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Cycling News and Opinions
Unfair and Unbalanced
July, 2010

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories

July 27: Well, the Tour is over. And, as my third grade teacher would ask, what can we learn from this?

I see two big lessons.

1. The Giro d'Italia is not a training race. It is a stand-alone, savage, fearsomely difficult and monstrously competitive Grand Tour. I don't think a rider can race the Giro to win and then hope to win the Tour. The years when successive slow "piano" days in the Giro were the rule are long gone. Even the much shorter Dauphine is too hard to race to win. Go deep there and the legs won't recover in time for the Tour.

Look at the list of 2010 Giro riders who were highly regarded as Tour contenders but were flat in the Tour: Ivan Basso, Cadel Evans (I know, I know, he broke his elbow as well), Carlos Sastre and Bradley Wiggins.

And who didn't ride the Giro? Denis Menchov, who tried to do the Giro-Tour double last year and ended down almost an hour and a half in the 2009 Tour. This year, skipping a defense of his Giro championship, he made the Tour podium for the first time in his career. This year Basso had much the same experience. He won the Giro and crawled through the Tour. I don't think any of the 2010 top-10 GC riders in this year's Tour rode the Giro. I will have to add that there is an exception (there always is). Last year Armstrong rode the 2009 Giro (12th, down 16 minutes) and then came in third in the Tour. But he was never going to win either race.

2. The other takeaway is that every single second counts. After a dreadful 2010 Tour prologue ridden in pouring rain Bradley Wiggins said, "The prologue is so insignificant in the three weeks. It's seconds and its going to be minutes in three weeks' time." Wrong.

Here are the time differences for some of the close Tours:

1964: Anquetil beat Poulidor by 55 seconds

1968 Jan Janssen beat Van Springel by 38 seconds

1977 Bernard Thevenet beat Kuiper by 40 seconds

1987 Stephen Roche beat Delgado by 40 seconds

1989 Greg LeMond beat Fignon by 8 seconds

2006 Oscar Pereiro beat Kloden by 32 seconds

2007 Alberto Contador beat Evans by 23 seconds

2008 Carlos Sastre beat Evans by 58 seconds

2010 Alberto Contador beat Andy Schleck by 39 seconds.

Four of the last five Tours were decided by less than a minute's time difference.

So when Andy Schleck turned in a prologue 42 seconds slower than Contador, the race was over. We just had to wait for the two evenly matched riders to spend three weeks turning the cranks. Riding a time trial safely to avoid crashing exposes a contender to a competitor who is willing to take greater chances to win. It's a hard choice. A Tour contender gives up even a few seconds at his dire peril.

Top athletic performances get closer as a sport matures, but that's a subject for another posting.

July 21: Tuttobiciweb.it has an interesting rest-day story. Contador is rumored to be holding off signing a 5 million Euro/season contract with Astana because he has entered negotiations with Bjarne Riis (currently Saxo bank, but Saxo is leaving at the end of this season). Riis is looking for a Grand Tour rider to replace the Schlecks, who are taking their whining to their own dedicated Luxembourg-based team. Another part of tuttobiciweb's bombshell is that Riis may sign Specialized as the team's title sponsor. Have we seen a bike company step up to the plate at that level since the great days of Peugeot and Raleigh?

July 19: Lots of cycling fans are angry about stage 15 and Contador's seizing the moment to gain time when Andy Schleck's chain dropped a couple of kilometers from the top of the final climb. My feeling is that bicycle racing is a man-machine sport. Both must withstand the rigors of the sport. If one or the other fails, then the rider cannot win the race. That forces the team to make intelligent choices about equipment because those decisions can have a decisive impact upon the race's outcome. A rider may choose to wait for a competitor who has had a mechanical difficulty but I can't see an obligation to wait in the heat of the moment with other riders swarming around near the end of the stage. The complexities and potential unreliability of the bicycle is one of the wonderfully complicating aspects of bicycle racing. We weep when George Hincapie breaks a steering tube in Paris-Roubaix, but we don't ask the peloton to wait while he gets a new bike. That's bike racing.

Besides, In stage 3 (with the cobbles) I don't remember Schleck saying, "Hold up Fabian, Alberto has broken a spoke and is losing time. Let's wait for him to get a wheel change."

In the 1949 Giro Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi had waited until the Dolomites to start competing. You can see how Coppi viewed the subject by his actions in stage eleven. This is from my upcoming history of the Giro:

On the flat after ascending the Passo Rolle there had been some regrouping. Bartali tried to eat some food. At that moment of Bartali's inattention Coppi, with his superb tactical sense of knowing just the right moment to land a blow, disappeared. Bartali put his Belgian gregario Georges Jomaux to work leading the chase. But Bartali then flatted and had to stop. It later turned out that a little while earlier Bartali had become aware of his slowly leaking tire and had Jomaux tell the team car about it. Word got to Coppi because Jomaux shouted the news to the mechanics and while Bartali was trying to eat before changing wheels, whoosh, Coppi was gone.

July 16: Fans of HTC-Columbia are not at all happy with the Tour's ejecting Mark Renshaw from the race after his headbutting Julian Dean in stage 11. I think the judges had no choice. Professional riders are so completely dedicated to their sport that they are willing to take unbelievable chances not only with their own skins, but with the safety of others. That is why certain classes of rules must be enforced, sometimes with severity that can seem unfair. Before the 50% hematocrit rule was adopted endurance athletes were just dying in their sleep. If doping rules aren't enforced with rigor, experience has shown that more Tommy Simpsons result, even if the death is in bed rather than on the road.

The same goes for rules regarding safe riding (and no, I'm not equating sprited sprinting with doping). Sure, sprinting is dangerous and everyone involved accepts it. But it doesn't have to be mindlessly, idiotically so. If Renshaw and Dean had crashed, who knows how many riders would have had to leave the Tour with injuries? And as others have noted, just relegating a rider who has no personal ambitions since he is a domestique, is pointless. The Tour had to hang a rider on a gibbet as an example to the others.

Now, in a strange bit of fairness which the reader should not expect to be repeated on this website, here is the statement from HTC-Columbia regarding the incident, with some quotes from Mark Renshaw regarding Stage 11 and the decision from the jury to remove him from the race:

"I'm extremely disappointed and also surprised at this decision.  I never imagined I would be removed from any race especially the Tour de France. I pride myself on being a very fair, safe and a straight up sprinter and never in my career have I received a fine or even a warning.

"Julian came hard in on my position with his elbows.  I needed to use my head to retain balance or there would have been a crash. If had used my elbows when Julian brought his elbow on top of mine we would also have crashed. The object was to hold my line and stay upright.

"I hadn't started the sprint yet. We were still at 375m to go. After that Cavendish had to start his sprint early and I was also ready to finish off the sprint as I still had a lot left in my legs. It would have been good to try to take some more points. I only saw open space on my left. I had no idea Tyler Farrar was there. By no means would I ever put any of my fellow riders in danger."

 

While I'm at it, here's the Saxo release after today's stage 12 where Andy Schleck lost 10 seconds to Alberto Contador:

"Today's 210.5 kilometer long 12th stage of Tour de France from Bourg-de-Peage to Mende had a steep uphill finish on the top of the dreaded climb, Cot de la Croix-Neuve where the finish line was placed on a landing field.

"The stage was expected to be the scene for another fight between the two overall favorites, Team Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador (Astana) but the stage turned out to be rather undramatic.

"Andreas Kloden (Radioshack), Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Vasil Kiryienka (Caisse d'Epargne) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) flew away from a bigger breakaway with 50 kilometers to go and Team Saxo Bank took responsibility of controlling the pace of the chase and soon after, the front group started loosing ground.

"At the foot of the uphill finish, the quartet only had a 45 second lead to the chasing pack of hungry Team Saxo Bank riders and soon, Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) was alone in the front. With 2.2 kilometers to go, Alberto Contador sunk his teeth into the pedals and glided away from the pack and past his teammate, Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) with Joaquin Rodriquez (Katusha) on his tail all the way to the finish line where the Katusha-rider beat his compatriot.

"Team Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck fought heroically and crossed the finish line only ten seconds behind the front duo and is still the leader of the race.

"The final climb was too short and too explosive for a rider like me and it was obviously a better fit for Alberto (Contador) and at the same time, I wasn't feeling too well and under these circumstances I'm pleased with only losing ten seconds. Now, we are closer to one another in the GC but the war continues and I am content,” said Team Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck after the stage.

"It was a hard stage for the whole team who was in control of the field throughout the day but everyone suffered from the heat and our pace. Contador (Alberto) was obviously on home ground on the final climb and Andy (Schleck) didn't have one of his best days and that cost us the ten seconds we gained earlier in the race. But more mountains are to come and I have great confident in Andy,” says team owner Bjarne Riis after the stage."

 

Tyler Farrar had to leave the Tour. Here's the Garmin-Tranistions statement:

"Tyler Farrar, who crashed during Stage Two of the Tour de France, has been racing with a broken left wrist and sprained left elbow ever since. Today, he was forced to abandon the race. 

"I am devastated to leave the Tour and my teammates," said Tyler Farrar. "You never want to leave any race but especially the Tour. It’s the event we work for all year. I’ve been suffering since my crash on Stage 2 and today, the pain was just too much. I couldn’t push through. I wanted to get to Paris more than anything. Instead, I’ll be watching my teammates from home. That’s not where I want to be. But I know they’ll continue to make us proud, and I’ll be cheering louder than anyone. I want to thank them again now for everything they’ve done for me.

"Sprints are easier for Tyler to get through because the adrenaline in that situation helps mask the pain," said Matt White, Director Sportif, Team Garmin-Transitions. "Today was the hardest day of the race yet and the kind of climbing and descending these guys did is incredibly painful for an injury like Tyler’s. Having to break on the descents is probably the most painful thing to do with a broken wrist. We’re obviously sad to see him go but at the end of the day, his health comes first.  Tyler won’t be able to heal until he goes home and rests and that’s what he’ll do from here. To make it all the way to Stage 12 with the injuries he’s had is something special. We’re proud of him for his effort and everything he has accomplished here.

"We’ve had four guys with broken bones at this Tour," said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO and Director Sportif. "With Tyler’s departure from the race, we now have three at home. Sure, we’ve had bad luck, but look at what these guys have gone through to get this far into the race. Even with a broken wrist and sprained elbow, Tyler has run second and third in sprints. He rode Stage Three – kilometer after kilometer of cobbles – almost entirely with one hand. He has persevered to get to this stage of the race. That shows his own strength and the strength of this team. Ryder has been having the ride of his life here, with another incredible day today. We may not have luck on our side at the moment, but we have a team of great, tough riders who will continue to be competitive here."

 

Aw heck, since I'm avoiding work by posting team press relases, why stop now. Here's Lampre's post stage 12 press release:

"The big effort performed by Lampre-Farnese in the 12th stage of Tour de France (Bourg de Péage-Mende, 210.5 km with arrival after a 3 km hill with average gradiant of 10,.1%) were not finalized with results: Damiano Cunego could not obtain a top place at the end of the stage and Alessandro Petacchi lost the green jersey.

For what concerns the points classification, Hushovd was willful in joining a 18 athletes breakaway born after 50 km of race, action that allowed him to obtain 10 points in two intermediate sprint and so to overtake Petacchi (6 points the gap).

Cunego tried to escape from the bunch at the 43rd km with Chavanel and Vaugrenard, but their action was neutralized 7 km later. Then, blue-fuchsia cyclist waited for the approach of the last hill, well supported by the team, but when the road raised up, Cunego could not battle with the top classification cyclists for the victory.

He crossed the finish line in 13th position (best Italian) at 31" to the winner Joaquin Rodriguez and Contador, 2nd (they overtook Vinokourov, last attacker left, at 1 km to go).

Schleck, in late of 10" on the arrival, defended the yellow jersey with 31" on Contador.

"I want to thank my team mates, especially Hondo and Petacchi, for the support they gave me in view of the final kilometres", Cunego said. "The arrival was good for my characteristics and so I tried to obtain a good result, but the opponents were very strong. Maybe I had spent too many energies in the early part of the race: these moments were frantic and I was willing to pay attention to eventual breakaway that were beginning, but the action I took part revealed to be the wrong one".

"Damiano tried to battle for a top result on a hill suitable for his characteristics, but the target was in the aims of the top classification riders and so everything became more difficult", sport director Piovani commented. "We're sad for having lost the green jersey: our riders knew well that it was important to pay attention to Hushovd, but they could not follow him in the breakaway, except for Bole, and then to neutralize the action. The tough parcour encouraged the attackers, not Petacchi".


July 10: The Wall Street Journal reports that the federal investigation of Floyd Landis' doping charges is proceeding quickly. Lead investigator Jeff Novitsky has been contacting riders, among them George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton. Again, rather than rehash the story, here's the link. Don't wait too long to read the story because the WSJ doesn't offer its content for free indefinitely.

July 9: After Mark Cavendish's successful blast to the line in stage 5, the teams sent out their releases with rider and team reactions:

From HTC-Columbia:

"San Luis Obispo, CA - 8th July 2010 - HTC-Columbia's Mark Cavendish has blasted to the eleventh Tour de France stage win of his career Thursday. The 25-year-old's victory came on stage four of the Tour, a 153-kilometre run from Eparnay to Montargis, crossing the line more than a bike length ahead of Germany's Gerald Ciolek.  Cavendish hugged and thanked each of his HTC-Columbia teammates after what was a particularly emotional victory.

"Yesterday [Wednesday] didn't go so great.  I felt like I'd let the team down when I couldn't finish off with a win," Cavendish said afterwards.  "But the team has always believed in me.  They gave it 100 percent for me today again,  and they never gave up on me.  I really wanted to win a stage in the best bike race in the world, too, and now I've been able to do that today. It's amazing."

"The pressure's been really intense," added Cavendish.  "It's been really tough at times, but I want to thank all the people who have supported me though the hard moments.  I've got an incredible group of friends and family, and a once-in-a-lifetime team, and they picked me up and all helped me to recover.  We came here with ambitions to win stages, and I'll keep trying for more stages in the future."

"Cavendish win is the 38th for HTC-Columbia's men team in the 2010 season,  and is the 55th road victory of his professional career.  On a great day's racing for HTC-Columbia, Cavendish's victory coincided with a win for American teammate Evelyn Stevens, in stage seven of the Giro Donne in Italy."

 

From Garmin-Transitions:

Martijn Maaskant:
"It was a long, hot day. I tried to help the guys with the lead out. I got on the front at 3k to go, which was probably too far out. It seemed like Julian, Robbie and Tyler were in a good position, but Julian and Tyler are still coming back from injuries. We're going to keep trying - we're working well and one of these days at the Tour, I think its all going to come together."


Matt White:
"The boys rode great today. We're continuing to look at our options in the sprints, since Tyler is far from 100 percent yet and Julian's still fighting his injuries, too. The lead out worked great with what we've got at the moment, the guys just didn't have the finish in them. We'll keep trying -- as we've said from day one, we're here to race."

 

From Lampre:

"Somedays everything is perfect and you win, other days are not so good and they don't end with the success: today during the race I had not the same feelings than yesterday, I suffered the changes of speed after each bend in the last part of race and, at 300 mt to go, I found my path closed just when I was starting the sprint. I could not obtain the third victory, I should have risk very much in order to try to win".
This is the comment by Alessandro Petacchi about the 5th stage of Tour de France, Epernay-Montargis of 187,5 km, won by Cavendish on Ciolek and Boasson Hagen and Petacchi 8th.
"The stage was tougher because of the heat, more than 35°. I don't suffer in the heat, but of course normal temperature are better. A very good help in facing the efforts is the wonderful atmosphere of my team: we are all very happy for Petacchi's victories and I'm willing to try to give my mates the good feelings we lived in the past days".

July 7: Several teams sent me press releases with rider and team reactions to Tour stage 3.

From HTC-Columbia:

Mark Cavendish:
"I'm disappointed about today. I felt really good during the stage. I feel sorry for my teammates who rode unbelievably and I just didn't finish it off at the end."
"We're really motivated as a team and I'm going to go out there tomorrow and give it hundred percent again."
"Congratulations to Alessandro [Petacchi] for another great stage win."

Quote from Rolf Aldag:
"Things didn't go perfectly for us today but we are going to regroup as a team and work on tomorrow's execution. Other teams did a great job today. We'll make some adjustments and be back in it tomorrow."

 

From Garmin-Transitions:

Julian Dean:
"I was a bit surprised, you never start out after being in the hospital two days ago thinking you're going to do that. I'm over the moon to achieve this but wish I was 100 percent for the sprint. I feel like maybe I could have won. But that said I'm really proud of what the team's acheived - fourth yesterday and second and fifth today. Despite the loss of Christian and Tyler being on the back foot, we have a competitive team and we're here to race."

Matt White, Director Sportif:
"Today was a great day for the team. We knew with Tyler's injuries it wasn't possible for him to make the sprint so we left it up to the hands of two of his lead out men, Julian and Robbie. After Monday's stage, losing Christian and having Tyler get so hurt, we've found ourselves having to look at other options. Today, those options worked in our favor. Julian produced a great ride - to go from lead out man to second on the stage, considering he was in the hospital days ago, is a testament to his strength. Robbie was equally impressive. We'll continue to look at our options and hope to keep animating the Tour."

Tyler Farrar:
"I'm really happy for Julian and proud of our team for what we've accomplished yesterday and today. After a day like Monday its impossible to know what's in store so it really shows our depth and determination. I knew I wasn't going to be able to really go for the sprint and I was happy to help Julian and Robbie - espeically given how much they lay on the one for me. I don't know what the next few stages hold, I'm just taking it day by day, hoping I'll continue to recover and helping the team any way I can."

Robbie Hunter:
"We showed we are here to play and we will continue fighting to Paris for stages, despite the loss of Christian and Tyler's injuries. Congratulations to Petacchi and to Julian for running second. I feel like I have the legs and the speed to do better than fifth but I'm happy with our result."

 

From Lampre:

"Two in 2010, six in career, these are the numbers by Alessandro Petacchi in Tour de France in his career that today received another important gift with the victory of the 4th stage (Cambrai-Reims, 153,5 km).
Lampre-Farnese's sprinter preceded, at the end of the powerful sprint, Dean, Boasson Hagen, McEwen and Hunter.
Perfect support by the whole Lampre-Farnese team, thanks to Bole and Spilak that kept the pace in the head of the bunch during the chase of the 5 cyclists breakaway that characterized the stage, thanks to Gavazzi, Lorenzetto, Da Dalto and Honfo that drove Petacchi just to the sprint.

"This was a perfect sprint, as perfect were today my legs: probably yesterday efforts on cobblestones helped me to be very brilliant today", Petacchi commented. "I didn't want to wait for Cavendish or Hushovd to start the sprint, so thanks to an outstanding action by Hondo I began my sprint at 300 mt to go, pedaling in a powerful way on the left side of the road, that was rising too".

"The victory is the prize for the efforts made by the team for me: today I won even if nobody crashed. I dedicate the success to all the team sponsors and to my mother: today is her birthday".
"

July 6: A TV motorcycle crashed on the descent of the Stockeu, spilling oil and gas on the already wet road just before the peloton arrived. Many riders crashed, some twice, trying to get down the hill. Garmin-Transitions GC man Christian Vande Velde had to retire. To get an idea of the destruction the day caused, I thought I would post the Garmin-Transitions press release with its rider reactions to the day in its entirety:

"A crash-filled Stage 2 of the Tour de France saw five Team Garmin-Transitions riders hit the pavement.

"Christian Vande Velde, Tyler Farrar and Julian Dean were all taken to a local hospital where they were evaluated by team and hospital physicians.

"Christian Vande Velde suffered a left eyelid laceration requiring multiple stitches, along with two broken ribs. Tyler Farrar sprained his left elbow and suffered a significant hematoma and abrasion. He also fractured his left wrist and suffered multiple other contusions and abrasions. Julian Dean suffered a large contusion on his left upper back. David Millar, who did not go to the hospital for x-rays, suffered a potential broken rib.

"All nine Team Garmin-Transitions riders completed today’s stage, demonstrating courage and commitment to their team, the sport, and the Tour de France.

"Eight riders will take the start tomorrow, with the exception of team leader Christian Vande Velde. This season, Christian suffered a broken collarbone at the Giro d’Italia, three broken ribs at the Tour du Suisse, and today, suffered two additional broken ribs and multiple contusions. The extent of all of these injuries combined will prevent him from starting Stage 3.

"Following are quotes from team members and directors.

"Jonathan Vaughters, CEO, Director Sportif:

 "Clearly, this will mean a change in the general strategy for Team Garmin-Transitions.  We will focus on the multitude of talented riders we have on this team. We’ll be looking for stage wins and ways to animate the race. I’m proud of the ride our team did today. Despite injury and conditions, they pushed through, and all nine finished the race. We’ve lost Christian, and we’re all sad about that. He’s had a tough season and has preserved and pushed himself like few other athletes could. Tomorrow is going to be painful for Tyler. He’s got significant injuries, so starting alone is a huge step, and from there we’ll have to see how he goes. But regardless, a good, strong team remains at this Tour and we’ll be a part of the action throughout.

"Christian Vande Velde:

"I crashed once right before the Stockeu. Riders crashed in front of me and I wasn't able to avoid them, so I went down. We all knew it was important to be at the front over the climb and at that point, I felt ok and got back on and made it back to the front to get up Stockeu. Then another rider lost control in front of me and again, I couldn't avoid it. I crashed and landed in a ditch. I’m not sure what I hit; I think it might have been a pole. At that point my eye was bleeding pretty badly and the pain in my side and my back was excruciating. I got back on the bike though, and was coming back with Andy Schleck. I tried to stay with that group, but the pain was too much and I couldn’t get out of the saddle to make it back on.

"No one wants to leave the Tour de France. I worked really hard to get myself ready to be here again and I was just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m indescribably disappointed to not be starting tomorrow. I wish everyone luck – my team and all the other riders at this Tour de France. I don’t ever want to have to see another day like today, whether I’m in the race or not.

"Tyler Farrar:

"One minute I was riding down the descent and  the next minute I was sliding. That was the first crash. I got back up and started descending again and I have no idea what happened; all of the sudden my front wheel was gone and I was on the ground again. That’s the one where I knew something was very wrong.  I rode the last 30k with one hand. I laid my left hand on the handlebars but that’s all I could do. I have a fracture in my wrist and banged up my elbow pretty badly. No one wants to quit the Tour de France, so you’ll push yourself a lot more through the pain than you will in any other bike race in the world. I’m determined to start tomorrow and as of this moment, that’s the plan.

"Julian Dean:

"Today was just one of those days where I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I tried to snake a trail through the falling riders around me but it was to no avail. I hit the road hard and could sense right away that I was not coming out of this one lightly.
Post stage examinations and x rays all come back with nothing overly serious. I am more than a little sore where I took the impact on my back but I think I’ll be ok. So goes the Tour de France. It’s back on the bike to do it all again tomorrow.

"David Millar:

"Today was definitely in my top five worst days on a bike, ever, and that’s a big cull considering the length of my career. My first crash was a simple race incident where Christian, Julian and myself were well positioned at the front, but someone in front of us lost control before the Stockeu. This didn’t bother me, I just lost some skin on my left side, but it made me more diligent to be at the front at the Stockeu.  Whitey kept reminding us to be at the front over the top to avoid crashes, and that’s where we were even after the chase of the previous crash. Within only 200 meters of cresting I could see Lance fall about 10 places in front of me on a straight road. When I saw that happen I knew something wasn’t right -  and that was immediately followed by my wheels disappearing from under me and my sliding across the ground. As I came to a standstill, Christian passed and asked if I was all right, to which I replied yes and got right back on my bike. At this point there were guys everywhere on the ground all around me. Only 200 meters after getting back on my bike I was faced with a Cofidis rider losing control in front of me. There was nothing I could do and I hit him and somersaulted over my handlebars, landing heavily on my ribs in a ditch thinking this time, I wasn’t fine. I got up and fixed my bike myself, and then I tip toed down the descent surveying the absolute carnage that was the Tour de France peloton and wondering what was going on. By this point I had no idea where Christian or anyone else was and had to concentrate on getting back to the front of the race. I got back, finished and waited in the bus to hear about the rest of my teammates. I’m very proud of the fact that all of us finished considering the disparity of some of our injuries. It reflects why our team is what it is, and why I love it."

July 3: Floyd Landis has hurled another stink-bomb at cycling and I think, has hit a bulls-eye. Mr. Landis spent hours with Wall Street Journal reporters detailing various aspects of his doping both as a U.S. Postal and Phonak rider. A telling story is his allegation that U.S. Postal team bikes were being diverted to public sale. He says he tumbled on to this after expressing his disgust with having to race on worn-out bikes, one of which broke under him while he was racing. He then called Trek, found out how many bikes were given to the team. He calculated that 60 bikes were missing and went to team boss Bruyneel with the information. Landis alleges that Bruyneel told him that the bikes were sold to pay for doping. In the story Landis renews his charges that Lance Armstrong and other team members participated in a systematic doping program.

I'm not going to rehash the article, you should read it yourself along with the related missing bikes story. Here's the link. Looking at the reader comments posted on the WSJ article, Landis will convince none of Armstrong's fans.

Note, don't wait too long because the WSJ allows articles to be read for free for only a short period of time.

Again, I believe that Landis' allegations have the feeling of verisimilitude and his new information just deepens their believability. I just wish he had followed Jonathan Vaughters' advice years ago to come clean.

Armstrong and Bruyneel have forcefully denied Landis' accusations.