour organizers to skip No. 1

VeloNews | No No. 1 at '07 Tour

Proving there's no symbolic gesture organizers will skip in their get-tough-on-doping attitude, the Tour will, for the first time in its history, not have a rider wearing the number “1”.

Defending champions are generally accorded the honor of wearing the lowest race number, with their teammates getting numbers 2 through 9, but Floyd Landis is out of cycling and fighting a doping ban.

ASO will merely skip the single digits, and will assign the numbers 11 through 19 to Oscar Pereiro and his Caisse d'Epargne teammates, and 21 through 29 to CSC. Pereiro was the runner-up at last year's Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2007 in About the Tour, Floyd Landis, Oscar Pereiro, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 27, 2007

Landis kicks off "Positively False" book tour

FloydLandis.com | Book Events

Last year's Tour winner, Floyd Landis, is kicking off a book tour, promoting his new book, Positively False, with a book signing in Bryant Park in New York City today. Landis will be interviewed by John Eustice from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. at the Bryant Park Reading Room.

In the next 3 weeks or so, Landis will visit Lancaster and Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Chicago; Seattle; and Sacramento, San Francisco, Thousand Oaks, Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Riverside, CA, in addition to the 3 New York City-area locations.

Landis is awaiting results of his hearing in front of a US Anti-Doping Agency panel, after returning a high testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio during last year's Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2007 in Floyd Landis, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2007

Tour organizers: Bjarne who?

BBC SPORT | Tour takes Riis off winners list

Tour de France organizers are telling the press that Bjarne Riis has been stricken from the Tour winners list after his admission last month that he used EPO for 6 seasons, including 1996, when he won the Tour.

Tour spokesman Philippe Sudres said: "We have removed him from the list because of the doping admission.

"We consider philosophically that he can no longer claim to have won."

Two issues: 1) A quick look at the official Tour website shows that Riis is right there were he's always been, atop the 1996 Tour.

2) Who, then, deserves the win? Jan Ullrich, who was 2nd in '96 riding alongside Riis at EPO-fueled Telekom? Richard Virenque in 3rd, riding for Festina, which gave us the most scandalous Tour since 1904?

The cynic in me wonders if this is a first step toward eventually declaring that the 2006 Tour had no winner. Some Tour officials have already said they don't consider Floyd Landis last year's winner, and now with Oscar Pereiro refusing to take a DNA test to clear up speculation that he's “Urko” in the Operación Puerto athlete files, organizers may prefer to have no winner to having an appointed and controversial winner.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 7, 2007 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Jan Ullrich, Oscar Pereiro, Richard Virenque | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 12, 2007

Landis book expected before '07 Tour

IHT.com | Tour de France winner to publish book

Associated Press reports that 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis will publish a book before the Tour kicks off this July.

Landis, facing possible disqualification for a high testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio, is expected to publish Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France in late June, addressing his childhood as a Mennonite, his racing career, and his efforts to clear his name and return to racing.

Last week, Landis agreed not to race in France this year, and he faces a May hearing in front of the US Anti-Doping Agency and June proceedings from AFLD, the French equivalent. He's also 4.5 months into recovery from hip replacement surgery.

The book's available for preorder at Amazon; linked at right.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 12, 2007 in Floyd Landis, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 08, 2007

Landis wins delay of AFLD hearing

SI.com | Anti-doping agency delays Landis decision

Landis at FFF fundraiser in BrooklynFloyd Landis, facing doping hearings from both the US Anti-Doping Agency and the French equivalent, AFLD, traded a promise not to race in France this year for a 4-month delay in the French hearing.

Landis faces a 2-year suspension from racing if he cannot explain a urine test that found an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone during the 2006 Tour de France, which Landis won. The AFLD will revisit the Landis case in late June, after the USADA hearing, which is now scheduled to begin May 14th.

It seems a small concession from Landis, who has no team contract and can't race until the USADA decision, but his statement specifically rules out any chance he will race in the 2007 Tour de France.

"He understood perfectly that if he didn't act today, we would start the procedure immediately," [AFLD president Pierre] Bordry said. "We will let Landis defend himself as he wishes before the USADA."

Photo by Flickr user Blind Robert, from a Floyd Fairness Fund fundraiser at Brooklyn Brewery last night. Click through for more.


IHT.com | Cycling: Landis will skip Tour de France

TrustButVerify | Thursday Roundup

Includes a translation of the full AFLD statement.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 8, 2007 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 21, 2006

Landaluze cleared for LNDD error; hope for Landis?

Eurosport | Landis optimistic after Landaluze case

The Court of Arbitration of Sport yesterday rejected a final appeal by the UCI to sanction Inigo Landaluze for a postive testosterone case, citing malfeasance by the same lab that in July tested Tour de France winner Floyd Landis.

Inigo Landaluze, who won the 2005 Dauphiné Libéré for Euskaltel-Euskadi, was suspended for tests performed during that race. In May 2006, the Spanish cycling federation overturned the suspension (saying it was "not in accordance with all applicable legal requirements"), and the UCI appealed to the CAS.

Here's the CAS press release, but the nut graf is:

It has been indeed established that the person who conducted the analysis of the B sample was also involved in analysis of the A sample, thus in violation of the international standard applicable to the accredited laboratories. The Panel considered that the violation of this technical direction was likely to affect the results of the analyses. The Panel has considered that the non-compliance with this standard constituted a procedural flaw serious enough to cause the invalidation of the anti-doping test.

That's at the same Labaratoire National de Dopistage du Dopage (LNDD) at Chatenay-Malabry that committed a boatload of procedural errors in the Landis case.

I'll give Floyd himself the last word:

Going through what I am now, I feel personally for Landaluze and hope that everyone recognizes that it has taken him 18 difficult months to clear his name from what was revealed to be a grievous error by the LNDD ... The track record of scientific misconduct at Chatenay-Malabry seems to grow by the day.

Posted by Frank Steele on December 21, 2006 in Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2005, Doping, Floyd Landis | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 19, 2006

Landis vs. Lance in Leadville?

Tour de France Champion Floyd Landis to Race 2007 Leadville Trail 100

According to the linked PR Newswire release, Floyd Landis has accepted an invitation to race at the Leadville Trail 100, a 100-mile mountain bike race in Colorado in August 2007.

Landis raced mountain bikes until 1998. His hip resurfacing, in mid-September, went well, and he's been back on the bike, including at a charity event on Sunday remembering his father-in-law and five firefighters who died fighting the Esperanza fire in October.

Former Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has already committed to the 2007 edition of the race.

If the release is on the level, and Landis hasn't been cleared of pending dope charges and resumed road racing, it would be Landis's first race since the 2006 Tour.

It would certainly pump up interest in the race to have two former Tour winners fighting it out on dirt.

Go Clipless was one of the first to report this rumor.

Posted by Frank Steele on December 19, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 15, 2006

Landis lab admits "administrative" error

ESPN.com | Report: Anti-doping lab erred in Landis B sample report

Free Floyd
originally uploaded by cjammet.
The Chatenay-Malabry lab that initiated doping findings against 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis admitted today (in Le Monde, in French) that its report on Landis's B-sample includes the wrong number for the sample tested.

Landis and his team have pointed out that the sample Landis provided was labeled 995474. In the report, the lab referred to the tested B sample as number 994474. The Landis team suggests this "has to make you wonder about the accuracy of the work."

The lab, for its part, says the sample tested was Floyd's.

"The error, of an administrative nature, does not mean the positive B sample was not that of the American," Le Monde said. "But it is being used today by his lawyers ... to contest his positive doping results."

Meanwhile, Landis spokesman Michael Henson says no one working for Landis was involved in the hacking of the lab's computers and clumsily forged e-mails questioning the lab's abilities.

Henson told Samuel Abt:

"We don't know who would perpetrate this ... We certainly don't know what the source of this incident is.

"We're following the news, but we haven't been contacted by any authorities," Henson continued. "We're not challenging the report, but we need to see details of the investigation."

Posted by Frank Steele on November 15, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

L'Equipe says Landis implicated in lab hack

Yahoo! Sport | Landis aide suspected of piracy at French drugs lab

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

Landis on Stade 2Sunday, Floyd Landis did his first interview since the Tour with French media, appearing on the weekly sports program Stade 2. No real news there — he made the case he's been making in the U.S., but to the French people, and indirectly to the ASO, which will decide whether to strip his 2006 Tour title.

Then, less than 48 hours later, a story appears in L'Equipe (in French) (English story linked above) claiming computer systems at the Chatenay-Malabry lab that tested Tour de France samples this year have been hacked. On top of that, L'Equipe claims investigators are focusing on “an associate” of Landis in the investigation.

The incursion apparently occurred back in September, with e-mails "in poor French" being sent alongside lab documents chosen to make the facility look bad. Lab officials say the documents “were taken out of context,” which means they're not actually false. The head of the French anti-doping agency took the opportunity to lobby for more tax dollars to better hack-proof the lab's computers.

I suspect there's less story here than initially reported. I can't believe that anyone actually involved in the case would first hack into the system, then send badly forged e-mails that included files garnered by the hacking.


procyling | Landis link to French "hack attack"

Trust But Verify | Tuesday Roundup

TBV offers as much detail as anyone could want on the continuing Floyd farce.

Posted by Frank Steele on November 15, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 09, 2006

Landis taking the offensive

USAToday.com | Landis lays out probable defense, claims doping lab work was sloppy

Embattled 2006 Tour champion Floyd Landis has shared his defense presentation with USA Today, and plans to post more than 300 pages of his defense to FloydLandis.com this week (Landis has himself said it will go up on Thursday).

Sal Ruibal of USA Today says the Landis testimony claims the WADA lab test showed inconsistent numbers, with the original number being covered by correction fluid and the number for Landis filled in. This would appear to contravene WADA procedures, which require corrections to be struck through and initialed.

Landis also maintains that only one of four testosterone metabolites were above acceptable levels, and that all four must be to support a positive doping finding.

Loads more at TrustButVerify, including links to comments by Landis at DailyPeloton's forums.

Posted by Frank Steele on October 9, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 18, 2006

Landis makes his case at Vuelta

VeloNews | Landis visits Vuelta, maintains innocence

Landis with Phonak busEmbattled Tour winner Floyd Landis took the charm offensive to Europe on Sunday, visiting the final stage of the Vuelta a España in Madrid.

Landis told journalists he is confident he will be exonerated after a high testosterone-epitestosterone ratio turned up in his drug test after an epic Stage 17 ride at the Tour de France.

“The Tour's doping tests are full of irregularities,” said Landis. “I'm innocent and I think my lawyers are going to be able to prove it, though they've had lots of difficulties gathering information.”

“I've come to talk with my lawyers and to also say goodbye to my teammates at Phonak because after the Tour I just didn't have time to do so,” he said.

Posted by Frank Steele on September 18, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 11, 2006

Next round for Landis apparently to kick off today


Floyd Landis(Breathless capital letters above from the source, at the FloydLandis.com weblog.)

We should get to see some details on the defense of Floyd Landis later today. Landis, who showed up at a criterium near his boyhood home on Saturday, posted on his weblog Friday that his legal team will ask USADA to dismiss doping allegations against the 2006 Tour winner.

Landis says his team has discovered “inconsistencies in the testing protoocol and methodology” that should lead to his case being thrown out.

I'm sure whatever breaks will be covered quickly at Trust But Verify.

Posted by Frank Steele on September 11, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 08, 2006

Tour drug test results: 13 positives, 12 had medical exemptions

Reuters | 13 riders tested positive during Tour de France, 12 exempted

Final doping results are in form this year's Tour, and 13 riders actually tested positive for one banned substance or another during 19 tests.

Twelve of those riders won't be disciplined because they had “Therapeutic Use Exemptions,” representing medical permission to use a substance that would otherwise be on the banned list. Phonak's Floyd Landis, who won the Tour, faces suspension and loss of his title as the 13th rider.

The results point up how many riders have exemptions (Landis also had one during this year's Tour, for cortisone, used to treat his decaying hip), and the possibility that at least some of them are not strictly necessary. Out of 105 riders tested at some point during the Tour, 60 percent had a medical exemption for at least one banned substance.

Speaking of Landis, Trust but Verify is keeping up with almost all the news about his case, and doing a great job of it. You'll also pick up facts like “Billiards is the dirtiest of all sports” from it.

Posted by Frank Steele on September 8, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 21, 2006

Tour 2006 mashup video on YouTube

YouTube | Tour de France 2006

YouTube user "monoloque" has posted a mashup video featuring OLN video from the Tour, historic Tour video, still images from the race and news coverage, and music by Kraftwerk into a 6.5-minute video about the 2006 Tour.

I think it's fair to say he's got an opinion on the Landis case. Whether you believe Landis or not, this is a nice collection.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 21, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Links, Oscar Pereiro, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 19, 2006

Late Late Show host calls Landis "positive for chickensh*t"

I was just watching Craig Ferguson's opening monologue on the CBS Late Late Show.

Ferguson mentioned that Floyd Landis had been scheduled to appear, and gave a rudimentary overview of the current doping case against Landis. “Hmmm,” he continued, “looks like someone tested positive for chickensh*t,” which I asterisk-ize because it was bleeped by the network, so maybe he said chickenshot, who knows.

Ferguson pretended to be scooping something up with his fingertip, giving it a smell, holding it up to the light. “Yep, that's chickensh*t.”

The audience ate it up. If Landis had backed out at the last minute, solely because he doesn't want to face the press, I might have considered that a fair shot, but not under the circumstances.

The guy's father-in-law killed himself just Tuesday afternoon. There's probably a lot more important things he needs to take care of right now than the light-night talk shows.

Update: Okay, mea culpa. It was indeed a rerun; I was thrown because a) I hadn't seen it, and b) they led it off with a teaser about coming back after the golf highlights that I thought meant Ferguson was in the studio. Apparently, this was an episode from July 31, and Landis did indeed leave the show high and dry.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 19, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Television | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Landis's father-in-law dead of apparent suicide

SignOnSanDiego.com | Cyclist Landis' father-in-law dies

Tour de France winner Floyd Landis's father-in-law was found dead in his car Tuesday afternoon, an apparent suicide.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that medical examiners are still investigating the cause of death, but initial police reports called it a suicide.

David Witt, 57, who owned a restaurant in San Diego with his wife, was Landis's roommate soon after Landis moved to San Diego. Witt, who shared a coach with Landis, was dating his wife Rose at the time, and introduced Landis to her daughter from a previous marriage, Amber Basile.

Witt and Landis served as best men at each other's weddings.

Update: Coroner's office officials have reported Witt died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Witt's suicide was probably not a direct result of the doping case against Landis, according to family friend Dwight Van Slyke:

“It could have been a few percentages of the whole maybe, or just another negative thing that he was depressed over,” said van Slyke, adding Witt had also been struggling under the strain of opening a new restaurant earlier this year.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 16, 2006 in Floyd Landis | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Teams ask UCI to dump Phonak, Astana immediately

VeloNews | AIGCP demands immediate Phonak and Astana suspensions

Phonak and Astana continue to compete, although Phonak's owner announced yesterday that he'll shutter the team at the end of the year. Astana is being managed by 3 men appointed by Manolo Saiz, whose Active Bay Cycling still owns the team's license, despite efforts by Alexandre Vinokourov and the team's new Kazakh sponsors to buy Saiz out.

With Phonak's Floyd Landis returning a too-high T/E ratio at the Tour, and facing possible revocation of his Tour title, team managers met in Brussels on Wednesday and asked the UCI's License committee to suspend both Phonak and Astana immmediately, with a ruling by Monday.

Of the ProTour's 20 teams, 17 had representatives at the meeting -- all but Phonak, Astana, and AG2R, whose Francisco Mancebo was among the riders held out of this year's Tour.

VeloNews reports that the AIGCP, the International Association of Professional Cycling Groups, also demanded that the UCI reveal all the names implicated in Operación Puerto by next Tuesday.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 16, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Manolo Saiz, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 15, 2006

Landis responds to Phonak shutdown

FloydLandis.com | An Open Letter to the Phonak Professional Cycling Team

Floyd Landis has responded to the end of the Phonak team with an open letter on his website.

Landis thanks his team and praises team owner Andy Rihs for his commitment to the squad “despite the struggles you've faced in the past.”

While the recent allegations against me hurt us all, I respect the fact that the Phonak team must follow its own rules and charter under these circumstances. I just wish that all the parties involved would do the same. Despite this, I will not relent on my pursuit of the truth. I will not shy away from this fight.

Most of all, I understand that this situation impacts families and friends other than my own. It affects the businesses and sponsors that support cycling as well as the sport itself. It is for this reason that I am determined to show that I followed the rules and won fairly and cleanly. There is a greater integrity at stake here than just my own.

The signature? “Floyd Landis, 2006 Tour de France Champion.”

Posted by Frank Steele on August 15, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Phonak management quits the sport

Landis, Phonak, Rodriguez

IHT.com | Cycling: Shunned by sponsors, Landis's team dies

Phonak owner Andy Rihs announced today that the Phonak team, dogged by doping case after doping case, will close down at the end of the season.

Rihs, who had brought in John Lelangue and instituted internal testing above and beyond the UCI's standards, said he couldn't find any sponsor willing to support the team, even at a single Swiss franc, or about 80 cents.

Phonak had already announced that it would end its sponsorship at the end of the season, but Rihs had lined up the iShares group of Barclays Bank to take over. Now, with Phonak's Tour winner Floyd Landis facing revocation of his title, iShares has withdrawn from the agreement.


“As a passionate cyclist, I am bitterly disappointed that the sport of cycling apparently has become a synonym for doping.”

Rihs has notified the team's riders that they will not have contracts next year, and riders are scrambling to find new teams. Axel Merckx, who had just extended for one final year with Phonak, told ProCycling, “I want to stick with that decision. If there is a chance I can extend my career I would still like to do one more year.”


VeloNews | End of the road for Phonak

Posted by Frank Steele on August 15, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Doping...Cycling...Pro Cycling...Media...Stupidity

Joe Baratto, a coach, a Category 1 bike racer, and fellow teammate, emailed the team about "Doping...Cycling...Pro Cycling...Media...Stupidity," and I'll quote it here

For what's it worth I'll give you my two cents. First and foremost, Floyd did NOT, and I'll put that up again DID NOT test high for Testosterone like the whole fricken world is being lead to believe. His Ratio was high... and seemingly the media has forgotten simple math which states that there could actually be TWO things that make a ratio go up or down. Now Floyd's T/E ratio is high so that means either T (Testosterone) is high relative to E (Epitestosterone) OR the E is LOW relative to the T. Floyd's case is the latter. His testosterone level was completely normal.

Now what about the isotope thingy? That shows exogenous (from the outside) testosterone. Good question, wish SOMEONE had the correct answer. It is seemly pretty good test but I'm also wondering to what degree are they seeing this? There are NO limits, just the presence of at least ONE Carbon isotope. Out of curiosity, it would be interesting to see the results if they tested ALL the TDF samples with that test. Then we'd see how many others showed this anomaly. The sad thing is people actually doping usually don't get caught since they know if you supplement with Testosterone you also need add some epitestosterone and WATCH your ratio. Most get caught by being careless or stupid.

Now, do I like this, not really, but honestly if anyone believes that's why these guys are pro's (because they dope) they really need a huge reality check. They are pro's because they are GREAT athletes. Period. They work very hard, and are very gifted. A couple years ago some dillweed wrote a stupid article in "Outside" magazine about how he took "the whole deal" EPO, HCG, HGH, Steroids, was medically monitored, given a good training program, and supervision. He made HUGE gains.... Compared to WHAT? He felt incredible, compared to WHAT? He said he could climb better.. compared to WHAT? No times, wattages, or anything concrete was given on his performance gains other then "I felt like superman." Gee isn't that scientific proof at its best. Do drugs work - depends on what is your limiting factors and what drugs you're using. HGH does nothing for anyone under 40, and then it works on those who are NOT physically active since physically activity causes HGH to be secreted (it's a bit more complicated but for 99% of pro's this does nothing). EPO - well again if your limiting factor is oxygen to the muscles then yes, but for most, the limiting factor is the oxidative capacity of their muscles.

The simple truth is that the highest hematocrit doesn't win the tour, the highest VO2 Max doesn't win the tour, nor does the biggest lung volume or lowest resting heart rate. No ONE factor makes you great. So when friends and family ask about this...cycling is no better OR worse then any other pro sport. Great athletes are great because they are great, NOT BECAUSE OF DRUGS. Weak, pathetic, lazy, people like to think they are tojustify why they aren't Pro's. Bottom line, work fricken hard and you'll get better. How much better... keep working hard and you'll see.

Joe makes some good points and considering "one carbon isotope," I was shocked by Pound's screed yesterday. What governing body speaks like that and is accountable to no one? It's that's stupidity of Pound that I hope Floyd fights. Same thing with all of the unproven allegations in Operation Puerto. Careers are ruined, sponsors abandon, years of hard work destroyed all on allegations. If anything is the "year of excrement," as Pound says, it's WADA and irresponsible leadership.

Posted by Byron on August 15, 2006 in Floyd Landis | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack

August 14, 2006

Bob Roll interview with Utah NPR

KCPW | Star Cycling Commentator Sounds-Off

Julie Rose interviews former pro and OLN commentator Bob Roll, in Utah for the just-completed Tour of Utah, won by HealthNet's Scott Moninger.

Roll talks about OLN's ratings, doping and testing in cycling, and the Floyd Landis case.

Roll says “there's not enough testosterone in the world to triple your testosterone levels in a 24-hour period...I believe Floyd in that.”

He also calls cycling “the cleanest professional sport in the world.”

Note that there are two "listen" widgets on the page -- the first is just a preview; the second is the full 20 minutes of (a pretty subdued, actually) Bobke.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 14, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Links | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 13, 2006

Phonak owner Rihs schedules Tuesday press conference

VeloNews | Is Phonak's future in doubt? Rihs plans a press conference

Andy Rihs, who owns the ProTour license for the Phonak team, will address the team's future at a press conference on Tuesday.

Secondary 2006 sponsor iShares had announced plans to take over the team's primary sponsorship, and the entire Tour squad was signed to contract extensions, but that was all before team leader Floyd Landis had a drug test come back with a high testosterone/epitestosterone ratio.

Phonak has fired Landis, but he looks likely to join a long list of Phonak riders who have been sanctioned for doping, a list that includes Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Perez, Oscar Camenzind, and six others in the last 3 years.

QuickStep DS Patrick Lefevere, who is also president of the International Association of Professional Cycling Teams, has advocated suing Landis and kicking Phonak out of the ProTour. Meanwhile, Skoda withdrew from its contract as the primary auto sponsor of the Tour, and it's possible that iShares has informed Rihs that they intend to do likewise.

Update: CyclingNews says that's just what has happened, and that Rihs has been unable to find a new sponsor. Their source is reportedly Blick magazine, but I can't find the referenced article.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 13, 2006 in Floyd Landis | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 11, 2006

Your Friday Landis update

WSJ.com | The Numbers Guy: More on the Landis Controversy

The Wall Street Journal's “Numbers Guy,” Carl Bialik, looks at some of the technical issues around the Landis positive: the low epitestosterone level, Landis's other Tour samples, the rate of metabolism for synthetic testosterone, and the chance of a lab error.

As Bialik says, “the numbers don't bode well for Mr. Landis.”

Also, just like Saul Raisin here in Atlanta, Landis will be traveling to Chicago this weekend to make a public appearance and sign autographs, as reportedly is Christian Vande Velde, at the opening of a new “multi-sport training facility” called Vision Quest, associated with Landis coach Robbie Ventura. Not scheduled to appear is Matthew Modine.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 11, 2006 in Christian Vande Velde, Doping, Floyd Landis, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 07, 2006

Landis regroups, hits US media

USATODAY.com | Landis fires back at cycling hierachy

Reigning (but for how long) Tour winner Floyd Landis did the media circuit this morning, appearing from Los Angeles with Robin Roberts at ABC's Good Morning America, as well as the Today Show, CNN, ESPN, and CBS.

The first shot of his campaign was an interview with Sal Ruibal, linked above, where Landis claimed the UCI and WADA have been very slow to provide him with information on his positive tests.

“I just got the information on the 'A' sample a day and half ago,” he said. “I had to find out about the 'B' from reading it in the media.”

Landis emphasized to Ruibal and Roberts that he regrets talking to the media immediately, speculating on possible reasons for a test whose actual results he hadn't yet seen:

“I've been catching a lot of grief in the press: ‘Floyd has a new excuse, a new reason for what happened.’ This is a situation where I'm forced to defend myself in the media. It would never have happened if UCI and WADA had followed their own rules,” Landis said.

“There's some kind of agenda there,” he said wearily. “I just don't know what it is.”

Landis has scheduled his hip surgery for about 2 weeks from now, and looks likely to combine recuperation, preparation, and adjudication, as he will face a USADA hearing in the next month or so.


The Valley News | Murrieta welcomes home Tour de France champ

Murrieta mayor Kelly Seyarto says “We are not in a position to make a judgment one way or the other,” and that the city plans to honor Landis “more officially.”

Posted by Frank Steele on August 7, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 06, 2006

Foam Board Signs for Floyd

Supporting Floyd

(AP Photo/Francis Specker)

The AP reports that the locals believe Floyd and have rallied support for him. Reading this backgrounder on Floyd, you can see why.

"If they are lucky enough to be on their bikes when he comes along, they might end up riding a few miles with the man himself. "He'll tie in with anybody," says Matt Barringer of I.E. Bikes in Murrieta, Landis' hometown bike shop. "You'll be going along at a comfortable pace, talking, but then when he gets to a hill, he'll say goodbye and tell you he's got to hit the hill hard." Floyd's a pro that rides with the locals and expect that support to continue through this long struggle.

You'll find much less support from sports writers and Gwen Knapp writes about even sadder cycling tales.

Posted by Byron on August 6, 2006 in Floyd Landis | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 05, 2006

Landis B-sample positive: Fired by Phonak, likely to lose Tour title

globeandmail.com | Landis backup test confirms finding

Presumptive 2006 Tour winner Floyd Landis was fired by Phonak today after the test of his B-sample came back positive for a high testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio.

Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour, said “It goes without saying that for us Floyd Landis is no longer the winner of the 2006 Tour de France.” ASO cannot unilaterally strip Landis of the title, but must wait for the UCI to name Oscar Pereiro the Tour champion, as Denis Menchov inherited the 2005 Vuelta a España title.

Landis repeated his assertions that he is innocent, and that he'll contest the results in any way available:

“I will fight these charges with the same determination and intensity that I bring to my training and racing. It is now my goal to clear my name and restore what I worked so hard to achieve.”

Phonak offered a short statement outlining the dismissal, and saying Landis's defense is now “his personal affair.” The team promises a press conference “in the next couple of days.”


cyclingnews.com | Landis' counsel issues statement on B sample finding

Posted by Frank Steele on August 5, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (44) | TrackBack

August 04, 2006

From the Top to the Bottom

On of our readers commented that Floyd has posted a statement on his blog this afternoon. Floyd ask us to, "keep the faith" and continues on to tell his side of the story.

Posted by Byron on August 4, 2006 in Floyd Landis | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 03, 2006

Troubling leaks

The AP reports on the concerns about leaks and criticism of the UCI from Floyd's attorney and notes "the provisional suspension earlier this year of a high-ranking UCI official for leaking documents and-or information to" the French newspaper LEquipe. The article continues with the dispute of whether or not a CIR (to detect not natural elements) test was performed and what the results are. In this turn of the story, it's good to see Floyd's team on the offensive and Cyclingnews has more on his counter claims and the impending battle.

Posted by Byron on August 3, 2006 in Floyd Landis | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

July 31, 2006

Synthetic testosterone in Landis sample

nytimes.com | New Finding Challenges Landis Claim

The New York Times is reporting that Floyd Landis's A-sample was tested by mass spectrometry, and turned up differing carbon isotope ratios, which is generally a sign of synthetic testosterone use.

Landis will now have to explain how the synthetic testosterone got into the sample, rather than attacking the admittedly weak baseline T/E ratio test.

Landis finally requested a test of his B-sample today, which should give results before the lab closes for a holiday starting Monday.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 31, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (25)

July 29, 2006

I need testerone!

I rode next to a commuter that was really grinding the pedals over a bridge and he quipped, "I need testerone!" And I said, yeah, "a patch right on your balls!" (referring to the SI.com article) We both chuckled a bit, but the exchange did indicate the impact of this story and how the Landis story is everywhere. While I don't believe anything about pro cycling anymore, I'm relieved to see Landis on the PR offensive, getting his story out, and he's making a good case. As the story came out, my biggest concern was that we'd have another Tyler Hamilton story and the ill-fated "I believe Tyler" campaign. Landis has already done well to raise doubt, get support from Lance, bring on the doctors, and it isn't a confusing chimera defense.

Posted by Byron on July 29, 2006 in Floyd Landis | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Landis on Larry King

Travel day today, so I'll be slow to approve comments, but I wanted to point out a couple of things from Landis on “Larry King Live” last night.

Maybe we need to come up with a different word than “suspended,” but it seems to me that if you can't race, and face possible dismissal, you've been suspended. Landis wouldn't cop to that -- he said something like that he had voluntarily stopped racing until this was cleared up -- but I believe UCI regs prohibit him from racing until then.

Landis hadn't yet approved the B-sample test, but he said that was just a matter of trying to work out his options, and to find an appropriate expert to be his representative, and that he expected to notify USA Cyling later Friday night or this morning.

Lance Armstrong called in, and was somewhat supportive, taking the opportunity to note that this is the same lab that tested those infamous samples from 1999. Armstrong says he doesn't think there's any anti-American bias behind the test: “I wouldn't say that that's the reason Floyd's going through this.”

Dr. Brent Kay is Landis's doctor, board-certified in sports medicine and internal medicine. He said it's “crazy to think a Tour de France rider would be using testosterone in the middle of the race ... It's a joke.” A member of WADA has pretty much said the same thing.

Landis said he was tested 6 times before Stage 17 (I've also heard him say 5 times), but that he isn't provided with results from negative tests, so he's not sure what his TE ratios or other values were on any of those.

Dr. Kay noted that the TE ratio test itself “is the original test that was put into effect 25 years ago,” and that WADA's website “says this is a poor test.”

Looks like the offensive may be working -- the Today show just teased the story without using the word “dope” (they used “cheating” instead).

NPR also had a 15-minute interview, which you can download as an MP3:

NPR.org | Awaiting Test Results, Landis Fears for Reputation

Posted by Frank Steele on July 29, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 28, 2006

Landis likes Larry, eludes Leno

Don't look for Floyd Landis on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight. Landis was scheduled, but cancelled after his A sample from Stage 17 tested over the testosterone/epitestosterone ratio limit.

He will, however, visit America's greatest softball pitcher, the tried-and-true first defense of the scandal-plagued: Larry King Live. Landis will of course discuss his initial positive test.

Another Floyd tidbit: FreeFloydLandis is a new weblog by somebody who knows more about this stuff than I do: Lots of stuff about 13C/12C ratios, IRMS tests, and ethanol.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 28, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

July 27, 2006

Landis speaks: Denies doping

SI.com | Austin Murphy: Landis denies doping allegations

Floyd Landis, seemingly the invisible man since the UCI said a rider had tested positive during this year's Tour, has spoken to SI.com's Austin Murphy.

Landis says he's a realist, and “can't be hopeful” that the B sample will measure differently from the A. Landis says he'll work with Spanish doctor Luis Hernandez, who has defended other riders in high testosterone cases, all successfully.

Landis offers two possible contributors to the positive: the cortisone treatment we've all heard about, and a thyroid condition he says has led him to take a daily dose of thyroid hormone.

I note that, as of 4:36, BelieveFloyd.com has been registered and parked. CafePress t-shirts can't be far behind.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 27, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (18)

Landis reaction from around the web

Man of the hour

King Kaufman's Sports Daily | Tour de France shocker

Salon's daily sports columnist King Kaufman quotes John Eustis, interviewed on ESPN's Dan Patrick show, and noting that every rider who has contested the testosterone test has prevailed. Eustis also claimed that Landis's testosterone levels were low, but the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone was above 4:1, the new “positive” level this year.

Cortisone use (approved for use on Landis's hip) can reportedly raise testosterone levels, as can alcohol.

BBC Sport talked to Greg Lemond, who's apparently not in the “wait for the b-sample” crowd:

“I'm devastated and extremely disapointed,” he said. “I can't imagine the disappointment for Floyd and his family. I really did believe Floyd was clean.

”The problem is the sport is corrupt and it corrupts everybody. I still believe it was one of the cleanest Tours ever. But is it 100 percent clean? No.

“You will always find riders who transgress the laws. I really did believe Floyd was not among them, that he was clean. Hopefully, he will be able to tell the truth.”

Some links suggested by my amazingly astute readers:

Gladwell.com | Drugstore Athlete

Especially section 3, which addresses testosterone testing in sports.

American Statistical Association | Inferences about Testosterone Abuse among Athletes

An academic paper about the likelihood of false positives, particularly given the new 4:1 “presumption of guilt” value.

Arlene Landis on Brasstown BaldSI.com has an AP story that includes quotes from Arlene Landis, Floyd's mother:

Arlene Landis, his mother, said Thursday that she wouldn't blame her son if he was taking medication to treat the pain in his injured hip, but “if it's something worse than that, then he doesn't deserve to win.”

“I didn't talk to him since that hit the fan, but I'm keeping things even keel until I know what the facts are,” she said in a phone interview from her home in Farmersville, Pa. “I know that this is a temptation to every rider but I'm not going to jump to conclusions ... It disappoints me.”

CBS Sportsline | Landis' mom defends Floyd against doping allegations

Later comments from Mrs. L: “My opinion is when he comes on top of this, everyone will think so much more of him. So that's what valleys are for, right?”

NPR.org | Talk of the Nation: Tour de France Winner Caught in Doping Scandal

Audio should be available around 6 p.m., but a reader who heard the report says Pelkey believes Landis tested around 11:1 testosterone:epitestosterone, but did so because his normal testosterone level dwarfed a very low epitestosterone level.

German network ZDF suggests they may drop the Tour, and that a positive dope test for the maillot jaune might seal the deal:

“We signed a broadcasting contract for a sporting event, not a show demonstrating the performances of the pharmaceutical industry,” ZDF editor-in-chief Nikolaus Brender said.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 27, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Landis over threshold for testosterone at Tour

CyclingNews.com | Phonak confirms Landis positive

The Phonak team confirms that their Tour de France champion Floyd Landis is the rider whose A-sample tested positive.

Intense speculation had focused on Landis, after it was announced that the test was taken after Stage 17, his epic breakaway to Morzine. Contrary to a couple of reports, the test was positive not for stimulants, but for a too-high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone.

The team website is unresponsive, but CyclingNews quotes a statement by the team:

“The team management and the rider were both totally surprised of this physiological result.

”The rider will ask in the upcoming days for the counter analysis to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake in the confirmation. In application of the Pro Tour Ethical Code, the rider will not race anymore until this problem is totally clear.

“If the result of the B sample analysis confirms the result of the A sample, the rider will be dismissed and will then pass the corresponding endocrinological examinations.”

Spanish investigators allege that testosterone patches were commonly prescribed by Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, at the center of the Operación Puerto investigation.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 27, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack

July 26, 2006

More on positive Tour rider

TimesOnline | New drugs revelation set to rock Tour to its foundations

Jeremy Whittle reports for the Times of London that the rider who tested positive at the Tour is a “high-profile rider” who tested above the allowed threshold for testosterone, and did so after Stage 17, the stage to Morzine won by Floyd Landis after his 130-kilometer breakaway.

Whittle quotes UCI president Pat McQuaid, who refused to name the rider:

“I will say that I am extremely angry and feel very let down by this,” McQuaid said. “The credibility of the sport is at stake. The rider, his federation and his team have been informed of the situation.”

The Tour organization performs daily tests for the stage winner (Landis), the race leader (Oscar Pereiro on that day), and a random selection of 6-8 riders. Additionally, 2-3 teams are sometimes chosen randomly to be tested before a day's stage, but this positive is apparently a post-stage sample.

How many riders could put “the credibility of the sport” at stake? Landis, of course, Pereiro probably, Klöden I suppose -- he did make the podium, and precious few others.

Landis reportedly skipped a scheduled criterium appearance Wednesday; Whittle notes this and that neither Landis nor director Lelangue could be reached for comment, but says nothing about Pereiro.

On the other hand, the Providence Journal has an AP story that says that, while the UCI said the rider's national federation has been notified, USA Cycling spokesman Andy Lee said the organization has not been contacted, while the US Anti-Doping Agency's spokeswoman offered a “no comment.”

Update 7/27 8 a.m.

Procycling quotes Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet that the product involved was a stimulant, and that the federations for the US, France, Spain, and Italy have all denied the rider is registered with them. CSC has also said it was not one of their riders.

The organizer of the Acht van Chaam criterium in Holland, upset that Landis pulled out of the event without an explanation, has been unable to reach Landis or Phonak manager Lelangue.

Update 7/27 9:45 a.m.

VeloNews offers a good summary, adding that AFP has reported that the German federation was not contacted, excluding Klöden, and that Landis is scheduled to appear on The Tonight Show on Friday.

Also, I neglected a quote from Pat McQuaid mentioned in the Procycling story above: TuttoBiciWeb, an Italian website quotes the UCI president calling it “The worst scenario possible” (actually il peggior scenario possibile, since the site's in Italian).

Posted by Frank Steele on July 26, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Doping, Floyd Landis, Oscar Pereiro, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (34) | TrackBack

Landis lifts OLN live ratings 77 percent

MediaDailyNews | Tour de France Proves Nielsen Tour de Force

The incredible comeback ride by Floyd Landis during Stage 17 also brought back OLN's drooping ratings.

Live viewership of Stage 17 was 77 percent higher than the battle on l'Alpe d'Huez the previous day. Overall viewership on the day rose 50 percent to 1.3 million for the day.

Through the balance of the race, the numbers stayed up, with viewership among men in three key demographics up by more than 90 percent.

The 2005 Tour, Lance Armstrong's last, averaged 1.6 million combined viewers per day, with an OLN-record 1.7 million tuning in for live coverage of the race's final stage.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 26, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 25, 2006

Floyd Landis roundup

Landis on Champs ElyseesTour winner Floyd Landis is racing at least a couple of European criteriums before returning to the US for some personal appearances, including a race in Chicago in mid-August, and a consultation on his osteonecrotic hip, which he hopes to have replaced in the next month.

Depending on the checkup, he may also race the Tour of Britain from August 29th through September 3rd.

CyclingNews offers a Floyd Landis rider's profile with a photo gallery of Landis throughout the Tour, and another angle on the post-race interview Landis gave reporters.

Greg Lemond called this year's Tour “the best of all time,” and said Landis is “clean, and what's more, he's a great guy.”

At left, “Thanks from the champion !” by Hugo*/Hughes Leglise-Bataille, part of his excellent Tour de France photoset from Sunday.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 25, 2006 in Floyd Landis | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 24, 2006

Landis extends with Phonak-iShares

cyclingnews.com | Phonak's Tour riders extend contracts

CyclingNews reports that all 9 riders from Phonak's Tour squad have extended. Axel Merckx signed for an additional year during the Tour, while Floyd Landis has extended for 1 year, and Bert Grabsch, Robbie Hunter, Nicolas Jalabert, Koos Moerenhout, Alexandre Moos, Victor Hugo Peña, and Miguel Angel Perdiguero all re-upped for 2 years.

CN.com also notes that Phonak was the big winner for Tour prize money (all totals in euros):

1) Phonak 496,280
2) Caisse d'Epargne 236,330
3) T-Mobile 219,660
4) CSC 160,580
5) Rabobank 141,870
6) Davitamon-Lotto 137,820
7) Lampre 76,850
8) AG2R 75,800
9) Saunier Duval 71,170
10) Gerolsteiner 66,830
11) Crédit Agricole 52,240
12) Bouygues Telecom 41,750
13) Milram 41,030
14) Cofidis 37,160
15) Discovery Channel 34,130
16) Liquigas 33,130
17) Française des Jeux 31,710
18) Quick-Step 30,970
19) Euskaltel 28,590
20) Agritubel 15,200

Note Discovery Channel in 15th.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 24, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

July 23, 2006

Armstrong: “We would take Floyd back”

SI.com | Armstrong impressed with Landis' effort

Seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong said Sunday he was impressed by Floyd Landis' Tour victory, and that Discovery would like to sign the Phonak captain:

“We've always been interested in Floyd, he's a damn good rider,” Armstrong said Sunday. “We would take Floyd back. We've pursued him for some time now.”

In my opinion, Landis doesn't want to go back to Discovery. I think he would be concerned about going back into Armstrong's shadow. Even retired, Armstrong is everywhere, making pronouncements to reporters from the top of l'Alpe d'Huez and the Hotel Crillon, publicly mending fences with Jean-Marie Leblanc, riding RAGBRAI, hosting the ESPYs.

I think that tactically, Discovery would have provided better support than Phonak for Landis, but I also suspect that if Landis stays with the team, iShares will want to protect their investment by signing a few strong support riders to bolster the returning Phonak squad.


ThePaceline.com (free reg. required) | Lance's thoughts on Floyd

Armstrong from Saturday:

His ride on Thursday was epic. He showed a champion's resolve. I look forward to seeing him up on the podium in Paris. If it couldn't be one of my guys from Discovery Channel, th[e]n I am thrilled to see Floyd continue the success of American cycling.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Vansevenant takes the Lanterne Rouge

IHT.com | In slow motion, an epic battle is lost at last

Samuel Abt profiles Wim Vansevenant and Jimmy Casper, the Stage 1 winner who has twice been the lanterne rouge, or last-placed rider in the Tour. The two were head-to-head yesterday, as Vansevenant finished 11:26 back, in 131st, but Casper topped (bottomed?) him, 138th at 13:37, closing the gap to only 16 seconds.

Vansevenant got some bonus time at the day's second sprint, but he still managed to finish 138th (out of 139) today, losing another 1:54 on the day to cement his hold on the 2006 Tour's lanterne rouge.

Vansevenant finished 4:02:01 behind Floyd Landis.

“Lanterne rouge is not a position you go for,” Vansevenant said. “It comes for you.”


Tour de France Lanterne Rouge weblog

Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2006 in About the Tour, Floyd Landis, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Hushovd adds Paris to Strasbourg; Landis triumphs

Two lions top the podiumA late escape attempt by Discovery Channel may have overcooked Robbie McEwen, as Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd easily outsprinted Davitamon-Lotto's sprint king to take the final stage of the 2006 Tour de France. CSC's Stuart O'Grady, recovering from a fractured spine suffered early in the race, took 3rd on the day.

Hushovd completed an unusual set of bookends, winning the Prologue time trial 3 weeks ago yesterday and now taking the final stage into Paris.

Floyd Landis stayed near the front early and stayed out of the dicey sprint at the end to nail down his first-ever Tour de France victory, finishing 69th on the day, 8 seconds behind Hushovd. It's the 8th straight US win of the race, after Lance Armstrong's 7 consecutive wins.

McEwen can take some solace from his 3rd green jersey win, resulting from his 3 stage wins.

Michael Rasmussen's tremendous breakaway win to La Toussuire, overshadowed by Landis's attack the following day, shot him to the lead, and the overall win, in the climber's polka-dot jersey competition.

Damiano Cunego, already a winner of the Giro d'Italia, takes the best young rider's white jersey, just 38 seconds ahead of Marcus Fothen of Gerolsteiner. The pair were about 90 minutes ahead of the next competitor in the under-25 competition.

Saunier Duval's David de la Fuente, the climbing jersey leader until Rasmussen's big day out front, takes the overall “most combative rider” prize.

Landis took his final yellow jersey of the Tour with his daughter Ryan on the podium.

Post-race interview with Frankie Andreu: Landis says, “Right now, I have no intention of switching teams.” Leaves a little wiggle room, but sounds like the iShares team (as Phonak will be called next year) has its Tour captain for 2007.

Top 10:
1) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, in 3:56:52
2) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, same time
3) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, Australia, s.t.
4) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
5) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
6) Samuel Dumoulin, AG2R, France, s.t.
7) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, Austria, s.t.
8) Anthony Geslin, Bouyges Telecom, France, s.t.
9) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
10) Peter Wrolich, Gerolsteiner, Austria, s.t.
Stage results

1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 89:39:30
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :57
3) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:29
4) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:13
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 5:08
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 7:06
7) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 8:41
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 9:37
9) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 12:05
10) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 15:07
Final overall standings

Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Erik Dekker, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Oscar Pereiro, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stage 19 ITT photo galleries

Honchar flies to stage win Cunego defends white jersey with strong TT Pereiro battles for yellow Landis speaks

Honchar strikes, Cunego surprises, Pereiro survives, Landis speaks, from Stage 19 photo gallery, by Caroline Yang.

Ekimov 6th in ITT at 40 Klöden 2nd on the day Landis back in yellow

Ekimov rocks the TT, Klöden claws back to the podium, and Landis is back in yellow, from Stage 19 photo gallery by Graham Watson.


CyclingNews.com | Stage 19 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Damiano Cunego, Floyd Landis, Oscar Pereiro, Photo galleries, Tour de France 2006, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Commuter Challenge with a "Landis"

The latest commuter challenge occurred Friday and included a "landis." I was just spinning along and a commuter rode up to me, said, "something, something Landis" and then accelerated off never to be seen again. Normally, I'd see a commuter again at a light, train crossing, or on the trail, but not on that day. He pretty much time-trialed Landis style to work and dropped me. I hope he set a record time for that effort and I'm sure a lasting legacy of this year's tour will be everyone wanting to ride (or commute) like Landis.

Posted by Byron on July 23, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack