Skip to comments.The Tour and the Truth
Posted on 02/27/2007 7:19:50 PM PST by XEHRpa
The Tour and the Truth
Let's begin with a hearty round of congratulatons to Charlie Engle and the two other guys who just ran all the way across the Sahara. Sure, it's a stunt run, and Charlie's a whore for publicity, but it's an absolutely amazing feat. Well done.
Onward. A ho-hum transitional stage at the Tour of California yesterday. Today marks the move southward, with a push from Stockton to San Jose. For those who know their California topography, this is a push from the low-lying regions of the Sacramento Delta, back toward the coastal mountains that will define the next four days of racing. Those mountains are steep enough that many riders train on them in the winter, as they mimic the steep ascents of the Alps and Pyrenees, so those stages are not to be taken lightly.
That out of the way, it's time to move on with the coolest bit of endurance racing news I've seen in awhile: the truth. The International Cycling Union (in French, the acronym makes it the UCI) lashed out at the Tour de France's parent organization Amaury Sports, in what is basically a dispute over who has control of cycling. Now, back in July, when Floyd Landis first tested positive at the Tour de France, it was the UCI who gleefully leaked the news to the press, long before A samples and B samples could confirm the testing results. The news could never really come out until now, because nothing has been substantiated, but back then a lot of insiders in the press insisted off-the-record that Landis's positive tests (which have proven to be suspect) and even the Operacion Puerto investigation, were an attempt by the UCI to discredit the Tour and exert its influence to make its own ProTour the hallmark events in cycling. In essence, Landis is a pawn in somebody's else pissing contest.
Now the UCI is claiming that the Tour de France is soft on doping, which is preposterous. Fact is, the Tour is so big and so rich and so powerful that it has had to make nice with the UCI for years, barely tolerating its attempts at jurisdiction. Now the UCI is engaging in a legitimate power struggle, and the gloves are off.
Quietly, and behind the scenes, Tour officials have begun making nice with Landis. It is one of cycling's great ironies that they are actually coming around to become his ally. The true story of his positive tests could come around to become one of the biggest scandals in sports history if it turns out he was set up by cycling's governing body, just so a bunch of Onanistic and quiet obsequious bureaucrats could expand their power base.
Back in December when I was overwhelmed with finishing my most recent book, I had to step away from writing Landis's memoir, Positively False. In light of all this, part of me now wishes I hadn't. I was ghostwriting the book, and in no mood to spend a few months writing in someone else's voice. But this has become a story worth sinking your teeth into. I think the greater book is not just Floyd's tell-all (which Positively False will most definitely be), but the sudden transparency of the turf war between UCI and ASO. Frankly, Landis has nothing to do with it. I'm not saying I can prove he was set up, but it certainly is beginning to look as if a concerted effort was made to sabotage the 2006 Tour de France by higher-ups within the UCI. They seek to elevate themselves, paying absolutely no heed to the damage they do to cycling, and all sports. That stinks.
Free Floyd... and Free the Tour de France.
Keep pushing... always.
I should have parenthetically added "Landis" and/or "Tour de France" to the title, when posting. So instead, the post languishes...
Very interesting stuff!
A you're welcome ping!
Ping! It seems no one is interested in conspiracy theories regarding the French, cycling, etc.
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