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Jun 26, 2007

Le Tour updates website, plugs YouTube clips



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ASO’s official Tour de France site at www.LeTour.fr has been given a complete and very snazzy makeover. It includes a click-through to the official YouTube clips from the world’s biggest and best annual sporting event.

Bizarrely, the YouTube user ‘letourdefrance’ doesn’t allow third-party embedding so I can’t place the vids here, but I can link to them.

The most popular of the vids is a 3D fly-through of the full route, including the rising of an exploding, phallic Big Ben.

The Tour from the air is a melange of fantastic helicoptor shots.

It’s not the cyclists who are highest on drugs, it’s the designers of 15-ft motorised teapots, as you’ll see from this ‘discover the Tour caravan’ promo.

Talking about drugs, the YouTube ‘clip du Tour 2006′ starts with the drugs scandals which marred the start of the 2006 Tour. This is the video shown at the official route unveiling earlier this year.

Don’t understand French? Good, just watch the pretty pictures. Mind you, in a couple of places you can hear Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.

The video ends with the infamous mirror shattering sequence when the 2006 Tour winner Floyd Landis is presented with his final yellow jersey. As always, trust but verify…



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Jun 01, 2007

Sing-a-long with LNDD



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What a wonderful world it would be if certain lab technicians could put their hands on critical equipment manuals, didn’t certify each other’s tests and didn’t make “boo boos” that portray cycling as even more drug riddled than it certainly is.

Don’t know much about biology? There’s a great summary of the Floyd Landis hearing - including 5-alpha-androstanediol for Dummies - in the Los Angeles Times. In the long piece, Pulitzer prize winning journalist Michael Hilzik revisits his past articles on the flawed world of anti-doping.

After digesting that article, sing-a-long to what could be the perfect theme tune for Le Laboratoire National de d’pistage du dopage:

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took

……

Don’t know much about geography
Don’t know much trigonometry
Don’t know much about algebra
Don’t know what a slide rule is for.
Sam Cooke, ‘Wonderful World’

Floyd Landis video:



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May 24, 2007

Vote for Trust But Verify as ‘best blog’



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Blog’s too small a word, really. Trust But Verify’s founder and contributors did some amazing work at the Floyd Landis hearing which concluded yesterday.

I’m on the site’s sidebar, saying TBV should get a blogging award so I’ve gone ahead and submitted a nomination to Blogger’s Choice Awards. Vote here for TBV!



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May 23, 2007

J’accuse



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Dick Pound. Bradley Wiggins. Cycling Weekly. WADA. LNDD. USADA. 99 per cent of the world’s mainstream media. Bicycle Retailer. And many more.

Admit it, you all called it wrong. If you’ve been reading the TBV transcripts from the Floyd Landis hearing, which finishes today, you’ll now know that Team Landis has proved LNDD was guilty of violations of International Lab Standards. Any fair-minded person can now see USADA cannot prove that the violations didn’t “cause” last year’s adverse analytical findings.

The verdict from the three arbitrators - aided by the ‘independent’ fourth panel member from the WADA-accredited Rome lab - will likely take some time to be delivered.

This need not stop you admitting your mistakes. Start by criticising LNDD and its shoddy lab work. Then divert your ire to Jacques De Ceaurriz, head of Le Laboratoire National de dépistage du dopage in Chatenay-Malabray. In early August last year, he said of the IRMS test for synthetic testosterone:

“It’s foolproof. This analysis tells the difference between endogenous and exogenous. No error is possible in isotopic readings.”

Science isn’t like that. Floyd Landis came from far, far behind to win last year’s Tour de France. He has done the equivalent in a suit this past two weeks, providing the smoking gun that a significant minority thought was out there.




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May 22, 2007

“I know scientifically I’m not being eaten by a gorilla”



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Over on Trust But Verify, David Brower summarises yesterday’s testimony at the Floyd Landis hearing:

Which is more likely, that Landis has this complicated doping regime contradicting known chemistry, or that LNDD is systematically messing up measurements…?

With the burden flipped, USADA must prove that LNDD is not the reincarnation of Muppet Laboratories.

Now, that’s funny, although it’s unlikely anybody at LNND in Chatenay-Malabry, Paris, would concur. Incidentally, ‘malabry’ is derived from a phrase meaning ’spoiled ground,’ something I mentioned on the Floyd Landis petition last August.

The Muppet Labs chief scientist was Dr. Honeydew. Here he is in action with every cyclist’s favourite energy food, bananas:

But perhaps the Muppet Labs episode that best sums up the current see-no-evil, hear-no-evil saga is this one:

“Dr. Honeydew shows off his latest invention, a gorilla detector, which is devised to sound a warning whenever a gorilla approaches. During the demonstration, a gorilla arrives…and proceeds to smash the equipment. Dr. Honeydew steadfastly refuses to believe that the creature is a gorilla, however, since the detector hasn’t gone off.”

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May 22, 2007

Robin Williams on the origin of men’s genitalia



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Huh? And the link to cycling is?

Robin Williams is a famous, clap-happy, hairy-armed roadie. I don’t where he stands on the Floyd Landis case but as you can gather from my news story on BikeBiz.com, USADA’s case against the 2006 Tour de France champion is unravelling, fast.

Anyways, in the piece on BikeBiz.com I wrote a sidebar about the origin of the word ‘testify’ and wanted a video to illustrate this. Up popped this surreal National Lampoon interview with Robin Williams and Owen Wilson. It involves a Jewish orangutan, a de-bunking of Intelligent Design and other very funny ad-libs. Williams even gets in a gag about cycling, but you’ve got to wait for the final two minutes for the segway into testicles.

Enjoy.



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May 14, 2007

Climb By Bike releases KMZ files for TdF



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TdF = Tour de France.

KMZ = Native Google Earth files.

Those who registered on Climb By Bike have now been emailed the links to the KMZ files and can ‘fly’ through all of the 2007 Tour de France stages, including the kick-off prologue in London on July 7th.

Register now and you can get the files, too. So cool!

The Google Earth files are so detailed – and future-facing - you can even see Floyd Landis, smiling, and jumping up and down on the career of Dick Pound.



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May 14, 2007

Floyd Landis hearing: watch it (nearly) live!



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The Floyd Landis vs USADA arbitration case starts today in California. Read my BikeBiz.com story for some background. Want to watch the proceedings at the end of each day? Floyd Landis is paying $200 for a daily video feed. Go grab it from Floydlandis.com. The passwords change each day.

In the meantime, check out these two videos. The first is a polished production from the Floyd Fairness Fund. The second is the “offending” stage 17 from last year’s Tour de France. Tour commentator Phil Liggett didn’t think the Landis performance was “super-human”, he and fellow commentator Paul Sherwen berated the following pack for letting Landis get so far ahead on such a hot day.





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Apr 30, 2007

Dick Pound is “deleted” by mistake



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The World Anti-deletion Agency has today charged Floyd Landis with the “unlawful erasure of Richard Pound.”

WADA claims their chairman was “wiped” by the American athlete. Landis countered by saying he was “just doing a bit of spring cleaning” when he “accidentally” deleted the Canadian lawyer.

Pound was due to have stood down as head of the anti-doping agency in November but he may now have to stay in position until he can be “digitally reconstructed.”

Data retrieval experts say this could take many months and take many billions of US dollars. A spokesman for WADA said:

“The expense will be worth it. It’s essential we de-delete Dick. Who else would ignore WADA rules and accuse athletes of doping before their hearing dates? Without Dick, we’re screwed.”



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Apr 17, 2007

No leg to stand on?



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The world is a mad, bad place. There are needless wars, predictable famines, and senseless killings. In this context, one man’s battle to save his healthy right leg from amputation is neither here nor there.

But every injustice is still an injustice and the following case is just as important, if not more so, than many stories that often rise to the top of the news agenda. The case is in the public domain and is receiving some discussion on specialist blogs but it’s unlikely to receive mainstream media attention until May 14th, when a two week hearing will decide a man’s future. Or, more precisely, the future of his right leg.

In July last year, Mr X, an American citizen, was on a French cycling holiday when he Read the rest of this entry »



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