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May 01, 2007

Comments

Camille

I understand that people get upset (surely some of you remember how hot under the collar I was at Larry over his Lance comments!) when their favorites get dissed, but I must admit Sara that seeing your subject for today is a relief. Switzerland is one of my favorite places in the world and I just hope we'll get to see that scenery on Sunday Cyclism? Oh, and the racers too! :)

Matt

JD, I believe you are correct (in yesterdays comments) about Floyds 'A' samples being tested only for the T/E ratio. However, THAT test is DESIGNED to be the barometer for finding if someone has cheated w/ Testosterone (hence the ratio...if you augment your 'T' then the ration of T to E will be skewed, and they do the carbon isotope test for the hard PROOF). So for just a moment lets say Floyd did cheat (which I don't believe for a MOMENT!)...and that the 'A' samples came back negative anyway (which they did)...what kind of a crap test has WADA/USADA hitched their wagon to if it's THAT bad at finding what it's SUPPOSED TO FIND?? Thats my point. IF he did cheat, then the test FAILED 8 out of 9 times! I'd have to say their test SUCKS if that is the case. Thought I firmly believe it's the other way around (which also seems a LOT more likely)...the test got it right 8 out of 9 times, and had one failure, which has been latched onto by the powers that be due to the need to justify their existance! Take down a high profile/TDF Winner and they will show how desperatly the world needs their services! I agree we need to clean up sports! But athletes have RIGHTS too!

Sorry to go on a rant here today, when we have a very nice opening by Sara on the Tour de Romandie! Ahh...coming close to GRAND TOUR TIME! VERY sad about Basso though...I have my fingers crossed that he's NOT involved in OP, and that he will soon be flying down the road at the front of the peleton..(hopefully for DC but if not, I will respect and cheer for him in whatever colors he chooses to wear). On a side note I'm HAPPY for Levi...as he now gets to do what he was hired to do: be the CAPTAIN of DC! Go LEVI!!!!

On a side note, I wore my Free Floyd shirt last Saturday as I wandered around our local Mt bike race (Firestone), and NOT ONE COMMENT from ANYBODY! Whats up with that? I thought I might even see a few others, but not one...how very sad.

Theresa

Matt, that surprises me! Maybe our Mt bike brothers and sisters, don't follow road racing; but YOU DO! I noticed at the ToG, going up Brasstown Bald, someone had chalked in FREE FLOYD!

I'm glad Sara choose to talk about the race today, I haven't paid that much attention to this race since I started following cycling, but I'm finding more and more races every year to get excited about!

susie b

Sorry Sara.
I think we may be witnessing the destruction of a sport before our very eyes. And if someone does not get involved in OP & get it ALL wrapped up within a couple months & have it NOT be dragged out for freakin YEARS, I think it will be over. Every article about another "doper" puts a nail in pro-cycling's coffin. What sponsors in their right minds would want their names associated with it?! It's bad enough that there are articles about "positive tests". But to also have all this crap about blood bags, "doping schedules", etc. every damn day for months, years?!! It's the Death of a Thousand Cuts...

And Cathy, I know you adore Basso & I was ready & willing to get on board & cheer for him during the TDF, mostly because YOU liked him so much & I respect you a lot. However, I think Marty was correct in that Levi must be happy that he is once again, Discovery's main man for this year's Tour de France. Levi is not a saint & it would take a saint NOT to be personally happy when things fall your way, especially if you joined the team with this very goal in mind. Do I think he's out doing the "dance of joy" over the tattered jersey remains of Ivan? No. (At least not in public...) But as I & a few others mentioned here back during the ToC, there was an article that contained quotes by Levi & George right before that race in which both said some surprising statements. The quotes were not "attacks" but they did reveal that neither Levi or George were exactly overjoyed at Basso's hiring. Levi stated he was "disappointed" & was "surprised" at Basso's hiring due to "OP not really being over".

Camille

Susie, I hadn't read this yet when I was just at MD's site saying very similar things about Levi. There we go thinking the same things at the same time again! (cue eerie music) But I think Cathy mostly meant that Levi is handling it in a sportsmanlike way, and that he and Ivan enjoyed being teammates. Is that about right, Cathy? I don't mean to put words in your mouth...

Well whether he's a doper or not... you can't beat Ivan's hotness factor. :) Sorry... I'm hopeless.

Theresa

Okay, just a little to combat Susie's "black cloud" mood. I don't thing Pro cycling will die as long as there are fans to watch and support the riders! Has anyone paid attention to the terrific domestic scene we have in cycling? I'll just point to the US Open cycling Champ in Virginia as an example. The Tour of Ca was a huge sucess, and the ToG actually happened, despite lack of sponsership dollars coming in. As long as you have people with bikes, there will be races even if it's during a local charity ride or training ride as everyone sprints for the city limit sign! (Count me out on that one, btw)

Camille

Theresa, I agree. It may not boom like it did in the Lance era but there's a romance to the sport and the racing that will most likely transcend the problems. It has hung in there all these years...

Susie, don't tell me, it's a cloudy day where you are, isn't it?

I'm such an ostrich, I just don't read all the depressing news and it's amazing how it keeps your mood better. If I see a downer headline... no way I'm reading what's below it. Yes, I am Pollyanna.

susie b

Well, I guess it's a good thing I didn't post what I originally wrote! LOL! I guess I was not my usual Susie Sunshine (cough) self, but I think it's a MISTAKE to just ignore what's going on! That's how we're in this mess now! It's EXACTLY what the cycling power hierarchy wants! The apparent MASSIVE use of drugs,etc in this sport is only possible because of them & because enough fans didn't stand up & refuse to watch. I wanted this sport to get BIGGER not smaller! I'm already worried that Versus will stop airing Cyclysm Sundays & the TDF after this year. And I have to tell ya, I just can't stay with a sport if I can't SEE IT. (little shout-out to one Jefferson B....)

If the top-level of cycling doesn't exist anymore, do you think you will have such a "domestic" scene? Most of those guys aspire to the top level so they put up with the bad pay & probably not so great race co-ordination. Do you really want PRO-cycling to consist of small races in small towns for small money? NOT me! I want the freakin Tour de France! I want a Tour of America! And I know Lance is busy & I admire SO much what he is doing in the fight against cancer but I think HE is the only person who can save this sport from itself & I'm very unhappy that he's not getting more involved. It's SO IRONIC I can barely stand it. The 'GC Man' against cancer either can't see or has no interest in eradicating it from the very sport in which he made his name.

Matt

Hey...an EXCELENT editorial on Daily Peleton about WADA/USADA outlining the problems and potential fixes!

http://www.dailypeloton.com/displayarticle.asp?pk=10888

VERY well written! HERE HERE!

Theresa

Susie, dear, I'm not ignoring the problem, I'm just trying to show the sport is bigger than it's problems, although, this is the biggest challenge it's faced since '98. Alot of our domestic pros make very good money, and don't want to race in Europe. Chris Horner took a HUGE cut in pay to go to Sanier-Duval, He was the #1 domestic rider in the US!!
We need the fans, and the riders need more protection, so they don't get hung out to dry. And it's all because cycling is an olypmic sport. The IOC was the ones that started WADA in the first place, and it affected all of the sports that are involved in the Olympics. The system needs to be fixed, not thrown out like a baby in the bath water!
Matt, I read Bill Hue's editioral; it's excellent, and it does make you see that it can be fixed!!

Theresa

Oh, I read on the Daily Peleton an article by Ray Cip----sp?. He was talking about the fact that the fans are the worst enemy of cycling when it comes to pointing fingers when someone is accused! The sport needs it's fans to not be 'fair-weather fans' or only "Lance Armstrong fans"!!

Yvette

I also read the editorial; it was smartly presented, and there's some encouragement there. But I think in particular something that Susie said, "What sponsors in their right minds would want their names associated with it?!" is really a key point and the fact is, MONEY will carry more weight than all the fans who love this sport, and while I do think it can be fixed, it surely will get worse, much worse, before it gets better.

CMehl

My remarks on MD's site were more in tune with Camille's assessment, in that I believe no one at DC is happy about what's happened with Basso and Levi certainly wouldn't be celebrating the possible demise of a teammate. PLUS Levi has always been named a co-captain for the TdF (see my interview with Johan back in January) and as recently as Friday, Arpil 20th at the press conf at Brasstown Bald said he was still going to be going for the win in July. I didn't see comments from GH so I can't speak to that, but I don't think there is real joy for any DC teammate at this situation, public or private. And btw, if Levi is going to win the TdF he damn sure needs the help of someone like Ivan as a teammate. The team is deep, but Basso is in a class of his own. I have no idea if he cheated, good people do bad things all the time and cheat in many, many ways, but I enjoyed meeting him and interviewing him. He is a gentle man and has a very classy attitude about him. Beyond what I was exposed to I can't comment, but as a human being I found him delightful. Not to mention easy on the eyes (I just couldn't leave that part out, sorry!)

Janann

Thanks for trying to keep things optimistic here, Sara! Your post is great - as always - but I think we've all been so outraged by the events of the past week that it's difficult to look past it all :)

I absolutely agree with you about the tests, Matt. LNDD and USADA have completely obliterated any credibility they might have had (which was NOT much to begin with IMO) by their handling of these tests and the way protocol is seemingly disregarded. I think that those attacking Floyd have been trying to say that there could've been some type of masking agent used that made the T/E ratio look OK so that the testing for exogenous testosterone wasn't done. Testing those B-samples in the FIRST place makes zero sense to me! And no WAY do I think that Floyd would be dedicating his life (and all of his money)to this if he was at all guilty!! There has to come a point, doesn't there, when we consider the ENORMOUS effort that he is putting in to clear his name. He's already lost one year of racing. Would he really spend ALL of his time/money trying to prevent a 2-year ban if he wasn't emphatic about his innocence? I know that the general public doesn't see it that way, though.

Susie you are eloquent, as always :) I love the PRO-cycling circuit also and wouldn't be satisfied with small untelevised races here in the US, alone. I have always liked Basso, but I, too, am really excited to see what Levi can do this year as the REAL leader of Discovery's strong team. I'll be cheering for him!!!

I always love hearing from you Cathy! We talk about all of these people but don't really know them. It's great to have your perspective!

susie b

Theresa, I know you love & support the domestic US cycling scene & that's great. I do think some level of racing will exist just like there is for many fringe sports but that's not what I'm looking for. I want MORE TV coverage, not less. I want MORE money for the riders. MORE publicity. MORE people to know & appreciate the sport & not think the cyclists are doped-up freaks in lycra. I want MILLIONS (not just thousands) of kids 'racing' each other daily pretending to be George or Chris or DZ or Robbie. I want the AVERAGE American (not just we cycling fans) to know another cyclist's name besides Lance. To get all that, you need MONEY from BIG sponsors. And what company CEO would suggest they use their money to fund cycling at this moment in time? They would be fired on the spot. Or thrown out by their stockholders.

And it's not as if WADA is the sole problem! Hell no. You would think the Festina mess in 1998 would have revamped the sport right then & there, but no. How could it have been if there was no change to the power structure? Asking THEM to "fix" the problem in pro-cycling is the same as having LNDD verify they are a competent Lab! It's a joke!

And this time around they don't have a cancer survivor riding in (literally) to save the day....

Janann

Check out Spinnin' Wheel today - I really liked it. We've been discussing many of the same things!
http://spinninwheel.blogspot.com/2007/04/patience.html

catherine

http://www.dailypeloton.com/displayarticle.asp?pk=10888

Ok, I may be on a totally different page cause I haven't even read the last 24 hours of posts (plus I checked yesterday but I missed the 4/30 post from sara- so many responses to it!), and you may have already covered this, but I forgot where I was over at MD's and posted a missive usually reserved for this 'happy place.' I read the article above (kindly linked by Laurie) and just popped. I was sooooo happy to read an intelligent analysis of EVERYTHING that is so wrong about USADA and WADA's approach to anti-doping. I have been trying to get my cycling/attorney husband to do something like this; nail the bastards! Ooooohooooh, I have happy feet. I know silly, but it somehow gives me hope.

BTW: WELCOME HOME SARA! Gurl, we may have posted, but without your shining prose to spur us on, we were a little anemic (sorry my friends).

OK, now I will go and read all that I missed in the last 24 hours.....

Debby

I keep thinking about other sports like baseball that have athletes caught and sometimes convicted as dopers. I'm not sure what the difference is -- is it because they have a union? Is it because the teams aren't sponsored the way they are in cycling? Do the fans react differently?

Susie -- I am so with you! I try to get people I know interested in cycling, and have got a few women on bikes now which I'm thrilled about. But I think what would really help is to get these races on regular TV for people (especially kids & teens) to watch, so they can understand the sport. Most Americans don't go over to Versus to watch a race like Tour de Romandie where they: 1)have never heard of the area 2)can't find it on a map and 3)aren't familiar with any of the riders, since most are not from the U.S. and didn't grow as pro athletes before their eyes. Sara, is this true of Canada, or do you have better TV coverage of the races? I wonder how the coverage is in Australia and Canada?

When the U.S. Cycling Championships were on, Chris and I had a party, and invited all our cycling friends to watch, like the Super Bowl. I put out a note on the blog and couldn't believe how many cyclists didn't know about it, but then settled in to watch once they did! I can't help but think that if the Tour of California and Tour of Georgia were big deals on major stations, like the Super Bowl or March Madness or playoffs or whatever the heck it is we have for the other sports, people would watch it and it wouldn't be such a mystery.

I also can't help but think that Floyd would have been the new Lance, ambassador for cycling in the U.S., if the whole doping mess hadn't happened. And that makes me too sad for words. If we could just get us another cycling celebrity, maybe it would change things? I don't like that media machine thing, but let's face it, that's what gets the attention of the general noncycling public and would draw them in.

Rambling now; sorry...

Debby

P.S. 2nd paragraph I meant to say Australia and the U.K. :)

Theresa

Ok, I'm trying to put a "glass half-full" spin on this. Susie, I do agree with you!! Really! But there are sponsers out there now, who haven't pulled their sponserships, and have supported cycling for a long time. That blog, spinning wheel, is REALLY an EXCELLENT post, and pertains to exactly what we are talking about. Look at how much cycling has grown in the last 15years. I've only been interested since 2004; and that was because of an amateur racer!! Wouldn't it be great if we had our own channel like golf?
Thanks, Janann, for finding it! I think we all ought to read it!!

Camille

Ummmmmm.... dare I turn the topic to the inevitable Tuesday night drama? Yes, I do!

So I'm diving right in to to the Idol talk. Blake with brown hair was a surprise but I liked it, and his rendition of the song was interesting. It did take guts and it was viable. I don't think Jon Bon Jovi wanted to hear anyone change a note of the way he did things, but too bad, they did. Lakisha knocked it it out of the park, and I was ready to see her go home tonight before the show. But she wowed me. Phil did really well -- still needed a head mopping but I guess that jacket was hot under the lights. Simon will just never believe his performances. I have to say it -- Jordin was the worst she has been ever but I actually did like her hair, but it couldn't save her from the bad singing. She was the worst tonight by far and should go home. (I can see Matt having convulsions right now, LOL). I fear that Chris will have to go home too but I still like him more than Blake. He completely lost his twang tonight. So I still wish Phil and Jordin would go home tomorrow night, just because I don't want Chris to go yet. Maybe he'll get the teenage and adolescent girls' votes along with Blake. He got mine!

Looking forward to hearing everyone else's take on it. Even if you disagree with me! How's that for being sportsmanlike?

Camille

I just watched Lakisha again and I got goosebumps all over toward the end. She was fanTASTic tonight. Susie, I'm not just trying to make you happy, she was unbelIEVable. Whew!! And I think Chris was really good too. Did I say that? :)

Owlie

Wait, a blog that discusses cycling *and* American Idol, where have you been all my life?! Thanks, Theresa, for sending me this way. Owlie (aka Julie) here, of Spinnin'Wheel. Glad you enjoyed today's post, and nice to find others who still see the joy of cycling!

But on to the urgent matters, let me lay it right out there, I'm a big Blake fan. I'm a forty-year old woman, but I squeal like a schoolgirl for him, it's really kind of amusing. Thank goodness I don't have any close neighbors. I thought his performance was hot, hot, hot tonight, I loved it. My big fear is that his cringe-worthy showing last week will nullify any extra votes he gets this week, we shall see.

That keeping all six last week was lame, but I was so glad for it tonight, because Blake and Lakisha were in danger, and both did so well tonight, it would've been a shame if those performances never existed. Kudos to Lakisha for being the only woman who really got how to handle tonight. Melinda was okay, but it was a little forced.

Sorry, not a Chris fan, although he wasn't bad tonight, I'm hoping he's one of the two sent packing. It's getting down to where you hate to see anyone go, when any one of them can pull out a great song on any given week.

Camille

Welcome Julie/Owlie! I had two early twenties kids here watching Blake with me and they were bowled over by him (and one writes music reviews for our University of Texas paper). I enjoyed it also but as always I mostly like looking at him (I think he had a little eyeliner on tonight -- gotta admit I go for that -- and I'm 51!!)... he is very clever about how he always finds the camera and gives it the voodoo eyes. Blake is good, and I noticed he stays on key MUCH better when he's singing along with his usual antics (beatboxing etc). I guess he just feels more confident generally and is less nervous so he sings better. By the way you will make BIG points with Sara for being a Blake fan! I gotta say though... has he put on a little weight since the start of the season or am I just imagining that? He's cute though.

Well, we may hear from Theresa tonight, maybe, but the others might not chime in till tomorrow. Glad you joined us, Julie.

CMehl

I TOLD you guys Blake was going to tear it up this week and he did! He was incredible, so innovative and fresh. Just perfect. He should be in the finals for sure. I think Phil might go, but he can easily be a country western singer now, so his career will start full-force in a few months. Lakisha was great tonight. So good to see her confidence restored and I hope she can stick around a bit longer. Chris was good too, but he just doesn't bring anything special and I think he'll leave with Phil. Melinda was channeling Tina Turner--loved it. I've always loved her voice but her demeanor bugged me until tonight--she's come out of her shell and was rocking the free world. I thought Jordin was horrible tonight and have liked her all along, but with such a big song book to select from I cannot fathom why she went in the direction she did. But she has a big fan base of kids so she should be okay, based on her previous weeks on the show. AND Bon Jovi himself, thought he was such a regular guy, loved him, can't wait until he performs tomorrow night! AND DID I MENTION HOW FREAKIN' GREAT BLAKE WAS?????? Sara if you forgot to watch this week I am going to pull your Blake fan club card. No excuses.

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