Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Young Lance

Here's one of those stories and pictures that crops up on the Internet every once in a while: A 15-year-old Lance Armstrong (right) and his agent Scott Eder, seconds after Our Very Boy Lance won the 1987 Hillcrest-Tulsa Triathlon.

There's a story in the Tulsa World in advance of
the 25th annual Tulsa Triathlon June 10. There's a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bicycle race and a 10-kilometer run.

OTHER GOOD READS:
-- LA Times Michael Hiltzik: Landis case succeeds in exposing faults
-- William Fotherington in the Guardian: Tour tells former winner Riis to stay way after drugs confession

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

File Under: WRONG Part II

What is it with bike theft these days! Last year around this same time, I was writing about Heinz Stucke, the "Forrest Gump of Cycling," who had his bike stolen on one of his circumnavigations (yes that is plural as the man has been cyc-lin and cyc-lin since he left his German home in 1962) of the globe.

Earlier this month, Team Lamonta had their entire supply of LOOK/SRAM bikes stolen while at the Olympia’s Tour in the Netherlands.

Now comes the story below, orginally printed on Velonews. Since this is as social a network medium as they come, I thought that I'd help get the word out.

Thieves nick 300 bikes destined for Tulsa kids' ride
By VeloNews.com
This report filed May 30, 2007

It was tough news for Tulsa Tough Ride and Race-300 Schwinns destined for school-age kids tackling a special Tough Kids 10km ride on Sunday have gone missing.

A 40-foot steel shipping container containing the bikes was apparently stolen last weekend from the Pacific Cycles shipping yard.

The youngsters earned the bikes through the Tough Kids Challenge, a program in which middle- and high-school students either participated in Tulsa's Little 100 cycling event or completed a bicycle-safety education course.

Tulsa Tough Ride and Race launched the youth health and fitness initiative this year with the support of The Children's Hospital at St. Francis.

The bikes, which sported the Tulsa Tough, Little 100 and Saint Francis logos, were to be delivered on Tuesday and assembled on Wednesday for pickup on Saturday. Organizers were hoping to find loaner bikes for Sunday's Tough Kids ride.

For more information, email info@tulsatough.com.

**UPDATE: May 31st @ 9:00am EST - Bikes were recovered by Dallas Police. Volunteers, including Ed of Cycledog stayed up all night assembling the cycles for the Saturday pickup.

Some DAP For Gibo

For all that he is (a two time Giro d'Italia champion) and for all that he's claimed to be (a serious challenger to Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France), you can't deny Gilberto Simoni's talent as a climber.

The 35 year old from Trento, Italy again showed why he'll be considered one of Italy's greatest cyclists (there I said it; who else you got...and no I'm not saying he's Fausto Coppi). Simoni won today's Stage 17 up Monte Zoncolan in superlative fashion. His second win up the steep climb, the first coming 4 year ago, Simoni also moved himself onto a podium position.

"I did not know if it was possible to win here again after four years...I saw that Di Luca was too strong for me [in the overall picture] so to win this stage helps," said Simoni.

The stage saw the trio of Leonardo Piepoli (Simoni's Saunier Duval teammate), Andy Schleck (yes there's another talented Schleck on CSC), and Simoni attempt to distance themselves from the maglia rosa on the Zoncolan. Danilo DiLuca (Liquigas), however, was just strong enough on the finale and finished fourth on the day.

With Sunday's ride into Milan quickly approaching and with a lead of more than 2 minutes, DiLuca is that much closer to locking up what would be his greatest victory. But like every athlete in his current position, "The Killer" refuses to think about any part of a celebration saying, "My advantage is important but it is not decisive."

The Mountain Cometh

It wasn't exactly a rest day yesterday at the Giro d' Italia, but it seemed that way for the favorites and those ranked highly on the General Classification (GC). With the exception of former champion, Stefano Garzelli, who won his second mountain stage, Stage 16 amounted to "the quiet before the storm." And what a storm that may be!

Stage 17 from Lienz to Monte Zoncolan has been earmarked by the riders and tifosi alike ever since this year's route was announced. As you can see from the profile of the mountain top finish, this stage has the makings of being the final GC decider.

Current maglia rosa wearer, Danilo DiLuca (Liquigas) will need his "killer" instincts to be extremely astute. He will most likely have to fend off every would be contender up Zoncolan alone as his team has faded since the route turned uphill.

Saunier Duval, with its full complement of 9 riders, looks to be the most well placed team, as both Ricardo Ricco and Gilberto Simoni are only a few minutes arrear. Climber (and currently second on the GC), Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana), however, will have a say in the matter especially with Paolo Salvodelli aiding his cause.

Follow today's events LIVE on Cyclingnews or Velonews.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Katie's Korner

Our IronGal in training, Katie, checks in after a bit of an absence from the blog, and as you'll read, a little absence from training as well. C'est la vie, no? And no worries blogosphere fans, although Katie's training journal for the Ford Ironman Coeur d'Alene will be over in three weeks, she'll be a regular contributor as the Triple Crankset's resident Physical Therapist.

Life Happens!
Hey there, long time no journaling! Mainly because I missed the last two weekends of long biking due to travel! OOooopss!! The good news is, it was well worth it!

Brandon graduated from law school and we are now engaged!! Hooorray!! I could not be happier!! But, this is an Ironman journal so I will try not to digress!!

For starters, I think my coach is on crack. I basically listen to her suggestions and then do my own thing. She is great, but crazy. For example, today, she wanted me to swim an hour....rest 90 minutes for breakfast....bike 6 hours...rest 90 minutes.....run 2 hours.

ARE YOU FLIPPIN SERIOUS DUDE!

Now, for those of you "serious and seasoned" Ironmen and Ironwomen...great for you. I hope you enjoyed yourself out there.

As for me, I felt great about my 6.5 hour bike ride (107 miles). Especially considering I had 2....yes 2... flat tires I had to fix! Also, I was going up this million grade hill (or really steep hill) and I shifted to a low gear and ooops, off goes the chain. I NEARLY FELL OVER! I had to get off and walk up the hill. I had to laugh at myself.

I had to laugh to myself again at about mile 54 when I passed a large farm crop of cows that mooooooo'd at me as I passed. And again at mile 72 when I began to sing renditions of Wison Phillips "Release Me" and "Hold On" from my teenage years. Okay, so I'm a dork....but you'd be surprised what you would do by yourself for 6 hours!

The weather has been so incredibly crappy lately, I was lucky to even get out on the bike. I had tried last weekend and nearly got frostbite on my fingers! Again, for those of you psycho...I mean seasoned triathletes...you probably have every piece of garb to protect you from such conditions. But me, in my high school soccer shirt and spandex SHORTS...I'm less than prepared.

Anyways, today felt great except I have a bit of a headache now. I think it is more due to my neck musculature as opposed to my lack of hydration. I really need to work on my chin tucks while on the bike!

Tomorrow is a long run and then Brandon is taking me to the driving range and then the tennis courts to create our own rendition of a triathlon.

Congrats to Scott and Brandon for graduating from law school...and GOOD LUCK on the bar.

Beth, if you want to send this on to Elaine and Rich, please do as I don't know their email.

In closing, I will try to keep in touch more. This next week will be tough again but not as bad as last week. Then I start to taper...YEAH! I have attached a copy of last weeks schedule...just in case anyone is interested!

Quote of the day: "Don't confuse activity with achievement"

Love y'all
Katie

The Plan Stan
For those of you who don't really know what goes into training for an Ironman, here's a glimpse of Katie's week from her coach, Carla.

Monday - swim if you had time.

Tuesday - 2 hour bike. Nice steady pace nothing hard keep RPMS around 85, easy gear.

Wednesday - 45 min run, basic pace
Swim - I want you to swim a 500 warm up, then 5 x 100 at a slightly faster pace with 30" rest between. Then swim a 2000 straight alternating 50 easy, 50 a little faster.

Thursday - 60 min bike once warmed up do 6 x 2 min hardest gear intervals with 3 min easy spinning between. Off bike run for 2 hours and 30 min, KEY you are hydrating and eating something during long run.

Friday - Swim - more for recovery from the week and you going into a long weekend.
7 x 500 easy.

Saturday - 90 min EASY bike.

Sunday - This is the long one!!!!!! All day brick, last big thing before Ironman. This is the best day to try and simulate what you will be wearing, eating, etc.......Be prepared.

1 hour swim, nice steady pace find a good groove. Take about 90 min to rest, eat change. Then a six hour bike, nice stead pace. Keep heart rate in control the whole time and try and drink every 15 min, eat also at least every half hour something. Take another 90 min break and eat, change and then a 2 hour run, again nice steady pace try and hydrate every mile. In Ironman you have water stops every mile so would be good for you to simulate that. Tonight good meal, lots of rest and a good night sleep!!! Have a great week!!

And here I was feeling pretty darn proud of myself for getting back to riding after a brief injury hiatus, which when looking at that outlined schedule is kind of like being proud of having scratched your arse in the morning. Yeah, I'm sure you're thanking your Oude Granny for that visual!! How about the one to the left; Katie and I at Novak's celebrating the engagement and graduation. All of us at the TC couldn't be happier!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Butt What A Finish!

Didn't see the finish of the 11th stage of the Giro d'Italia in Pinerolo in the rain? Then you'll want to see this:



Good Reads

Some good reading for the final day of the long Memorial Day holiday weekend:
-- George Vecsey of the New York Times:
The Tour de France breaks a fan's heart
-- Art Spander of Inside Bay Area:
Failures, not feats, taking over sports pages

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It's Time to Come Clean

Here's a good recap of what has transpired in the past week on the doping issues plaguing professional cycling by the Chicago Tribune's Phil Hersh.

Of Bjarne Riis's confession on Friday, Hersch writes:
"What shred of credibility remained about elite pro cycling has disappeared as 1996 Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis of Denmark on Friday became the first Tour winner to admit he used banned performance-enhancing drugs."

What we have always feared and suspected has now been laid bare. Cycling's dirty little secret is no longer everyone's secret.

So, what about Our Boy Lance? Hersh writes:
"Between [Marco] Pantani and [Floyd] Landis came the Lance Armstrong era, with its record-breaking seven straight victories, nearly all by humbling margins over rivals known to have doped during their careers.

"Armstrong has claimed abstinence from the prolonged orgy of doping his sport has indulged in for more than two decades.

"He never has been sanctioned for a doping positive and apparently is not discomfited by the unofficial retroactive testing at a French lab that found EPO in six of his samples given during the Tour in 1999, two years before cycling began testing for that endurance-building drug."

It is a sad time for professional cycling. I maintain that the sport is TOO difficult, the tours too long, the climbs too difficult, the temptation to cheat too great because the sport drives its athletes beyond human endurance. We marvel at these beyond-possible accomplishments and turn our heads, pretending we don't know.

Now we know. Or at least we've been told -- to an extent. Who else will have the courage to come forward? How honest can the sport be with itself -- and us -- and still survive?

It all makes the Bad Boy Floyd hearing this past week rather superfluous. The testing process stink. But so does Floyd in all likelihood.

And what of Our Boy Lance? Can he remain silent any longer? Can we continue to admire his courage without one last courageous act of admission? I continue to want to believe. So do a lot of people. But how long can we continue to fool ourselves just because we want to?

It's time for cycling to come clean.
For Bad Boy Floyd. For Our Boy Lance. It's time to come clean.

MORE:
-- SFGate.com Matthew Tom: Cycling has broken my heart for the last time

Friday, May 25, 2007

Check Out YourCycling.com

Given that my mainstream local media (which happens to include the very fine Washington Post) has no idea and even less concern about what I consider my news (they're getting better, though, on delivering the how-I-want-it/when-I-want-it part), I'm intrigued with a new concept from Steve Outing's Enthusiast Group niche sport websites that he's calling "grassroots media."

Let me back up and begin with a disclaimer: Outing is my former editor and the creator of the E-Media Tidbits blog. A much honored and respected online journalism pioneer (he still writes an online column, "Stop the Presses," for Editor & Publisher), Outing founded and is publishers of the Enthusiast Group, a network of grassroots, media-based websites serving adventure and participant sports. Sites include YourMTB.com, YourCycling.com, YourClimbing.com, YourRunning.com and YourHorseSports.com, with additional rollouts expected throughout 2007.

Two of the sites, YourMTB.com and YourCycling.com, which are home to mountain and road biking enthusiasts, have developed an innovative program to provide coverage for cycling races and events that allows competitors and/or spectators to blog, take photograph and shoot video.

Site members can apply to be selected as correspondents and receive a free entry fee to compete or admission as a spectator in exchange for covering the event.

Given that many of these events rarely attract mainstream media coverage, even though the participation level or attendance can be large, it's a great way for niche sports to get coverage.

"What we offer is an audience that is really passionate about the sport, provided from the athlete's or competitor's perspective," says Outing. "We partner with events in our websites' sports and recruit grassroots correspondents to cover them. We also let event organizers embed this into their sites. It's an innovative form of grassroots media -- an angle I haven't seen before. We call the event sites 'Grassroots Channels' -- though we're debating whether that's too geeky still given our audience of sports enthusiasts."

YourMTB.com recently signed a deal to provide Grassroots Channels for Granny Gear Productions' series of 24-hour mountain bike races. As part of that relationship, YourMTB is recruiting correspondents to race in and cover the races. Correspondents' photos, videos and blogs appeared on Granny Gear's Grassroots Channels, for example, for the 24 Hours of Conyers race last week.

And recently, the USA Climbing Regional Championship at the Boulder, Col., Rock Club used volunteer competitor correspondents. Jill Salva, BRC's sales, instructions and events director, said, "The beauty of grassroots reporters is that these are people who are already motivated and keenly interested in the event. Plus the advantage of having multiple grassroots reporters means that you get multiple unique viewpoints. In addition to that, it frees up event organizers to focus on serving competitors, attracting sponsors and running the event itself.

With the positive response we got, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. The creativity of our correspondents uniquely captured the flavor of our comp."

This approach represents yet another lost opportunity for mainstream media, which simply lacks the resources to make all its audience happy all of the time. I've already approached the CSC Invitational in nearby Arlington, Va., about covering the event for The Triple Crankset, and I'll volunteer to cover the event for YourCycling.com, too.

My guess, however, is that there will be more coverage of the Washington Redskins in the local media that day with the season only three months away!

How About a Little Irony With Your Confession?

Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union, said that because Bjarne Riis’s drug use happened more than eight years ago, he cannot be stripped of his title or otherwise sanctioned. However, McQuaid said that the race records may be altered to show that the 1996 Tour had no winner.

That may be just as well. The second-place finisher that year was Riis’s teammate, Jan Ullrich of Germany, who is now the subject of a doping investigation. Third place went to Richard Virenque, who was the leader of a team that became of the focus of a series of antidoping raids by police in 1998.

The Cheater

“I’m proud of my results even though they were not completely honest.”

-- 1996 Tour de France champion Bjarne Riis of Denmark

On Tap...

Memorial Day Weekend
This weekend usually signals the "true" beginning of summer. Friends and family are planning cookouts and outings, while others are headed to their favorite vacation spot (BTW, have a great time in the Land of the Grand Banks, and in the Sunshine State).

For the touring cyclists and racer in all of us, this weekend usually helps us to get honed in on our "targets," whether they be training for a charity century or for a specific race. As such, below are a few of the races scheduled for this weekend. (Drop me a line, if you'd like me to list races in your area).

05/26/2007
Dragon's Challenge & NC Criterium Championship
Fort Bragg / Fayetteville, NC
Hellertown Criterium
Hellertown, PA
LÄRABAR So Cal Cup #3
Encino, CA

05/27/2007
Granville Grand Prix
Granville, OH
NETWORK CONTROL MT HAMILTON CLASSIC
San Jose, CA
Aliquippa Industrial Park Crits
Aliquippa, PA

05/28/2007
Tour De Gaslight Village
East Grand Rapids, MI
Quad Cities Criterium
Rock Island, IL
TREK BICYCLE STORE MEMORIAL DAY CRITERIUM
Morgan Hill, CA

Biking The Drive
In Chicago, this weekend kicks off the weekly summer ritual of neighborhood street festivals. And, its also time for the annual Bank of America Bike The Drive (formerly sponsored, but still hosted by, the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation). For those unfamiliar with the event, simply click HERE to be taken to the official website or HERE for Oude Granny's rundown of last year's event (yes, I was pedalling when I took that photo!)

In the Pink
For those of you who aren't merely following cycling right now to see or hear who will step up to the mic next and proclaim, "Yes, I doped!" (thank you Mr. Riis, and who's next to purge their soul?), the Giro d'Italia is getting really interesting. Granny's favorite to win the race this year, Danilo DiLuca confirmed his form and retook the Maglia Rosa for the third time in this year's race. He did so in dramatic fashion as he won Stage 12 and distanced himself from some of the pre-race favorites, former champions Paolo Salvodelli and Gilberto Simoni.

Although there are many more mountains to come in this race, having the Giro's leader's jersey may be enough of a whip to motivate DiLuca's Liquigas teammates and help him to a long sought after victory.

To see if DiLuca can hang on, catch the Giro this weekend on Versus' Cyclysm Sunday.


A Gift
With the possibility of thunderstorms ruining most outdoor fun this Memorial Day weekend, I thought I'd throw out another review from the ROLL Film library.

This week's offering is Emmanuel's Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey. It chronicles the courageous story of a disabled man who cycles across his native Ghana.

What Borzo (the "bike guy") says:
Is being disabled or severely ill a curse or a blessing? Lance Armstrong has said that if he had his life to live over, and it was up to him, he would welcome the cancer. Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, the hero of Emmanuel's Gift, is another cyclist who made the most of a life-altering challenge...MORE.

What Strauss (the "movie guy") says:
I had never heard of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, but after seeing the moving and inspirational documentary, Emmanuel's Gift, I will certainly never forget him. He is a true-life hero and, because it tells his story, this film deserves to be seen...MORE.

The Smell Test

For those of you who went to a Floyd Landis Fairness Fund fundraiser, you're already familiar with Dr. Arnie Baker's colloquialism of certain LNDD laboratory procedures not "passing the smell test."

But now we can probably apply that same notion to the whole of professional cycling.

Bjarne Riis (photo: AFP), through mutiple denials and acts of hypocrisy; as he chided riders (Hamilton and Basso) formerly under his care of their recent doping indictments, has come out and admitted his own performance enhancing drug use (as T-o-03 mentions below).

"The time has come to put the cards on the table," said Riis. "I have done things which I now regret and which I wouldn't do again. I have doped. I have taken EPO. For awhile it was part if my life."

A former Tour de France stage winner, all of a sudden taking down one of cycling's greats? We all should have known that his breaking of Miguel Indurain during the 1996 Tour de France smelled a little funny.

Now you have to begin to wonder whether his adeptness of reviving careers as the Director Sportif of CSC smells right?

Riis Admits to Doping During '96 Tour

And now, Bjarne Riis.

The manager of the highly successful CSC team and the 1996 winner of the Tour de France,
admitted on Friday that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his 1996 Tour victory.

"I have taken doping. I have taken EPO," Riis said at a televised news conference. "I have made errors and I would like to apologize."

Riis said he used the substances from 1993 to 1998, including during his Tour victory. Riis said he no long considered himself a worthy winner of the Tour, and indicated he would be willing to give back the title.

"My jersey is at home in a cardboard box," he said. "They are welcome to come and get it. I have my memories for myself."

Riis said he didn't suffer any side effects from EPO, a blood-boosting hormone. "The only effect I had was that I rode faster," he said.

Riis said he also used cortisone and human growth hormone.

Interesting Timing ...

Here's an interesting take on the possible ramifications of the just-concluded Bad Boy Floyd hearing by Andrew Vontz for FoxNews. Vontz points out that the ruling could come out smack dab in the middle of the -- yup -- 2007 Tour de France.

A Quickie From The 2006 CSC Invitational

Yeah, we have crashes in Arlington, too, at the CSC Invitational.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

CSC Invitational on June 2 in Arlington, Va.

Here's a scoop for you, cycling fans!

I've applied for press credentials for the 10th annual 2007 CSC Invitational in Arlington, Va., on June 2. I've attended the event for the past several years, but I've never covered it (neither does the Washington Post to any great extent, even though thousands attend the event). So let's see if the event organizers credential the Crankset!

And if this video of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen reporting on the 2006 Inivtational, won by Mark McCormack, doesn't blow you away, then nothing will (Hear Phil say: "Two great races in a great town!)!

Fuchsia - Handed

A couple of days ago, T-Mobile announced the release of their new PDA phone, Wing. Developed by the folks over at High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC), Wing is the first phone to employ Microsoft’s new mobile operating platform, Windows Mobile 6. As far as phones go, it quite possibly could be the crème de la crème (at least until Apple’s iPhone is released, or as they say in the computer business, “just wait another 3 months.”)

Unfortunately for the telecommunications giant, it seems to be the only "positive" coming out of Germany these days, as news of widespread performance enhancing drug use during the 1990’s predominates.

Even one of their former stalwarts, Eric “Say It Ain’t So” Zabel (now with Milram; left, photo: AP), admitted using erythropoietin (EPO). What’s next, Jan Ullrich admitting he was a bit lax in his off-season training regiment? Oh, right?!

But such is the ludicrous nature of professional cycling these days.

With the current defection of major corporate sponsors due to the tarnished image of cycling, it wouldn't be surprising to see T-Mobile follow suit. And quite possibly, it could be before their cycling sponsorship was due to end in 2010.

Regardless, T-Mobile’s been caught red, make that fuchsia – handed!

McEwen: Fugetaboutit!

Stage 12's Colle dell'Agnello

If you were wondering when Australia's Robbie McEwen, winner of Stage 2, would drop out of the Giro d'Italia, the answer is: Stage 12.

Thursday's 12th stage from Scalenghe to Briancon in France is the first mountain stage of the 2007 Giro. The 163-km stage includes the Colle dell'Agnello, the highest climb of this year's race, and the Col d'Izoard.

McEwen who finished third in the 11th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Wednesday, withdrew from the race to prepare for the Tour de France, which begins July 7.

Alessandro Petacchi of Milram took his third victory of the tour ahead of teammate Gabriele Balducci and McEwen in the 198-km stage from Serravalle Scrivia to Pinerolo. Overall leader Andrea Noe of the Liquigas team was one of several riders who crashed on the finish line but retained the pink jersey.

MORE:
-- AP Interview:
Tour de France director wants life bans for cheats who fail to confess
-- AFP Cyclist Zabel admits taking drug in 1996
-- NYTimes:
Lead Lawyer for Landis Describes Errors by Lab
-- CyclingNews: It's science versus science, as Landis' fate hangs in the balance

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Selena Roberts on Bad Boy Floyd: 'Too Amish country to be a Tour de France cheat'

Unless you get the New York Times Select online -- or the print edition of the Times -- you can't read Sports of the Times Columnist Selena Roberts. I think that's pretty dumb on the Times' part, but that's another blog item for another day.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, writes quite like Roberts, who takes on Bad Boy Floyd in her column Wednesday. Since you probably can't access the column, I'm providing it here:

Armstrong Strategy, but He Isn't Armstrong
By SELENA ROBERTS

Floyd Landis demanded an open hearing to dupe the public with his quaint props, with a symbolic yellow tie under his shirt collar, with his mother in the courtroom wearing a bonnet, with his father all but ready to churn butter for the jury.

Floyd, too Amish country to be a Tour de France cheat. Floyd, wholesome as a buggy ride.

Transparency is a fickle ally. On his way to applying a version of the Lance Armstrong Denial Strategy — play up sympathetic image to create a martyr’s platform, wear down accusers by placing them on trial — Landis underestimated the value of a lens cap.

Dark sides are not photogenic. And with each passing day of his arbitration fight with the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the credibility of a French lab and dense debate over chromatography have been rendered footnotes by each salacious revelation impugning Landis’s character.

First, never tell this man a secret. In August, Greg LeMond confided in Landis the pain of hiding his childhood sexual abuse in an effort to relate the value of coming clean.

Under cross-examination yesterday, Landis was forced to explain what he knew of a lurid phone call his buddy and manager, Will Geoghegan, placed to LeMond, a USADA witness, last Wednesday in an attempt to intimidate him by threatening to disclose his trauma.

At first, Geoghegan had explained it away as a stupid call over a few beers with Landis out of earshot. But in reality, Landis knew of the vicious crank call before anyone and told no one. Yes, Geoghegan was fired, but not until LeMond had painted a creepy picture of the Landis entourage last Thursday while on the witness stand.

“You knew it would shatter your credibility if it came out that Geoghegan made the call?” the USADA lawyer Matt Barnett asked Landis yesterday.

“He’s my friend,” Landis replied.

What kind of company does Landis keep? Geoghegan was ushered out of sight and off to rehab; given the Malibu, Calif., locale of the hearing, he had many options for his convenient disappearance.

Another thinly veiled maneuver in the Landis camp. Another Hollywood spin move for sympathy.

Whatever the outcome of his hearing — USADA is undefeated in these trials — Landis made ham-handed use of the Armstrong template for surviving doping allegations in the Champagne afterglow of a Tour de France victory.

It was just last July when the world gleefully packed away its cynicism for a few days to absorb the miracle ride of Landis, a strawberry-haired unknown from Lancaster County, Pa., who managed to pedal to Paris first even with a hip turning to dust.

Then, the killjoys in lab jackets materialized when Landis’s samples after he whisked through the Alps in Stage 17 revealed a spike in testosterone. He quickly turned to frat-boy logic as he offered excuses that ranged from a Jack Daniel’s binge or, not to brag, his naturally high river of testosterone.

He was ridiculed for the nonsense. He was blasted as a fraud. He was going nowhere with the public until he began channeling his inner Lance. Armstrong has never tested positive, but when faced with critics or tell-all books or affidavits or Dick Pound, he followed a blueprint to fight, sue, disparage and outshout the scrutiny on a visible stage that he built as a cancer survivor and advocate.

Mess with Lance. Mess with the masses. Somehow, the LiveStrong bracelet has emanated a force field around Armstrong.

Landis didn’t possess Armstrong’s untouchable status or vast Hollywood reach. His shtick was his homespun character. His vehicle became the town hall meeting. His platform became the Internet.

For months, Landis barnstormed the country, portraying himself as a victim of antidoping lords who were sinister and hypocritical and untrustworthy. He sold his saga to the Landis faithful or anyone willing to shell out around $30 for a seat. More people on his side, more money for a six-figure defense fund, more hits on his Web site with a link for donations.

He grew emboldened by the month. His rhetoric sharpened. His dismissal of USADA’s integrity hit hubristic tones.

He, like Lance, felt invincible. He, like Lance, maintained dubious associates. He, like Lance, could take on LeMond. In June 2006, LeMond, who testified against Armstrong in a legal dispute, told a French newspaper, “He threatened my wife, my business, my life.”

Armstrong basically labeled LeMond as one bike spoke short of loopy. As always, Armstrong deftly handled revelations of any mean streak. Armstrong knows how to handle exposure.

Landis only thought he did. Public forums have been his image undoing. Le Affair LeMond last week was not an isolated, vile slip-up by Landis’s posse. It was a tactic.

During the hearing, USADA lawyers brought up a Web site posting attributed to Landis, which read, “If he ever opens his mouth again and the word Floyd comes out, I will tell you all some things that you will wish you didn’t know and, unfortunately, I will have entered the race to the bottom, which is now in progress."

In front of the cameras he craved, Landis entered and won that race during his public hearing — no competition.

E-mail: selenasports@nytimes.com

Day 8: The Floyd Landis Hearing

A brief look at Day 8 of the Bad Boy Floyd arbitration hearing:

HIGHLIGHTS: Many observers thought USADA would stick to the science, and the Landis side would try to put on a big show. In fact, the opposite has happened. USADA's decision to bring Greg LeMond to the stand has turned this into an examination of Landis' character, as well, which is what Tuesday morning's cross-examination was all about. But do the arbitrators care?

LOWLIGHTS: Landis had another good witness, Simon Davis, who was compelling in his dissection of practices at the French lab. But if the Landis team's strategy was to get word of Davis' scientific testimony to the public, Landis' cross-examination proved to be too much competition.

LAB WORKERS GONE WILD: Davis ripped lab technicians Cynthia Mongongu and Claire Frelat, saying they "clearly did not understand the instrument" they used to manually reprocess data and claiming that some of their testimony "shows a complete lack of understanding of the instrument."

CHEMICAL REACTIONS: The Landis camp has made much of "sloping baselines" in graphs that show the result of Landis' tests. An arrow-straight line at the bottom of the page represents a cleanly produced test, Davis said. He said sloping baselines, or baselines with minor peaks, show bad methods. He said the baseline on a particularly bad example looked like a "squashed hedgehog."

WEDNESDAY'S WITNESSES: Davis returns. Depending on his testimony, USADA could bring rebuttal witnesses, including J. Thomas Brenna. Arbitrators had hoped to wrap up with closing arguments in the afternoon, but that plan is in limbo.

MORE:
New York Times: Landis's Character Is the Focus of Questioning
AP: Tour Director Says Doping 'Killing' Cycling
Deutschse Welle:
Team T-Mobile Under Fire from Doping Admissions
Denver Post:
Vaughters' cyclists welcome weekly exams

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Book of Floyd

Interested in reading Bad Boy Floyd's new book, "Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France," due on June 26?

You can read a bit of the first chapter on the Amazon site and save about a third of the $25 cover price by ordering now.

Here are the first two paragraphs
from the opening chapter, "Breaking Away":

"I have nothing to hide.

As far as I'm concerned, people can know everything about me if they want: how much money I've made, when I've been a fool or felt regret or shed tears. I don't care. There's no reason to hold anything back. I don't feel the need to be selective in order to create some image of a person who isn't me. I'm me. That's it.

I ended up making a living in a sport where a bunch of men wear spandex and shave their legs -- and that's not even the funny part. The funny part is that cycling and its anti-doping program are run by people so incompetent they couldn't even run a Ralphs grocery store. I couldn't
always laugh about it, because they wrecked my life. But I don't ask for sympathy. I take what I'm given in life and try to make some good out of it, always."

Coverage Tip

For some of the best coverage of the ongoing Bad Boy Floyd hearings and cycling's doping scandals in general, check out Michael Hiltzik's coverage in the Los Angeles Times.

Old Guys Have Their Day At The Giro

The view above Rapallo (Graham Watson)

We're about halfway through -- 10 stages -- the Giro d'Italia, which is being hyped as a showdown between the young guns.

But you always have to watch the old guys. A pair of veterans stole the spotlight during Tuesday's grueling 250-km climbing stage in the sun-baked mountains above Genova.
Leonardo Piepoli and Andrea Noè, two unsung workhorses in an age of millionaire general classification captains, clawed their way to the podium at the end of an explosive battle that saw the end of Marco Pinotti's pink jersey run.

Piepoli, 35, held off a late charge by Danilo Di Luca on the steep 8.8km climb up the Santuario Nosta Signora della Guardia to claim his third career Giro stage victory.

"Okay, today it's the old guys winning the stage and taking the jersey, but don't tell me the young guys aren't good. Look at the class of '81 -- Cunego, Pozzato -- you can find 10 champions. And this young guy Schleck today," said Piepoli, who won two Giro stages last year. "There are a few of us old guys who are still there. That means that I've been racing against very good ones my whole career."

Noè, the oldest rider in the Giro at 38 and reputed as one of the grumpiest men in the peloton, inherited the maglia rosa from Pinotti after finishing 10th at 52 seconds back.

"I have been doing this job for 15 years now and many things have changed. The young guys aren't like us anymore," Noè said. "I don't recognize the young riders anymore. I have to look at their jerseys or their helmets to see who they are."

Overall/Top 20

1. Andrea Noe' (I), Liquigas, 46:06:09
2. Marzio Bruseghin (I), Lampre, 1:08
3. David Arroyo Duran (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne, 1:15
4. Vila Errandonea Francisco J. (Sp), Lampre, 1:38
5. Evgeni Petrov (Rus), Tinkoff Credit Systems, 1:48
6. Emanuele Sella (I), Ceramica Panaria - Navigare, 2:04
7. Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz), Astana, 2:06
8. Danilo Di Luca (I), Liquigas, 2:58
9. Marco Pinotti (I), T-Mobile, 3:11
10. Rubiera Vigil José Luis (Sp), Discovery Channel, 3:22
11. Franco Pellizotti (I), Liquigas, 4:03
12. Andy Schleck (Lux), CSC, 4:04
13. Damiano Cunego (I), Lampre, 4:29
14. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 4:32
15. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Astana, 4:40
16. Riccardo Ricco' (I), Saunier Duval, 5:06
17. Mario Aerts (B), Predictor-Lotto, 5:20
18. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saunier Duval, 5:24
19. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Discovery Channel, 5:27
20. David Dario Cioni (I), Predictor-Lotto, 5:44

Day 7: The Floyd Landis Hearing

Here's a brief look at Day 7 of the Bad Boy Floyd hearing:

HIGHLIGHTS: News that Landis' former manager, Will Geoghegan, was checking into a rehab facility did nothing to diminish the sometimes-sleazy feeling of this hearing. And this from Wolfram Meier-Augenstein, an expert testifying for Landis: "I'm terribly sorry, but if someone's life depends on it, his career depends on it, you don't go on assumptions."

LOWLIGHTS: Landis was supposed to be cross-examined, but other witnesses held that up. Now, he'll be on the stand Tuesday.

SCHEDULING, AND RESCHEDULING: After thinking they wouldn't get to closing arguments by Wednesday, the sides agreed they could, indeed, finish things up by the deadline, which means they won't have to reconvene at a later date.

CHEMICAL REACTIONS: According to a primer from the University of Colorado chemistry department, retention time "is the time it takes for a compound to travel from the injection port to the detector" on a gas chromatography machine. Errant retention times in the testing done on Landis' urine samples were a big part of his argument that the tests were faulty. Where WADA rules call for no gap of more than 1 percent or plus-minus 0.2 minutes between different tests performed on the machines, Landis produced data showing gaps of 6 percent and up to eight minutes.

TUESDAY'S WITNESSES: Landis for cross-examination by USADA attorneys; Landis expert Simon Davis.

MORE:
-- Fox News:
Tour de France Champ Landis' Testimony Centers on Fired Manager
-- Cycling News: Landis makes Stage 7 comback
-- Pro Cycling: Landis takes the stand
-- The Guardian: Former Telekom rider tells of systematic EPO use in 90s
-- San Jose Mercury News: Landis case a wild ride, and will get wilder
-- VeloNews: Doctors question lab's findings in Landis case
-- San Jose Mercury News: Killion says Landis sees peril in going public
-- ABC12.com: Landis hearing costs could reach more than $1 million

Goat?


If you want to know which way some of the folks at Sports Illustrated online are leaning, you need only download the final image from their site. The actual width size...666 pixels.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hero

One of the dangers, at least for your Oude Granny, of working in a university setting is being surrounded by intellectuals. In their presence, I revert back to your average 3 year old; veritable sponge of knowledge.

As a blogger, I, we, are active participants of what Tim O'Reilly coined, Web 2.0, or using the web as a platform to facilitate collaboration and sharing among its users.

The applications, for business let alone education, are boundless.

One of my favorite social networking objects these days is FLICKR, a web-based photo sharing site. It isn't exactly new to the web, but the way its users are applying its collaborative ("social") properties is amazing! One such application is Visual Story Telling, or using 5 photos to tell a story. "Gender Miscommunication," by nightingai1e is one of my favorites.

So rather than write about Floyd Landis, I thought I'd tell his story in two sets of 5 photos. The first, titled "Hero." (I'm sure some of you can already guess what the next set will be titled).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Landis: 'It wouldn't serve any purpose for me to cheat and win the Tour, because I wouldn't be proud of it.'

A brief look at Day 6 of the Floyd Landis arbitration hearing:

HIGHLIGHTS: Landis saying cheating goes against everything he stands for: "It wouldn't serve any purpose for me to cheat and win the Tour, because I wouldn't be proud of it."

LOWLIGHTS: Long, boring, confusing testimony over the telephone from German scientist Wilhelm Schnazer to start the day.

CONTROL THE MESSAGE: During cross-examination of former UCLA lab director Don Catlin, Landis attorneys pressed him on whether lab directors were compelled not to testify on behalf of athletes. They brought up Catlin's testimony in the case of Zach Lund, the skeleton racer who was suspended for a year for using a hair-restoration drug. Catlin acknowledged being pressured by World Anti-Doping Agency officials before his testimony. "One of them made a comment that this was about getting to the truth, as if to say I was not going to be providing the truth," Catlin said.

CHEMICAL REACTIONS: Catlin's most interesting revelation was that standards at the UCLA lab would call for at least two compounds of metabolized testosterone to surpass allowable limits for a test to be considered positive. WADA rules say it's only one, and Catlin was asked many times about this distinction under cross-examination by the Landis attorneys. Landis' positive sample only has one metabolite that is consistently over the threshold.

MONDAY'S WITNESSES: Cross-examination of Landis; Wolfram Meier-Augestein, a research scientist in the field of carbon-isotope ratio testing, from Landis' witness list.

MORE:
-- Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Cycling drama is pushing buttons, not pedals

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sally Jenkins on Floyd Landis:
Doping or Just a Dope?

Former cyclist Greg LeMond's revelation that he was sexually abused as a child was powerful, but it was irrelevant to the Floyd Landis case -- until the misconduct of Landis's manager made it relevant.

The hearing will continue, with lab technicians murmuring in French about carbon-isotope ratios, mass spectrometers and troubling time gaps, but one verdict is already in: Whether Landis is guilty of doping, he is a dumbbell who belongs in the same category of people who take chainsaws to tree limbs they're standing on. ... more

It Was Just a Matter of Time....


21 years (with a 7 year hiatus) 2 months and some odd days of cycling experience is exactly the amount of time I needed to finally tango with one of those 2000+lb beasts we call cars.

I recently started a new job and while job training in the great garden state of New Jersey, I fell prey to a 17 year-old and her apparent inability to see a cyclist traveling the opposite direction. While clipping at 25+mph on a slight descent in lovely Moorestown, I looked ahead and what appeared in my view was simply horrifying....a car turning left in my path and there was absolutely no way in this earth that I was getting out of it.

With some blessings from above and some old racing tactics, I stayed calm and threw the bike into a slide by jamming the rear brake and forcing the bike to fishtail so that I would hit her flush and not "T-bone". I dropped and put my shoulder into her rear passenger door and hoped for the best. Needless to say the bike, the rider and the car went everywhere.

I know you might find this shocking but the 17 year-old and her Paris Hilton like friend got out of the car and actually started blaming me. The friend stated..."like, you need to slow down when you see cars, like they take priority..." I'm proud to say I kept my cool and permitted the police to sort it out. They did and like me, were not impressed with the driver's misunderstanding of the motor code.

Big props to the Moorestown Police for not only enforcing the law but extending tremendous compassion. The CO on the scene actually offered his own personal bicycle to me should I "need to finish my workout". Given my physical status at the time, I told him I was going to sit out the rest of this training session. Another officer drove me and my now battered black beauty back to the hotel. He was a great guy.

What's Next?
Despite this disrupting my training and racing this weekend, I consider myself the luckiest man alive. Because of the "flush" style impact, I mitigated body damage considerably. I suffered trauma to my left knee that is still barking back at me and the right side shoulder, back and arm are healing up.

The bike however is another story. I just got word last night that Trek's policy is to recommend the bike is shipped back for x-rays. I've been told by 2 Trek dealers that 99.9% of the time they want to replace the bike. Apparently carbon fiber, especially 110 GSM, is too unpredictable when struck by a car and the frame could fail anytime thereafter. So here we go with the insurance nightmare.


I can't tell you how this saddens me so. I LOVE that rig. I feel like someone just told me my friend has died. Yeah, yeah it's a bike and its replaceable blah, blah. But let's be honest here. We all know we have a special relationship with our rigs. Who else understands us like these babies? Who else is there when we suffer miserably on them and takes us to the promised land when we're at our fittest? At the end of the day, some of our best memories are captured with our old faithful friend. Okay so I'm getting a tad dramatic but I'm indeed cranky about it. Damn kids.

Please do be careful out there and while this goes without saying, always and I mean always, wear that helmet on your melon.

Cheers.

You Can't Beat The View

The view from Tivoli to Spoleto during Stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia
(photo by Graham Watson).

Bad Boy Floyd Could Testify Saturday

Here's a brief look at Day 5 of the Floyd Landis arbitration hearing from the San Jose Mercury News:

HIGHLIGHTS: The prospect of hearing Floyd Landis testify Saturday. Nothing against pro cyclist Joe Papp and his testimony about doping methods he used to use, but this hearing is about Landis. Hearing him testify will be the most important event of the nine days.

LOWLIGHTS: Another appearance from a French-speaking witness. This time it was Corinne Buisson, a supervisor at the French lab. Fortunately, her testimony through a translator was limited.

NEXT QUESTION, PLEASE: USADA attorneys were cross-examining Landis' first witness, University of Florida professor Bruce Goldberger, trying to puncture his credibility by getting him to admit his expertise wasn't specifically in steroid testing. Goldberger responded by producing a letter he recently received from the WADA-approved lab at UCLA, asking him to apply for the job recently vacated by lab director Don Catlin ... which quickly prompted a new line of questioning.

CHEMICAL REACTIONS: The "delta-delta difference" in a carbon-isotope ratio test is the difference between the carbon 13-to-carbon 12 ratios of metabolized testosterone and a baseline component (endogenous reference compound) in the urine. If the difference is greater than 3 delta units, a positive test for synthetic steroids can be assumed. Because the margin of error in these tests is 0.8, however, the difference really needs to be greater than 3.8.

SATURDAY'S WITNESSES: Wilhelm Schnazer, director of the Institute of Biochemistry of the German Sports University in Cologne; Don Catlin, former director of the testing lab at UCLA; Floyd Landis.

MORE: USA Today: Floyd Landis to take stand in arbitration hearing

Worth His Weight In...

Goldberger!
I said Goldberger, not Goldberg. Although after Dr. Bruce Goldberger's testimony on Day 5 of the Floyd Landis arbitration hearing, you'd be hard pressed to determine who strikes the more imposing figure.

Alright, I guess we can all come to an agreement that arbitrator Christopher Campbell is the most imposing figure in the Pepperdine University courtroom.

All kidding aside, Dr. Goldberger's testimony late Friday afternoon, or rather the adeptness of it, has literally torn off a gaping scientific hole in the USADA burden of proof that was already being perforated by Landis' attorneys, Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Suh.

For Team Landis, it could not have come at a better time!

The hearing that was turning out to be the Cirque de Landis, after Geoghegan's Jerky Boys impression and the subsequent bomb dropped by Greg Lemond, and the skillful double talking ventriloquism act of USADA's lead attorney, Mr. Young (as he's prompted and propped up almost every answer of both LNDD laboratory techinicians, Mrs. Morgongu and Ms. Frelat), has returned to the heart of the matter, the science.

Dr. Goldberger, who by his credentials alone, is the very definition of expert witness. The same could have been said for USADA's experts in the fields of testosterone and mass spectrometry, Dr. Brenna, Dr. Shackleton, and Dr. Ayotte (the latter of the WADA accredited Montreal lab), but with the evidence they were asked to defend, each sounded less than expert admitting through their own individual form (verbally or by claiming ignorance on all too familiar matters) that the LNDD had performed sub-standardly.

Grand Slam...Slam Dunk? Overly optimistic!

Reality. Mr. Brunet still has to be convinced, but Dr. Goldberger's testimony may have been bright enough to blind even Mr. Brunet with the science.

Goldberger's Testimony:
--Trust But Verify: Hearing - Friday Goldberger

Friday, May 18, 2007

Giro Update: Stage 6

The Amalfi Coast of Italy during Stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia (Graham Watson).

Interesting doings during Stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia Friday.

And didn't Danilo Di Luca of Liquigas (pictured at right after Stage 4/Graham Watson) sound like Our Boy Lance back in the good old days (cycling did have good old days, didn't it?) after giving up the maglia rosa to a breakaway winner.

With three moderate to tough climbs on the stage, Di Luca predicted a breakaway that could relieve him of the pressure of maintaining the overall lead.

That's exactly how the day played out.

Colombian Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Ceramica Panaria -- now c'mon, Granny, you couldn't possibly know about him!) took the sixth stage of the Giro by outsprinting T-Mobile's Marco Pinotti. That put Pinotti in the overall lead when they finished 7:09 ahead of the main field at the end of the 177-km stage from Tivoli to Spoleto.

For Di Luca, who slipped to third overall, 4:12 behind Pinotti and 3:30 down from Quick Step's Hubert Schwab, the result was almost a relief, giving him the chance to relax going into some of the Giro's most difficult stages.

As he's said, he wants the jersey in Milano.

"I don't really care who has it before that," he said before the stage. "I have no interest in wasting my energy -- my teammates' energy -- fighting to keep the maglia rosa now when it doesn't count. I will happily give it away and today seems like there will be an opportunity to do it."

Of some interest are the 9th and 10th-placed riders overall: Damiano Cunego of Lampre at 5:06 and David Zabriskie of CSC at 5:15.

MORE from the Landis hearing:
-- Bonnie DeSimone for ESPN: LeMond testimony hurts Landis' case -- outside of court
-- Michael A. Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Time: Cycling stars' clash rocks doping case

On Tap...

Just Ride...
It's officially been 3 weeks since I last rode my bicycle. For those of you who haven't been following along, I partially tore my gastrocnemius (one of the bifurcations of the calf muscle) while running a race.

So what do you do with a partial tear? Short of immobilization, which I lobbied against, nothing. And that's exactly what I've done since, nothing. I've gone from fit to fat (although I'm the type of person where you can't really tell just by looking at me) and sadly enough kind of enjoyed it.

It allowed me the time to tune up all my rides (mountain, road, and track) and make plans for when the doctors give me the green light.

Well, yesterday was the day. I officially stowed away the crutches. I say officially because I grew tired of using them 10 days ago. Although I haven't been fully released out into the wild, pending three weeks of physical therapy (why doesn't our IronGal in-training, Katie, live closer?), they listed cycling as one of the activities I can now do.

So look out SE Michigan, here comes Oude Granny!

Floyd-ed and Giro-ed Out
Just as both, the Landis hearing and the Giro d'Italia, seemed to be getting interesting, they've both hit a lull in the action and are now relegated in my thought processes.

How can I say that with all the sensationalistic happenings with Landis and Lemond, and with the mountain stages pending in the Giro?

For me, the most compelling aspect of the Floyd Landis hearing were the arguments Team Landis put forth against the LNDD and the WADA/USADA arbitration system. Finally, after months of barnstorming and railing against the actual science, the methodologies behind it, and the one-sided arbitration process faced by athletes in this predicament, he, they would be able to systematically level the playing field.

Enter: Will Geoghegan

The hearings have now been debased to a Beavis and Butthead mentality. Don't believe me? Check out every single news outlet following the hearing and tell me if anyone is still writing about inequities in the system, the inaccuracy of the laboratory methodology, or the mishandling of Landis' samples. Can't find any, can you?

And by the way, Beavis and Butthead wasn't a reference to the mentality of the audience that may now tune into the hearing to see what other skeleton may pop out, but rather to Patrice Brunet and Richard McLaren. I know both have to maintain a certain decorum, but how can either of the deciding majority in this hearing not look in Team Landis's direction and keep a straight face? They're probably up there muttering to each other,

"That dude just said mishandled my urine. Heh heh heh eh he heh heh heh!"

So someone nudge me awake when this hearing means something again!

As far as the Giro is concerned, it started off with a bang! I can't recall a time when a Grand Tour started with a Team Time Trial. If this were back in the day when the Big Blue US Postal train was running (when they took the teams' actual time, rather than sequentially giving teams a metered out deficit) the Giro would be over. All done!

But this weekend leaves little to the imagination as the terrain is relatively flat. The only ones champing at the bit are the sprinters, who after this weekend will meet their demise in one form or another, either through missing time allotments, leaving for greener pastures or relegating themselves down the classification board.

So the same goes for the Giro, someone throw something at my head when the mountains arrive.

Cranky?...Yes. Surly?...as Burly as Surly can get!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

With Friends Like...

Will Geoghegan, Who Needs Enemies...
Did I actually say that former 3 time Tour de France champion, Greg Lemond (Photo: AFP), would have his opportunity to "rant" in the Floyd Landis hearing? Apparently, I was way off base, misunderstood, misconstrued, misread, misjudged, miscalculated, and just plain mistaken.

Someone should have told me, tapped me on the shoulder, or at least given me a suggestive wink (a nod's as good as a wink to a blind man, say no more) to inform me that "rant" actually means "bomb" in these proceedings.

In retrospect, the essence of Lemond's testimony, based on a personal phone call from Landis and message board fodder, could have been at most construed as being a "he said, he said" argument. But thanks to Floyd's buddy and manager, "Bad Will Phoning" Geoghegan's call of intimidation, Lemond's words came off sounding like doctrine.

Imitating the uncle who sexually abused Lemond before his stardom (a fact brought out in Lemond's testimony and in confidence during the prior phone call with Landis), Geoghegan came off like one of the idiots on "Cops - San Diego." He effectively turned the proceedings into a Jerry Springer Show, made Landis' defense look like a group of ambulance chasers, and turned Mr. Suh (one of Landis' lawyers) into Donald Trump proclaiming to the panel in reference to Geoghegan, "You're Fired!"

Is all lost for Landis? It remains unclear. Hopefully, the case will be judged on the scientific evidence and not on the sensationalism that surrounded the end of day 4.

The one good (if you can call it that) thing to come out of today is that Will Geoghegan may just have revived the careers of the Jerky Boys.

Now somebody stop me before I throw out another bad television or radio reference...

MORE:
--Trust but Verify: Hue-Lemond Recap

Oude Granny's Floyd-o-meter:

Giro Update: Stage 5

Someone I haven't heard of, but I'm sure Granny has (he probably knows the 12-year-old down the street!)...

Gerolsteiner's Robert Förster worked his way through a tricky finish to win a field sprint at the end of the 173-kilometer fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia on Thursday. The German sprinter edged out Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd in a mad scramble to the line that saw usual favorites Alessandro "Low Fruit" Petacchi and Robbie McEwen boxed out of contention on the narrow roads of the final kilometer in Frascati.

I'd like to see that, Versus, during Sunday's Cyclysm.

Tinkoff's Mikhail Ignatiev led an early breakaway that lasted 138 km, all but the final 20 km of which was spent alongside Frenchman Mickael Buffaz, but the peloton hunted the Russian down in the final stretch.

I mention all these names because Ivan Basso is vacationing.

For Förster, 29, the stage win was his second in the Giro after winning last year's final stage in a sprint in Milan. He has also won a stage in the Tour of Spain (sorry Granny, but I still haven't heard of him!).

Friday, riders tackle a 177 km sixth stage from Tivoli to Spolete, crossing the Terminillo mountains. The big question: What will "Low Fruit" do?

Italian Danilo Di Luca of Liquigas continues to lead countryman and teammate Franco Pellizotti by 26 seconds.

Boonen is Toe to Toe

There's probably a good joke, or at least a smile, here, but I'm lost for it at the moment...

Belgium's Tom Boonen is out of the Tour of Catalonia later this month after breaking his toe whilst trying to avoid a car near his home in Mol.

However, the former world champion is expected to recover in time for the Tour De France which starts on July 7th in London, according to a statement on the Quick-Step team's website.

"In order to avoid the car he had to mount the sidewalk and ended up hitting his right foot against a signpost," the statement read. "But at the moment his participation at the Tour de France isn't in jeopardy."

Ranting His Head Off

All due respect to our friends over at Rant Your Head Off, but Greg Lemond will get his chance to do just that when he testifies in the Floyd Landis arbitration hearing for USADA later on today.


Lemond was a childhood hero of mine, as his cycling feats got me interested in the sports. You could probably say that he's the reason I'm even blogging about cycling in the first place. Lately, he's been very skeptical of the performances by the athletes that dominate today's sport, especially of those by one Lance Armstrong.

Because I believe in the plight of Floyd Landis, I'm somewhat conflicted by the fact that Lemond will be testifying for "the other side." But, I also understand his stance. Most of his records and athletic endeavors are being relegated to commonplace status by performance enhanced riders claiming to be on par with some of cycling's greats.

So while Lemond is championing the cause to clean up the sport, I'll be hoping that he's referring to the sport's governing and testing bodies, riders, and certain journalist alike, and not simply attempting to root out Floyd.

MORE:
-- Bonnie DeSimone for ESPN: Breakdown of Landis' Tour de France drug tests
-- Mark Zalewski for CyclingNews: Evidence quality clouds 'stage three' arguments
-- PR Newswire: Lance Armstrong Joins Us Senators and Representatives to Introduce the Cancer Screening, Treatment and Survivorship Act of 2007
-- Chicago Tribune: Armstrong takes Hill, touts bill

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Young Lance

Here's one of those stories and pictures that crops up on the Internet every once in a while: A 15-year-old Lance Armstrong (right) and his agent Scott Eder, seconds after Our Very Boy Lance won the 1987 Hillcrest-Tulsa Triathlon.

There's a story in the Tulsa World in advance of
the 25th annual Tulsa Triathlon June 10. There's a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bicycle race and a 10-kilometer run.

OTHER GOOD READS:
-- LA Times Michael Hiltzik: Landis case succeeds in exposing faults
-- William Fotherington in the Guardian: Tour tells former winner Riis to stay way after drugs confession

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

File Under: WRONG Part II

What is it with bike theft these days! Last year around this same time, I was writing about Heinz Stucke, the "Forrest Gump of Cycling," who had his bike stolen on one of his circumnavigations (yes that is plural as the man has been cyc-lin and cyc-lin since he left his German home in 1962) of the globe.

Earlier this month, Team Lamonta had their entire supply of LOOK/SRAM bikes stolen while at the Olympia’s Tour in the Netherlands.

Now comes the story below, orginally printed on Velonews. Since this is as social a network medium as they come, I thought that I'd help get the word out.

Thieves nick 300 bikes destined for Tulsa kids' ride
By VeloNews.com
This report filed May 30, 2007

It was tough news for Tulsa Tough Ride and Race-300 Schwinns destined for school-age kids tackling a special Tough Kids 10km ride on Sunday have gone missing.

A 40-foot steel shipping container containing the bikes was apparently stolen last weekend from the Pacific Cycles shipping yard.

The youngsters earned the bikes through the Tough Kids Challenge, a program in which middle- and high-school students either participated in Tulsa's Little 100 cycling event or completed a bicycle-safety education course.

Tulsa Tough Ride and Race launched the youth health and fitness initiative this year with the support of The Children's Hospital at St. Francis.

The bikes, which sported the Tulsa Tough, Little 100 and Saint Francis logos, were to be delivered on Tuesday and assembled on Wednesday for pickup on Saturday. Organizers were hoping to find loaner bikes for Sunday's Tough Kids ride.

For more information, email info@tulsatough.com.

**UPDATE: May 31st @ 9:00am EST - Bikes were recovered by Dallas Police. Volunteers, including Ed of Cycledog stayed up all night assembling the cycles for the Saturday pickup.

Some DAP For Gibo

For all that he is (a two time Giro d'Italia champion) and for all that he's claimed to be (a serious challenger to Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France), you can't deny Gilberto Simoni's talent as a climber.

The 35 year old from Trento, Italy again showed why he'll be considered one of Italy's greatest cyclists (there I said it; who else you got...and no I'm not saying he's Fausto Coppi). Simoni won today's Stage 17 up Monte Zoncolan in superlative fashion. His second win up the steep climb, the first coming 4 year ago, Simoni also moved himself onto a podium position.

"I did not know if it was possible to win here again after four years...I saw that Di Luca was too strong for me [in the overall picture] so to win this stage helps," said Simoni.

The stage saw the trio of Leonardo Piepoli (Simoni's Saunier Duval teammate), Andy Schleck (yes there's another talented Schleck on CSC), and Simoni attempt to distance themselves from the maglia rosa on the Zoncolan. Danilo DiLuca (Liquigas), however, was just strong enough on the finale and finished fourth on the day.

With Sunday's ride into Milan quickly approaching and with a lead of more than 2 minutes, DiLuca is that much closer to locking up what would be his greatest victory. But like every athlete in his current position, "The Killer" refuses to think about any part of a celebration saying, "My advantage is important but it is not decisive."

The Mountain Cometh

It wasn't exactly a rest day yesterday at the Giro d' Italia, but it seemed that way for the favorites and those ranked highly on the General Classification (GC). With the exception of former champion, Stefano Garzelli, who won his second mountain stage, Stage 16 amounted to "the quiet before the storm." And what a storm that may be!

Stage 17 from Lienz to Monte Zoncolan has been earmarked by the riders and tifosi alike ever since this year's route was announced. As you can see from the profile of the mountain top finish, this stage has the makings of being the final GC decider.

Current maglia rosa wearer, Danilo DiLuca (Liquigas) will need his "killer" instincts to be extremely astute. He will most likely have to fend off every would be contender up Zoncolan alone as his team has faded since the route turned uphill.

Saunier Duval, with its full complement of 9 riders, looks to be the most well placed team, as both Ricardo Ricco and Gilberto Simoni are only a few minutes arrear. Climber (and currently second on the GC), Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana), however, will have a say in the matter especially with Paolo Salvodelli aiding his cause.

Follow today's events LIVE on Cyclingnews or Velonews.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Katie's Korner

Our IronGal in training, Katie, checks in after a bit of an absence from the blog, and as you'll read, a little absence from training as well. C'est la vie, no? And no worries blogosphere fans, although Katie's training journal for the Ford Ironman Coeur d'Alene will be over in three weeks, she'll be a regular contributor as the Triple Crankset's resident Physical Therapist.

Life Happens!
Hey there, long time no journaling! Mainly because I missed the last two weekends of long biking due to travel! OOooopss!! The good news is, it was well worth it!

Brandon graduated from law school and we are now engaged!! Hooorray!! I could not be happier!! But, this is an Ironman journal so I will try not to digress!!

For starters, I think my coach is on crack. I basically listen to her suggestions and then do my own thing. She is great, but crazy. For example, today, she wanted me to swim an hour....rest 90 minutes for breakfast....bike 6 hours...rest 90 minutes.....run 2 hours.

ARE YOU FLIPPIN SERIOUS DUDE!

Now, for those of you "serious and seasoned" Ironmen and Ironwomen...great for you. I hope you enjoyed yourself out there.

As for me, I felt great about my 6.5 hour bike ride (107 miles). Especially considering I had 2....yes 2... flat tires I had to fix! Also, I was going up this million grade hill (or really steep hill) and I shifted to a low gear and ooops, off goes the chain. I NEARLY FELL OVER! I had to get off and walk up the hill. I had to laugh at myself.

I had to laugh to myself again at about mile 54 when I passed a large farm crop of cows that mooooooo'd at me as I passed. And again at mile 72 when I began to sing renditions of Wison Phillips "Release Me" and "Hold On" from my teenage years. Okay, so I'm a dork....but you'd be surprised what you would do by yourself for 6 hours!

The weather has been so incredibly crappy lately, I was lucky to even get out on the bike. I had tried last weekend and nearly got frostbite on my fingers! Again, for those of you psycho...I mean seasoned triathletes...you probably have every piece of garb to protect you from such conditions. But me, in my high school soccer shirt and spandex SHORTS...I'm less than prepared.

Anyways, today felt great except I have a bit of a headache now. I think it is more due to my neck musculature as opposed to my lack of hydration. I really need to work on my chin tucks while on the bike!

Tomorrow is a long run and then Brandon is taking me to the driving range and then the tennis courts to create our own rendition of a triathlon.

Congrats to Scott and Brandon for graduating from law school...and GOOD LUCK on the bar.

Beth, if you want to send this on to Elaine and Rich, please do as I don't know their email.

In closing, I will try to keep in touch more. This next week will be tough again but not as bad as last week. Then I start to taper...YEAH! I have attached a copy of last weeks schedule...just in case anyone is interested!

Quote of the day: "Don't confuse activity with achievement"

Love y'all
Katie

The Plan Stan
For those of you who don't really know what goes into training for an Ironman, here's a glimpse of Katie's week from her coach, Carla.

Monday - swim if you had time.

Tuesday - 2 hour bike. Nice steady pace nothing hard keep RPMS around 85, easy gear.

Wednesday - 45 min run, basic pace
Swim - I want you to swim a 500 warm up, then 5 x 100 at a slightly faster pace with 30" rest between. Then swim a 2000 straight alternating 50 easy, 50 a little faster.

Thursday - 60 min bike once warmed up do 6 x 2 min hardest gear intervals with 3 min easy spinning between. Off bike run for 2 hours and 30 min, KEY you are hydrating and eating something during long run.

Friday - Swim - more for recovery from the week and you going into a long weekend.
7 x 500 easy.

Saturday - 90 min EASY bike.

Sunday - This is the long one!!!!!! All day brick, last big thing before Ironman. This is the best day to try and simulate what you will be wearing, eating, etc.......Be prepared.

1 hour swim, nice steady pace find a good groove. Take about 90 min to rest, eat change. Then a six hour bike, nice stead pace. Keep heart rate in control the whole time and try and drink every 15 min, eat also at least every half hour something. Take another 90 min break and eat, change and then a 2 hour run, again nice steady pace try and hydrate every mile. In Ironman you have water stops every mile so would be good for you to simulate that. Tonight good meal, lots of rest and a good night sleep!!! Have a great week!!

And here I was feeling pretty darn proud of myself for getting back to riding after a brief injury hiatus, which when looking at that outlined schedule is kind of like being proud of having scratched your arse in the morning. Yeah, I'm sure you're thanking your Oude Granny for that visual!! How about the one to the left; Katie and I at Novak's celebrating the engagement and graduation. All of us at the TC couldn't be happier!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Butt What A Finish!

Didn't see the finish of the 11th stage of the Giro d'Italia in Pinerolo in the rain? Then you'll want to see this:



Good Reads

Some good reading for the final day of the long Memorial Day holiday weekend:
-- George Vecsey of the New York Times:
The Tour de France breaks a fan's heart
-- Art Spander of Inside Bay Area:
Failures, not feats, taking over sports pages

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It's Time to Come Clean

Here's a good recap of what has transpired in the past week on the doping issues plaguing professional cycling by the Chicago Tribune's Phil Hersh.

Of Bjarne Riis's confession on Friday, Hersch writes:
"What shred of credibility remained about elite pro cycling has disappeared as 1996 Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis of Denmark on Friday became the first Tour winner to admit he used banned performance-enhancing drugs."

What we have always feared and suspected has now been laid bare. Cycling's dirty little secret is no longer everyone's secret.

So, what about Our Boy Lance? Hersh writes:
"Between [Marco] Pantani and [Floyd] Landis came the Lance Armstrong era, with its record-breaking seven straight victories, nearly all by humbling margins over rivals known to have doped during their careers.

"Armstrong has claimed abstinence from the prolonged orgy of doping his sport has indulged in for more than two decades.

"He never has been sanctioned for a doping positive and apparently is not discomfited by the unofficial retroactive testing at a French lab that found EPO in six of his samples given during the Tour in 1999, two years before cycling began testing for that endurance-building drug."

It is a sad time for professional cycling. I maintain that the sport is TOO difficult, the tours too long, the climbs too difficult, the temptation to cheat too great because the sport drives its athletes beyond human endurance. We marvel at these beyond-possible accomplishments and turn our heads, pretending we don't know.

Now we know. Or at least we've been told -- to an extent. Who else will have the courage to come forward? How honest can the sport be with itself -- and us -- and still survive?

It all makes the Bad Boy Floyd hearing this past week rather superfluous. The testing process stink. But so does Floyd in all likelihood.

And what of Our Boy Lance? Can he remain silent any longer? Can we continue to admire his courage without one last courageous act of admission? I continue to want to believe. So do a lot of people. But how long can we continue to fool ourselves just because we want to?

It's time for cycling to come clean.
For Bad Boy Floyd. For Our Boy Lance. It's time to come clean.

MORE:
-- SFGate.com Matthew Tom: Cycling has broken my heart for the last time

Friday, May 25, 2007

Check Out YourCycling.com

Given that my mainstream local media (which happens to include the very fine Washington Post) has no idea and even less concern about what I consider my news (they're getting better, though, on delivering the how-I-want-it/when-I-want-it part), I'm intrigued with a new concept from Steve Outing's Enthusiast Group niche sport websites that he's calling "grassroots media."

Let me back up and begin with a disclaimer: Outing is my former editor and the creator of the E-Media Tidbits blog. A much honored and respected online journalism pioneer (he still writes an online column, "Stop the Presses," for Editor & Publisher), Outing founded and is publishers of the Enthusiast Group, a network of grassroots, media-based websites serving adventure and participant sports. Sites include YourMTB.com, YourCycling.com, YourClimbing.com, YourRunning.com and YourHorseSports.com, with additional rollouts expected throughout 2007.

Two of the sites, YourMTB.com and YourCycling.com, which are home to mountain and road biking enthusiasts, have developed an innovative program to provide coverage for cycling races and events that allows competitors and/or spectators to blog, take photograph and shoot video.

Site members can apply to be selected as correspondents and receive a free entry fee to compete or admission as a spectator in exchange for covering the event.

Given that many of these events rarely attract mainstream media coverage, even though the participation level or attendance can be large, it's a great way for niche sports to get coverage.

"What we offer is an audience that is really passionate about the sport, provided from the athlete's or competitor's perspective," says Outing. "We partner with events in our websites' sports and recruit grassroots correspondents to cover them. We also let event organizers embed this into their sites. It's an innovative form of grassroots media -- an angle I haven't seen before. We call the event sites 'Grassroots Channels' -- though we're debating whether that's too geeky still given our audience of sports enthusiasts."

YourMTB.com recently signed a deal to provide Grassroots Channels for Granny Gear Productions' series of 24-hour mountain bike races. As part of that relationship, YourMTB is recruiting correspondents to race in and cover the races. Correspondents' photos, videos and blogs appeared on Granny Gear's Grassroots Channels, for example, for the 24 Hours of Conyers race last week.

And recently, the USA Climbing Regional Championship at the Boulder, Col., Rock Club used volunteer competitor correspondents. Jill Salva, BRC's sales, instructions and events director, said, "The beauty of grassroots reporters is that these are people who are already motivated and keenly interested in the event. Plus the advantage of having multiple grassroots reporters means that you get multiple unique viewpoints. In addition to that, it frees up event organizers to focus on serving competitors, attracting sponsors and running the event itself.

With the positive response we got, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. The creativity of our correspondents uniquely captured the flavor of our comp."

This approach represents yet another lost opportunity for mainstream media, which simply lacks the resources to make all its audience happy all of the time. I've already approached the CSC Invitational in nearby Arlington, Va., about covering the event for The Triple Crankset, and I'll volunteer to cover the event for YourCycling.com, too.

My guess, however, is that there will be more coverage of the Washington Redskins in the local media that day with the season only three months away!

How About a Little Irony With Your Confession?

Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union, said that because Bjarne Riis’s drug use happened more than eight years ago, he cannot be stripped of his title or otherwise sanctioned. However, McQuaid said that the race records may be altered to show that the 1996 Tour had no winner.

That may be just as well. The second-place finisher that year was Riis’s teammate, Jan Ullrich of Germany, who is now the subject of a doping investigation. Third place went to Richard Virenque, who was the leader of a team that became of the focus of a series of antidoping raids by police in 1998.

The Cheater

“I’m proud of my results even though they were not completely honest.”

-- 1996 Tour de France champion Bjarne Riis of Denmark

On Tap...

Memorial Day Weekend
This weekend usually signals the "true" beginning of summer. Friends and family are planning cookouts and outings, while others are headed to their favorite vacation spot (BTW, have a great time in the Land of the Grand Banks, and in the Sunshine State).

For the touring cyclists and racer in all of us, this weekend usually helps us to get honed in on our "targets," whether they be training for a charity century or for a specific race. As such, below are a few of the races scheduled for this weekend. (Drop me a line, if you'd like me to list races in your area).

05/26/2007
Dragon's Challenge & NC Criterium Championship
Fort Bragg / Fayetteville, NC
Hellertown Criterium
Hellertown, PA
LÄRABAR So Cal Cup #3
Encino, CA

05/27/2007
Granville Grand Prix
Granville, OH
NETWORK CONTROL MT HAMILTON CLASSIC
San Jose, CA
Aliquippa Industrial Park Crits
Aliquippa, PA

05/28/2007
Tour De Gaslight Village
East Grand Rapids, MI
Quad Cities Criterium
Rock Island, IL
TREK BICYCLE STORE MEMORIAL DAY CRITERIUM
Morgan Hill, CA

Biking The Drive
In Chicago, this weekend kicks off the weekly summer ritual of neighborhood street festivals. And, its also time for the annual Bank of America Bike The Drive (formerly sponsored, but still hosted by, the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation). For those unfamiliar with the event, simply click HERE to be taken to the official website or HERE for Oude Granny's rundown of last year's event (yes, I was pedalling when I took that photo!)

In the Pink
For those of you who aren't merely following cycling right now to see or hear who will step up to the mic next and proclaim, "Yes, I doped!" (thank you Mr. Riis, and who's next to purge their soul?), the Giro d'Italia is getting really interesting. Granny's favorite to win the race this year, Danilo DiLuca confirmed his form and retook the Maglia Rosa for the third time in this year's race. He did so in dramatic fashion as he won Stage 12 and distanced himself from some of the pre-race favorites, former champions Paolo Salvodelli and Gilberto Simoni.

Although there are many more mountains to come in this race, having the Giro's leader's jersey may be enough of a whip to motivate DiLuca's Liquigas teammates and help him to a long sought after victory.

To see if DiLuca can hang on, catch the Giro this weekend on Versus' Cyclysm Sunday.


A Gift
With the possibility of thunderstorms ruining most outdoor fun this Memorial Day weekend, I thought I'd throw out another review from the ROLL Film library.

This week's offering is Emmanuel's Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey. It chronicles the courageous story of a disabled man who cycles across his native Ghana.

What Borzo (the "bike guy") says:
Is being disabled or severely ill a curse or a blessing? Lance Armstrong has said that if he had his life to live over, and it was up to him, he would welcome the cancer. Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, the hero of Emmanuel's Gift, is another cyclist who made the most of a life-altering challenge...MORE.

What Strauss (the "movie guy") says:
I had never heard of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, but after seeing the moving and inspirational documentary, Emmanuel's Gift, I will certainly never forget him. He is a true-life hero and, because it tells his story, this film deserves to be seen...MORE.

The Smell Test

For those of you who went to a Floyd Landis Fairness Fund fundraiser, you're already familiar with Dr. Arnie Baker's colloquialism of certain LNDD laboratory procedures not "passing the smell test."

But now we can probably apply that same notion to the whole of professional cycling.

Bjarne Riis (photo: AFP), through mutiple denials and acts of hypocrisy; as he chided riders (Hamilton and Basso) formerly under his care of their recent doping indictments, has come out and admitted his own performance enhancing drug use (as T-o-03 mentions below).

"The time has come to put the cards on the table," said Riis. "I have done things which I now regret and which I wouldn't do again. I have doped. I have taken EPO. For awhile it was part if my life."

A former Tour de France stage winner, all of a sudden taking down one of cycling's greats? We all should have known that his breaking of Miguel Indurain during the 1996 Tour de France smelled a little funny.

Now you have to begin to wonder whether his adeptness of reviving careers as the Director Sportif of CSC smells right?

Riis Admits to Doping During '96 Tour

And now, Bjarne Riis.

The manager of the highly successful CSC team and the 1996 winner of the Tour de France,
admitted on Friday that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his 1996 Tour victory.

"I have taken doping. I have taken EPO," Riis said at a televised news conference. "I have made errors and I would like to apologize."

Riis said he used the substances from 1993 to 1998, including during his Tour victory. Riis said he no long considered himself a worthy winner of the Tour, and indicated he would be willing to give back the title.

"My jersey is at home in a cardboard box," he said. "They are welcome to come and get it. I have my memories for myself."

Riis said he didn't suffer any side effects from EPO, a blood-boosting hormone. "The only effect I had was that I rode faster," he said.

Riis said he also used cortisone and human growth hormone.

Interesting Timing ...

Here's an interesting take on the possible ramifications of the just-concluded Bad Boy Floyd hearing by Andrew Vontz for FoxNews. Vontz points out that the ruling could come out smack dab in the middle of the -- yup -- 2007 Tour de France.

A Quickie From The 2006 CSC Invitational

Yeah, we have crashes in Arlington, too, at the CSC Invitational.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

CSC Invitational on June 2 in Arlington, Va.

Here's a scoop for you, cycling fans!

I've applied for press credentials for the 10th annual 2007 CSC Invitational in Arlington, Va., on June 2. I've attended the event for the past several years, but I've never covered it (neither does the Washington Post to any great extent, even though thousands attend the event). So let's see if the event organizers credential the Crankset!

And if this video of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen reporting on the 2006 Inivtational, won by Mark McCormack, doesn't blow you away, then nothing will (Hear Phil say: "Two great races in a great town!)!

Fuchsia - Handed

A couple of days ago, T-Mobile announced the release of their new PDA phone, Wing. Developed by the folks over at High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC), Wing is the first phone to employ Microsoft’s new mobile operating platform, Windows Mobile 6. As far as phones go, it quite possibly could be the crème de la crème (at least until Apple’s iPhone is released, or as they say in the computer business, “just wait another 3 months.”)

Unfortunately for the telecommunications giant, it seems to be the only "positive" coming out of Germany these days, as news of widespread performance enhancing drug use during the 1990’s predominates.

Even one of their former stalwarts, Eric “Say It Ain’t So” Zabel (now with Milram; left, photo: AP), admitted using erythropoietin (EPO). What’s next, Jan Ullrich admitting he was a bit lax in his off-season training regiment? Oh, right?!

But such is the ludicrous nature of professional cycling these days.

With the current defection of major corporate sponsors due to the tarnished image of cycling, it wouldn't be surprising to see T-Mobile follow suit. And quite possibly, it could be before their cycling sponsorship was due to end in 2010.

Regardless, T-Mobile’s been caught red, make that fuchsia – handed!

McEwen: Fugetaboutit!

Stage 12's Colle dell'Agnello

If you were wondering when Australia's Robbie McEwen, winner of Stage 2, would drop out of the Giro d'Italia, the answer is: Stage 12.

Thursday's 12th stage from Scalenghe to Briancon in France is the first mountain stage of the 2007 Giro. The 163-km stage includes the Colle dell'Agnello, the highest climb of this year's race, and the Col d'Izoard.

McEwen who finished third in the 11th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Wednesday, withdrew from the race to prepare for the Tour de France, which begins July 7.

Alessandro Petacchi of Milram took his third victory of the tour ahead of teammate Gabriele Balducci and McEwen in the 198-km stage from Serravalle Scrivia to Pinerolo. Overall leader Andrea Noe of the Liquigas team was one of several riders who crashed on the finish line but retained the pink jersey.

MORE:
-- AP Interview:
Tour de France director wants life bans for cheats who fail to confess
-- AFP Cyclist Zabel admits taking drug in 1996
-- NYTimes:
Lead Lawyer for Landis Describes Errors by Lab
-- CyclingNews: It's science versus science, as Landis' fate hangs in the balance

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Selena Roberts on Bad Boy Floyd: 'Too Amish country to be a Tour de France cheat'

Unless you get the New York Times Select online -- or the print edition of the Times -- you can't read Sports of the Times Columnist Selena Roberts. I think that's pretty dumb on the Times' part, but that's another blog item for another day.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, writes quite like Roberts, who takes on Bad Boy Floyd in her column Wednesday. Since you probably can't access the column, I'm providing it here:

Armstrong Strategy, but He Isn't Armstrong
By SELENA ROBERTS

Floyd Landis demanded an open hearing to dupe the public with his quaint props, with a symbolic yellow tie under his shirt collar, with his mother in the courtroom wearing a bonnet, with his father all but ready to churn butter for the jury.

Floyd, too Amish country to be a Tour de France cheat. Floyd, wholesome as a buggy ride.

Transparency is a fickle ally. On his way to applying a version of the Lance Armstrong Denial Strategy — play up sympathetic image to create a martyr’s platform, wear down accusers by placing them on trial — Landis underestimated the value of a lens cap.

Dark sides are not photogenic. And with each passing day of his arbitration fight with the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the credibility of a French lab and dense debate over chromatography have been rendered footnotes by each salacious revelation impugning Landis’s character.

First, never tell this man a secret. In August, Greg LeMond confided in Landis the pain of hiding his childhood sexual abuse in an effort to relate the value of coming clean.

Under cross-examination yesterday, Landis was forced to explain what he knew of a lurid phone call his buddy and manager, Will Geoghegan, placed to LeMond, a USADA witness, last Wednesday in an attempt to intimidate him by threatening to disclose his trauma.

At first, Geoghegan had explained it away as a stupid call over a few beers with Landis out of earshot. But in reality, Landis knew of the vicious crank call before anyone and told no one. Yes, Geoghegan was fired, but not until LeMond had painted a creepy picture of the Landis entourage last Thursday while on the witness stand.

“You knew it would shatter your credibility if it came out that Geoghegan made the call?” the USADA lawyer Matt Barnett asked Landis yesterday.

“He’s my friend,” Landis replied.

What kind of company does Landis keep? Geoghegan was ushered out of sight and off to rehab; given the Malibu, Calif., locale of the hearing, he had many options for his convenient disappearance.

Another thinly veiled maneuver in the Landis camp. Another Hollywood spin move for sympathy.

Whatever the outcome of his hearing — USADA is undefeated in these trials — Landis made ham-handed use of the Armstrong template for surviving doping allegations in the Champagne afterglow of a Tour de France victory.

It was just last July when the world gleefully packed away its cynicism for a few days to absorb the miracle ride of Landis, a strawberry-haired unknown from Lancaster County, Pa., who managed to pedal to Paris first even with a hip turning to dust.

Then, the killjoys in lab jackets materialized when Landis’s samples after he whisked through the Alps in Stage 17 revealed a spike in testosterone. He quickly turned to frat-boy logic as he offered excuses that ranged from a Jack Daniel’s binge or, not to brag, his naturally high river of testosterone.

He was ridiculed for the nonsense. He was blasted as a fraud. He was going nowhere with the public until he began channeling his inner Lance. Armstrong has never tested positive, but when faced with critics or tell-all books or affidavits or Dick Pound, he followed a blueprint to fight, sue, disparage and outshout the scrutiny on a visible stage that he built as a cancer survivor and advocate.

Mess with Lance. Mess with the masses. Somehow, the LiveStrong bracelet has emanated a force field around Armstrong.

Landis didn’t possess Armstrong’s untouchable status or vast Hollywood reach. His shtick was his homespun character. His vehicle became the town hall meeting. His platform became the Internet.

For months, Landis barnstormed the country, portraying himself as a victim of antidoping lords who were sinister and hypocritical and untrustworthy. He sold his saga to the Landis faithful or anyone willing to shell out around $30 for a seat. More people on his side, more money for a six-figure defense fund, more hits on his Web site with a link for donations.

He grew emboldened by the month. His rhetoric sharpened. His dismissal of USADA’s integrity hit hubristic tones.

He, like Lance, felt invincible. He, like Lance, maintained dubious associates. He, like Lance, could take on LeMond. In June 2006, LeMond, who testified against Armstrong in a legal dispute, told a French newspaper, “He threatened my wife, my business, my life.”

Armstrong basically labeled LeMond as one bike spoke short of loopy. As always, Armstrong deftly handled revelations of any mean streak. Armstrong knows how to handle exposure.

Landis only thought he did. Public forums have been his image undoing. Le Affair LeMond last week was not an isolated, vile slip-up by Landis’s posse. It was a tactic.

During the hearing, USADA lawyers brought up a Web site posting attributed to Landis, which read, “If he ever opens his mouth again and the word Floyd comes out, I will tell you all some things that you will wish you didn’t know and, unfortunately, I will have entered the race to the bottom, which is now in progress."

In front of the cameras he craved, Landis entered and won that race during his public hearing — no competition.

E-mail: selenasports@nytimes.com

Day 8: The Floyd Landis Hearing

A brief look at Day 8 of the Bad Boy Floyd arbitration hearing:

HIGHLIGHTS: Many observers thought USADA would stick to the science, and the Landis side would try to put on a big show. In fact, the opposite has happened. USADA's decision to bring Greg LeMond to the stand has turned this into an examination of Landis' character, as well, which is what Tuesday morning's cross-examination was all about. But do the arbitrators care?

LOWLIGHTS: Landis had another good witness, Simon Davis, who was compelling in his dissection of practices at the French lab. But if the Landis team's strategy was to get word of Davis' scientific testimony to the public, Landis' cross-examination proved to be too much competition.

LAB WORKERS GONE WILD: Davis ripped lab technicians Cynthia Mongongu and Claire Frelat, saying they "clearly did not understand the instrument" they used to manually reprocess data and claiming that some of their testimony "shows a complete lack of understanding of the instrument."

CHEMICAL REACTIONS: The Landis camp has made much of "sloping baselines" in graphs that show the result of Landis' tests. An arrow-straight line at the bottom of the page represents a cleanly produced test, Davis said. He said sloping baselines, or baselines with minor peaks, show bad methods. He said the baseline on a particularly bad example looked like a "squashed hedgehog."

WEDNESDAY'S WITNESSES: Davis returns. Depending on his testimony, USADA could bring rebuttal witnesses, including J. Thomas Brenna. Arbitrators had hoped to wrap up with closing arguments in the afternoon, but that plan is in limbo.

MORE:
New York Times: Landis's Character Is the Focus of Questioning
AP: Tour Director Says Doping 'Killing' Cycling
Deutschse Welle:
Team T-Mobile Under Fire from Doping Admissions
Denver Post:
Vaughters' cyclists welcome weekly exams

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Book of Floyd

Interested in reading Bad Boy Floyd's new book, "Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France," due on June 26?

You can read a bit of the first chapter on the Amazon site and save about a third of the $25 cover price by ordering now.

Here are the first two paragraphs
from the opening chapter, "Breaking Away":

"I have nothing to hide.

As far as I'm concerned, people can know everything about me if they want: how much money I've made, when I've been a fool or felt regret or shed tears. I don't care. There's no reason to hold anything back. I don't feel the need to be selective in order to create some image of a person who isn't me. I'm me. That's it.

I ended up making a living in a sport where a bunch of men wear spandex and shave their legs -- and that's not even the funny part. The funny part is that cycling and its anti-doping program are run by people so incompetent they couldn't even run a Ralphs grocery store. I couldn't
always laugh about it, because they wrecked my life. But I don't ask for sympathy. I take what I'm given in life and try to make some good out of it, always."

Coverage Tip

For some of the best coverage of the ongoing Bad Boy Floyd hearings and cycling's doping scandals in general, check out Michael Hiltzik's coverage in the Los Angeles Times.

Old Guys Have Their Day At The Giro

The view above Rapallo (Graham Watson)

We're about halfway through -- 10 stages -- the Giro d'Italia, which is being hyped as a showdown between the young guns.

But you always have to watch the old guys. A pair of veterans stole the spotlight during Tuesday's grueling 250-km climbing stage in the sun-baked mountains above Genova.
Leonardo Piepoli and Andrea Noè, two unsung workhorses in an age of millionaire general classification captains, clawed their way to the podium at the end of an explosive battle that saw the end of Marco Pinotti's pink jersey run.

Piepoli, 35, held off a late charge by Danilo Di Luca on the steep 8.8km climb up the Santuario Nosta Signora della Guardia to claim his third career Giro stage victory.

"Okay, today it's the old guys winning the stage and taking the jersey, but don't tell me the young guys aren't good. Look at the class of '81 -- Cunego, Pozzato -- you can find 10 champions. And this young guy Schleck today," said Piepoli, who won two Giro stages last year. "There are a few of us old guys who are still there. That means that I've been racing against very good ones my whole career."

Noè, the oldest rider in the Giro at 38 and reputed as one of the grumpiest men in the peloton, inherited the maglia rosa from Pinotti after finishing 10th at 52 seconds back.

"I have been doing this job for 15 years now and many things have changed. The young guys aren't like us anymore," Noè said. "I don't recognize the young riders anymore. I have to look at their jerseys or their helmets to see who they are."

Overall/Top 20

1. Andrea Noe' (I), Liquigas, 46:06:09
2. Marzio Bruseghin (I), Lampre, 1:08
3. David Arroyo Duran (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne, 1:15
4. Vila Errandonea Francisco J. (Sp), Lampre, 1:38
5. Evgeni Petrov (Rus), Tinkoff Credit Systems, 1:48
6. Emanuele Sella (I), Ceramica Panaria - Navigare, 2:04
7. Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz), Astana, 2:06
8. Danilo Di Luca (I), Liquigas, 2:58
9. Marco Pinotti (I), T-Mobile, 3:11
10. Rubiera Vigil José Luis (Sp), Discovery Channel, 3:22
11. Franco Pellizotti (I), Liquigas, 4:03
12. Andy Schleck (Lux), CSC, 4:04
13. Damiano Cunego (I), Lampre, 4:29
14. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 4:32
15. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Astana, 4:40
16. Riccardo Ricco' (I), Saunier Duval, 5:06
17. Mario Aerts (B), Predictor-Lotto, 5:20
18. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saunier Duval, 5:24
19. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Discovery Channel, 5:27
20. David Dario Cioni (I), Predictor-Lotto, 5:44

Day 7: The Floyd Landis Hearing

Here's a brief look at Day 7 of the Bad Boy Floyd hearing:

HIGHLIGHTS: News that Landis' former manager, Will Geoghegan, was checking into a rehab facility did nothing to diminish the sometimes-sleazy feeling of this hearing. And this from Wolfram Meier-Augenstein, an expert testifying for Landis: "I'm terribly sorry, but if someone's life depends on it, his career depends on it, you don't go on assumptions."

LOWLIGHTS: Landis was supposed to be cross-examined, but other witnesses held that up. Now, he'll be on the stand Tuesday.

SCHEDULING, AND RESCHEDULING: After thinking they wouldn't get to closing arguments by Wednesday, the sides agreed they could, indeed, finish things up by the deadline, which means they won't have to reconvene at a later date.

CHEMICAL REACTIONS: According to a primer from the University of Colorado chemistry department, retention time "is the time it takes for a compound to travel from the injection port to the detector" on a gas chromatography machine. Errant retention times in the testing done on Landis' urine samples were a big part of his argument that the tests were faulty. Where WADA rules call for no gap of more than 1 percent or plus-minus 0.2 minutes between different tests performed on the machines, Landis produced data showing gaps of 6 percent and up to eight minutes.

TUESDAY'S WITNESSES: Landis for cross-examination by USADA attorneys; Landis expert Simon Davis.

MORE:
-- Fox News:
Tour de France Champ Landis' Testimony Centers on Fired Manager
-- Cycling News: Landis makes Stage 7 comback
-- Pro Cycling: Landis takes the stand
-- The Guardian: Former Telekom rider tells of systematic EPO use in 90s
-- San Jose Mercury News: Landis case a wild ride, and will get wilder
-- VeloNews: Doctors question lab's findings in Landis case
-- San Jose Mercury News: Killion says Landis sees peril in going public
-- ABC12.com: Landis hearing costs could reach more than $1 million

Goat?


If you want to know which way some of the folks at Sports Illustrated online are leaning, you need only download the final image from their site. The actual width size...666 pixels.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hero

One of the dangers, at least for your Oude Granny, of working in a university setting is being surrounded by intellectuals. In their presence, I revert back to your average 3 year old; veritable sponge of knowledge.

As a blogger, I, we, are active participants of what Tim O'Reilly coined, Web 2.0, or using the web as a platform to facilitate collaboration and sharing among its users.

The applications, for business let alone education, are boundless.

One of my favorite social networking objects these days is FLICKR, a web-based photo sharing site. It isn't exactly new to the web, but the way its users are applying its collaborative ("social") properties is amazing! One such application is Visual Story Telling, or using 5 photos to tell a story. "Gender Miscommunication," by nightingai1e is one of my favorites.

So rather than write about Floyd Landis, I thought I'd tell his story in two sets of 5 photos. The first, titled "Hero." (I'm sure some of you can already guess what the next set will be titled).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Landis: 'It wouldn't serve any purpose for me to cheat and win the Tour, because I wouldn't be proud of it.'

A brief look at Day 6 of the Floyd Landis arbitration hearing:

HIGHLIGHTS: Landis saying cheating goes against everything he stands for: "It wouldn't serve any purpose for me to cheat and win the Tour, because I wouldn't be proud of it."

LOWLIGHTS: Long, boring, confusing testimony over the telephone from German scientist Wilhelm Schnazer to start the day.

CONTROL THE MESSAGE: During cross-examination of former UCLA lab director Don Catlin, Landis attorneys pressed him on whether lab directors were compelled not to testify on behalf of athletes. They brought up Catlin's testimony in the case of Zach Lund, the skeleton racer who was suspended for a year for using a hair-restoration drug. Catlin acknowledged being pressured by World Anti-Doping Agency officials before his testimony. "One of them made a comment that this was about getting to the truth, as if to say I was not going to be providing the truth," Catlin said.

CHEMICAL REACTIONS: Catlin's most interesting revelation was that standards at the UCLA lab would call for at least two compounds of metabolized testosterone to surpass allowable limits for a test to be considered positive. WADA rules say it's only one, and Catlin was asked many times about this distinction under cross-examination by the Landis attorneys. Landis' positive sample only has one metabolite that is consistently over the threshold.

MONDAY'S WITNESSES: Cross-examination of Landis; Wolfram Meier-Augestein, a research scientist in the field of carbon-isotope ratio testing, from Landis' witness list.

MORE:
-- Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Cycling drama is pushing buttons, not pedals

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sally Jenkins on Floyd Landis:
Doping or Just a Dope?

Former cyclist Greg LeMond's revelation that he was sexually abused as a child was powerful, but it was irrelevant to the Floyd Landis case -- until the misconduct of Landis's manager made it relevant.

The hearing will continue, with lab technicians murmuring in French about carbon-isotope ratios, mass spectrometers and troubling time gaps, but one verdict is already in: Whether Landis is guilty of doping, he is a dumbbell who belongs in the same category of people who take chainsaws to tree limbs they're standing on. ... more

It Was Just a Matter of Time....


21 years (with a 7 year hiatus) 2 months and some odd days of cycling experience is exactly the amount of time I needed to finally tango with one of those 2000+lb beasts we call cars.

I recently started a new job and while job training in the great garden state of New Jersey, I fell prey to a 17 year-old and her apparent inability to see a cyclist traveling the opposite direction. While clipping at 25+mph on a slight descent in lovely Moorestown, I looked ahead and what appeared in my view was simply horrifying....a car turning left in my path and there was absolutely no way in this earth that I was getting out of it.

With some blessings from above and some old racing tactics, I stayed calm and threw the bike into a slide by jamming the rear brake and forcing the bike to fishtail so that I would hit her flush and not "T-bone". I dropped and put my shoulder into her rear passenger door and hoped for the best. Needless to say the bike, the rider and the car went everywhere.

I know you might find this shocking but the 17 year-old and her Paris Hilton like friend got out of the car and actually started blaming me. The friend stated..."like, you need to slow down when you see cars, like they take priority..." I'm proud to say I kept my cool and permitted the police to sort it out. They did and like me, were not impressed with the driver's misunderstanding of the motor code.

Big props to the Moorestown Police for not only enforcing the law but extending tremendous compassion. The CO on the scene actually offered his own personal bicycle to me should I "need to finish my workout". Given my physical status at the time, I told him I was going to sit out the rest of this training session. Another officer drove me and my now battered black beauty back to the hotel. He was a great guy.

What's Next?
Despite this disrupting my training and racing this weekend, I consider myself the luckiest man alive. Because of the "flush" style impact, I mitigated body damage considerably. I suffered trauma to my left knee that is still barking back at me and the right side shoulder, back and arm are healing up.

The bike however is another story. I just got word last night that Trek's policy is to recommend the bike is shipped back for x-rays. I've been told by 2 Trek dealers that 99.9% of the time they want to replace the bike. Apparently carbon fiber, especially 110 GSM, is too unpredictable when struck by a car and the frame could fail anytime thereafter. So here we go with the insurance nightmare.


I can't tell you how this saddens me so. I LOVE that rig. I feel like someone just told me my friend has died. Yeah, yeah it's a bike and its replaceable blah, blah. But let's be honest here. We all know we have a special relationship with our rigs. Who else understands us like these babies? Who else is there when we suffer miserably on them and takes us to the promised land when we're at our fittest? At the end of the day, some of our best memories are captured with our old faithful friend. Okay so I'm getting a tad dramatic but I'm indeed cranky about it. Damn kids.

Please do be careful out there and while this goes without saying, always and I mean always, wear that helmet on your melon.

Cheers.

You Can't Beat The View

The view from Tivoli to Spoleto during Stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia
(photo by Graham Watson).

Bad Boy Floyd Could Testify Saturday

Here's a brief look at Day 5 of the Floyd Landis arbitration hearing from the San Jose Mercury News:

HIGHLIGHTS: The prospect of hearing Floyd Landis testify Saturday. Nothing against pro cyclist Joe Papp and his testimony about doping methods he used to use, but this hearing is about Landis. Hearing him testify will be the most important event of the nine days.

LOWLIGHTS: Another appearance from a French-speaking witness. This time it was Corinne Buisson, a supervisor at the French lab. Fortunately, her testimony through a translator was limited.

NEXT QUESTION, PLEASE: USADA attorneys were cross-examining Landis' first witness, University of Florida professor Bruce Goldberger, trying to puncture his credibility by getting him to admit his expertise wasn't specifically in steroid testing. Goldberger responded by producing a letter he recently received from the WADA-approved lab at UCLA, asking him to apply for the job recently vacated by lab director Don Catlin ... which quickly prompted a new line of questioning.

CHEMICAL REACTIONS: The "delta-delta difference" in a carbon-isotope ratio test is the difference between the carbon 13-to-carbon 12 ratios of metabolized testosterone and a baseline component (endogenous reference compound) in the urine. If the difference is greater than 3 delta units, a positive test for synthetic steroids can be assumed. Because the margin of error in these tests is 0.8, however, the difference really needs to be greater than 3.8.

SATURDAY'S WITNESSES: Wilhelm Schnazer, director of the Institute of Biochemistry of the German Sports University in Cologne; Don Catlin, former director of the testing lab at UCLA; Floyd Landis.

MORE: USA Today: Floyd Landis to take stand in arbitration hearing

Worth His Weight In...

Goldberger!
I said Goldberger, not Goldberg. Although after Dr. Bruce Goldberger's testimony on Day 5 of the Floyd Landis arbitration hearing, you'd be hard pressed to determine who strikes the more imposing figure.

Alright, I guess we can all come to an agreement that arbitrator Christopher Campbell is the most imposing figure in the Pepperdine University courtroom.

All kidding aside, Dr. Goldberger's testimony late Friday afternoon, or rather the adeptness of it, has literally torn off a gaping scientific hole in the USADA burden of proof that was already being perforated by Landis' attorneys, Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Suh.

For Team Landis, it could not have come at a better time!

The hearing that was turning out to be the Cirque de Landis, after Geoghegan's Jerky Boys impression and the subsequent bomb dropped by Greg Lemond, and the skillful double talking ventriloquism act of USADA's lead attorney, Mr. Young (as he's prompted and propped up almost every answer of both LNDD laboratory techinicians, Mrs. Morgongu and Ms. Frelat), has returned to the heart of the matter, the science.

Dr. Goldberger, who by his credentials alone, is the very definition of expert witness. The same could have been said for USADA's experts in the fields of testosterone and mass spectrometry, Dr. Brenna, Dr. Shackleton, and Dr. Ayotte (the latter of the WADA accredited Montreal lab), but with the evidence they were asked to defend, each sounded less than expert admitting through their own individual form (verbally or by claiming ignorance on all too familiar matters) that the LNDD had performed sub-standardly.

Grand Slam...Slam Dunk? Overly optimistic!

Reality. Mr. Brunet still has to be convinced, but Dr. Goldberger's testimony may have been bright enough to blind even Mr. Brunet with the science.

Goldberger's Testimony:
--Trust But Verify: Hearing - Friday Goldberger

Friday, May 18, 2007

Giro Update: Stage 6

The Amalfi Coast of Italy during Stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia (Graham Watson).

Interesting doings during Stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia Friday.

And didn't Danilo Di Luca of Liquigas (pictured at right after Stage 4/Graham Watson) sound like Our Boy Lance back in the good old days (cycling did have good old days, didn't it?) after giving up the maglia rosa to a breakaway winner.

With three moderate to tough climbs on the stage, Di Luca predicted a breakaway that could relieve him of the pressure of maintaining the overall lead.

That's exactly how the day played out.

Colombian Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Ceramica Panaria -- now c'mon, Granny, you couldn't possibly know about him!) took the sixth stage of the Giro by outsprinting T-Mobile's Marco Pinotti. That put Pinotti in the overall lead when they finished 7:09 ahead of the main field at the end of the 177-km stage from Tivoli to Spoleto.

For Di Luca, who slipped to third overall, 4:12 behind Pinotti and 3:30 down from Quick Step's Hubert Schwab, the result was almost a relief, giving him the chance to relax going into some of the Giro's most difficult stages.

As he's said, he wants the jersey in Milano.

"I don't really care who has it before that," he said before the stage. "I have no interest in wasting my energy -- my teammates' energy -- fighting to keep the maglia rosa now when it doesn't count. I will happily give it away and today seems like there will be an opportunity to do it."

Of some interest are the 9th and 10th-placed riders overall: Damiano Cunego of Lampre at 5:06 and David Zabriskie of CSC at 5:15.

MORE from the Landis hearing:
-- Bonnie DeSimone for ESPN: LeMond testimony hurts Landis' case -- outside of court
-- Michael A. Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Time: Cycling stars' clash rocks doping case

On Tap...

Just Ride...
It's officially been 3 weeks since I last rode my bicycle. For those of you who haven't been following along, I partially tore my gastrocnemius (one of the bifurcations of the calf muscle) while running a race.

So what do you do with a partial tear? Short of immobilization, which I lobbied against, nothing. And that's exactly what I've done since, nothing. I've gone from fit to fat (although I'm the type of person where you can't really tell just by looking at me) and sadly enough kind of enjoyed it.

It allowed me the time to tune up all my rides (mountain, road, and track) and make plans for when the doctors give me the green light.

Well, yesterday was the day. I officially stowed away the crutches. I say officially because I grew tired of using them 10 days ago. Although I haven't been fully released out into the wild, pending three weeks of physical therapy (why doesn't our IronGal in-training, Katie, live closer?), they listed cycling as one of the activities I can now do.

So look out SE Michigan, here comes Oude Granny!

Floyd-ed and Giro-ed Out
Just as both, the Landis hearing and the Giro d'Italia, seemed to be getting interesting, they've both hit a lull in the action and are now relegated in my thought processes.

How can I say that with all the sensationalistic happenings with Landis and Lemond, and with the mountain stages pending in the Giro?

For me, the most compelling aspect of the Floyd Landis hearing were the arguments Team Landis put forth against the LNDD and the WADA/USADA arbitration system. Finally, after months of barnstorming and railing against the actual science, the methodologies behind it, and the one-sided arbitration process faced by athletes in this predicament, he, they would be able to systematically level the playing field.

Enter: Will Geoghegan

The hearings have now been debased to a Beavis and Butthead mentality. Don't believe me? Check out every single news outlet following the hearing and tell me if anyone is still writing about inequities in the system, the inaccuracy of the laboratory methodology, or the mishandling of Landis' samples. Can't find any, can you?

And by the way, Beavis and Butthead wasn't a reference to the mentality of the audience that may now tune into the hearing to see what other skeleton may pop out, but rather to Patrice Brunet and Richard McLaren. I know both have to maintain a certain decorum, but how can either of the deciding majority in this hearing not look in Team Landis's direction and keep a straight face? They're probably up there muttering to each other,

"That dude just said mishandled my urine. Heh heh heh eh he heh heh heh!"

So someone nudge me awake when this hearing means something again!

As far as the Giro is concerned, it started off with a bang! I can't recall a time when a Grand Tour started with a Team Time Trial. If this were back in the day when the Big Blue US Postal train was running (when they took the teams' actual time, rather than sequentially giving teams a metered out deficit) the Giro would be over. All done!

But this weekend leaves little to the imagination as the terrain is relatively flat. The only ones champing at the bit are the sprinters, who after this weekend will meet their demise in one form or another, either through missing time allotments, leaving for greener pastures or relegating themselves down the classification board.

So the same goes for the Giro, someone throw something at my head when the mountains arrive.

Cranky?...Yes. Surly?...as Burly as Surly can get!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

With Friends Like...

Will Geoghegan, Who Needs Enemies...
Did I actually say that former 3 time Tour de France champion, Greg Lemond (Photo: AFP), would have his opportunity to "rant" in the Floyd Landis hearing? Apparently, I was way off base, misunderstood, misconstrued, misread, misjudged, miscalculated, and just plain mistaken.

Someone should have told me, tapped me on the shoulder, or at least given me a suggestive wink (a nod's as good as a wink to a blind man, say no more) to inform me that "rant" actually means "bomb" in these proceedings.

In retrospect, the essence of Lemond's testimony, based on a personal phone call from Landis and message board fodder, could have been at most construed as being a "he said, he said" argument. But thanks to Floyd's buddy and manager, "Bad Will Phoning" Geoghegan's call of intimidation, Lemond's words came off sounding like doctrine.

Imitating the uncle who sexually abused Lemond before his stardom (a fact brought out in Lemond's testimony and in confidence during the prior phone call with Landis), Geoghegan came off like one of the idiots on "Cops - San Diego." He effectively turned the proceedings into a Jerry Springer Show, made Landis' defense look like a group of ambulance chasers, and turned Mr. Suh (one of Landis' lawyers) into Donald Trump proclaiming to the panel in reference to Geoghegan, "You're Fired!"

Is all lost for Landis? It remains unclear. Hopefully, the case will be judged on the scientific evidence and not on the sensationalism that surrounded the end of day 4.

The one good (if you can call it that) thing to come out of today is that Will Geoghegan may just have revived the careers of the Jerky Boys.

Now somebody stop me before I throw out another bad television or radio reference...

MORE:
--Trust but Verify: Hue-Lemond Recap

Oude Granny's Floyd-o-meter:

Giro Update: Stage 5

Someone I haven't heard of, but I'm sure Granny has (he probably knows the 12-year-old down the street!)...

Gerolsteiner's Robert Förster worked his way through a tricky finish to win a field sprint at the end of the 173-kilometer fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia on Thursday. The German sprinter edged out Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd in a mad scramble to the line that saw usual favorites Alessandro "Low Fruit" Petacchi and Robbie McEwen boxed out of contention on the narrow roads of the final kilometer in Frascati.

I'd like to see that, Versus, during Sunday's Cyclysm.

Tinkoff's Mikhail Ignatiev led an early breakaway that lasted 138 km, all but the final 20 km of which was spent alongside Frenchman Mickael Buffaz, but the peloton hunted the Russian down in the final stretch.

I mention all these names because Ivan Basso is vacationing.

For Förster, 29, the stage win was his second in the Giro after winning last year's final stage in a sprint in Milan. He has also won a stage in the Tour of Spain (sorry Granny, but I still haven't heard of him!).

Friday, riders tackle a 177 km sixth stage from Tivoli to Spolete, crossing the Terminillo mountains. The big question: What will "Low Fruit" do?

Italian Danilo Di Luca of Liquigas continues to lead countryman and teammate Franco Pellizotti by 26 seconds.

Boonen is Toe to Toe

There's probably a good joke, or at least a smile, here, but I'm lost for it at the moment...

Belgium's Tom Boonen is out of the Tour of Catalonia later this month after breaking his toe whilst trying to avoid a car near his home in Mol.

However, the former world champion is expected to recover in time for the Tour De France which starts on July 7th in London, according to a statement on the Quick-Step team's website.

"In order to avoid the car he had to mount the sidewalk and ended up hitting his right foot against a signpost," the statement read. "But at the moment his participation at the Tour de France isn't in jeopardy."

Ranting His Head Off

All due respect to our friends over at Rant Your Head Off, but Greg Lemond will get his chance to do just that when he testifies in the Floyd Landis arbitration hearing for USADA later on today.


Lemond was a childhood hero of mine, as his cycling feats got me interested in the sports. You could probably say that he's the reason I'm even blogging about cycling in the first place. Lately, he's been very skeptical of the performances by the athletes that dominate today's sport, especially of those by one Lance Armstrong.

Because I believe in the plight of Floyd Landis, I'm somewhat conflicted by the fact that Lemond will be testifying for "the other side." But, I also understand his stance. Most of his records and athletic endeavors are being relegated to commonplace status by performance enhanced riders claiming to be on par with some of cycling's greats.

So while Lemond is championing the cause to clean up the sport, I'll be hoping that he's referring to the sport's governing and testing bodies, riders, and certain journalist alike, and not simply attempting to root out Floyd.

MORE:
-- Bonnie DeSimone for ESPN: Breakdown of Landis' Tour de France drug tests
-- Mark Zalewski for CyclingNews: Evidence quality clouds 'stage three' arguments
-- PR Newswire: Lance Armstrong Joins Us Senators and Representatives to Introduce the Cancer Screening, Treatment and Survivorship Act of 2007
-- Chicago Tribune: Armstrong takes Hill, touts bill