I think I’m going to have to start posting more often, just to keep up with everything that’s been going on. Three weeks since my last post (give or take a day)? There’s almost too much to catch up on. But I’ll dig deep and give it the ol’ college try.
Trek v. LeMond: The Settlement
For sure, I thought that the Trek/LeMond saga was going to be one of those knock-down, drag-out grudge matches for the ages. But good sense seems to have prevailed, and the warring sides came to a settlement a couple of days ago. A whole passel of cycling news sites have the story, but it boils down to this:
- Trek’s John Burke says nice things about Greg and wishes him well in his future endeavors
- Greg says it’s nice to put this all behind him — and he gets the rights to his brand back
- Trek ponies up a couple hundred large for Greg’s new organization for men who suffered child abuse
- Greg gets to decide if/when (I’d bet more on when, assuming he can strike a manufacturing deal with one of the big manufacturers) he will resurrect his brand of road bikes
- Trek no longer has to market GL’s bikes — and they don’t have to spend precious resources promoting yet another line of road bikes in their stable (Of course, the cynic in me would note that several other brands they’ve acquired have also gone the way of the dodo bird, so Greg is in good company there)
- Greg — if he resurrects the brand — can put more marketing “oomph” into the line of bikes. Maybe they will even sell. (Hint: Offer a good steel frame, a Ti-bike, and a carbon-fiber bike, dude, and you’re all set. None of this half-carbon half-Ti stuff.)
Sounds like a win-win to me. For the moment, neither side is trashing the other publicly. And that’s probably a good thing, as far as it goes. The prospect of watching the 800-pound gorilla of American bike companies going mano-a-mano with the first American Tour winner was truly, terrifyingly ugly. I’m not much of a fan of either side, to tell the truth, and my next bike won’t come from either (unless one of them wants to sponsor a decidedly out of shape masters racer and drop a new road and TT bike on me for free). Still, neither side was entirely the saint in this case.
It’s good to see it done, although some folks are probably disappointed at not seeing a certain someone (not Greg) having to testify under oath and having to answer all sorts of pointed questions.
Floyd Landis sets Bahamian Record
Turns out one of our frequent subjects here on RYHO set a course record for the time trial at the Tour of the Bahamas, besting Dave (“Zman”) Zabriskie’s previous mark. As Landis told Neil Browne:
All that drinking is starting to pay off. I beat the course record set by Zman [David Zabriskie] two years ago and I was on somebody else’s road bike with clinchers and no aero clothes. Take that f@*#ers
Sounds like someone’s coming back into form — in more ways than one. Here’s to hoping Floyd lands a contract for the rest of the season. Rumor has it that Rock Racing may actually have gotten a Mexican license, even if they haven’t gotten a UCI Pro Continental license for the year. Don’t know whether or not that augurs good things for either the team or Landis. Given Rock Racing’s ever mercurial owner, Michael Ball, does even he know? We’ll see.
In the meantime, Neil Browne has the inside scoop on what Floyd’s been up to since the ToB in this exclusive interview.
Inside, Outside, All Around the Town
Turns out one of the mainstream media took a recent look at the anti-doping establishment with a bit of a jaundiced eye. Or maybe it’s more fair to say they were “fair and balanced.” Either way, Outside Magazine recently ran a story that takes an objective look at how the anti-doping game is played, and whether WADA and its affiliated agencies have gone overboard in their pursuit of dopers. Reader William Schart posted this link to the story back on January 25th. If you haven’t seen their article yet, take some time to give it a read. It’s nice to see at least one mainstream media outlet writing about the workings of WADAworld.
Stefan Schumacher Loses at the CAS
Whoa! I hear you saying. How on earth could that have happened? Schumacher, who allegedly turned up positive for the third-generation EPO known as CERA during the 2008 Tour de France and also at the Beijing Olympics, will wind up serving a two-year ban, as his effort to overturn the judgment against him by France’s anti-doping agency (AFLD) was denied. Schumacher did score a minor win, with the CAS panel resetting the start date for his suspension to August 28, 2008, instead of January 22, 2009. That means Schumacher — if he can get a contract — could once again be competing in the peloton just in time for the 2010 Vuelta a Espana (which coincidentally starts the same day Schumacher is eligible to race again).
Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, meanwhile, might want to have his lawyers peruse the CAS panel’s findings. Schumacher, a German, was prosecuted by France’s AFLD. The normal flow would have been that the German cycling federation would have handled the case. This may be the first time that the CAS has upheld a prosecution by an agency outside of the athlete’s home country. If the Valverde panel looks to the Schumacher case for any precedent, Valverde will lose the argument over whether Italy’s CONI could bring anti-doping charges against him and implement a ban. And if that happens … surely WADA and the UCI will try to take Valverde’s ban worldside.
As Mike Straubel of Valparaiso University’s Sports Law program told me a couple of years ago, officially there is no such thing as precedence in CAS rulings. Practically speaking however, there is. And if a certain Spanish rider isn’t quaking in his cycling shoes at the thought of what the Schumacher ruling means, well, he should be.
There’s more to catch up on, but this seems like a good place to call it a night. Cheers, everyone.