Tuesday, February 27, 2007

USADA and AFLD LDP's differ

I took this picture on Feb 18 at Floyd Landis' FFF event in San Francisco. It is evidence that an original document may not be as original as you think.


TBV had kindly picked up this photo:

"In this, we see that the USADA version has incorrect sample numbers, and the AFLD version has the numbers "corrected" with writing that is not struckthrough, dated and signed, yet each document was presented to the agency as the one true original."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Jan Ullrich retires

This morning in Hamburg, Germany, Jan Ullrich announced the end of his active cycling career. Jan's two most prestigious accomplishments were winning the 1997 Tour de France and a gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. More than seven months after the Operacion Puerto investigation flared up, with no end in sight for Jan, and obviously having worn him out, he is now looking forward to new professional challenges and spending more time with his family.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Pommi sightings

The 2007 ToC News page on Team Slipstream's website lists my post from last Sunday, among other links to websites of newspapers and forums.

February 18, 2007
* 2.18.2007: Pommi's World Blog

SFist.com links to my report about Stage 3 and the "Pain on Sierra Road":
On Calaveras turns the race smoothly like a Zipp, the Blue Train main line shredding remnants of the breakaway up the first slopes of the great beast, the destroyer of legs, the lactic acid bitch master, the Cat 1 crusher, hammer please don't hurt 'em -- Sierra Road

Sun, Feb 25

A funny quote, from today's San Jose Mercury News:

"They must think elves come out in the middle of the night and clean their bikes."
- Doug Berner, a bike mechanic helping support one of the teams competing in this week's Tour of California.
The related article was posted last Wednesday.

2:25pm: The live coverage of Stage 7 just showed Floyd Landis for a few seconds, again all dressed up, being interviewed.

Last Friday night I briefly thought about taking my bike in my new Never-Follow vehicle down to Long Beach, watch the final stage of this year's ToC, as well as get some "it never rains in Southern California" riding done. Before the idea could materialize, I got stuck having to deal with my interim car and its failure to run. In the end, and also thanks to cold and rainy weather up here, I'm watching the stage race from my heated house, dreaming of riding in warm and dry weather, and taking it otherwise easy.

3:24pm: Meanwhile, the riders entered the last lap, with the peloton 40 seconds behind the break-away.
3:34pm: The peloton seconds behind from swallowing the break-away.
3:37pm: CSC leading the bunch.
3:39pm: 1km to go; T-Mobile moving up, Rabobank moving up.
3:4opm: and it's over, Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United) wins the stage, Levi Leipheimer (Discovery) wins the 2007 Tour of California.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The “two-technician" issue

Rational Head on the DPF Forum writes that

"There is NO evidence (at least none was revealed yet) that Landaluze-like deficiency is applicable to Floyd. In fact it is quite opposite as of now.. [...] There is clear evidence that (unlike in Landaluze’s case) Floyd’s confirmation tests were initialed by a different tech EACH TIME."
The same opinion is also voiced by others after closer review of the provided documentation. There's also significant doubt, that the "wrong pressure" issue is a factor in how it affected Floyd's IRMS results. So for the ones that wish Floyd Landis to be innocent, but still maintain a middle stand, including myself, the lesson is to keep your eyes and ears open to all sides, and not get carried away. As much as we want Floyd to get back on his bike, we should not give up objectivity until all facts are in.

In the meantime, TBV commented:
"Pommi files two posts, the first thinking the "two technicians" might lead to dismissal, the second one wondering if it is a problem at all."

Yeah, the world wonders ;-). RH's post was a rightful slap in my face to bring high-flying hopes down to reasonable levels. I'll wait and watch.

Friday, February 23, 2007

"Case dismissed" ... how soon?

Much has been talked about this week's finding that the same LNDD lab technicans have analyzed both Floyd Landis' A and B sample. The Landaluze case was dismissed back in December because of this violation of WADA rules. The question was raised what exactly the rule is and what is says; the answer is buried in WADA's International Standard for Laboratory Analysis. On page 20-21, paragraph 5.2.4.3.2.2, it reads:

The “B” Sample confirmation must be performed in the same Laboratory as the “A” Sample confirmation. A different analyst must perform the “B” analytical procedure. The same individual(s) that performed the “A” analysis may perform instrumental set up and performance checks and verify results.

So here we go. Then, according to paragraph 6.4.8 and the topic about maintaining WADA accreditation, and considering the plethora of violations, LNDD should not have their accreditation suspended, but rather revoked. Let's see what the fallout of this week's revelations will be. Despite my Days-until-Floyd's-hearing countdown clock just below my picture on this page, I've started to ponder that there may not be a hearing after all. The case against Floyd is crumbling, the avalanche is on its way. Dick Pound, take cover!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stage 3 and the Pain of Sierra Road

At around noon, I drove down to Milpitas, saddled the bike, rode down Piedmont Road into San Jose. Before the left-turn onto Sierra Rd, there's Piedmont Hills High School with their electronic announcement board:


So this is how they think about the 2006 ToCA winner, Floyd Landis: "WHERE IS FLOYD ? HE DIDN'T DO IT !".

Then I rode up half-way to the summit for a good photo shoot location. It was 2:24pm when Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel) passed by,
















followed by Jens Voigt (CSC), Jakob Pill (T-Mobile) and Bram De Groot (Rabobank).


[Click to continue reading]

Then came Levi, with Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Chris Horner (Predictor Lotto) on his back wheel.


A painful looking Mads Kaggestad (Credit Agricole) was next ... and many more riders with the pain written into their faces.


After Emile Abraham (Priority Health), the last rider, had passed,



we went back down to the corner of Piedmont and Sierra in order to see the riders racing by a second time:


More pictures are available here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Share the Road will be at Stage 7

Michelle Kashima from the Orange County Wheelmen sent out this email:

Share the Road is going to be at Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California in Long Beach!!!! Please come up and say hi. We will be walking around in our Share the Road t-shirts passing out flyers for those who have not heard of the petition. [...] Most of us have witnessed or encountered very hostile situations on the road between motorist and cyclists. Of course there are many cooperative motorists who do share the road with us. However, there seems to be many other motorists who are unwilling to abide by any rule or courtesy and will honk, yell, nick us with their side mirrors, or worse. This does not let cyclists off the hook however. Cyclists need to follow the rules and ride safely as well.

This is why with every plate that is sold, proceeds will go to educational programs which will include:

• Educating motorists on how to safely share the road
• Educating bicyclists on the rules of the road and safe riding
• Educating event directors and bicyclists on the best practices for event safety
• Providing guidance to bicyclists involved in crashes
• Outreach to law enforcement on the rights and responsibilities of motorists and bicyclists

We are working together with CABO (California Association of Bicycle Organizations) and their innovative techniques on education for cyclists and motorists.

Please sign the petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/str1234/petition.html
More information can be found at: http://www.sharetheroadsaveslives.com
CABO educational safety information at: http://www.cyclistview.com

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mon, Feb 19

More photos from yesterday's Prologue of the 2007 Tour of California and Floyd Landis' appearance at the FFF Town Hall Fundraiser.

For live coverage of today's Stage 1, please visit Cyclingnews.com or Velonews.com; the CSC GPS based tour tracker is still experiencing technical difficulties. At 3:44pm, Graeme Brown (Rabobank) won Stage 1; Levi crashed about 9km before the finish but got back up on the bike; he finished about 35 seconds back, and stays in yellow. An update on Velonews.com reads:

"4:43 PM Levi stays in yellow
It's been decided to neutralize the three finishing circuits, which means the man from Santa Rosa will not lose his leader's jersey because of a crash in his hometown. Teammate Allan Davis collects the sprinter's jersey, while Thomas Peterson (Slipstream-Chipotle) dons the climber's jersey."

DP has a nice summary of today's stage. The TdF-Blog talks a bit more about the decision to neutralize the final 9 km of the race, as well as reports that Z-Man is out of the race due to injuries suffered during a crash that occurred about 40 miles from the finish line.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sun, Feb 18

Two cycling related events dominated my day today: the Prologue of the 2007 Tour of California, and the FFF Town Hall Fundraiser.

To make a long story short, just like in the inaugural Tour of California, Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer also won this year's 1.9-mile time trial. Team Slipstream's Jason Donald, powered by Chipotle burritos, started as the seventh rider, and held on to the first place with his time of 4:50.49 for a couple of hours, until Levi as the 144th and final rider of the day, crossed the finish line with a time of 4:49.05.

While the race was still in progress, Floyd Landis, accompanied by his manager Will Geoghegan, made an appearance at the Smith & Nephew booth for an hour-long autograph session.
















[Click to continue reading]

At around the same time, Saul Raisin showed up at Dave Shield's little stand next to the CambriaBike.com tent, where Dave was promoting his previously published novels, as well as the upcoming book about Saul.

At the Saris/CycleOps tent, I talked David Cathcart into testing my power on a PowerTap'ed bike, and it maxed out at 950 Watts; I'm still trying to figure out whether this means something.

Powered by some burritos, we made it then to the FFF Town Hall Fundraiser at Jillians. Floyd Landis and the FFF team with Michael Henson, Brian Rafferty and Arnie Baker, went through their usual program. After Henson's and Rafferty's introduction, Baker presented his slide-show, after which Floyd addressed the audience of about 100 attendees. After the Q&A session, the auction was next on the agenda. The first signed item to go was a bottle of Jack Daniels; I didn't keep track of the exact amounts of each item, but I believe Will "raised" $500 for it. Next a Smith & Nephew/CycleOps/Saris jersey as well as a Phonak Jersey, followed by Dick Pound's "High Impact Quotations" that went for $1000. The top item of the night was the Maillot Jaune that opened at $2000 but ended auctioned off at $1500 after nobody was willing to pay two grand. The night ended with Floyd signing bags, fliers, jerseys, photos or whatever you brought along. Some pictures from the event:


Floyd


Brian Rafferty


Dr. Arnie Baker


Will Geoghegan

Michael Henson

Floyd


Floyd and Pommi

PS: Looks like TBV's commute was a lot faster than mine since he beat me not only with regards to today's coverage, but also with much more detail.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sat, Feb 17

Some temperature readings today: Palo Alto 75F, Hayward 74F .. do I need to say more? Rather late in the day, I went for a quick 37-mile ride in the afternoon, across and along the East Bay Hills. Yes, a bike ride ... my brand-new A4 quattro will get his chance soon.

2007 riding stats: #of rides: 11, annual mileage: 397, pace: 3018

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Clown still wants answers from Armstrong

CN reports that Dick Pound is still attempting to get answers from Lance Armstrong about the alleged finding of r-EPO in Armstrong's urine samples from the 1999 TdF. Nice try though. As reported earlier, the IOC already reprimanded Pound for his comments; nevertheless, and apparently completely ignoring Vrijman's findings, Pound insists that LNDD is "an accredited laboratory that found EPO in [Armstrong's] urine from 1999 and it's been matched with forms you [Armstrong] signed so if the analysis is right and the forms aren't forgeries you may have something to explain". Fact is that LNDD violated every rule there is with regards to doping control: lack of internal chain of custody, application of non-accepted non-validated screening procedures, failure to obtain consent from riders and UCI to test samples, etc etc etc the list goes on. Very disturbing. I also find WADA's hidden agenda disturbing: trying to use LNDD's research project for their own attempt on doping control of year-old samples and the subsequent sanctioning of athletes, and an apparent involvement with L'Equippe that broke the original story. Pound's recent remarks again show that he's on a real crusade, and it seems to have started with Ben Johnson's doping in 1988. I'm going to go on a limb now that Pound already had realized that he lost this battle against Lance, and that he decided to take on an "easy, next target": Floyd Landis. Well, it ain't that easy: Floyd is striking back, at Pound, at LNDD, at the system. Rightfully so.

Monday, February 12, 2007

cyclingpost trash

cyclingpost.com ran an article 1/31 about Floyd Landis with the headline "Financial and mental problems for Landis". First they claim that "Press Enterprise" (supposedly referring to PE.com?) estimates his expenses for his defense so far to 2 million dollars (any source? Hello?); according to notes from Feb 7's press conference call regarding the USADA hearing, "Landis has spent an estimated $400,000 to $500,000", which is still far away from 2 mil. The article then continues:

"Besides his financial problems, the American is said to have a depression as well. He even told the American television station ESPN that "it's almost sure I will have to skip the 2007 season."

Ok, so stating the obvious makes you have a mental problem ? This article is trash ... ok now I have a depression too.

Floyd's monthly hip update

Floyd Landis posted a monthly hip update on his website:

The Doctors released me to full training last month although they will still monitor me with regular check-ups. I am totally amazed at how my life has changed since I had my hip resurfaced. I can’t believe how much better everything is now that I have no more pain. Chronic pain can eat away at you, and you don’t even know it. What is even more amazing is that my leg is stronger than ever, and in fact as reported last month, stronger than the normal one!

Floyd also reports on last month's Power Training Camp, where he produced astonishing numbers, at least to us mortals:

"The highlight of the last month was my CycleOps PowerTap training camp here in Southern California. We had a total of over 50 riders at the camp and did a week in the hills and mountains in the sun of Southern California with the temperatures topping out in the 80’s. We climbed to over 5,000 ft. on Mount Palomar and Idyllwild, rode the 27% grade Goat-Dog hill, did a power test time trial and stopped for a World-famous Nessie Burger. 400-plus watts was a regular occurrence, and I topped out at 1100 watts on the Goat-Dog climb. [...] All told this was a blast and the most fun I’ve had since I stood on the podium in Paris last July as 2006 Tour de France Champion."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sun, Feb 11

After pouring rain and fog yesterday, it fortunately cleared up today, so I decided to face my personal enemy-hill: southeast-bound Palomares Rd. As you can see from the elevation profile starting at about Mile 9 of this route, elevation-wise we go from 331 ft to 1226 ft on the next 5.1 miles. While the average grade is "only" 3.3%, the grade gets gradually steeper until the summit; the last 1.3 miles have a grade of about 7.7%, and about 9.3% on the last 0.61 miles. The subsequent downhill was a bit dicey due to wet roads and many rock slides. Closer to home is Harder Rd with an advertised grade of 18% for a 0.3 mile stretch, but I take this climb any day over Palomares Rd.

2007 riding stats: #of rides: 10, annual mileage: 360, pace: 3128.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

FFF San Francisco

The FFF website still shows the flyer from the Brooklyn event; here's the flyer for the San Francisco event (stole the pic from TBV's site). If you attend the event, those flyers make a good item for the autograph. Pommi will attend with 3GB of memory cards, and directly ask the question who the target of the finger is/was in this picture with Ventura/Landis/Lim ... after I've raised my T level with two drinks. I'm sure, with lots of pro-cyclists and ToCA attendees in the City that day, there will be a full house at Jillians.

‘Share the Road’ license plates

As progressive California mostly appears, other states such as Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Washington and others are leading the way in terms of providing "Share the Road" license plates. These plates serves the purpose of mainly education and awareness programs for bicycle and motorist safety. In Colorado, the Share the Road Bill has already passed the Senate Transportation Committee; and in California, an online petition is circulated to also and finally create a "Share the Road" license plate.

Each special California license plate sold will provide funding to support the Share the Road Education Fund in making roads safer. Some of their programs will include:

• Educating motorists on how to safely share the road
• Educating bicyclists on the rules of the road and safe riding
• Educating event directors and bicyclists on best practices for event safety
• Providing guidance to bicyclists involved in crashes
• Outreach to law enforcement on the rights and responsibilities of motorists and bicyclists

The online petition can be signed at PetitionOnline.com/str1234. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider signing yourself.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Floyd Landis coming to town

On Sunday, Feb 18, Floyd Landis and the FFF will hold the next townhall meeting/fundraiser, this time in San Francisco. The location will be at Jillians, 101 4th St. You can register online for the event at Bikereg.com until Feb 17, 8:45pm PST; admission is $35 plus a service charge for credit card payment. It says that "Entry includes free Brooklyn Brewery beer.". Now that looks like a quick and dirty Copy and Paste :wink ..because wouldn't we rather prefer a local brew such as Gordon Biersch or Anchor Steam? I'm sure that Floyd will love "our" beer too. Don't forget that the Prologue of the 2007 Tour of California starts at 1pm the same day, just a few blocks away at Market and Embarcadero. Gee, this is almost like Christmas approaching: how many more days ?

And what is new from TheDick? While the IOC rebuked him today about his statement that Lance Armstrong used EPO during the 1999 TdF, the former Austrian ski coach Walter Mayer dropped his defamation case against Pound.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

No surprise then ...

As kind of expected, AFLD postponed a ruling after Landis agreed not to participate in any race in France until end of this year, and in particular, not in this year's TdF. In a letter from Landis to AFLD, he asked to have the possibility to defend himself first in front of the USADA; a hearing has been scheduled for May 14. Back to sleep ....

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Are we in for a February surprise ?

It's shortly after 5:30am in Paris. In a few hours, Floyd Landis' hearing in front of the AFLD will begin and decide on Landis' future of cycling in France. There's a range of suggestions of how the hearing will end. It is most likely that AFLD will postpone any decision until after the USADA hearing, which is now scheduled for May 14. As reported on CN, according to Michael Henson, Landis' spokesperson and Executive Director of the FFF, and Brian Rafferty, Chairman of the FFF, Landis always had "fair dealings with the French authorities" and the "AFLD and Mr. Bourdry have been nothing but open and fair" and they "hope they will stay the hearings and follow standard jurisdictional lines.". So while I realistically also expect no ruling tomorrow, I'd optimistically expect a positive ruling for Landis rather than a negative one. The plethora of errors made by the LNDD, the inconsistent interpretations of results among different labs, large variation in results, the violation of rules and codes ... could we be in for a surprise ?

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Sun, Feb 4

It's Super Bowl Sunday. Not that I care about American Football; really, I don't. Sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s brought out many cyclists. What I appreciated today was the fact that while passing through some urban areas on my 55.2-mile ride, there were far fewer people on the road than usually. Can't there be Super Bowl every weekend ? After I returned home, I turned on the TV and felt no pity for these guys playing football during pouring rain in Miami; it could be worse and they could be playing in Green Bay ...
I miss the time in Hawaii now, and obviously I haven't followed the cycling news recently. Other than a possible postponement of Landis' Feb 8 hearing in France, there doesn't seem to be big news. And apparently, all participants at Floyd's Power Training Camp, were all excited about their time in Temecula, CA. TBV has managed to obtain route maps of the rides and uploaded them to bikely.com.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Thu, Feb 1

Today we returned from our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii; this week just passed too quickly. The rental bike didn't have a cycling computer, so the 112 miles I've cycled are only an estimate. Unless you venture straight up into the hills with inclines of about 15%, the only alternative riding around Kona is going up and down Queen Kaahumanu Highway. The Saturday morning ride was a blast; with my Specialized Allez I felt like the poorest guy in the peloton, with many cyclists riding the real good and expensive bikes, often equipped with TT handlebars. The only other eventful ride was on the morning when I was supposed to return the bike. The ride took me north from here until here when I realized two things: a flat tire, and dark rain clouds approaching from the south. A few minutes later, it was the first time ever when I did NOT mind changing a tube in pouring rain, and later, riding back to town: it was like a warm shower. Now I need to adjust back to local temperatures; shorts and slippahs are not keeping one warm right now.

2007 riding stats: #of rides: 8, annual mileage: 274, pace: 3125.